Timeline

1872

Boston University Trustees vote to establish the Boston University School of Law, the second school established at the University. The School is housed in the Wesleyan Building at 36 Bromfield Street. The School’s first dean, George S. Hillard, serves until 1874.

BU Law conducts its first class. It is the first law school in the United States to inaugurate a three-year course of study and to require an admissions examination. Early courses of instruction include Wills, Equity, Probate and Insolvency; Real Property, Practice & Evidence; Conflict of Laws; Medical Jurisprudence; Practice & Pleading; and United States Courts.

1873

Boston University School of Law Alumni Association is founded. The group has been in continuous operation and is currently made up of more than 18,000 alumni from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and 73 countries worldwide.

1875

N. St. John Green serves as acting dean of BU Law until 1876.

1876

Edmund Hatch Bennett serves as dean of BU Law until 1898.

1877

Takeo Kikuchi is the first Japanese graduate of BU Law. He is the founder and first president of Tokyo’s Chuo University.

1881

Lelia Josephine Robinson Sawtelle, Class of 1881, is the first woman graduate of BU Law. She is the first woman admitted to the bar in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1882.

Nathan Abbot graduates and later becomes the founding dean of Stanford Law School.

1884

The Honorable Byron B. Johnson, Class of 1873, becomes the first mayor of Waltham, Massachusetts.

Back to Top

1891

William Eustis Russell, Class of 1896, serves as governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1894.

Back to Top

1895

Trustees of Boston University purchase 11 Ashburton Place to house the new School of Law; they name it “Isaac Rich Hall” in honor of the third founder of Boston University.

Back to Top

1896

Second-year BU Law student Thomas E. Burke becomes one of America’s first olympians in Athens, Greece, winning gold medals in the 100- and 400-meter running events.

Back to Top

1897

Oliver Wendell Holmes delivers his speech, “The Path of the Law,” at the dedication of the new BU Law building, Isaac Rich Hall.

Back to Top

1898

Samuel Crocker Bennett serves as dean of BU Law until 1902.

Back to Top

1902

Melville Madison Bigelow serves as dean of BU Law until 1911. The Melville M. Bigelow Scholarship is still awarded each year to graduates in the Juris Doctor program who demonstrate outstanding promise as scholars and teachers in the law.

Back to Top

1911

Alonzo Rogers Weed serves as acting dean of BU Law until 1912.
The honorable Arthur Prentice Rugg, Class of 1886, serves as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court until 1938.

Back to Top

1912

Homer Albers serves as dean of BU Law until 1935.

Back to Top

1918

William Howard Taft lectures on Legal Ethics at BU Law until 1921.

Back to Top

1921

The Boston University Law Review is established, providing analysis and commentary on all areas of the law.

Back to Top

1925

Clifton R. Wharton, Class of 1920, is the first African-American to join the United States Foreign Service.

Clara Burrill Bruce, Class of 1926, is the first African American woman in the United States to be elected editor-in-chief of a law review at the Boston University Law Review .

Owen D. Young, Class of 1896, is named TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year.

Back to Top

1926

The Honorable Emma Fall Schofield, Class of 1908, becomes the first female assistant attorney general in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Back to Top

1928

The Honorable Norman S. Case, Class of 1912, serves as governor of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations until 1933.

Back to Top

1935

Melvin Maynard Johnson serves as dean of BU Law until 1942.

Back to Top

1941

Elizabeth Holloway Marston, Class of 1918, is the inspiration for the character, Wonder Woman, who makes her début in All Star Comics.

Back to Top

1942

Elwood Harrison Hettrick serves as dean of BU Law until 1966.

Back to Top

1949

The Honorable Paul A. Dever, Class of 1926, is elected governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and serves as governor until 1953.

Back to Top

1952

The Honorable Frank R. Kenison, Class of 1936, serves as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court until 1977.

Back to Top

1955

Consuelo Northrup Bailey, Class of 1925, is the first woman elected as lieutenant governor in the United States.

Back to Top

1958

BU Law establishes The Law-Medicine Institute to conduct pioneering work in the study of automobile accidents and in deserving cases assisting inmates of asylums to obtain freedom through court action.

Back to Top

1959

BU Law establishes and is the first law school in New England to offer a Master of Laws in Taxation program.

Jennie Loitman Barron, Class of 1913 (LL.M. 1914), is the first woman appointed associate justice of the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Back to Top

1962

A cornerstone ceremony is held at the site of the new Law School on October 18.
The trowel used in the ceremony is currently on display in the BU Law lobby.

BU Law establishes the Voluntary Defenders Project, one of the first clinical programs in the United States.

Back to Top

1963

Clarence B. Jones, Class of 1959, and Charles Morgan, negotiate with the City of Birmingham, Alabama to desegregate Department Stores and Public Accommodations as a settlement to the civil rights demonstrations.

Back to Top

1964

BU Law relocates to its new and current home at 765 Commonwealth Avenue.

Back to Top

1966

Paul M. Siskind serves as dean of BU Law until 1976.

Back to Top

1967

BU Law establishes the Student Prosecutor Program, whereby student prosecutors handle misdemeanor and felony cases under the supervision of district attorneys.

BU Law establishes the Silver Shingle Alumni Award in recognition of notable contributions to the legal profession, leadership within the community, unfailing service to the School of Law, and superlative contributions to society.

Back to Top

1971

On December 10, the Boston University Law School Alumni Association opens the Centennial Year Celebration by honoring chief justices of the New England Supreme Courts, a circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and seven associate justices of the New England Supreme Judicial Courts. Each justice is presented with a special Centennial Award by Dean Paul M. Siskind.

