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Getting Started

Welcome to Penn Law!

As staff members, we are a critical component of Penn Law’s elite status in the world of legal education. Thank you for dedicating your talents to our important mission.

The Staff Commons is your tool to learn about our departments, Penn Law generally, and the University, as well as about the benefits you’re earning as a staff member. Please visit often!

You’ll be assigned a Buddy, from a department outside your own. We hope you’ll build a great relationship with this person: ask questions, express concerns.  Your buddy is there FOR YOU. Should you have any questions about the buddy system (or, for some reason, would prefer another buddy), please contact Susan Ferrazzano in the Dean’s Suite.

Some helpful tips

Penn Law Map. Our four buildings around the Courtyard allow for easy interaction among faculty, students, and staff – contributing to the collegiality for which Penn Law is so well known. Faculty offices, classrooms, administrative spaces – all are intentionally dispersed and connected.

The Ernie Gonsalves Staff Lounge is located in T139 on the ground floor of Tanenbaum Hall.  Here you can find hot drinks, a refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, and comfortable seating. Ask your supervisor for the door’s secret code. Cold water is available at locations throughout the Law School.

University Map.  And check out the University at large as well! Penn has a gorgeous urban campus with historic and new architectural wonders.  View the University of Pennsylvania map.

Penn Card.  Your official University of Pennsylvania identification card gives you access to Penn Law and other buildings across campus, recreation and library services, and other great benefits. Once you’re in payroll, you’ll be able to visit the Penn Card center and get your card. Until our security guards get to know you – and they will! – please show it to them on entry to the building.

Who’s Who/Penn Law Directory. If you meet someone new and cannot remember his/her name, consult our on-line directory. There’s a Faculty/Staff view where you can see everyone’s photo sorted by Department or by Name. Tip: use “Control F” on your computer to find someone if you remember part of the person’s name. And view or print out a phone list by going to the Printer-Friendly Reports at the bottom of the Law Directory.

Law School Events. You’ve joined a tremendously rich intellectual and social community.  The almost daily lectures and events throughout the academic year contribute to the intellectual life of the Law School and are often open to staff. Check the Docket (to which you can submit info on activities in your area) and the Penn Law Calendar frequently, and check in with your supervisor if you’d like to attend.  And we’ll have staff and faculty events, too, for us to celebrate our work together and get to know one another across departments.  We hope you’ll attend many! 

What Each Department Does. Penn Law is a tremendously collaborative place. We guarantee that, the better you know what your colleagues do, the better you’ll enjoy your own contributions to our mission.

As part of our on-going Staff Development Program, training efforts and social events are held across the year. Information about the various training programming and social events are posted in the Staff Commons.

There are also organizational charts available in the Staff Commons that might be of interest.

Staff Development. You have joined a world-class institution by choosing to work at Penn Law. We want to support you in continuing to develop your own world-class skills. Penn has a series of Workplace coaching programs, and, as noted above, the Staff Development Team (which you are welcome to join – an invite for members goes out each fall) devises a series of training programs each year. We hope you’ll participate actively.

Each spring, the University engages in a Performance Development process. You’ll have the chance to perform a self-evaluation and give feedback to your manager as you build goals and growth opportunities into your job.

Human Resources.  The University conducts an orientation in which they discuss University policies, benefits, transportation, parking, campus recreational facilities, employee resources, and much about Penn in general. These sessions are held 14 times a year a few blocks away at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1-B South. We urge you to attend.

The University’s staff website provides a great resource to learn about specific benefits and programs – tuition benefits! Discounts to shows! Deals on phone purchases and rental cars! Be sure to check it out and take advantage. You will need to provide verification using your PennKey to see anything that is password protected. This portal is also where you can enter your paid time off requests, set-up or update direct deposit, and find various employee resources. You can easily get to this page from the University’s homepage — click Faculty/Staff at the top.

In terms of the Human Resources cycle, open enrollment for medical and other benefit selections are made every April for the next plan year, which runs July to June, corresponding to the University’s fiscal year. Your pay, starting in July, will reflect any benefit changes and pay adjustments.

GOOD LUCK! And welcome once more to Penn Law.