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Editorial Style Guide

Maintaining a consistent verbal style and brand voice is just as important as cultivating a strong visual identity. Use the following style rules and writing tips to strengthen your communications.

Naming Standards

For the first instance in copy, our full name must be used:

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

On the second instance, use Penn Carey Law.

In subsequent references, our full name can be shortened to:

  • Penn Carey Law
  • the Law School (Law School must always be capitalized, but never “the” unless it begins a sentence)
  • the Law School at Penn (typically for historical references)

Do not use the following examples of incorrect, unacceptable name use:

  • Penn Carey Law School
  • Penn Law
  • Penn Law School
  • the law school
  • UPenn Law
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School

Voice and Tone

Our brand voice communicates our institutional identity, goals, and priorities. The following guidelines ensure that our voice is unwavering across our different departments, audiences, and marketing channels.

Our voice is…


As the trailblazers of a new era of legal education, we lead the way with a voice that projects confidence and celebrates novel, innovative ideas. Writing tips:

  • Choose strong verbs  rather than leaning on adverbs.
  • Avoid using the passive voice.
  • Write economical prose, striking all unnecessary words.


While forging the future of education, our voice never forgets our strong and distinguished reputation. Writing tips:

  • Cite concrete examples of our history and accomplishments.
  • Where possible, relate our programs back to career outcomes and success.


Our voice always reflects the warm, inclusive, and collaborative environment that makes our Law School so special. Writing tips:

  • Write like you speak.
  • Use legal jargon sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
  • Speak to our audiences like they are part of our community.

Website Writing Guidelines

Use short, clear headlines.

Most web visitors glance at each new page, scan the text, and click the first link that addresses why they came in the first place.

  • Keep headlines under 75 characters.
  • Choose clarity over being clever.

Break up long paragraphs.

Users are often intimidated by large blocks of text and will skip over longer paragraphs while they scan for key concepts and information.

In general, keep paragraphs between 3-4 sentences each.

Embed links in your body copy.

To keep users engaged in the site, it is important to include relevant links to other pages or pieces of content within your body paragraphs. This also helps improve our SEO value.

Style Guide Cheat Sheet

  • Is our name spelled out in full on first mention (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School) and shortened thereafter as follows: on second mention as Penn Carey Law and then subsequent mentions as Penn Carey Law, the Law School, or the Law School at Penn?
  • Is your website copy clearly relevant to one or more of our defined audience segments?
  • Does the copy directly address the audience’s goals and needs?
  • Does the copy align with our brand voice: pioneering, esteemed, and collegial?
  • Are headlines clear and as short as possible (<75 characters)?
  • Are all paragraphs 3-4 sentences or shorter?
  • Has this copy been proofread against the style and usage guidelines?
  • Have you included a clear a call-to-action to let users know what to do next?

Common Style & Usage Cases