Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Supporting Students Through The COVID-19 Crisis

March 27, 2020

Dear Alumni,

The Law School Development and Alumni Relations team hopes this email finds you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and making it through this difficult time amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, there is so much that is unknown, and we are each working to determine the best course of action for our entire community, including you, our engaged and caring alumni.

As you have likely seen in previous communications, the Law School is moving quickly to respond to the rapidly evolving situation to ensure the safety of our entire community, especially our students. Over the last two weeks, the Law School faculty and staff have collaborated across departments to support students by:

  • Connecting individually with every law student displaced from University housing with no backup option to find short- and long-term housing options.
  • Launching a meal support program for students facing food insecurity. So far, 80 students (10% of our student population) have applied for support.
  • Rapidly responding to student emergency funding requests in under 24 hours.
  • Creating and executing an entirely remote learning environment for our students, moving 190+ curricular offerings online, developing new course offerings to help replace classes that couldn’t be converted to an online setting and providing individualized training and support to faculty with a huge range of needs.
  • Scanning all 1L course readings in a matter of days (if anyone is wondering what a herculean task that is, remember your 1L Con Law syllabi!) and compiling thousands of pages of electronic materials to make and mail course packs to students.
  • Fulfilling 75 requests for lockers contents and 6 requests for journal office belongings to be shipped to students.
  • Successfully obtaining a waiver of distance learning restrictions on behalf of Penn Law students from the New York Court of Appeals. This approval means that our necessary switch to remote learning will not impact any J.D. or L.L.M.’s eligibility to sit for the New York state bar. We are ready to file similar waiver petitions with any other states as necessary.

In the true spirit of the Penn Law community, many of you have asked how you can help our students. We have heard you! In the coming weeks, there will be emerging opportunities for you to engage with our student community and we look forward to sharing those with you. Here are three ways you can help today:

  • Submit a quick video (30 seconds or less) to to either:
    • support current students as they embark on the adventure of distance learning or
    • speak to our admitted students who will join us for the 2020/21 academic year, telling them why you chose Penn and how it impacted your future.
  • Update your contact information so we can be sure you are receiving all of our communications, including those around the COVID-19 crisis, by sending an email to
  • Click here to make a gift of any size to the Student Life option within the Fund for Penn Law. These funds will be prioritized for emergency student issues as well as new student needs that arise in the coming months.

These last few weeks have been unsettling for all of us. We have been amazed at the resilience and flexibility of our students, faculty and staff and will continue to provide you with regular updates about how we are responding to this pandemic. If there are ways that we can provide support and comfort to you, please let us know by sending an email to

With gratitude,

Heather Frattone W’94 L’98
Vice Dean, Development & Alumni Relations

Laura Tepper
Executive Director of Development

Kim Benenhaley
Director of Alumni Engagement