Here is a brief list of introductory terms relevant to your experience at the University of Pennsylvania Law School to help orient you to some common terminology that is used frequently and cultivates community at our school. You may also find the American Bar Association’s Glossary of legal terms helpful. In addition, we have provided a link to an article featuring a short glossary of diversity and inclusion terms related to racial equity.
“L” is equivalent to “year law student”. Therefore, a 1L is a first-year law student, a 2L is a second-year law student, and a 3L is a third-year law student.
“G” (as in G213) refers to Gittis Hall (where the big lecture classrooms are).
“Gk” (as in Gk238) refers to Golkin Hall (where the main law school entrance is).
“S” (as in S240a) refers to Silverman Hall (the oldest building that was renovated in 2020).
“T” (as in T142) refers to Tanenbaum Hall (where the library is).
The Goat refers to several things:
- The Law School mascot — a statue of which is in the space between Silverman Hall and Golkin Hall.
- The large open area on the ground floor of Golkin Hall that contains the Goat statue, where students study and sometimes events are held.
The Clock refers to two things:
- The large clock that stands in the open area of Tanenbaum Hall facing the Courtyard.
- The open area that houses the Clock, where there are places to sit, chat, and study, and where events are sometimes held.
The Courtyard is the private outdoor space that sits between the four buildings of the Law School. When it is 50 degrees or warmer, almost everyone at Penn Law can be found in the Courtyard at some point during the day. The Courtyard also is home to the other Penn Law mascot… the not-at-all timid squirrels.
This acronym refers to the Office of Career Strategy.
This acronym refers to the Toll Public Interest Center. It’s pronounced “T-PICk.”
Clerkship (judicial clerkship)
Judicial clerkship is a one to three year post-graduate position with a judge in federal or state court. The candidate who undertakes the judicial clerkship is called a law clerk or a judicial law clerk and provides assistance to a judge. A law clerk assists the judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Sometimes law students work with judges as summer interns. These are called judicial internships.
Summer internships are the jobs you will seek during the summers after your first and second years of law school. The Office of Career Strategy will guide you in your search for summer internships, as they can be an essential part of achieving your post-graduate professional goals. Public sector internships may be unpaid, but Penn Law guarantees funding to students who accept unpaid internships in the public sector.
OCI refers to on-campus interviewing. Many students participate in on-campus interviewing in August before the second year of law school as part of their search for summer internships for the following summer. A number of students also attend job fairs or engage in other kinds of job searches. The Office of Career Strategy will provide ample information regarding the job search.
An externship is a work experience much like an internship, but it takes place during the academic year. Instead of being paid, students receive academic credit. Penn Law externships are generally limited to public sector placements and are generally limited to one semester. Information about externships can be found on the Clinics & Externships page.
This phrase refers to a legal or factual issue that is irrelevant and is used to divert attention from the main issues of a case. Phrases like this sometimes come up in classroom discussions when faculty members help students identify facts that impact the outcome of a court’s decision.
Rule of Law
This phrase refers to the basic principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced: the principle of government by law.
For more legal terminology
Please refer to the American Bar Association’s Glossary.
Contribute to the Glossary Project!
Email Inclusion@law.upenn.edu when you hear something that doesn’t make sense. Just write “The Glossary Project” in the subject line. We will let you know when your question would be better directed to your professors, but we are happy to keep adding quirky Penn Law terms to our list. Remember, if you don’t know a word or phrase, many of your classmates likely have the same question!