The University of Pennsylvania Law School has appointed Practice Professor of Law Praveen Kosuri as the Associate Dean for Clinical Education. In his new role, Kosuri will assume responsibility for the oversight and development of Penn Law’s longstanding clinical program, the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies, as it enters its fifth decade.
Kosuri, currently the Director of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, will be instrumental in advancing Penn Law’s experiential education in light of its increasingly significant role in preparing students for practice. He takes over the leadership of the clinics from Louis Rulli, Practice Professor of Law and former Director of Clinical Programs, who for 10 years oversaw and successfully expanded clinic and externship programs to the great benefit of Penn Law students and their clients. Rulli built upon the groundbreaking work of Douglas Frenkel, Morris Shuster Practice Professor of Law, the original architect of the clinical program who served as Director of the Gittis Center for 28 years.
“We are lucky to have a long tradition of clinical legal education here at Penn amid expanded experiential learning opportunities,” said Kosuri. “While the clinics are the pinnacle of experiential learning, it’s becoming increasingly important to educate students about all the different offerings and how they can effectively sequence them into the richest, most beneficial education possible.”
Kosuri officially took on the clinic leadership role in November and will also continue to serve in his preexisting roles as Director of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic and Practice Professor of Law. He has long been involved in the national clinical community as a scholar, speaker, and advocate. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Clinical Legal Education Association, which represents over a thousand clinical legal educators and is involved in conversations around accreditation and standard-setting at the national and state bar levels.
Kosuri is an experienced clinician who has brought his unique background in business, law, and the public interest to bear on his work at Penn. He began his career as a public defender in Chicago representing indigent defendants in the full range of criminal proceedings. After returning to school to study business, he developed valuable insights into the intersection of law and business through his professional experience in both arenas, having worked as an investment banker and also having represented businesses as a corporate attorney and commercial litigator. During his 13 years as a clinical professor, 11 as Director of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, he drew upon that cross-disciplinary experience to educate students while working with clients ranging from inner-city small business owners to non-profit organizations to technology ventures. The common thread connecting the clinic’s diverse set of clients has been Kosuri’s goal of achieving positive social impact through the representations.
Kosuri came to Penn Law in 2007 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as a lecturer in law and the Assistant Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. He received an A.B. from Duke University, a J.D. from Washington University School of Law, and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
As Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Kosuri will oversee the Gittis Center, Penn Law’s in-house teaching law firm, which offers students real-client experience in nine clinics that cover a range of practice areas including child advocacy, intellectual property, immigration and human rights, civil litigation, mediation, legislation, entrepreneurship, appellate advocacy, and criminal defense. He will also help oversee Penn Law’s externship offerings, which send students off-campus to observe and participate in more than 20 on-the-ground lawyering opportunities in government agencies, non-profits, and other public interest and private settings.
Kosuri will work with clinical faculty colleagues — who have nearly 100 years of combined teaching experience — and with other dedicated Penn Law faculty and administrators to bring cohesiveness to Penn Law’s entire set of experiential learning programs and offer students guidance about how best to take advantage of them. In particular, he will aim to help students explore how clinics and externships can complement Penn’s increasing number of simulation-based programs on subjects including national security, negotiation, and more.
Kosuri also plans to develop new clinical and externship programs and enhance existing ones to further expand the range of opportunities for students to develop and hone their practice skills.
“I am extremely proud of the breadth and quality of our clinical programs here at Penn Law,” said Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard J. Segal Professor of Law. “Praveen is an innovative and widely-respected leader in clinical legal education who will continue to enhance and maintain the strength of our program. Each clinic provides a different lens into the real issues our students will face as practicing lawyers, and Professor Kosuri and our other Practice Professors each bring their unique strengths to teaching our students.”