Upon opening its doors in 1902, the
budget for the entire law school was $38,300. Of that, $30,300
represented faculty salaries.
When the library opened in 1902, it had 18,000 books. The first
librarian was paid an annual salary of $900.
The LSAT was established in 1948. It was not required for admission,
but only suggested. It was made mandatory in 1953.
In 1927, full-time faculty salaries were set at a maximum of
$10,000 per year.
In 1938, the Research and Writing Program began. It was named
for former dean Harry Bigelow in 1947.
In the 1930s, Professor Max Rheinstein proposed establishing
a School of Jurisprudence, separate from the Law School, to educate
jurists and legal scholars, rather than practicing lawyers.
The first year class was divided into two sections for instruction
The first Wally Blum Tie Contest (later to become a feature of
the "Over the Hump" Party) was held in 1963.
The Law School was the first in the nation to offer the J.D.
degree, which it did upon opening its doors.
In 1971-72 the student body exceeded 500 for the first time in
more than 40 years.
The first vending machines were installed in the Law School in
From 1941 to 1943, the calendar for the law school was adjusted
"to meet national defense needs." Changes included having
classes meet on dates previously considered holidays.
The Class of 1933 protested the payment of a $20 "graduation
fee" as "exorbitant and prohibitive" through a
petition of 57 students. The petition was denied.
In 1990, the computer lab opened on the third floor of the Law
School library. By 1999, all students were required to own laptops.
All exams are now given on computers.
In 1930, Mortimer Adler became the first
non-lawyer to join the faculty, starting a
grand tradition. His title was
Professor of Philosophy.
In 1933, Henry Simons and Aaron Director both
offered courses in economics at the Law School.
The Law and Economics Program followed
not far behind, being established in 1939.
In 1976, the Placement Office computerized the
interview process. Punchcards were used
and interviews were assigned randomly.
The Max Pam Professorship in American and Foreign Law was established in 1935. This was the first chair in comparative law in the country.
In 1982, the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic won a landmark decision in Logan v. Zimmerman Brush before the U.S. Supreme Court. Gary H. Palm argued the case. See 455 U.S. 422.
The first faculty of the Law School was Joseph H. Beale (Dean), Floyd R. Mechem, Ernst Freund, Blewett Lee and Julian W. Mack.
Ronald Coase was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Economics - the first member of any law school faculty to win this award.
The tuition of the Law School was set at $150 per year (three quarters) in 1902, and did not increase until 1920, when it was raised to $195 per year.
In 1956, the faculty won the then "quintennial" faculty-student softball game 19-18. They had lost the previous game in 1952 by a score of 64-12.
The Green Lounge is named for Harold Green because he pledged $150K to furnish it in 1961. He wanted to "create the atmosphere of a barrister's club"for the law students. The pledge was completely paid in 1972.
The Board of Trustees approved a degree for advanced study beyond the JD in 1917, but did not name it the JSD until 1924.
The "old" Law School building was used for military purposes during WWII. The first and third floors were used for Army, Navy and military-government training programs. The Law School met in the basement. Almost all student housing was taken over by the Navy.
The Law School's longest serving dean (by far) is James Parker Hall, who took over for the first dean, Joseph Henry Beale after he retuned to Harvard in 1904. Hall served until 1929, when Harry Bigelow replaced him.
Soia Mentschikoff became the first woman on the faculty of the Law School when she and her husband, Karl Llewellyn came to Chicago in 1951. Mentchikoff would go on to be the first female president of the Association of American Law Schools.
The Law School has only had three homes in the last 100 years, with the first, the University Press Building (currently the Bookstore) only being its home for its first year. After that it moved to Stewart Hall, where it remained until the current building opened in 1960.
Professors Harry Kalven and Edward Levi were charged with invasion of jury room privacy in the 1950s due to the work they did on their "Jury Project."
On October 22, 1964, the Today Show featured the Law School , including an interview with Dean Neal and a clip of moot court arguments. Famous photos of the event include Barbara Walters standing by the Law School fountain.
In a 1996 study of article citations, Cass Sunstein had eight articles listed among the most-cited articles published since 1982. Frank Easterbrook was second on the list, and was also listed as having written the most cited article of the 1980s.
Other things celebrating their centennial this year include: the World Series, the Bureau of the Census, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the Crayola crayon, the teddy bear, the electrocardiograph, 4H, and the city of Sedona, Arizona.
