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’16 Alumnus, a Dreamer, Sworn in to Pennsylvania Bar

Parthiv Patel, '16

January 03, 2018

Alumnus Parthiv Patel, ’16, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, taking the oath of admission on Dec. 18.  

In so doing, Patel became the first attorney admitted to the Pennsylvania bar who had received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status in 2012.

Patel, who came to the U.S. from India at age 5, was initially denied a law license by the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, despite having passed the Pennsylvania bar exam after graduating in 2016.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania represented Patel in his quest to be admitted to the bar. As part of the appeal process, the ACLU submitted letters of support from former Kline School of Law Dean Roger Dennis, the deans of other Pennsylvania law schools, the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Yale Ethics Bureau.    

In his letter, Dennis described Patel’s exemplary performance as a member of the law school community. In particular, Dennis noted, Patel was well respected by his classmates and was chosen by Professor Pammela Quinn to provide supplemental instruction to first-year students as a Dean’s Scholar in her Civil Procedure class. Patel had also mentored a secondary school student from Philadelphia’s Franklin Learning Center through the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, grooming the teen to participate in a national moot court competition for high school students.

 “I’m thrilled that Parthiv can finally put his legal education to good use, and that Pennsylvania has opened the door for other hardworking DREAMers to become lawyers,” said Molly-Tack-Hooper, staff attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania, who represented Patel. “We’re grateful to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the other institutions that wrote letters in support of Parthiv and called on Pennsylvania to admit all qualified lawyers to practice, regardless of immigration status.”   

In a statement published by the ACLU, Patel voiced gratitude for the support he received for his application.

“I fully intend to use this new privilege to help improve the lives of everyday residents of Pennsylvania and to use it as a platform to share my story so that more people will realize that ‘Dreamers’ are Americans,” Patel said.

Patel’s application for bar admission is still pending in New Jersey, where he also passed the bar exam.