In 1911, the Duquesne University School of Law opened its doors. On September 25, 1911 the first classes were held in the George Building on Fourth Avenue. The Honorable Joseph M. Swearingen, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, became the first Dean of the Law School; John E. Laughlin, a well-known lawyer, became Vice-Dean. Additional faculty members included William H. Lacey, P. A. McDermott, C. S. Sp., A. B. Reid, and J. C. Bane.
During our Centennial Celebration, we plan to explore the School of Law's history. Listed below is just a selection of our "firsts" and other significant events.
- December 1913: Oscar G. Meyer is the first law school student to pass the state bar exam; he opens his own office even before graduation.
- June 1914: The Law Faculty confers twelve Bachelors of Law Degrees on the following: Francis Bernard Cohan, John Robb Clarke, Thomas Francis Dougherty, Paul John Friday, Henry John Glem, Bernard James McKenna, Oscar Gregory Meyer, Edward Michael Murphy, Frederick William Ries, Jr., Henry Jacob Schmitt, Henry James Thomas, and Francis Albert Wolf.
- September 1914: Entire First Class successfully passes the state bar exam.
- 1914: Mrs. M. Murphy is the first woman to matriculate for the study of law in the University.
- 1924: Anna Louise Schultz is the first female graduate of the Law School.
- 1925: Theron B. Hamilton is the first African-American graduate of the Law School.
- 1949: Lon Fuller of Harvard University reported that Duquesne Law School provided “a good legal education” in a report on legal education in Pennsylvania.
- June 4, 1952: The first Law Alumni Association Reunion Dinner occurs.
- 1958: The Law School begins its day division.
- 1960: The Law School applies for American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation.
- 1961: First day division class of fifteen students graduates.
- February 22, 1962: The ABA grants full accreditation to the Law School.
- 1962: William H. Lacey retires after teaching in the school for 52 years.
- 1963: The Duquesne Law Review publishes volume 1.
- 1964: American Association of Law Schools (AALS) approves the Law School’s admission to that organization.
- 1967: The Juris Magazine publishes volume 1.
- June 22, 1981: Ground breaking for the new Hanley Hall takes place. The school is named for Edward J. Hanley, former Chairman of the University’s Board of Directors and past president of Allegheny International.
- 1999: Duquesne Business Law Journal publishes volume 1.
- 1999: Duquesne University forms a partnership with Allegheny County to manage the Allegheny County Law Library.
- 2009: Bridget and Alfred Peláez Legal Writing Center opens in the Law School.
- 2009: Duquesne Criminal Law Journal publishes volume 1 and is the first online student publication.