Saturday, September 20, 2014

DSL once had a branch in Scranton!

From an 1895 Scranton newspaper.

Now I have to figured out when it closed.

Update:  Haven't found anything about when it closed.  It opened in 1895 and "disbanded" sometime before 1900 when the article below was published.

Judge Sadler of "Sadler Curtilege" I presume

Harrisburg Telegraph, October 29, 1915

Time for some history

I'm going to expand this blog beyond just chronicling the travesty of DSL joining Penn State.  I'm not saying there'll be a lot to post, but I'd like to just post about DSL.

So here's a nice little announcement from 1918 when DSL decided to build Trickett Hall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Student accused of cheating on exam sues DSL

CARLISLE — A student at Penn State Dickinson School of Law has filed a federal lawsuit against the institution for what she said was a violation of her Constitutional rights and inadequate handling of her alleged Honor Code violations.
Nicole Suissa, of New York, filed the suit Aug. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Penn State Dickinson School of Law and the law school association, as well as employees Carla Pratt, associate dean for academic affairs; Megan Riesmeyer, president of the hearing board; and James Houck, who was then interim dean of the school.
Suissa said the actions of the school and certain employees violated her constitutional right to due process.
Suissa, a graduate of the University of Hartford, was in her second year of a three-year juris doctor program at the time of the alleged misconduct and hearing. She was suspended from the school due to an Honor Code violation for the fall 2014 semester.
According to Suissa’s lawsuit, she was enrolled in a fall 2013 course in which her final exam was called into question and reported to Pratt, associate dean for academic affairs. A report was made that Suissa improperly used her cellphone while on a bathroom break during the exam, in violation of the school’s Honor Code.
The lawsuit claims there was wrongdoing on the part of the school, including an employee’s active and aggressive plot to force the student to withdraw from the school.

Friday, September 05, 2014

More about the changes afoot

September 02, 2014 6:00 pm  •  
CARLISLE — Penn State Dickinson School of Law faces an all-encompassing shake-up in curriculum as it officially turns into Dickinson Law next school year.
The level of change is rare for higher education, but the staff in Carlisle didn’t want to pass up an opportunity for accreditation separate from the State College law school.
“The separate accreditation for the two law schools was an opportunity for us to step back,” said Gary Gildin, interim dean of the school. “It’s really cutting edge — that inward look and being responsive to change and what employers are looking for.”
Gildin said he has been with the school for 35 years and noted there have been incremental tweaks to the curriculum and program, but nothing on the level that is set for the 2015-16 school year for first-year students. He said such a change can be incredibly risky, but it was necessary to produce the types of lawyers needed in the country.
“What lawyers need to do is different in 2014, even from 2000,” Gildin said, explaining even small businesses have gone global, which requires just about every lawyer to have some basic knowledge in international law.
Previously, international law was an upper level elective. Under the new system, international law would be covered in the first year and is a requirement.
New program
The new first-year program is designed around giving students the skills they need to work in the real world without additional training. That means students will have internships in the region, as well as participate in in-house clinics. The law school will reopen its Pitt Street Clinic Building from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at 45 N. Pitt St., Carlisle. The building will house all of its Carlisle-based clinics, including the school’s Children’s Advocacy and Community Law clinics. The school’s clinics are open to the public.
Other changes to the first-year program include electives designed to give students an education in a specific field, and introducing more critical competencies, such as project management and business development.
“It’s not enough to (just) have legal skills, argue case law, read statistics or be a good writer,” Gildin said. “Additional competencies would be part of day-to-day life.”
Gildin said the change is more to do with preparing students than it has to do with admission. Penn State Dickinson School of Law has a small maximum class size of 75 students for each incoming class, which will be continued when the name changes to Dickinson Law. Given the small size, there is no concern among staff about dwindling admissions, and the school already has close to that number in admissions for the next school year.

Dickinson Law Prepares to Fly Solo

Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., has plans to distinguish itself when it achieves its independence next year. They include a more practical approach to legal education and an international focus.
“We’re going to do things different,” interim dean Gary Gildin said. “The first year of law school has been essentially the same for more than 150 years. With our new curriculum we plan to change that model, offering a fresh, cutting-edge alternative for career-minded students.”
The American Bar Association in June approved the university’s plan to split its law school into two separate programs. Penn State began offering legal training in 2000, when it acquired the then stand-alone Dickinson School of Law. By 2006, the university was offering law classes both in Carlisle and at the main campus in University Park, Pa.
University officials unveiled plans to split the two campuses in 2012. The idea was that diversifying their approaches would broaden their appeal amid declining enrollment.
Dickinson’s curriculum changes will apply to students starting next fall. In additional to traditional first-year courses like criminal law and torts, students will take a new class called Problem Solving 1: The Lawyer and Client. The class is intended to prepare them to work with a range of clients, from individuals to corporations, and will feature intake interviews with clients arranged by a homeless shelter. The idea here is to develop students’ communication skills and teach them to understand the people behind the case law.
Another new requirement will be Practicing Law in a Global World: Context and Competencies. The course will introduce students to international law but also expose them to career paths including criminal prosecution or midsized law firms. It will emphasize nonlegal skills students will need in order to succeed—financial literacy, business development and problem-solving.
“There are a whole set of skills that aren’t necessarily law, but that are used in law,” Gildin said. “We’re incorporating those into the curriculum.”
Dickinson will organize its elective courses according to legal career tracks, rather than by area of law. Finally, students will have to complete 12 credits of practical-skills courses—six of them in a clinic, externship or the school’s “practice in residence” program held in Washington and Harrisburg, Pa. 
To ensure that each student obtains a “quality practice-setting opportunity,” Gildin said, incoming enrollment will be limited to 75 students.
“We are proud to start a new chapter in the 180-year history of Dickinson Law,” he said. “By remaining a part of the Penn State family with separate ABA accreditation, we have both the autonomy and the resources in place to train and support the next generation of first-rate Dickinson Law alumni.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

DSL reworks curriculum

The Carlisle campus is just one year away now from its new grand experiment starting next summer: a new life as one of two, separately-accredited law schools operated by Penn State.
Faculty here are now months into a curriculum development process that will see the once-and-future Dickinson Law pledging a core focus on "producing practice-ready lawyers for a competitive, global market."
That's an intentional statement meant as a mark of distinction in a legal education field that's been criticized for years for doing a better job of teaching students how to graduate from law school than how to be a lawyer.

Let's hope they do it right.  Most schools now are paying lip service to experiential learning.  Entrenched faculty resist change and they will have to change--even the first year classes--if they really want to produce "practice ready" lawyers.  Just adding a clinic or two isn't going to cut it.  This article sounds as if they're actually taking the change seriously.