In 1906, Dean James Parker Hall made a decision together with the President of the University that the appropriate translation for "J.D." was Doctor of Law and not Doctor of Jurisprudence.
In 1936, Bernard Meltzer served as Toastmaster at the Annual Banquet of the University of Chicago Bar Association. The students performed a play in three acts entitled "Double-Crossing the Bar, or, No Two Cases Are Exactly Alike" written by Harry Kalven, James Martin and Sidney Hyman.
Joseph Henry Beale, Chicago's first Dean, came to the Law School on loan from Harvard. Harvard nearly prevented him from coming because Chicago was not built on the Harvard model. The chief objection was the inclusion in the curriculum of interdisciplinary subjects.
The Law School hired Edward Levi in 1936, but not as a full-time professor. He was an assistant professor and Law School Librarian. His total salary for the two positions is $3000 - $125 less than the most junior member of the faculty made at the inception of the Law School in 1902.
When the law school opened, three fraternities were established: Phi Delta Phi, Delta Chi, and Phi Alpha Delta. While Phi Alpha Delta has come and gone up to present day, the longest continually operating student organizations are Order of the Coif, established in 1912 and Moot Court, established in 1914.
On February 27, 1941, Levi and Hutchins made a bet - Levi said there would be a reduction of at least 49 % in the number of students in the Law School the following year. Hutchins said no. On October 1, 1941, Levi paid Hutchins the negotiated $1 in settlement of the bet.
The first named lectureships at the Law School were established in 1953-55, with the Freund, Musser and Simons lectures. The first named lecture given was by Felix Frankfurter who delivered the first Freund lecture, entitled "Some Observations on Supreme Court Litigation and Legal Education," in November, 1953.
The Law School has had student performances since its inception. The first Law School Smoker, which consisted of dinner and faculty spoofs, took place in the Law School's first year. The first of the current run of Law School Musicals was performed on February 17, 1984. It was entitled "Lawyers in Love."
The Placement Office was established in 1951. In 1964, Director of Placement James Ratcliffe, changed academic disclosures. No longer were employers given class rank, but instead exact GPAs and a graph of ranges of class averages. Exact rankings of first 40 students in the class were still made available.
Important events celebrating their Centennial in 2002-03 include the starting of the construction of the Panama Canal, the end of the Phillipine-American War, Cuba's independence from Spain, the discovery of Helium, and the Wright Brothers' first flight.
There is an apocryphal story about Harold Green - It is said that on one of his first visits to the Green Lounge he encountered a student poring over his law books. "I'm Harold Green," he announced, "and I built this room not for studying, but for playing. If you want to study, go use the library."
In 1930, admissions standards were set based on finishing in the top third of a college class, a personal interview (if a candidate lived within 100 miles of the school) and "aptitude and legal intelligence tests" taken before the start of classes. Those below the top third could be admitted at the discretion of the dean.
The entire curriculum of the Law School in 1902-03 was: 1L: Contracts, Torts, Property, Pleading, Criminal Law, Agency, Persons. 2L/3L, Conveyancing, Wills and Future interests, Corporations, partnership, Sales, Bills and Notes, Bankruptcy, Carriers, Equity Pleading, Equity, Trusts, Suretyship and Mortgage, Conflict of Laws, Damages, International Law, Constitutional Law, Roman Law, Jurisprudence, Taxation, Public Offers, Administrative Law, Municipal Corporations, Insurance, Admiralty, Federal Practice. Two practice classes, one in the 2nd year and one in the third, were also required.
Both World Wars took heavy tolls on the enrollment at the Law School. By 1918, the Law School only had 46 students enrolled, down from over 400 in 1916. In the Fall of 1942, the Law School's enrollment was only 64, and the Board of Trustees considered permanently closing the school. It took until 1955 for the enrollment to get back up to 300.
When the Law School first opened, it worked very hard to recruit faculty. James Parker Hall was offered a professorship, but President Harper needed to woo him away from Stanford. Harper offered a salary of $5500. Harvard also attempted to get him, so Harper offered a full professorship while Harvard only offered Assistant. Hall accepted at Chicago on April 21, 1902.
Sophonisba Breckinridge was the first woman to graduate from the Law School, graduating with the first full class in 1904. She stated in her autobiography: "My record there was not distinguished, but the faculty and students were kind, and the fact that the law school like the rest of the University . accepted men and women students on equal terms was publicly settled."
