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Policies

Non-Discrimination Policy

The University of Pennsylvania and its Law School do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, or veteran status or any other legally protected class status. Employers utilizing our career planning facilities will be held to the same standard of non-discrimination. Any claims of discrimination brought against recruiting employers will be referred to the Faculty/Student Career Planning and Professionalism Committee.

No Pre-Screening

On-campus interviews at Penn Law are assigned by computer lottery system based on student bids and taking into account student preferences and availability. Employers are not permitted to “pre-screen” candidates. A limited exception is made for IP firms, which may conduct pre-screening to ensure that technical degree requirements are met by candidates.

Early Interviewing

Employers participating in Penn Law’s on-campus interview program (OCI) may not schedule or conduct initial or callback interviews of Penn Law students for 2L summer positions prior to their assigned OCI date, except for:

• interviews arranged through organized job fair programs
• interviews for employer fellowship or scholarship programs that provide a benefit or compensation in addition to an offer of 2L summer employment
• interviews with students currently employed by, or who were previously employed by, the interviewing organization
• interviews resulting from informational interviews or other student networking efforts.

Interim Policies Relating to Callbacks & Offers (effective January 2019)

On December 12, 2018, The National Association for Law Placement rescinded its Principles & Standards for Law Placement & Recruitment Activities and replaced them with new Principles for a Fair & Ethical Recruitment Process.  In addition to adhering to the new Principles, Penn Law has issued the following interim policies, which are intended to align with the previous NALP standards regarding the timing of offers and decisions.  We will continue to evaluate our policies and practices, as well as the market, to ensure fair and professional practices and the best interests of all Penn Law students.

Summer Employment Offers to 2Ls and 3Ls
  • Time to consider offers: Employers offering positions for the following summer should leave those offers open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first.  Candidates should reaffirm these offers within 14 days from the date of the offer letter, upon request from the employer.  Offers that have not been reaffirmed may be rescinded. 

Offers made prior to Penn Law’s on-campus interviewing program (“OCI”) should not expire until 28 days after OCI commences.  Offers made after December 15 should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.

  • Requests for extensions to accommodate public sector seekers: Employers are encouraged to grant requests for extensions from students who are actively seeking positions with public interest or government organizations.  Extensions should be granted until as late as April 1, provided that the student is holding only one extended offer.   
  • Exceptions for smaller firms: Employers offering candidates positions for the following summer and having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are exempted from the timing rules set forth in the prior paragraphs of this section.  Instead, offers made on or before December 15 should remain open for at least three weeks following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first. 
Summer Employment Provisions for 1L Students
  • Commitment to academics: Penn Law believes that it is critical for first year law students to focus during their first semester of law school on acclimating to the law school academic environment. Career activities should be limited to gaining a general understanding of legal careers and the skills that relate to these career paths.
  • Recruiting 1Ls during the fall semester: Prospective employers and 1L students should not initiate contact with one another and employers should not accept applications, interview or extend offers to 1L students before December 1.  Appointments with candidates for interviews should be established for a mutually convenient time so as not to interfere with class attendance or otherwise disrupt candidates’ studies. 
  • Time to consider offers: All offers to 1L students for summer employment should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the written offer.
Full-Time Post-Graduate Employment
  • Time to consider offers for candidates not previously employed: Employers offering full-time positions following graduation to candidates not previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first.  Candidates should reaffirm these offers within 14 days from the date of the offer letter, upon request from the employer.  Offers that have not been reaffirmed may be rescinded.

Offers made prior to Penn Law’s on-campus interviewing program (“OCI”) should not expire until 28 days after OCI commences.  Offers made after December 15 should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.

  • Timing for candidates previously employed: Employers offering full-time post-graduate positions to candidates previously employed by them should leave those offers open until at least October 1 of the candidate’s final year of law school, provided that such offers are made on or before September 2. Candidates should reaffirm these offers within thirty days from the date of the offer letter, upon request from the employer.  Offers that have not been reaffirmed may be rescinded.

