Phi Delta Phi©® is the oldest legal organization in continuous existence in the United States, predating even the American Bar Association. It was founded in 1869 at the University of Michigan School of Law by four law students, who at the urging of their faculty, endeavored to create an association that would foster scholarship, civility, and ethical conduct in our profession. Since that time, Phi Delta Phi©® has grown beyond the borders of the United States to Canada, Latin America and Europe.
Phi Delta Phi©® celebrates academic excellence and embraces the finest attributes of professionalism and scholarship. Since our founding, Phi Delta Phi©® has emphasized to students and lawyers alike the importance of our calling. Our active membership is drawn from those students of the law who not only have shown themselves companionable, but have manifested ability and industry in legal study. Similar to membership in Phi Beta Kappa in the undergraduate colleges and universities, membership in Phi Delta Phi©® is a mark of honor and distinction that follows one throughout life.
Academic achievement alone is not sufficient to give rise to an invitation to join Phi Delta Phi©®. Integrity, service, and excellence in all facets of human experience are considered factors for membership. In the words of our Phi Delta Phi©® forefathers, we intend that those so selected shall lead the legal profession. Once accepted, a member of Phi Delta Phi will be recognized as one whose moral compass, academic ability, and personal integrity is beyond reproach. In other words, membership is a mark of distinction.