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University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Parent schoolUniversity of Pittsburgh
School typePublic law school
DeanMary Crossley (Interim)
LocationPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Faculty86 full-time faculty
USNWR ranking89th (tie) (2024)[1]

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law (Pitt Law) is the law school of the University of Pittsburgh, a public research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1895 and became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1900. Its primary home facility is the Barco Law Building. The school offers four degrees: Master of Studies in Law, Juris Doctor, Master of Laws for international students, and the Doctor of Juridical Science. The school offers several international legal programs, operates a variety of clinics, and publishes several law journals.

According to University of Pittsburgh School of Law's 2021 ABA-required disclosures, 87% of graduates were employed ten months after graduation with 65% attaining positions where bar admission is required.[2]


Home of law school from 1897 to 1919
The Cathedral of Learning housed the law school from 1936 to 1976

The law department was founded in 1843 and is one of 17 schools constituting the University of Pittsburgh.[3][4] The first four law degrees were conferred in 1847.[4] Classes were held in a stone building at Third Street until the building was destroyed in the fire of 1845 and were then held in the university's building on Duquesne Way until that building was burned in 1849. Classes were continued after the second fire in the basement of the Third Presbyterian Church until the universities first law professor, Walter H. Lowrie, was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1851 and forced him to abandon his teaching at the school.[4] This, along with the fires that destroyed many of the university's facilities and resources, disrupted the development of the School of Law.

Although various attempts were made to reestablish law instruction beginning in 1862, a permanent law school was not established until 1895. The university at that time was named the Western University of Pennsylvania, but despite this, the law school was originally named the Pittsburgh Law School, a name it held until 1918.[4] The Pittsburgh Law School became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1900.

The first classes in the permanently established school were conducted in the orphans' court rooms in the old Allegheny County courthouse. In 1897, the school moved into the old university building at Ross and Diamond streets that had been sold to the county in 1882. The school moved again in 1919-20 to the tenth floor of the Chamber of Commerce building.[4] In 1936 the School of Law moved in its entirety to the 14-16 floors of the Cathedral of Learning on the main campus of the university located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.[4]

During the 1950s and 1960s, the School of Law's Health Law Center was an early pioneer in the field now known as computer-assisted legal research (CALR). Attorney and researcher John Horty was astounded by the extent to which the laws governing hospital administration varied from one state to the next across the United States, and began building a computer database to help him keep track of it all. News of Horty's pioneering work at Pitt inspired the Ohio State Bar Association (just across the state line in nearby Ohio) to create its own separate CALR system, the ancestor of the database system known today as LexisNexis.[5][6] The School of Law moved into their own dedicated facility, the Barco Law Building, upon its opening on the university's main campus in 1976.[7]



Barco Law Building, current home of the Law School


The University of Pittsburgh School of Law offers four degrees. The J.D. (Juris Doctor) is the required degree to practice law in most of the United States, thus J.D. students make up most of the school's student body.

Academic programs

View of the bench and jury box from the gallery area of the Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom

Pitt Law Center for International Legal Education

Pitt Law offers area studies in the following international legal systems:

These area studies serve to supplement the study of International Law, in addition to providing Pitt Law students with the opportunity to pursue careers abroad.

Experiential skills programs


The University of Pittsburgh School of Law has several clinical programs, which allow law students to gain practical experience as lawyers before graduating from law school.[8] The following clinics are currently offered by the School of Law:

Lawyering Skills Competitions

The law school also hosts and facilitates multiple moot court and lawyering skills competitions for law students. The law school's Moot Court Board administers three intramural competitions each year: the Appellate Moot Court Competition, the Murray S. Love Trial Moot Court Competition, and the Negotiations Competition. The school also assembles teams to compete at multiple interscholastic and international moot court competitions covering specialized areas such as Energy Law, Environmental Law, Health Law, International Arbitration and International Law, Workers' Compensation Law, Client Counseling, and Intellectual Property. The school's Mock Trial Program recruits adjunct coaches from the local practicing bar to assemble law student teams to participate in mock trial competitions throughout the country. In 2014-2015, more than 20% of second- and third-year students participated in an interscholastic competition.[9]

Semester in D.C. Program

The law school's Semester in D.C. Program allows spring semester second- and third-year students to pursue a full-time externship for an employer in Washington, D.C.[10] The Semester in D.C. combines full-time work for academic credit with a small seminar class held at the law school's dedicated Washington Center to fulfill a full semester credit load. Students can also pursue a Public Policy Concentration, taking additional courses to learn to apply legal advocacy, research, and writing skills in the policy context.



