University of Louisville School of Law

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Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
UofL School of Law.png
Type Public
Established 1846
Dean Lars Smith (interim)
Students Approx. 400
Location Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
USNWR Ranking 92[1]

The University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, commonly referred to as The University of Louisville School of Law,[2][3] U of L Brandeis School of Law,[4] or the Brandeis School of Law,[4] is the law school of the University of Louisville. Established in 1846, it is the oldest law school in Kentucky and the fifth oldest in the country in continuous operation.[5] The law school is named after Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, who served on the Supreme Court of the United States and was the school's patron. Following the example of Brandeis, who eventually stopped accepting payment for "public interest" cases,[6] Louis D. Brandeis School of Law was one of the first law schools in the nation to require students to complete public service before graduation.[7]

The school offers six dual-degree programs that allow students to earn an MBA, MSW, MA in humanities, M.Div., MA in political science, and MUP in urban planning while attaining their J.D. These classes are offered in conjunction with other University of Louisville departments as well as local colleges.

The school's law library contains 400,000 volumes as well as the papers of Louis D. Brandeis and John Marshall Harlan, both Supreme Court Justices and native Kentuckians. It is one of only thirteen Supreme Court repositories in the nation. The law school's flagship law review is the University of Louisville Law Review.[8]

According to University of Louisville's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 61.7% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[9]


19th and early 20th century history[edit]

Louis D. Brandeis School of Law began in 1846 as the Law Department of the University of Louisville. For most of the nineteenth century the Law Department remained small and focused on practical education. "As late as the 1870s the school still supported a faculty of only three professors, each of whom met classes two days per week for four hours."[10] Classes were held in the late afternoon to allow students to keep daytime jobs as law clerks. The faculty ignored the casebook method of instruction that was being developed at Harvard Law School at the time, instead encouraging students to visit local courts and offering optional mock court sessions. The "school literature even boasted that the faculty consisted of 'practical lawyers' and not professional educators."[10] As a result, prominent faculty members such as James Speed and Peter B. Muir often eschewed their part-time positions in favor of politics or private practice.

The turn of the twentieth century saw the Law Department finally begin to accept emerging national standards in legal education. In 1909, the school adopted Harvard Law's casebook method. In 1911, the school graduated its first female student, N. Almee Courtright. In 1923, the Law Department officially became the School of Law and hired a full-time professor. The following year University of Louisville President Arthur Younger Ford insisted that students must take some college courses before being admitted to the law school.[10]

The UofL School of Law and the Jefferson School of Law[edit]

Despite these efforts at reform, the students and professors of the School of Law continued to prefer part-time practical education over the national trend towards more formal legal education. This partly reflected the success of and competition from the Jefferson School of Law, which opened in 1905 and offered night classes.

Organized by several prominent local attorneys, the part-time professors at the Jefferson School of Law received tuition directly from the students and were responsible for renting classroom space. With students wishing to clerk and part-time professors continuing to practice, both schools were located within walking distance of the courthouse. As the national trend continued towards formal legal education, the Jefferson School of Law found it difficult to manage as a part-time law school. In 1950 the Jefferson School of Law merged with the University of Louisville School of Law.[10]

Louis D. Brandeis and the UofL School of Law[edit]

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis was a great supporter of the University of Louisville. A native Louisvillian, Brandeis planned to make the university a "major center of academic research by creating specialized library and archival collections in such areas as sociology, art, music, and labor."[10] In addition to time and money, Brandeis also donated his personal papers, books, and pamphlets, numbering over 250,000 items. He was also instrumental in getting Supreme Court briefs and a collection of Justice John Marshall Harlan's papers deposited in the law school library.[11]

In honor of Brandeis, the University of Louisville School of Law changed its name to the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in 1997.

The Brandeis Law Library owns a limited edition print of Andy Warhol's portrait of Brandeis which is on display in the library's main reading room.[12]

The ashes of Brandeis and his wife Alice Goldmark Brandeis are buried underneath the law school portico. His ashes are buried approximately fifty yards away from Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.[11]


True to its history, the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law has retained a strong focus on practical legal education. The school offers students a chance to gain experience at its law clinic, on moot court teams, in skills competitions, and on three student-edited law journals. As part of the Samuel L. Greenebaum Public Service Program, the school also requires all students to complete 30 hours of law-related public service. The school has several pre-professional student-run organizations, including the Student Trial Lawyers Association, International Law Society, Student Health Law Association, Environmental Law Society, and The Brand (intellectual property).

