Letter to First Year Students from Dean Carter


Welcome to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  You are about to begin three years of exciting, demanding, and rewarding study.  I hope that these years will be just the beginning of a lasting relationship between you and Pitt Law, a relationship that will be an ongoing source of pride and support.

This is an exciting time to be entering the School of Law.  In recent years, we’ve added new offerings to the 1L year (courses in Legislation and Regulation and the Pitt Law Academy speaker series) to bring you closer to the evolving legal profession from the very beginning of your legal education.  We’ve hired some wonderful new faculty in the past several years, and they are offering courses ranging from international criminal law, to small business taxation, to an immigration law clinic, to race and the law.  Our Center for International Legal Education continues to provide a wide range of courses and programming aimed at reflecting the increasingly globalized nature of law practice.  We’re continuing to grow our Innovation Practice Institute, our one-of-a-kind program focusing on the intersection of law, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and our “Semester in D.C.” program, which permits Pitt Law students to receive academic credit for a semester-long externship in our Nation’s capital.  We continue to develop our program of clinical education, so that students can learn lawyering by doing it, and to strengthen our certificate programs for students who choose to focus their studies in a particular area of the law.  We are also continuing to make significant progress in our Energy Law programming, having added several new courses and hosted our inaugural Energy Law & Policy Institute in downtown Pittsburgh in August 2013.  We also continue to advance in the area of public interest and public service by adding new post-graduate awards for students working in these fields, continuing to grow our Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and securing major contributions toward our Derrick A. Bell Fund, established in honor of Professor Bell (a Pitt Law alumnus) to encourage students to work in social justice and access to justice. 

This is also an extraordinary time to be entering the legal profession.  While the recent recession has affected many law firms, all around the globe lawyers continue to make a difference in improving people’s lives.  Opportunities will always exist for attorneys who think creatively about how to work with individual clients or organizations to anticipate and resolve the client’s problems and produce results.  Indeed, there has never been a more pressing need for ethical legal professionals who are trained in the traditional roles of resolving conflict, facilitating transactions, protecting people’s rights, and shaping the rules by which we live.  Your legal education at Pitt will provide you with the insights and skills necessary to be a constructive, socially responsible attorney.

During your years at Pitt, I hope you will become deeply acquainted with both our superb faculty and our excellent administrative staff.  The faculty is committed to a quality of teaching fully commensurate with its outstanding scholarly achievements. The staff is dedicated, upbeat and eager to provide you a high level of personal service.

In addition to your education, Pitt Law School will afford you another invaluable asset for your future—namely, your classmates.  You will work together in an intense educational program, and you will forge strong friendships.  These bonds of friendship will provide you with a network of support throughout your professional career.  More importantly, they will enhance your personal life in a fundamental way.

I hope to meet you all soon and I look forward to sharing with you my vision for moving the School of Law forward.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.  I look forward to seeing you soon.


William M. Carter, Jr., Dean

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