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Villanova University School of Law (VLS) Announces Major Curricular Innovations and Full-Tuition Scholarship Program

New “Innovation Scholars” Program to provide up to 50 scholarships for 2014 incoming class, doubling the number of full-tuition VLS scholarships

Essential Business Principles Infused into Core Curriculum to Equip Law Students to Practice in Today’s Highly Competitive Market 

Innovation Scholars

Villanova, Pa.— Villanova University School of Law (VLS) announced today significant changes for the law school in 2014 that radically transform the curriculum to provide students with both the academic and practical skills needed to succeed in today’s highly competitive market, and that make law school more affordable by implementing a new “Innovation Scholars” program for academically eligible students.

Both the curricular enhancements and the “Innovation Scholars” program are major steps forward in the implementation of VLS’s strategic objectives to provide greater access to legal education and to better prepare today’s law students for success in 21st-century legal practice.  Through the infusion of business principles into the School’s curriculum, VLS strengthens the business foundation for future lawyers, regardless of their chosen field.

The “Innovation Scholars” program will fund up to 50 full scholarships for the incoming class of fall 2014. This program effectively doubles the number of students who receive full-tuition scholarships to Villanova. “Innovation Scholars” will receive full-tuition for all three years of study. Applicants need an undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher, an LSAT score of 157 or higher and must maintain good academic standing.

“These new Innovation Scholars will find in Villanova a law school that is responding to the new market realities for their degrees,” remarked John Y. Gotanda, Dean of the Villanova University School of Law. “We have listened to our students and to the law firm, corporate and government employers.  Law graduates of the 21st-century must have a more sophisticated, hands-on approach to both the legal industry and to the business practices of their future clients. As a result, in 2013, we launched the Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation—a centerpiece of which is its innovative programming, designed to immerse students in the practical application of their law studies and prepare them for today’s business-centric legal practice.”

The Center—created in 2013 with initial funding from Charles Widger ’73, founder and executive chairman of Brinker Capital, and his wife, Barbara—recently launched two innovative classes that are required for the incoming class of 2014: Business Aspects of the Law and the Joseph Del Raso Financial Literacy for Lawyers course. In Business Aspects of the Law, legal practitioners along with faculty members explain the nuts and bolts of the structure, personnel, and economics of a law firm. Designed in consultation with business, financial and legal services leaders, Financial Literacy for Lawyers provides valuable lessons on analyzing financial statements, and understanding important business concepts, such as the time value of money, financing options, property valuation, and the steps in a transaction. The course also allows students to apply these skills in simulated cases that are guided by leading practitioners.

Students will also gain hands-on experience through the Center’s new Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship by assisting start-ups and entrepreneurs in the formation of new enterprises. This new clinic provides students with the unique opportunity to put to use the material and skills learned in the classroom by working with practitioners and entrepreneurs on a wide range of business-related legal matters, including corporate formation, intellectual property, contracts, labor compliance and tax.

Under the leadership of Dean Gotanda, VLS recently launched a bold new strategic plan that provides for broader and deeper skills—through the infusion of business principles into the curriculum and a greater emphasis on experiential learning—as well as greater access to a Villanova legal education.

“The strategic changes we have implemented demonstrate our commitment to produce graduates who have the legal skills combined with the business acumen needed to serve their clients in an interconnected world,” said Dean Gotanda. “We also have made significant progress toward making a Villanova Law degree more affordable by doubling the number of available full tuition scholarships and by locking in tuition rates for each entering class so that students will not see a tuition increase during their time at Villanova.”

Further information regarding application for the new Innovation Scholars program is available at

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. Founded in 1953, Villanova University School of Law (VLS) is rooted in academic excellence, academic freedom, inclusion and respect for human dignity. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, provides broad-based legal education, with an emphasis on educating lawyers who understand business concepts. Its award-winning clinics and Lawyering Together Program provide free legal aid to those in need.

The Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation transforms the educational experience at Villanova University School of Law by providing students with the knowledge and skills in the areas of business and law, which are critical for lawyers practicing in today’s highly competitive market. Under the aegis of the Center, curricular innovations and new programming have been introduced to infuse vital business principles into the core legal education. The new Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship also offers students critical hands-on experience, while supporting the entrepreneurship and innovation of start-up companies, non-profits and individuals in collaboration with the University’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Notable VLS alumni include Hon. Kelly Ayotte (U.S. Senator, New Hampshire); David C. Chavern (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce); Michael R. Haswell (Head of Business Development, Commerce, Google Inc.); Jeffrey S. Moorad (Chairman/CEO, Moorad Sports Partners); Martin G. McGuinn (former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the former Mellon Financial Corporation, now the Bank of New York Mellon); Patrick O'Connor (co-founder and Vice Chairman, Cozen & O'Connor); Hon. Edward Rendell (Former Governor of Pennsylvania); Hon. Marjorie Rendell (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit); Joseph T. Sebastianelli (President and CEO, Jefferson Health Systems); and Richard Trumka (President, AFL-CIO).