Mission and Core Principles

Students in conference

As the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and as one of the oldest law schools in the country, Dickinson Law’s mission remains remarkably similar to its founding vision: to prepare students of law thoroughly for the practice of their profession. While remaining steeped in the tradition and values that have distinguished the Law School from its inception, Dickinson Law has redefined how it is preparing students to lead their profession in a competitive and evolving 21st century legal landscape.

We fulfill and further our mission of Practice Greatness and our core values of teaching, scholarship, service, and community by equipping our students with the entire range of concrete skills necessary to excel as legal professionals at local, state, national, and international levels. Our interdisciplinary approach pairs theory and doctrine not only with practical lawyering skills, but also with an advanced set of extralegal competencies, including strategic problem solving; leadership; risk and project management; cultural competence; and interpersonal communication and empathy. The education of our students is enhanced by the relationship with our world-renowned parent public research institution, The Pennsylvania State University; partnerships with the adjacent nonprofit, private, and public sector legal community; and semester-long experiential opportunities in Harrisburg, Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Los Angeles/Hollywood/Beverly Hills, Dallas/Houston, and The Hague.

The faculty of Dickinson Law has adopted the following core principles:

I. To vest in our students the entire range of concrete lawyering skills necessary to most effectively perform as legal professionals at the local, state, national, transnational, and international levels in the 21st Century.

These skills include, but are not limited to, research and analysis; mastery of legal and database resources; written and oral communication; negotiation skills; project management; due diligence; problem solving; implementation of transactions; and advocacy, both in courts and other formal adjudicatory institutions, as well as through complementary dispute resolution fora such as mediation and arbitration. To teach these skills, we will draw upon legal knowledge and knowledge from other disciplines.

II. To engage in a constant quest for knowledge and wisdom that we can share not only with our students, but with the legal profession, scholars, policy makers, and others, consistent with Penn State’s role as a world-class research university.

We believe that our scholarly and teaching missions should be complementary. As engaged scholars, we believe that having both a solid understanding of existing theory and the ability to develop new theories is indispensable to our students’ ability to operate as legal professionals in an increasingly global, diverse, and sophisticated legal environment.

III. To willingly contribute our services to the university and to local, state, national, and international efforts to improve global understanding and the lives and well-being of our students and the worlds in which they will live.

IV. We pledge that on a daily basis we will strive to foster a sense of community and mutual support between and among faculty, students and staff, and in our interactions outside the Law School.

We not only view community as a proper ethos but also believe that cultivating the interpersonal skills, respect, and tolerance that promote community will enable our students to more professionally and sensitively counsel their clients and accomplish their professional goals.