Volume 1 of the University of Chicago Law Review appeared in 1933, and the journal has been in continuous publication ever since. This continuity was almost interrupted during World War II, when the faculty assumed management of the Law Review for two years, with Professor Ernest Puttkammer serving as Editor-in-Chief. The current Law Review office suite is named in his honor.
In 1912, the third-year class submitted a petition asking to have their names inscribed on their diplomas in their given English form, rather than "translated" to Latin. Dean Hall passed the petition on to President Judson, who denied the request on the grounds that there should be consistency within the entire University on this point. It took until Spring Convocation 1926 for graduates to see their given English names on their diplomas.
The Law School admitted all students, regardless of race or gender, from its inception. Earl Dickerson, the first Black graduate of the Law School, received his degree in 1920. He enrolled in 1915, but his education was interrupted by service in WWI. The Law School's first Black faculty member, W. Robert Ming, Jr., practiced with Dickerson's law firm prior to entering teaching.
In the Winter of 1931, the entire student body submitted a petition seeking to have the tuition of the law school lowered from $125 per quarter to $100 per quarter, calling the higher tuition "excessive, unjust, unwarranted, and subversive of the best interests of the legal profession." Correspondence continued, but the students ultimately failed.
Ronald Coase's article "The Problem of Social Cost" was published in the Journal of Law and Economics in 1960. The article topped 1996 study of the most cited articles in the history of legal scholarship, with nearly twice as many citations as the second most-cited article. It is widely stated that this same article is also the most cited article in economics.
The first examination was given at the Law School on Monday, December 15, 1902. The course was Suretyship, taught by Professor Whittier.
The Law School owns one of Chicago's fiberglass "Cows on Parade," names "A-Cow-Demia." It lives in the Green Lounge and was donated by a group of faculty members.
The full name of the sculpture in the Law School fountain is " Construction in Space in the Third and Fourth Dimension. It was sculpted in 1959 by Antoine Pevsner and installed in 1964.
Seminar Room C is named for Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Justice from 1910 to 1941. This room contains a collection of books by the Chicago faculty which is continually updated by the Dean and the library.
The greenish sculpture on the lawn outside the Dean's Office is entitled "Diarchy." It was sculpted in bronze in 1957 by English artist Kenneth Armitage and donated to the Law School in 1978 by Mr. & Mrs. Dino J. D'Angelo.
Four monumental works by the Chicago artist Judy Ledgerwood were installed on October 23, 1994. Referred to simply as the Law School Series, they took the artist over a year to produce. This is the art in the Green Lounge today.
Had the current Law School building been built at the time the school opened, its northern view would have been blocked by the world's first, and for many years, largest Ferris Wheel, erected for the 1892 Columbian Exposition.
The first design for the "new" Law School building was a disaster. The final presentation consisted of a main tower surrounded by six smaller towers, all interconnected by a covered overpass. Many thought it looked perfect-for a gas works.
When the current Law School building was designed, the city of Chicago planned to erect an east/west depressed expressway in the block just south of 60th Street. This accounts for the fact that the school is designed to be viewed mainly from the north.
The Law School's architecture has a recurring motif of diamonds and other sharp-edge shapes This can be seen in the Green Lounge in the diamond pattern on the glass doors, the recessed light fixtures in the ceiling and the "star" shaped columns.
The books in the front of seminar rooms D and E come from the collection of Clarence Seward Darrow (1857-1938), who practiced law in Chicago for decades.
Geoffrey Miller and Douglas Baird made the first cameos by professors in the Law School Musical. The both performed in Katz in 1987.
The Law School is located at 41°47'8" N. latitude and 87°35'55" W longitude.
Weymouth Kirkland, one of Chicago's most active trial lawyers, was honored on his eightieth birthday by donations made to the Law School to build the Weymouth Kirkland Courtroom. The painting of Kirkland hanging outside the Courtroom was painted by the wife of Mr. Kirkland's law partner, Howard Ellis.
Wally Blum was famous for his outrageous ties. Professor Stanley Kaplan once announced in a faculty meeting that he felt it was appropriate that an educator of Blum's stature should own at least one somber, dark, pin-stripe tie. Kaplan presented such a tie to Blum - measuring eight inches wide and six feet long.