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Penn State's Law Program Splits from Dickinson Law School

by on June 18, 2014 10:39 AM

The Dickinson School of Law program at Penn State will become an independent law school.

Originally a second campus for the Dickinson Law School in Carlisle, University Park's law program will become a separate accredited law school known as Penn State Law at University Park.

The university announced Wednesday the Council of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved Penn State's proposal to operate the Penn State and Carlisle programs as two independent law schools starting with students admitted into the programs in fall of 2015.

"The full approval of the ABA for operation as two law schools begins the next chapter of The Dickinson School of Law," Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones said in a prepared statement. "We believe that two law schools operating independently can more flexibly respond to the needs of law students entering a rapidly changing legal profession. Penn State is offering two quality alternatives to prospective students, who can gain an extraordinary law school experience and education, and stand out in the marketplace for those qualities."

The university says the change will not impact current law students those who will enroll this fall and the schools will offer three-year law degree programs and graduate law degree programs.

After the separation, diplomas from the two law schools read: The Dickinson School of Law of The Pennsylvania State University. The degrees will also reflect their independent and separately accredited status. Dickinson Law School will continue to be affiliated with Penn State.

The university says the move "will allow each location to promote its individual strengths, and create a vibrant environment for the benefit of students."

Each school will have separate deans and administrations. Gary Gildin will serve as interim dean in Carlisle and James Houck will continue to serve as interim dean at Penn State. The university expects to appoint permanent deans in the 2014-2015 academic year.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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