Widener University Commonwealth Law School
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
For more than three decades, Widener University Commonwealth Law School, known as Widener Law Commonwealth, is the Pennsylvania capital’s only law school. Widener Law Commonwealth offers an exceptional learning experience that is personal, practical, and professional. Our practice-ready curriculum features flexible scheduling options, including full- and part-time study in the day or evening, to fit almost any student’s schedule.
Widener Law Commonwealth is committed to providing a comprehensive legal education that includes clinical practice, numerous externship opportunities, and practical learning coursework. Our Central Pennsylvania Law Clinic provides students with the opportunity to represent actual clients before courts and administrative boards, while under the supervision of clinical faculty. A large number of supervised externships permit students to work as lawyers-in-training with state and county government agencies and nonprofit organizations in numerous states throughout the country.
The Public Interest Initiative cultivates pro bono volunteer opportunities for students in public interest agencies and government offices throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; offers counseling and guidance to students who seek careers in public interest law; and recognizes students and faculty for exceptional contributions to public service.
The JD Program
Widener Law Commonwealth’s JD program provides a three-year, full-time program, along with a four-year, part-time program. Students in either program learn from the same committed faculty and have access to the same range of opportunities, including externships, participation in our law clinic, membership in honor societies and student organizations, to a choice of certificate programs.
Students in both the full- and part-time programs also complete the same credit requirements. Our curriculum provides a broad foundation in the law and the chance for students to pursue particular areas of interest through electives and our menu system.
Law and Government Institute
The Law and Government Institute provides hands-on experience with the operation and structure of government, as well as practice before government agencies. Certificates in administrative law, constitutional law, and legislation are available.
Environmental Law and Sustainability Center
The Environmental Law and Sustainability Center is nationally and internationally renowned for its scholarship and advocacy on sustainable development and climate change. Students earn a certificate, offered in conjunction with the Law and Government Institute, allowing them to explore the impact of the legislative process on environmental law.
Business Advising Program
The Business Advising Program focuses on the many legal issues, including taxation, financing, and employment management, affecting small and midsize businesses, which employ roughly half of US workers.
Dual Degree Programs
Increase the value of your JD degree by pursuing one of our dual degree options. Studying two disciplines may broaden your career options in the future. A dual degree can be achieved in less time and at less cost than if you earned each degree separately.
- JD/Online Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- JD/Master of Library Science (MSLS)
Widener Law Commonwealth's certificate programs offer you the chance to gain a professional edge through in-depth study in a single area of the law.
- Administrative/Constitutional Law Certificate
- Advocacy Certificate
- Business Advising Certificate
- Environmental Law Certificate
- Legislation Certificate
Central Pennsylvania Law Clinic
The Central Pennsylvania Law Clinic handles Administrative Law, Consumer Law, Elder Law, and Family Law cases. The clinic traces its origin to the Harrisburg Civil Law Clinic, which opened its doors in 1991. Today, the clinic continues its tradition of providing students with both practical legal experience and the satisfaction that comes from helping people.
Widener Law Commonwealth offers professionally rich externship opportunities. Externs immerse themselves in the day-to-day working lives of practicing attorneys and judges, hone research and writing skills, earn academic credit, and build a network for future employment.
Legal Methods Program
Termed “Legal Methods” at Widener Law Commonwealth, our writing program recognizes that becoming a good lawyer requires more than learning fundamental legal principles.
Learning the skills of legal reasoning, research, and writing is essential to becoming a practice-ready attorney—and teaching these skills is a top priority at Widener Law Commonwealth. By providing three semesters of Legal Methods courses we provide a foundation for our students to build on as they complete their education and enter the legal profession.
Public Interest Initiative
The Public Interest Initiative (PII) serves as the center for student public interest work at Widener Law Commonwealth. Through the PII, you can improve your practical legal skills while providing services to benefit organizations or individuals dedicated to charitable works, civil liberties, or public rights.
At Widener Law Commonwealth, your experience in the classroom is just one dimension of a rich and well-rounded education. A variety of co-curricular opportunities give you the chance to extend your learning beyond the classroom, add achievements to your resume, and forge connections with fellow students and faculty advisors.
Moot Court Honor Society
The Widener Law Commonwealth Moot Court Honor Society (MCHS) offers practical preparation for professional life as an attorney. MCHS allows its members to further develop their oral argument and writing skills learned in the classroom and use those skills to represent a client in a realistic appeal from a trial court. Moot Court members participate in a number of national competitions with students from other law schools while working closely with professors and alumni to improve advocacy skills.
Trial Advocacy Honor Society
Designed to train students in the art of litigation, the Trial Advocacy Honor Society of Widener Law Commonwealth teaches courtroom skills, etiquette, and confidence. As a member of the society, you will participate in the annual Hugh B. Pearce Competition, the annual competition between Delaware Law and Widener Law Commonwealth.
The Widener Commonwealth Law Review (formerly Widener Law Journal) is the flagship law review of Widener University. Membership on the law review staff offers students the opportunity to demonstrate initiative, honed legal skills, and commitment to the advancement of legal scholarship. Staff members are selected from students who demonstrate drive, commitment, and academic excellence.
Student Bar Association
The Student Bar Association (SBA) sponsors so many campus activities, academic associations, community projects, and social events that the Harrisburg Campus has twice garnered "Outstanding School of the Year" awards from the ABA's Law Student Division.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Widener Law Commonwealth’s Career Development Office provides employment advice, training, leads and opportunities to ensure every student is employed upon graduation. This support includes networking opportunities with Widener Law Commonwealth alumni, counseling for students and alumni to assist them with short and long-term career goals, information on internships and externships, and much more.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
The Widener Law Commonwealth in Harrisburg, PA values inclusion and is committed to enrolling students of diverse ethnicities, experiences, and backgrounds.
Our admissions committee reviews applications holistically and does not merely rely on LSAT and undergraduate GPA to make admissions decisions. Widener Law Commonwealth has a rolling admissions process, where applications and offers are generally made in the order of completed applications received; therefore, it is important to apply early before the class is filled. The application process is paperless and applications and other supporting documents should be submitted electronically through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website.