The law school is one of 17 schools and programs comprising the University of Pittsburgh. It is located in Oakland, the educational, medical, and cultural center of Pittsburgh. Located within several blocks of the Law Building are Hillman Library, Carnegie Public Library, and several special libraries of the University, including the business, medical, and public and international affairs libraries. Oakland is also home to three other colleges and universities, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Carnegie Institute and Museum, the Scaife and Frick Art Galleries, and the 429-acre Schenley Park with its tennis, golf, and swimming facilities. Downtown Pittsburgh, with its state and federal courts, government offices, county law library facilities, law firms, and corporate headquarters, is only 10 minutes from the law school by car or public transportation.
The law school occupies a modern, six-story building designed to accommodate the many activities that contribute to the development of responsible attorneys. The largest element in the building, the Barco Law Library, serves as the "laboratory" for the work of both students and faculty and is an important information center for practicing lawyers and for scholars from other disciplines. A permanent endowment helps ensure that the school can maintain excellence in law library services to respond fully to the teaching and research missions of the law school, as well as to provide a continuing learning resource for practitioners in the law.
The Barco Law Library's location on floors three, four, and five provides the desired remoteness from the main flow of student and visitor traffic and helps create an environment conducive to individual study. Faculty offices ring the perimeter of the library on floors three and five. This encourages ease of interaction between students and faculty.
Conceived as both a law library and a research center, the Barco Law Library includes individual reading carrels for most of the student body in close proximity to the open stacks. The fourth floor is the library's nerve center, containing the circulation desk, the reference desk and reference collection, modern indexing tools, group-study rooms, a microform room, an audiovisual room, and the Harold Obernauer Computerized Legal Research Center. The Obernauer Center, opened in 1987, gives Pitt Law students access to personal computer equipment for research, word processing, and programmed courses of instruction.
The current collection numbers some 325,000 volumes and volume equivalents and has a seating capacity, in both the individual carrels and in private reading areas, of over 400. It will serve well for years to come for the dual purposes of learning and constructive research in the law.
The assembly areas are the next largest element of the building. The facilities are all on the first floor with direct circulation to the main entrance. The spatial arrangements make it possible for the four main classrooms, situated on this floor, to fill and discharge swiftly and without interference with other activities in the school.
A special feature of the Law Building is the Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom on the ground floor. The courtroom, named for the late Benjamin H. Teplitz, includes a seven-seat judges' bench, jury and press boxes, counselors' tables, judges' chambers, and jury room. It is used primarily by trial tactics classes and by the growing number of moot court programs. It is equipped to handle special sessions of the Commonwealth and Federal Appellate Courts and hearings before various administrative tribunals. A focus of visual interest is the large (24 by 36 foot) mosaic mounted on the wall behind the judges' bench. Designed and created by the University's Virgil Cantini, the mosaic is a dramatic compound of 126 porcelain-on-steel pieces and represents the artist's conception of the harmony of the law and the rich tapestry of the American legal system. The moot courtroom, with its oak-paneled appointments and its spaciousness and simplicity of design, evokes in the spectator a respect for the dignity of the court.
The ground floor of the building is the center for student activity. The large and comfortable student lounge provides relaxed surroundings for students seeking respite from the rigors of their studies. Refreshments are available in the vending machine area just off the lounge. Lining the north wall are three student activity rooms designed for more formalized gatherings. On the opposite side of the lounge is the locker area, where each student has an assigned locker. Most of the school's student organizations have offices on the ground floor. Three--the Moot Court Board, the Law Review, and the Journal of Law and Commerce--are located on the fifth floor to afford them easy access to both faculty counselors and the library.
The administrative offices, named in honor of William Wallace Booth, are located on the second floor, where they can be reached from all parts of the building with ease. The faculty lounge, furbished in part by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation, is adjacent to the administrative suite and may be entered either directly or through the administrative offices.
Other design features of the Law Building include a pedestrian bridge connecting the School of Law with Litchfield Towers dormitories, Lawrence Hall, and Forbes Quadrangle.