The members of the Law School’s newest class of 248 students were selected from one of the largest applicant pools in Law School history.
This week, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School welcomed the JD Class of 2026, comprised of 248 students from 34 states, the District of Columbia, and countries across the globe, including Canada, China, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
“We are excited to welcome the Class of 2026 and their demonstrated passion for positive change in the world,” said Randi Garnick C’87, L’90, Assistant Dean for JD Admissions. “Their individual stories ensure us that they will contribute greatly to our vibrant Law School community and the legal profession.”
Penn Carey Law received more than 6,500 applicants for the Class of 2026.
JD Class of 2026 Profile
Within the Class of 2026, 49 percent self-identify as people of color, and 48 percent self-identify as female. Twenty-one percent self-identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sixty majors are represented, with 29 percent coming from STEM backgrounds. Sixty-eight percent completed college one or more years ago, and eight percent hold advanced degrees. Fourteen percent of the class are first-generation college graduates, and 33 percent are first-generation professionals. The average age of the class is 24.
Overall, the Penn Carey Law JD student body represents 239 undergraduate institutions.
Orientation Activities & Words of Wisdom
Orientation week for the Class of 2026 included an introduction to the Law School’s staunch commitment to public service at Pro Bono Day, a Phillies game, a trolley tour of Philadelphia, and the annual welcome dinner at the National Constitution Center.
At the official welcoming event in Fitts Auditorium, Dimitri Islam L’09, Director for Student and Community Engagement, took the opportunity to mark the moment as “the very first time the JD class of 2026 has been in the Law School together, in one room.”
Garnick, who along with Stephanie Thistle, Director of Recruitment, personally phone accepted students to inform them of the favorable decision, offered enthusiastic words of support to the incoming class.
“You are now part of a vibrant community that will fully engage you for the next three years—and one that you will be connected to for the duration of your career and the rest of your life,” Garnick said.
In her welcome address, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law Sophia Z. Lee highlighted the Law School’s pioneering interdisciplinary focus and collegiality—two hallmarks of a Penn Carey Law education.
“We believe firmly that the uniquely interdisciplinary and collegiate approach to legal education is the best preparation for responding to the most pressing problems of an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world,” Lee said.
She cited Penn Carey Law’s joint degree programs, certificates, study abroad opportunities, Global Research Seminars, and clinics, all of which offer incomparable interdisciplinary opportunities. Moreover, Lee said, JD students can enhance their law school experience through connections with our impressive LLM class—over 100 students from over 30 countries—and our Master in Law (ML) candidates, who come to the Law School as professionals in various fields from health care to technology.
She also emphasized Penn Carey Law’s collegial, “small town culture, which is built on meaningful personal relationships among our students, our staff, and our faculty.” Lee stressed that collegiality demands that community members “treat each other with mutual respect even when they disagree, no matter how vehemently,” acknowledging that this skill is a learned one—“and there’s no better place to practice it than here.”
Felicia Lin L’08, Vice Dean for Student Services and Dean of Students, reflected on her own time as a student at the Law School and offered the incoming class the advice she wishes she had been given: “Embrace the risk of failure.” She encouraged them to open themselves up to the entire law school experience and to “trust the process.”