Back to Top

1974

Paul Wallace, Professor of Law at BU Law, is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Back to Top

1975

The American Journal of Law & Medicine is published jointly with the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics as an interdisciplinary periodical containing professional articles, student notes, and case comments, summaries of recent legislative and judicial developments and book reviews in the area of health law and policy.

Back to Top

1976

Austin T. Stickells serves as dean ad interim of BU Law until 1977.

F. Bradford Morse, Class of 1949, serves as director of the United Nations Development Program until 1986.

Back to Top

1977

Richard Ely Speidel serves as dean of BU Law until 1980.

Back to Top

1978

The Center for Banking Law Studies is established.

Back to Top

1980

William Schwartz serves as dean of BU Law until 1988.

The Boston University International Law Journal is established to provide a forum for student interest and scholarship in the field of international law.

Back to Top

1982

The Annual Review of Banking & Financial Law, sponsored by the Center for Banking and Financial Law, is established as a scholarly journal.

Back to Top

1984

The Banking and Financial Law Program at Boston University is formally established in the Charles H. Morin Center on the 15th Floor of the law school. The Center is named for Charles H. Morin in recognition of his generous donation, and the fact that he was an original member of the Board of Advisors for the Banking and Financial Law Program.

Peter Arenella, Professor of Law at BU Law, is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Honorable Juan R. Torruella, Class of 1957, is appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the first circuit and becomes the first Hispanic to serve in this court.

Back to Top

1986

The Honorable Frank H. Freedman, Class of 1949, serves as chief justice of the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts until 1992.

Back to Top

1988

The Graduate Program in International Banking Law Studies is established.

Colin S. Diver serves as dean of BU Law until 1989.

Back to Top

1989

Frances Miller, Professor of Law at BU Law, is awarded Boston University’s Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Joseph F. Brodley serves as dean of BU Law until 1990.

Back to Top

1990

The Public Interest Law Journal (PILJ) is founded as a non-partisan publication dedicated to the academic discussion of legal issues within the public interest.

Ronald A. Cass serves as dean of BU Law until 2004.

Back to Top

1991

Myrth York , Class of 1972, serves in the Rhode Island State Senate until 1994. She becomes the first female chair of the Senate Health, Education and Welfare Committee.

Robert Bone, Professor of Law at BU Law is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Back to Top

1993

Mark Pettit, Professor of Law at BU Law is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Judith Nelson Dilday, Class of 1974, is appointed to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court as a circuit judge, becoming the first African American to serve on the Probate Court.

Back to Top

1994

Barbara Jordan, Class of 1959, is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jordan was also the first woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1976. >>Listen to speech

The Gerard H. Cohen award is established to recognize a member of the School of Law’s administrative staff who has shown unselfish and distinguished service to the school.

Back to Top

1995

Tracey Maclin, Professor of Law at BU Law, is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Honorable Sandra L. Lynch, Class of 1971, becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Back to Top

1996

Fred Lawrence, Professor of Law at BU Law, is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Gary F. Locke, Class of 1972, is elected the first Asian American governor on the Mainland United States.

Back to Top

1997

William S. Cohen, Class of 1965, serves as U.S. Secretary of Defense until 2001.

Back to Top

1998

Shannon O’Brien, Class of 1985, is elected the first woman to hold the office of treasurer and receiver general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the history of the Commonwealth.

Back to Top

2000

Maureen A. O’Rourke, Professor of Law at BU LAW, is awarded Boston University’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

BU Law introduces courses in Comparative Intellectual Property Law, International & Foreign Law in U.S. Courts and State Constitutional Law, as well as new seminars “An Anatomy of a Political Trial,” “Biotechnology Law & Ethics” which is offered jointly with BU Bioinformatics Program and BU Biomedical Engineering Department, “Capital Punishment,” “Human Rights and Health”, “Interpretation of Law,” “Law and Literature,” “Non-Profit Organizations,” “Scientific and Expert Prolog” and “Selected Topics in Professional Responsibility.”

Back to Top

2001

The International Distance (Internet) Legislative Drafting Program, BU Law’s first distance (Internet) learning course, is started, and developed by professors Robert and Ann Seidman to teach legislative drafting to third world and transitional countries, who wish to research, draft and implement effective legislation for their countries.

Back to Top

2002

Jane Wallis Gumble, Class of 1981, director of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), receives the 2002 Home Builder’s Association’s President’s citation Award and the 2002 Massachusetts Community Action Program Directors Association Self-Sufficiency Public Service Award.

Back to Top

2003

Peter Bennett, Class of 1985, is elected secretary of the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association (ABA). He serves until 2005, when he is elected vice chair and chair elect.

Back to Top

2004

Maureen A. O’Rourke serves as dean ad interim of BU Law.

BU Law students win “Best Brief” at the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition.

BU Law hosts “Works-in-Progress” Intellectual Property Colloquium.

Bettina B. Plevan, Class of 1970, becomes the second female president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Leading academics gather at BU Law for a conference on the 100th anniversary of the Lochner v. New York decision.

Edward W. Brooke, III, Class of ‘48 and ‘50, is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Back to Top

2005

BU Law Class of 2005, presents a gift to help provide loan assistance grants to alumni pursuing legal careers in the public interest sector.

Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, Class of 1979, delivers the 11th Annual Max M. Shapiro Lecture in Trial Advocacy.

BU Law Professor Fran Miller is honored at the “Meet the Women Reception.”

Back to Top

2006

Maureen A. O’Rourke named dean of the School of Law.

BU Law hosts a conference for the American Journal of Law and Medicine entitled "Globalization of Pharmaceuticals: International Regulatory Issues."

BU Law hosts “Terri Shiavo: One Year Later” conference.

BU Law hosts "The Role of the Judge in the Twenty-First Century" conference.

Back to Top

2007

The Annual Review of Banking & Financial Law becomes the Review of Banking & Financial Law.

Back to Top