Friday, August 28, 2009

USC Law School Wasn’t First "in the Southwest"

Roger Grace writes in the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise that the University of Southern California’s website lays claim to be being home to “the first law school in the Southwest.” Grace counters that this isn’t so.
On March 17, 1855, the website of the Texas Historical Assn. says, “the first law school in Texas was established at Austin College” in Huntsville. It continues:

“Previously, all legal training in Texas had taken place by apprenticeship. The innovation was discontinued at Austin College after four students had completed the one-year course….”

Austin College still exists. Its March, 2009 magazine muses:

“Had the law school survived the money problems that doomed it, today it would be among the oldest dozen law schools in the U.S.”

The college is now in Sherman, Texas — but the Huntsville building in which its law school was housed is extant (on the campus of the Sam Houston State University) and a plaque on it commemorates the “First Law School in Texas.”

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