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Meet the JD Class of 2017

August 29, 2014

This week, Penn Law welcomed the JD Class of 2017, comprised of 250 students who will enliven the community of the law school with their diverse array of academic accomplishments, professional experience, community service, and artistic ability.

The new 1Ls hail from 36 states, the District of Columbia, and countries spanning the globe, including Canada, China, India, Malaysia, and South Korea.

“The members of the Class of 2017 come from wide-ranging academic, professional, and ideological backgrounds,” said Renee Post, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “They are not only academically talented, but also professionally experienced, intellectually inquisitive, and diverse by every measure.”

Even as law school applications have declined nationally, applications to Penn Law continue to increase. The members of the Class of 2017 enter Penn Law with record-high GPAs and LSAT scores in the 98th percentile. They were admitted from more than 5,800 applicants, with an acceptance rate of 16 percent.

Within the class, 35 percent identify as people of color, and 44 percent are women. They range in age from 21 to 35, with the average age being 24. Some are first-generation college students — now first-generation law students — and several are first-generation Americans.

The class has shown itself to truly be one made up of global citizens who also serve their communities at home.

They include teachers from the U.S. and around the globe, Fulbright recipients, a peer counselor for LGBT youth, a COO and CFO of a nonprofit that provides college readiness and support to low income students, an impartial human rights observer in Israel and Palestine, a volunteer who reviewed police department stop forms to determine if officers had reasonable suspicion, and a strategic consultant for an anti-trafficking NGO serving women and girls in Asia’s largest red light area.

They also bring a wide range of professional experience in a vast range of fields. They include veterans, CPAs, private equity analysts, heath care analysts, journalists, engineers, entrepreneurs, intelligence analysts, community organizers, patent agents, and a clinical pharmacist.

They are as intellectually adventurous as they are professionally experienced. They hold PhDs in English Language and Literature, Applied Physics, Music Composition, and Neuroscience, and they advanced degrees in African American Studies, Business Management, Special Education, Electrical Engineering, Public Health, Social Work, Sports Management, Theology, and many other disciplines.

They’ve also shown themselves to be gifted team players and outstanding team leaders. They’ve served as undergraduate student body presidents, trustees for their alma maters, and captains of numerous sports teams — in addition to also coaching basketball, field hockey, swimming, tennis, and water polo.

The stories of their lives are unpredictable and inspiring. They are professional musicians and composers, stage and TV actors, screenwriters and filmmakers, DJs, and members of improv comedy troupes and dance troupes. One member of the Class of 2017 is a nationally ranked weightlifter, and another hiked the nearly 2,220 mile length of the Appalachian Trail.

For more information about the JD program and how to apply, please visit Penn Law Admissions.