Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
The JD Program
Founded in 1953, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training, and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers.
Students find an educational experience at Villanova that directly aligns with the demands of professional practice. Central to our “Where Law Meets Business” philosophy is an innovative curriculum that directly aligns with the demands of professional practice, infusing vital business principles, professionalism skills, and practical experience into each student’s education. Using real-world problems, simulations, and role-playing exercises, Villanova students learn by doing and are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive job market—whatever their chosen field.
The School of Law offers the following degrees:
- JD, 3 years
- JD/LLM in International Studies, 3 years
- JD/MBA with Villanova School of Business, 3 years
- JD/MPA, 3 years
- JD/LLM in Taxation, 3.5–4 years
- JD/LLB, 2 years
- LLM in Taxation, 3.5–4 years
Institute and Centers of Excellence
Villanova is home to an institute and four centers of excellence that provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience, and mentorship:
- The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation seeks to educate and provide technical assistance to those who respond to commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania and to promote victim-centered, multidisciplinary collaboration.
- Villanova’s close proximity to markets with dedicated fan bases and high-profile sports teams makes it the perfect location for the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, one of only a handful of institutes in the country dedicated to this topic. If it is happening in the sports world, we’ll be talking about it, teaching it, and breaking it down at the Moorad Center. The center has its own dedicated journal and sports law blog. Students have been placed in externships with high-profile sports organizations such as the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Wasserman Media Group. Center Director Andrew Brandt brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Villanova Law. A columnist for Sports Illustrated, Brandt is a former players’ agent and former team executive for franchises, including the Green Bay Packers and Barcelona Dragons.
- The David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance addresses important and emerging ethical and compliance issues in law and business. It oversees the design of new coursework and special academic programs and brings leading experts and scholars to the Law School for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. By hosting cutting-edge conferences and academic events, the center will also become a resource for the compliance and ethics fields.
- The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship brings our “Where Law Meets Business” philosophy to life with required, credit-bearing courses and its own clinic. By offering cross-disciplinary programs, groundbreaking coursework, and real-world learning opportunities, the center ensures that students receive a legal education infused with business principles so that they can be the kind of lawyers today’s interconnected world demands.
- The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion, and Public Policy builds upon the Law School’s Augustinian Catholic mission and will create opportunities for new curriculum focused on advocacy, law, and religion.
In the study of law, there is no substitute for real-world experience. At Villanova, we believe that a law school should provide a well-rounded legal education that balances theory with hands-on opportunities to practice the craft of lawyering. Our extensive array of clinics, externships, and trial advocacy programs allows students to hone their legal skills, exercise professional judgment, and prepare to excel as lawyers.
Villanova’s seven clinics are in-house law firms with students acting as primary advocates for real clients under the supervision of a faculty member. Students interview, counsel, negotiate agreements, structure deals, draft legal documents, and argue in court.
At Villanova, externship placements go beyond the typical nonprofit organizations and government agencies to encompass opportunities at Big Law firms and multinational corporations. Externships are rigorously supervised and fully vetted to ensure that students make the most of their learning opportunity. Villanova offers over 275 placement opportunities that span the globe and are across all areas of practice, so students can be laser-focused in their chosen fields. As externs, students develop essential lawyering skills, expand their network, and explore career paths.
Preparing law students to become courtroom-ready advocates is the cornerstone of Villanova Law’s Trial Advocacy program. Through comprehensive coursework and competition experience, students learn the essential elements of trial practice: fact analysis, pretrial case preparation, persuasive speech, witness examination, and evidence. Each class takes place in one of our five state-of-the-art, courtroom-style classrooms, and every course takes a performance-based, learn-by-doing approach.
At the core of a great law school is an outstanding faculty, and Villanova Law professors are some of the most innovative minds in legal education. Our faculty is composed of internationally renowned scholars, dedicated educators, and successful practitioners. Their work is published in leading law reviews and cited in US Supreme Court decisions.
Career Strategy and Advancement
At Villanova Law, we are focused on preparing our students for professional success through our educational offerings and one-on-one career counseling.
Our credit-bearing Professional Development program is one of the most robust of its kind among law schools and is a requirement in all three years of law school. More than a “one-size-fits-all” checklist of interactions with the school’s Career Strategy team, the program employs a personalized approach that encourages and engages students in active career exploration.
Through lectures, individual and small group meetings, self-directed assignments, and Career Strategy events, students are introduced to such topics as professionalism, networking, goal development, and personal entrepreneurship. The program is structured to allow for individualization to each student’s interests, while also encouraging each student to learn about a variety of practice areas and settings.
In addition to the coursework, our dedicated team of experienced attorney-advisers works with students to help them identify and achieve their own goals. Our team is there to guide you from job search to interview preparation and more.
Villanova distinguishes itself not only by the quality of legal training delivered, but also by its strong sense of community. Our Augustinian Catholic tradition fosters a collegial and supportive atmosphere that starts in the classroom and extends throughout campus. Faculty and staff are approachable and available. Students are competitive without being cutthroat, regard each other as peers rather than rivals, and form personal bonds that endure long after commencement. This is a law school where people work together and champion each other’s success.
Villanova Law School graduates join a tight-knit community of alumni that’s over 10,000 lawyers strong. Our alumni remain a part of the Villanova community and take an active role in helping our students succeed. They recruit students, become mentors, and help students network with prospective employers.
Notable alumni include:
- Doug Gaston ’92 (Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Comcast Cable)
- Amanda Harrell ’06 (Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, United Artists Media Group)
- Michael Haswell ’97 (Director of Product Partnerships, Ads and Commerce, Google Inc.)
- Angela Hrusovsky ’12 (Legal Counsel, Bose Corporation)
- Jami Wintz McKeon ’81 (Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)
- Paula Reid ’08 (Justice Reporter, CBS News)
- Hon. Edward Rendell ’68 (Former Governor, Pennsylvania)
- Hon. Marjorie Rendell ’73 (Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)
- Sean Sansiveri ’08 (Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, National Football League Players Association)
- Charles Widger ’73 (Founder and Executive Chairman, Brinker Capital Holdings Inc.)
In 2009, the Law School moved to its current home—a 175,000-square-foot building that features state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities, and a 500,000-volume law library. The building was designed from the bottom up with students’ needs in mind and boasts high-tech courtrooms, a cafeteria, and coffee bar. The Scarpa Center space, which opened in 2014, was built to foster collaboration and features flexible workspaces, writable walls, and video teleconferencing equipment.
Situated 12 miles west of downtown Philadelphia, Villanova Law offers students the best of both worlds—a picturesque suburban location that is a short regional train ride away from one of the nation’s most dynamic cities. With a train stop just steps from the law school building, the City of Brotherly Love is only minutes away.
Philadelphia—the fifth largest city in the United States—is located conveniently in the middle of the Northeast Corridor, in close proximity to New York City (100 miles north) and Washington, DC (133 miles south). Home to some of the largest companies and most prestigious law firms in the nation, Philadelphia is one of the East Coast’s primary legal job markets, offering students access to externships, summer clerkships, pro bono work, and postgraduate careers. The Villanova Law presence is strong in the Philadelphia region, with an active alumni network ready to welcome and mentor graduates as they find their place in the law.
Villanova Law Student Organizations
Villanova Law Pro Bono Opportunities
Villanova Law Clinics & Externships
Career Placement and Bar PassageLearn more about career placement and bar passage at Villanova Law
Tuition and Aid
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