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School of Law records

 Collection
Identifier: A044

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the administrative and educational activities of the School of Law from 1960 through 2011. The records are arranged into seven series: Office of the Dean, Development, Admissions, Cooperative Education, Placement and Career Services, Publications, and Media. This arrangement parallels that of collection A6, which contains earlier records from the School of Law, from 1900 to 1998. Researchers should be aware that there is some chronological overlap between this collection and A6.

Series 1. Office of the Dean includes materials generated for accreditation by the American Bar Association, material relating to the Academic Committee, Advisory Council, the Black American Law Student Association, and the dean searches of 1984 and 1993. Of special interest are several reports, including: a "Five Year Report" documenting NUSL in the years after it reopened, "A Survey of Men and Women in Legal Education," "A Proposal for the Domestic Violence Institute," and a report on the impact of welfare reform.

Series 2. Development contains records of the Law School Alumni Association, including gathering of information for its alumni directory. Other development activities documented are the fund-raising campaigns for Cargill Hall and Gryzmish Hall, and capital campaigns conducted between 1980 and 1992.

Series 3. Admissions includes application catalogs, informational brochures, and materials relating to events hosted by the admissions department, such as open houses and orientation programs for new students.

Series 4. Cooperative Education contains records of the Coop Study Committee, which detail the planning and effectiveness of the Cooperative Education program at the School of Law, as well as grant correspondence from 1991 to 1993.

Series 5. Placement and Career Services Office materials document efforts to help students and graduates find internships and employment.

Series 6. Publications includes incomplete runs of a number of School of Law publications are found in this collection, including "The Collective," "ME," and the "NUSL Newsletter."

Series 7. Media contains mostly VHS and audio cassettes of events hosted by or related to the School of Law, including talent shows, anniversary celebrations, news programs, and interviews with faculty.

Dates

  • 1960-2011

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access:

Records are closed for 25 years from their date of creation unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Personnel records (box 2, folders 7, 16) and student records (box 4, folders 9-10 and box 10, folders 11-16) are closed for 75 years from their date of creation.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Historical Note

The Northeastern University School of Law, the first evening law program in Boston, was founded in 1898 as a series of evening courses offered by the Boston Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).  These courses were introduced by Frank Palmer Speare, the Educational Director of the Evening Institute of the Boston YMCA and later the first president of Northeastern University. He recognized the need for a program in legal education for workingmen who were unable to attend the day classes offered by Harvard and Boston Universities.  In 1904, the program was incorporated as the Evening School of Law of the Boston YMCA with the power to grant the Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree. Speare was appointed the School's first dean.

The primary goal of the program was to prepare students for the Massachusetts Bar Examination.  The Evening School of Law, which attracted students who worked during the day and who could not afford tuition to other law schools, offered 200 hours of instruction, combining lectures and the case study method.  Completion of the law program required four years of study rather than the three years required at law schools with daytime programs.  The first teaching staff consisted of five men who taught courses on pleading, property, criminal law, contracts, and torts.

After its incorporation, the Evening School of Law underwent several significant changes.  In 1922, the first women law students were admitted into the program; in the same year, the school was renamed Northeastern University School of Law, and because of the increase in student enrollment, divisional campuses of the School of Law were established in Worcester and Springfield in 1917 and in Providence in 1920.  In 1938, day courses were implemented into the law program, and the School moved from its building on 312 Huntington Avenue to 47 Mount Vernon Street on Beacon Hill.  The School of Law became accredited by the University of the State of New York in 1943 and was awarded membership in the American Association of Law Schools in 1945.

In the early 1950s, the School of Law faced financial hardship and declining student enrollment because similar law programs had become available at other local universities.  In addition, as an evening law school with a small day division, the School had difficulties meeting the standards set forth by the accrediting bodies of the legal profession.  In 1953, the Board of Trustees of Northeastern University decided to close the School of Law, shifting its educational efforts and financial expenditures to other academic programs.

