Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

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.

Villanova directly aligns with the demands of professional practice. Guided by our Where Law Meets Business philosophy, our programming infuses vital business principals, professional skills, ethical training and practical experiences into each student's education. 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.

Degree Programs

Villanova Law offers the following degrees:

  • JD, 3 years
  • JD/MBA with Villanova School of Business, 3 years
  • JD/MPA, 3 years
  • JD/LLM in Taxation, 3.5–4 years
  • JD/LLM in International Studies, 3 years

Institute and Centers of Excellence

Villanova Law 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.
  • The Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, one of only a handful of institutes in the country dedicated to sports law. Executive 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 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.
  • 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 serves as a hub for academic and practical discussions regarding business and the law. It offers cross-disciplinary programs, groundbreaking coursework and real-world learning opportunities to provide a legal education infused with business principles. The center helps prepare students to be the kind of lawyers today's interconnected world demands.
  • The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion, and Public Policy builds upon Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic mission to create opportunities for conferences and lectures, research, and student programs in the areas of law, religion, and public policy. The center is directed by Michael Moreland, university professor of law and religion and a renowned scholar of constitutional law, torts, bioethics and religious freedom.

Experiential Learning

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.

Clinical Program

Through our eight in-house clinics, students gain invaluable hands-on experience while serving real clients in need facing critical legal issues. Students interview, counsel, negotiate agreements, structure deals, draft legal documents, and argue in court.

  • Caritas Clemency Clinic
  • Civil Justice Clinic
  • Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services 
  • Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship
  • Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic
  • Federal Tax Clinic
  • Intellectual Property Law Clinic
  • Interdisciplinary Mental and Physical Health Law Clinic 


Our 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 Law offers over 300 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.

Trial Advocacy

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 comprises internationally renowned scholars, dedicated educators and successful practitioners whose work is published in leading law reviews and quoted in the media.

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-advisors 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 Law distinguishes itself not only by the quality of our legal education, but also by a 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.

Notable Alumni

Villanova Law graduates join a tight-knit community of alumni that’s over 12,000 strong. Our alumni remain a part of the Villanova community and take an active role in helping our students succeed. They engage with prospective students, mentor current students, and help network with prospective employers.

Notable alumni include:

  • Kelly A. Ayotte ’93 (Former United States Senator for the State of New Hampshire)
  • Joanna McClinton ’06 (Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives)
  • Jami Wintz McKeon ’81 (Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)
  • Hon. Sandra Newman ‘72 (Former Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court)
  • Hon. Edward Rendell ’68 (Former Governor, Pennsylvania)
  • Hon. Marjorie Rendell ’73 (Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)
  • Sean Sansiveri ’08 (General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs, National Football League Players Association)
  • Charles Widger ’73 (Founder, Brinker Capital)


In 2009, the Law School moved to its current home, John F. Scarpa Hall—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 with students’ needs in mind and boasts high-tech courtrooms, a cafeteria, and coffee bar. The building is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-certified. 


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.

Learn more about the JD program at Villanova Law

Student Life

Tuition and Aid

Expense Cost
Expected Cost of Attendance

Contact Information

299 North Spring Mill Road,
Villanova, PA 19085,
United States