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Widener Law named to list of best public-interest law schools
TopPublicInterestSchoolsPromoWidener Law has been named to a national list that recognizes the best public-interest law schools.

preLaw magazine, published by San Diego-based Cypress Magazines, used the list as its cover story for the recently released Winter 2011 issue. The magazine’s audience is largely made up of undergraduate students and those considering law school, although it is also widely read on law school campuses.

The magazine searched for schools that have one or more public-interest clinics, one or more faculty committees or administrators that oversee public interest and have a loan repayment program. These three things were requirements for inclusion on the “best” list.

Beyond that, preLaw examined numerous other things like placement of graduates into public-interest positions, pro bono opportunities and public-interest scholarship opportunities.

“Experiential learning and public service are hallmarks of a Widener education,” Law Dean Linda L. Ammons said. “Our students and faculty are leaders in public service and I am delighted to see the school recognized in this way.”

The list identified Widener Law as a whole and did not specify the school’s different campuses. The programs are run through the Public Interest Resource Center on the Delaware campus and the Public Interest Initiative on the Harrisburg campus.

“PIRC celebrates and supports Widener students in pro bono projects and community service and the center is not alone in this endeavor,” center Director Sydney Howe-Barksdale said. “I commend Dean Ammons and the faculty for their leadership inculcating the pro bono ethic in law students and for a deep commitment to public service evident throughout the culture of the law school. National recognition is a wonderful way to let us know our efforts are paying off!”

“The Public Interest Initiative is grateful for the national recognition of our program and our students’ contributions,” said Karen Durkin, director of the initiative on the Harrisburg campus. “We hope the experience of serving the less fortunate while in law school will encourage them to continue such service throughout their careers. We look forward to continued growth of our program.”

The class of 2010 included 74 Delaware-campus graduates who donated 9,768 pro bono hours of service during their law school careers. In Harrisburg, 31 graduates donated 4,986 pro bono hours of service. In addition, 31 members of the Delaware-campus faculty spent 1,550 hours giving back to the community in the 2009-2010 academic year. The Harrisburg campus also had significant faculty involvement in public service, on projects benefitting things like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, Bethesda Mission and World Affairs Council of Harrisburg.

The school has five clinical programs based on the Delaware campus and two on the Harrisburg campus.

Read the preLaw article here.