After September 2 of a candidate’s final year of law school, employers offering full-time post-graduate positions to candidates previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer letter.

  • Requests for extensions to accommodate public sector seekers: Employers are encouraged to grant requests for extensions from students who are actively seeking positions with public interest or government organizations.  Extensions should be granted until as late as April 1, provided that the student is holding only one extended offer.
  • Exceptions for smaller firms: Employers offering candidates full-time post-graduate positions and having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are exempted from the timing rules set forth in the prior paragraphs of this section. Instead, offers made on or before December 15 should remain open for at least three weeks following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first.
General Provisions Relating to Offers of Summer & Post-Graduate Employment
  • All offers of employment to law student candidates (“candidates”) should be made in writing and remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter, unless a longer consideration time is set forth elsewhere in these interim policies, in which case, the longer time frame shall govern.
  • Candidates are expected to accept or release offers or request an extension by the applicable deadline. Offers that are not accepted by the offer deadline expire. 
  • A candidate should not hold open more than five offers of employment at any one time. For each offer received that places a candidate over the offer limit, the candidate should, within one week of receipt of the excess offer, release an offer. 
  • Practices inconsistent with these guidelines should be reported to the Office of Career Planning and Professionalism at all-cpp@law.upenn.edu.

Conducting Lawful & Effective Interviews

Our talented students, like all prospective lawyers, come from diverse backgrounds. We urge you to consider and respect this diversity when conducting interviews. We hope the following information will assist employers in avoiding the use of illegal and/or inappropriate questions and will assure the fairness, integrity and productivity of the interview process.

When Interviewing Students

Provide an explanation to all candidates of your organization’s non-discrimination policies and support for candidate diversity.

Each student deserves equal respect and attention during the interview process - carefully review the resumes of your interviewees.

Try to recognize any preconceptions or assumptions you might have about an individual. This will help you to better evaluate each candidate fairly and impartially.

Whatever you identify as your interviewing “style,” use it consistently with all students.

While few instances of discriminatory conduct on the part of employers who use Penn Law’s Career Planning and Professionalism services are reported by students, it remains a serious concern in the legal employment marketplace. It is important to remember that an interviewer, although perhaps not out of animus, can create a perception of insensitivity to difference with inappropriate questions and comments. This perception, even if not reflective of your organization, may then be spread to other law students to the detriment of all. To help prevent this perception of insensitivity, we provide examples below of irrelevant interview questions as well as some insensitive attitudes and assumptions, derived from EEOC guidelines and from the interview experiences of our law students. We appreciate your attention to these suggestions.

Inappropriate Interview Questions:

  • How long have you been disabled? Can you get out of your wheel chair?
  • What did your father do for a living?
  • Do you own your own home?
  • Are you the first in your family to attend law school or to get a degree?
  • Will you have adequate childcare for your children?
  • Are you married/single/engaged/divorced or dating?
  • Do you have or plan to have children?
  • Will your parenting responsibilities interfere with your professional responsibilities?
  • Would you move if your spouse’s employment required a move?
  • How old are you? How would someone your age fit in with other people?
  • Why did you choose an all-black college?
  • What do you mean you have a partner?
  • Where were your relatives born?
  • What is your religious preference? Which holidays do you observe?

Discriminatory Attitudes & Assumptions:

  • Suggesting that a candidate, because of a personal characteristic such as race or religious affiliation, may not feel “comfortable” due to the lack of others like them in the workplace.
  • Commenting on a candidate’s dress or appearance.
  • Assuming that the candidate you are interviewing is heterosexual; joking about sex or sexual preference or gender issues.
  • Discouraging women from specialties considered “aggressive;” encouraging women to work in areas that are deemed “more suitable.”
  • Assuming or suggesting that a candidate attends law school due to some extraordinary admissions criteria; inquiring into the undergraduate grades or LSAT scores of people of color but not of other candidates.
  • Inquiring as to whether a candidate has ever been to a law firm office before, or suggesting that a candidate may never before have been in a professional environment.
  • Maintaining that disabled people who succeed are remarkable or extraordinary.