In the mid-1960s, the Law Alumni Association, which had been established in 1924 to promote the School of Law's program and to provide networking opportunities for its alumni, urged the reopening of the School of Law.  Asa S. Knowles, Northeastern's third president, established a committee to explore the possibility of reopening the School of Law, and in 1965 Northeastern's Board of Trustees approved the committee's proposal with several conditions.  First, the School must strive for the highest standards in its curriculum, students, and teaching staff.  Second, the School must feature a cooperative education program, which had become an important characteristic of Northeastern.  Finally, sufficient funds needed to be raised to insure appropriate facilities. The Law Alumni Association, which assumed the fund-raising task, raised more than $500,000 in a year and a half.  On May 13, 1966, the Board of Trustees officially announced the reopening of the School of Law, which became the first law school in the country to operate on the cooperative education model.  In 1968, the School moved from its temporary location at 102-4 The Fenway to its present home at 400 Huntington Avenue.

In contrast to its predecessor, the new School of Law began as a four-year, daytime graduate program that awarded the Juris Doctor (JD) degree.  The School's transition from the LLB degree to the JD degree reflected changes in the profession requirements to practice law.  In 1970, the School of Law's program was reduced to three years and two summer quarters with rotating cooperative educational studies.  In 1971, the School received full accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA) but encountered problems in the State of New York, which was reluctant to accept "co-op" experience in lieu of classroom work.  The School eventually secured approval from the State of New York Court of Appeals by submitting reports of compliance with American Bar Association (ABA) standards in 1973 and 1974.

Since its inception in 1898 and resurrection in 1968, Northeastern University School of Law has been recognized for its emphasis on public interest law, supporting the needs of the community by training future attorneys to practice law in the public sector.  To further this emphasis, in 1981, the Law, Policy, and Society post-doctoral program was established.  This interdisciplinary program concentrates on legal and social issues and attracts students interested in social policy careers. Faculty for the Law, Policy, and Society program includes instructors from Northeastern's College of Arts and Sciences, School of Criminal Law, and School of Law.  In addition, in 1987 the Fund for Public Interest was established; the Fund defrays, defers, or forgives tuition costs of students who plan on a career in public interest law.  

In the early 1990s, a 20% increase in enrollment enabled the School of Law to receive funding for the hiring of a diverse group of new faculty who brought new perspectives and helped introduce new programs. In particular, the school launched initiatives seeking to improve urban life through the practice of law. The Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, later renamed the Domestic Violence Institute, was launched in 1991 and received important federal grants in 1992, 1994, and 1997. In the 1990s, the school also increased its focus on international law, government regulation, labor law, and legal aspects of artificial intelligence. In 1995 the School of Law's Tobacco Control Resource Center received a large grant to assist it in devising new strategies for limiting tobacco use through legal action.

In the 1990s, increased enrollment at the School of Law led to improvements in the school's physical plant. After the College of Criminal Justice relocated to Churchill Hall, the School of Law was able to occupy all of the Knowles building, and in 1995 a number of the school's clinics were relocated to the new Columbus Place building. The 1990s also saw the renovation and enlargement of the school's library building. The early 2000s saw the inauguration of a new dean, Emily Spieler, and the continuation of the strong mission of the School of Law to educate lawyers with an emphasis on social responsibility.

Chronology

  • 1898-1904 Frank Palmer Speare, Director
  • 1904-1918 Frank Palmer Speare, Dean
  • 1918-1920 Bruce W. Belmore, Executive Secretary
  • 1920-1935 Everett A. Churchill, Dean
  • 1935-1936 Sydney Kenneth Schofield, Acting Dean
  • 1936-1945 Sydney Kenneth Schofield, Dean
  • 1945-1947 Stuart M. Wright, Dean
  • 1947-1953 Lowell S. Nicholson, Dean
  • 1953-1955 Joseph O. Crane, Dean
  • 1967-1971 Thomas J. O'Toole, Dean
  • 1971-1972 Philip C. Boyd, Acting Dean
  • 1972-1977 John C. O'Byrne, Dean
  • 1977-1979 Robert W. Hallgring, Acting Dean
  • 1979-1984 Michael C. Meltsner, Dean
  • 1984-1993 Daniel J. Givelber, Dean
  • 1993-1998 David Hall, Dean
  • 1998-1999 Daniel Givelber, Acting Dean
  • 1999-2002 Roger Abrams, Dean
  • 2002-2012 Emily Spieler, Dean
1898-1904
Frank Palmer Speare, Director
1904-1918
Frank Palmer Speare, Dean
1918-1920
Bruce W. Belmore, Executive Secretary
1920-1935
Everett A. Churchill, Dean
1935-1936
Sydney Kenneth Schofield, Acting Dean
1936-1945
Sydney Kenneth Schofield, Dean
1945-1947
Stuart M. Wright, Dean
1947-1953
Lowell S. Nicholson, Dean
1953-1955
Joseph O. Crane, Dean
1967-1971
Thomas J. O'Toole, Dean
1971-1972
Philip C. Boyd, Acting Dean
1972-1977
John C. O'Byrne, Dean
1977-1979
Robert W. Hallgring, Acting Dean
1979-1984
Michael C. Meltsner, Dean
1984-1993
Daniel J. Givelber, Dean
1993-1998
David Hall, Dean
1998-1999
Daniel Givelber, Acting Dean
1999-2002
Roger Abrams, Dean
2002-2012
Emily Spieler, Dean

