Duquesne University School of Law

Duquesne Law School
Motto Salus Populi Suprema Lex
"The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law"
Established 1911
Type Private Catholic University
Dean Ken Gormley
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
Affiliations Duquesne University
Website www.duq.edu/law

Duquesne University School of Law is a private Catholic university law school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The School of Law was founded in 1911, and is the only multiple-division law school in western Pennsylvania. Located on the 47-acre (190,000 m2) Duquesne University campus, the law school is walking distance to Pittsburgh's downtown legal, corporate, and government communities. The School of Law currently boasts over 5,800 alumni practicing in every field of law, in all 50 states and several foreign countries. As of 2010, the school is ranked in the fourth tier of law schools in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.[1] Additionally, as of 2011, Duquesne's Legal Writing program is ranked tenth in the United States.[2]



Duquesne University was established in 1878 on the Bluff of Pittsburgh overlooking downtown. In 1911, the Law School became the first professional school added to Duquesne University. The Law School was first located on 4th Ave in downtown Pittsburgh at the George Building, and is now located on the main university campus less than a mile from the Allegheny County Courthouse and the center of the Pittsburgh legal community. Classes began on September 25, 1911, and consisted of 12 students. The Law School was founded as an evening program, designed to allow individuals with family and work obligations the opportunity to study law. Over the years, Duquesne Law School expanded its programs to include a full-time day and part-time program. However, after almost 100 years, the evening program still remains as the only program of its kind in Western Pennsylvania. Graduates from Duquesne University School of Law comprise over a third of the Allegheny County Bar Association (Pittsburgh).[3] The traditions and goals of the Law School are characterized by the school's motto, salus populi suprema lex, "The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law."


The Duquesne University School of Law offers several degree programs. The Juris Doctor, the primary degree required to practice law in the United States, can be obtained through either the daytime, evening, or part-time division. An LLM, or Master of Laws, is offered through the School of Law for foreign attorneys who have already received a law degree in their native country but wish to become acquainted with the United States legal system.

In addition, Duquesne offers several joint degree programs through other graduate divisions within the university, and other institutions in the Pittsburgh area. The following are joint degrees currently offered through the law school.

  • Juris Doctor / Master of Business Administration
  • Juris Doctor / Master of Science in Taxation
  • Juris Doctor / Master of Science in Environmental Science & Management
  • Juris Doctor / Master of Divinity (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)

In 2011, US News & World Report ranked the legal writing program at Duquesne Law tenth in the nation.[4]


There are over 5,800 alumni of Duquesne Law School practicing in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Almost 30 percent of the practicing lawyers in western Pennsylvania are graduates of the law school. A large number of graduates from Duquesne Law are judges on the local, state, and federal levels, including the highest courts and appellate courts in over 20 states. Of all the law schools in Pennsylvania, Duquesne has produced the most judges seated in the Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, and Court of Common Pleas. Duquesne Law graduates also serve on the United States Court of Appeals and the Federal District Courts. [5]

Clinics and programs

Coat of Arms for Duquesne University

The Hugo L. Black Law Clinic of Duquesne University School of Law offers several clinical programs which allow students to learn practical lawyering skills while still in law school. Duquesne currently operates six clinical programs, as well as an E-Discovery Simulation Course.[6]

  • Civil Rights Litigation Clinic - Working under the supervision of an experienced civil rights litigator, students have the opportunity to gain practical experience litigating civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and other federal laws.[7]
  • Civil and Family Justice Law Clinic - Students represent indigent individuals who would not otherwise find assistance through the civil justice system.[8]
  • Community Entertrise Clinic - Students provide a broad range of transactional services, including preparation of incorporation documents and bylaws; registration with the Bureau of Charitable Organizations, trade mark application, and applications for recognition under Internal Revenue Code Section 501c.[9]
  • Criminal Advocacy Clinic - Students have an opportunity to assist in the representation of criminal defendants with the Allegheny County Office of Conflicts Counsel.[10]
  • Unemployment Compensation Clinic - Students working with the unemployment compensation clinic receive substantive seminars related to unemployment compensation law including case law, and procedure for willful misconduct and voluntary quit cases, overpayment issues and offsets.[11]
  • Urban Development Clinic - Services provided by students include general real estate matters, title searches, negotiation and drafting of development agreements, preparation of land use cases, appellate land use practice, and attending and participating in public meetings and hearings.[12]
  • E-Discovery Simulation Course - The class uses the case study approach and simulation techniques, allowing students to gain “hands on” experience in developing a litigation strategy based on simulated facts and data.[13]

Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law

Established at the Duquesne University School of Law in the fall of 2000, the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law collaborates with the University’s Schools of Law, Nursing, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Business, Pharmacy, and Liberal Arts, as well as other academic institutions, to offer graduate degree and professional certificate programs in forensic science and law to a diverse group of students with backgrounds in nursing, law enforcement, pharmacy, business, the environmental sciences, psychology and many other disciplines. The Institute offers several degree and certificate programs. Graduate students at Duquesne University are eligible to pursue a Certificate in Forensic Science and Law. This 12 hour program investigates the promise and the possibilities modern science brings to the pursuit of the truth in civil, criminal and family legal proceedings. Law students can count credits earned in this program toward the total credit requirement for graduation. The institute also offers a Master's Degree in Forensic Science and Law and works with other schools in the university to offer degrees and certificates in Forensic Nursing.

International Programs

  • Vatican City Program - Students from Duquesne University's School of Law, as well as their counterparts at other American law schools, are given the unique opportunity to study a comprehensive survey of canon law, Roman law, and the topic of canonization in the Western legal tradition in historic Vatican City through the Summer Study of law program.[14]
  • China Program - This program provides law students from all over the world the unique opportunity to discover and learn about the legal system in the country of China. Students who are enrolled in this program will travel to the city of Beijing, China to take legal course-work that will enhance their understanding of Chinese law.[15]
  • Ireland Program - A three-week summer study of law program in conjunction with the University College Dublin Faculty of Law and the Queen's University Belfast Faculty of Law. This program covers subjects related to the law of the European Union from an Irish perspective and offers students 4.5 (semester) hours of ABA-approved credit.[16]
  • Germany Program - A three-week program of one-week modules each in European Private Law, European Public Law, and a Workshop in Corporate Governance, totaling 4 1/2 (semester) credit hours of ABA-approved credit. In Cologne, classes will meet at the Institute for American Law located on the campus of the University of Cologne.[17]


The Dr. John E. Murray, Jr. Pavilion

The Law School is housed in the recently renovated Edward J. Hanley Hall and newly constructed Dr. John E. Murray, Jr. Pavilion on the Duquesne University campus. The combined structures occupy nearly 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2). Administrative and faculty offices, classrooms of various sizes, two courtrooms, study areas and a multilevel law library are all under one roof, along with a locker room, café, lounge area and offices for student organizations. Offices and conference areas for the School’s in-house clinics are located in nearby Fisher Hall. Law School facilities feature state-of-the-art computer and audio/video technology for teaching, research and administrative functions. Law School students also have full rights and privileges to use all of the other amenities on Duquesne's 47-acre (190,000 m2) campus, including computer laboratories, the University’s Gumberg Library, dining services and extensive recreational facilities.

In 1999, Duquesne University entered into a historical agreement with Allegheny County for the Duquesne Center for Legal Information to manage the 131-year old Allegheny County Law Library (ACLL), one of the largest and oldest county law libraries in the country. As a result, Duquesne law students have direct access to the historical and rich collection and reading room facility of the ACLL. As a result, students can utilize both the Duquesne Law Library facilities and the Allegheny County Law Library for research and study.

Student organizations

Duquesne Law is home to a variety of student organizations, which allow students to enrich their legal education through conversation, seminars, conferences, fund-raisers, competitions, and community service. The following is a list of student organizations currently active at Duquesne Law School.


  • Duquesne Law Review - The primary publication of Duquesne University School of Law, the Law Review is a student edited legal journal. The journal is published quarterly, and receives submissions from top legal scholars throughout the United States.
  • Duquesne Business Law Journal - Produced annually by a student editorial board, the Business Law Journal contains articles that focus on the specific areas of corporate, tax, consumer, labor, bankruptcy and business law. Law students and alumni are encouraged to submit articles for publication.
  • Duquesne Criminal Law Journal - The Criminal Law Journal is a student run organization which publishes scholarly works semi-annually in an online format. Its goal is to bring a venue to analyze all issues in the field of criminal law. The Journal utilizes a unique system of peer review, in which members from the legal community review submissions to the Journal, thus maintaining a higher academic standard.
  • Juris Magazine - This student edited law school magazine is an ABA award winning publication containing articles of current interest to the entire legal community. Since 1967, Juris has published articles concerning substantive areas of the law as well as matters of local and national interest. The American Bar Association Law Student Division recently named Juris Magazine the best overall law school magazine for 2007.[18]


External links

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