Barco Law Library

Pitt Law is home to two law reviews and several student-edited legal journals, including the Pittsburgh Law Review, which is one of the 40 most-cited law reviews in the country, according to Chicago-Kent Law Review's 1996 Faculty Scholarship Survey [2]. The following law reviews are all publications of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law:

The following journals are all publications of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law:


JURIST is the world's only law school-based comprehensive legal news and research service. Its professionally trained staff of law faculty and law students report and research the latest legal developments in real time for members of the legal community and the public at large. JURIST covers legal news stories based on their substantive importance rather than on their mass-market or commercial appeal.

Applicant Information


Admissions to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law are conducted on a rolling basis, with an acceptance rate of slightly less than 30%. For the entering class of 2019, the median LSAT score was 158, and the median GPA was 3.49.[11] There were 120 entering students.

Admissions Statistics for the University of Pittsburgh School of Law[12]

Year Enrolled Applications LSAT - Median GPA - Median LSAT - 25th LSAT - 75th GPA - 25th GPA - 75th
2019 120 1,196 158 3.49 155 160 3.22 3.71
2018 130 1,832 157 3.39 154 159 3.09 3.60
2017 141 1,713 156 3.42 152 158 3.11 3.62
2016 140 1,341 156 3.42 152 159 3.12 3.64
2015 134 1,401 156 3.36 153 159 3.03 3.63
2014 156 1,172 157 3.46 152 160 3.09 3.68
2013 174 1,487 158 3.42 154 161 3.16 3.61
2012 210 1,973 158 3.34 155 160 3.09 3.60

Costs and financial aid

The estimated cost of attendance (includes tuition, fees, books, and living expenses) at Pitt Law for the 2014-15 academic year is $50,008 for a Pennsylvania resident and $57,492 for a non-resident.[13] The average law school debt for the graduating Class of 2012 was $94,879, well below the national average.[14] Pitt Law was one of only 53 law schools out of over 200 nationally (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) to be ranked as a 2014 Best Value by The National Jurist. The survey took into account multiple factors, with success in job placement weighted most heavily at 35%, followed by tuition (25%), average indebtedness (15%), bar passage rates (15%), and cost of living (10%).[15]


ABA Employment Summary for 2020 Graduates[16]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional
Employed - Non-Professional
Unemployed - Seeking
Total of 120 Graduates
ABA Employment for 2020 Graduates by Sector[16]
Employment Sector Percentage
Law Firms - 101+ Attorneys
Law Firms - <101 Attorneys
Law Firms - Solo
Business and Industry
Clerkships - Federal
Clerkships - State/Local
Government/Public Interest
Total of 113 Employed Graduates

Rankings and Honors

Notable alumni

Main article: University of Pittsburgh School of Law alumni


  1. ^ "University of Pittsburgh School of Law". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  2. ^ "2016 Employment Summary Data" (PDF).
  3. ^ Fleming, George Thornton (December 21, 1922). "History of Pittsburgh and Environs: From Prehistoric Days to the Beginning of the American Revolution". American historical society, Incorporated – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Request Rejected".
  5. ^ Hershey, Tina Batra; Burke, Donald (February 2018). "Pioneers in Computerized Legal Research: The Story of the Pittsburgh System". Pittsburgh Journal of Technology Law and Policy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 18: 29–39. doi:10.5195/tlp.2018.212. ISSN 2164-800X.
  6. ^ Bourne, Charles P.; Hahn, Trudi Bellardo (2003). A History of Online Information Services, 1963-1976. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. pp. 229–230. ISBN 978-0-262-02538-6. Available through IEEE Xplore.
  7. ^ "Request Rejected".
  8. ^ "Clinics". University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2016-05-31.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Semester in D.C. Program". University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  11. ^ "JD Admissions Process | School of Law | University of Pittsburgh".
  12. ^ "Standard 509 Disclosure".
  13. ^ "Cost of Attendance". Cost. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Comparison of Educational Debt". Comparison of Educational Debt. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  15. ^ "The Best Value Law Schools of 2014". Above the Law. 17 June 2014.
  16. ^ a b[dead link]
  17. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Ranking". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 10, 2022.

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