Extent

14.10 cubic feet (16 containers, 1 flat file folder)

Overview

The Northeastern University School of Law is recognized for training attorneys to practice law in the public sector. Founded by the Boston Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in 1898 as a series of evening courses, it was the first evening law program in Boston. In 1904, the program was incorporated as the Evening School of Law of the Boston YMCA with the power to grant the Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree. Its primary goal was to prepare students for the Massachusetts Bar Examination. Because of increasing enrollment, divisional campuses were established in Worcester and Springfield in 1917 and in Providence in 1920. In 1922 it was renamed the Northeastern University School of Law. Also in 1922, women were admitted for the first time. In 1938 it began to offer day courses. In the early 1950s the School of Law faced financial hardship and declining enrollment, and it closed in 1953. Northeastern University's Law Alumni Association urged the reopening of the school and conducted fund raising in order to achieve this. The school reopened on May 13, 1966, becoming the first law school in the country to operate on the cooperative education model. In contrast to its predecessor, the new School of Law began as a four-year, daytime graduate program that awarded the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The School's transition from the Bachelor of Law LLB degree to the JD degree reflected changes in the profession requirements to practice law. In 1970, the School of Law's program was reduced to three years and two summer quarters with rotating cooperative educational studies. In 1971, the School received full accreditation from the American Bar Association.

Overview

The School of Law records document the administrative and educational activities of the School of Law from 1960 to 2011. The Office of the Dean series includes records relating to the accreditation by the American Bar Association, as well as to the Academic Committee, Advisory Council, Black American Law Student Association, and dean searches in 1984 and 1993. Of special interest are reports documenting the Law School after it reopened and the Domestic Violence Institute. The Development series contains records of the Law School Alumni Association, the fund-raising campaigns for Cargill and Gryzmish halls, and the 1980 and 1992 capital campaigns. Records from the Placement and Career Services Office document efforts to help students and graduates find internships and employment. Incomplete runs of a number of School of Law publications are found also in this collection, including "The Collective," "ME," and the "NUSL Newsletter." Researchers should note that there is some chronological overlap between this collection and the School of Law records (A6), 1900-1998.

System of Arrangement:

Materials are arranged into seven series: 1. Office of the Dean, 2. Development, 3. Admissions, 4. Cooperative Education, 5. Placement and Career Services, 6. Publications, and 7. Media.

Technical Access:

Two audio cassettes in box 13 ("Criminal Law and Procedure" and "Housing and Economic Development") are inaudible.

Physical Location

29/4, 35/2, 30/1, FF3/D2

Bibliography

  • Feldscher, Karen, The Curry Years: Smaller but Better. Boston: Northeastern University Publications, 2000.
  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975.  Boston :  Northeastern University Custom Book Program, c.1982.
  • - -.  Northeastern University, Coming of Age: The Ryder Years, 1975-1989.  Boston : Northeastern University, c.1995.
  • Marston, Everett C. Origin and Development of Northeastern 1898-1960.  Boston : Northeastern University Press, 1961.
  • "School of Law: The Nation's First on the Coop Plan." Box 4, Folder 53. Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). School of Law records, 1900-1996 (A6).
Title
Finding aid for the School of Law Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Abigail Cramer
Date
January, 2012, and updated May, 2012.
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US