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Arlene Rivera Finkelstein

Arlene Rivera Finkelstein is Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She directs the Law School’s wide array of public interest programs, including one of longest-standing and most expansive pro bono programs in the country (requiring that all students perform at least 70 hours of law-related pro bono legal service before they graduate). Arlene works with a team of six to ensure that all students make service a meaningful part of their legal education, and ultimately carry that service ethic into their careers.

TPIC’s work includes overseeing more than 30 student groups that perform pro bono legal service in a variety of substantive areas, and managing the community partnerships that drive that work; advising students on how best to prepare themselves throughout law school for public interest careers; and directing the Penn Law Toll Public Interest Scholars Program and the Penn Law Postgraduate Fellowship Program. Arlene has taught courses in Legal Interviewing and Client Counseling, as well as Lawyering in the Public Interest. Before coming to Penn Law School, Arlene was the inaugural director of the Public Interest Resource Center at Widener Law School. She began working at Widener as a professor of legal research and writing, where she also taught interviewing and counseling, and public interest lawyering.

Arlene serves on several legal services boards including Friends of Farmworkers (Chair), Community Legal Services (Chair), Philadelphia Legal Assistance (Chair), the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (Advisory Board). She is a past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities. 

Arlene attended Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, and the Temple University Beasley School of Law. She earned a Certificate in Executive Leadership from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research, Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute, and she has completed the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.

Arlene began her legal career as an Assistant Defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she focused primarily on the defense of children.