By increasing financial aid, Penn Law empowers civic-minded students to pursue impactful careers
Louis Brandeis, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, famously observed, “If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” By producing lawyers who are committed—and, more importantly, empowered—to do good in the world, Penn Law not only increases that respect for the law, but also our faith in those who practice it.
The School’s core priority is to create access to legal education for diverse groups of talented students so that they may pursue the area of law that best suits them. To remove the largest barriers to success, Penn Law turns to its financial aid program. “Our needs-based program allows us to support students and families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a Penn education,” says Anthony Henry, Assistant Dean for Financial Aid at Penn Law. “Because scholarship recipients graduate without the burden of significant debt, they’re able to pursue careers based on their passions—not compelled to make decisions based upon their need to pay off loans. They can become the lawyer they want to be.”
Financial aid also allows Penn Law to attract a diverse student body. “We want to fill our classes with students from all over the country from different backgrounds, who bring different life experiences to bear,” says Henry. “This creates the best learning environment possible.” Last year 10% of the students admitted to Penn Law were first-generation. That figure is expected to increase significantly over the coming years, driven largely by Penn’s financial aid program.
Penn Law graduates are regularly recruited by the country’s largest firms. However, a growing number are drawn to public service, focusing on key issues like voters’ rights, child advocacy and public defense. Albert Pak, C’11, W’11, L’18, who attends Penn Law on a named scholarship, will travel to Detroit upon graduation where he will work with a legal non-profit and assist low-income, small business entrepreneurs. “I consider myself one of the luckiest law students in the country to have been given the freedom to explore what really drives me,” says Pak. “My parents are first-generation U.S. citizens and small business owners, which is why I’m so passionate about empowering others to live out their American Dream. To be able to have this kind of impact straight out of law school is such a rare privilege.”