In addition to pre-professional student organizations, there are also a number of student-run social and political organizations on campus. A partial list of these includes the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society, Lambda Law Caucus, Black Students Association, Asian-Pacific Law Students Association, Jewish Law Students Association, Christian Legal Society, and Woman's Law Caucus.

The Law Library supports the curriculum and research needs of the school's faculty and students, and is open to the university community, practicing bar, and the general public.[13]

Deans of Louis D. Brandeis School of Law[edit]

  1. 1846–1873: Henry Pirtle
  2. 1881–1886: William Chenault
  3. 1886–1890: Rozel Weissinger
  4. 1890–1911: Willis Overton Harris
  5. 1911–1919: Charles B. Seymour
  6. 1919–1921: Edward W. Hines
  7. 1922–1925: Charles B. Seymour
  8. 1925–1930: Leon P. Lewis
  9. 1930–1933: Neville Miller
  10. 1934–1936: Joseph A. McClain Jr.
  11. 1936–1946: Jack Neal Lott Jr.
  12. 1946–1957: Absalom C. Russell
  13. 1957–1958: William B. Peden
  14. 1958–1965: Marlin M. Volz
  15. 1965–1974: James R. Merritt
  16. 1974–1975: Steven R. Smith (interim)
  17. 1975–1976: James R. Merritt
  18. 1976–1980: Harold G. Wren
  19. 1980–1981: Norvie L. Lay (interim)
  20. 1981–1990: Barbara B. Lewis
  21. 1990–2000: Donald L. Burnett Jr.
  22. 2000–2005: Laura Rothstein
  23. 2005–2006: David Ensign (interim)
  24. 2007–2012: Jim Chen[10]
  25. 2012–2017: Susan H. Duncan (interim)
  26. 2017-2018: Lars Smith (interim)
  27. 2018-Present: Colin Crawford


According to University of Louisville's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 61.7% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[9] University of Louisville's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 11.7%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[14]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at University of Louisville for the 2013–2014 academic year is $53,614.[15] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $204,989.[16]

Notable alumni[edit]


  • University of Louisville Law Review
  • Journal of Law and Education
  • Journal of Animal and Environmental Law


  1. ^ "Best Law School Rankings - Law Program Rankings - US News". 
  2. ^ "Louisville School Of Law Provides Briefing Service". Middlesboro Daily News. October 20, 1934. p. 3. 
  3. ^ "Lambert to speak at local Rotary meeting". Corbin Times Tribune. August 29, 2001. p. 5. ...from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1974. 
  4. ^ a b "University of Louisville, Louis D Brandeis School of Law". Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law Guidebook (2009)
  6. ^ Klebanow, Diana, and Jonas, Franklin L. People's Lawyers: Crusaders for Justice in American History, M.E. Sharpe (2003)
  7. ^ Business First: "Law student's public service is bedrock aspect." Friday, March 10, 2006
  8. ^ "Home Page – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law". 
  9. ^ a b "Employment Summary Reports". Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Cox, Dwayne D., and William J. Morrison, The University of Louisville (2000)
  11. ^ a b Louis Brandeis
  12. ^ "Home Page – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law". 
  13. ^ "About the Law Library – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  14. ^ "University of Louisville Profile". 
  15. ^ "Cost of Attendance". 
  16. ^ "University of LouisvilleProfile". 
  17. ^ "Michael C. Kerr". 
  18. ^ "William Campbell Preston Breckinridge". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ "SOLICITOR GENERAL: WILLIAM MARSHALL BULLITT". The United States Department of Justice. Department of Justice. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Emmet O'Neal". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Charles R. Farnsley". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Fuller Harding". Columbia Magazine .com. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Louie B. Nunn". National Governors Association. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Marlow Cook". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Jon W. Ackerson". Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Chris Dodd". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Gerald Neal". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  28. ^ "State Senator Gerald Neal Now Part Of Ky. History". Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Greg Stumbo". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Biography of Robert L. "Bob" Heleringer". Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Howard Fineman, Business Speaker, Keppler Speakers Bureau". Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Overly sworn in as representative". The Bath County News-Outlook. January 16, 2008. p. 3. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°12′57″N 85°45′40″W / 38.21574°N 85.76112°W / 38.21574; -85.76112