As its name suggests, Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools within Harvard University. Although the university was established in 1636 and is the oldest college in the US, Harvard Law was not founded until 1817. However, it is the oldest law school in the US that has continuously operated since its establishment. It is also known as one of the most prestigious law schools in the world. There are many interesting facts about both schools. However, here are ten things you didn’t know about Harvard Law School.
1. Harvard Law School has the largest academic law library in the world
The school’s Library has a collection of over two million volumes. Although the library is so vast, there is a website available for information concerning the collection. Those who want to know what is contained there will have no trouble finding out. However, besides those who have a Harvard ID, Special Borrower cards may be obtained if one belongs to one of the five categories the library accepts. It is a very short list. The library, just like the school, is private.
2. The School was established in 1817 due to an endowment by Isaac Royall’s estate
Royall was a wealthy plantation and slave owner who had immigrated to Boston from Antigua. Harvard’s three sheaves of stacked which served as the school’s crest from 1936 to 2016, was Royall’s coat of arms. The crest was finally abandoned because of its controversial history from a racially charged family. After all, Royall was a slave owner.
3. Harvard’s first president was Rutherford B. Hayes
The first president to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1845 was Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes would later become the nineteenth president of the United States. He served as president from 1877 to 1881 after having served as both an American representative and governor of Ohio. In addition, Hayes used his degree to practice law. Hays was a staunch abolitionist who used his law degree for defending refugee slaves in court.
4. The first African American graduate was George Lewis Ruffin
In 1869, George Lewis Ruffin became the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School. After gaining his degree, Ruffin became an attorney and, later, a judge as well. He was also the first African American to serve on the Boston City Council. In 1870 He was also elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.
5. How many students and faculty members are there at Harvard Law School?
There are almost two thousand students who attend the school every year. Students come from over seventy countries in addition to the US. Faculty members number around a hundred full-time professors and clinical professors. However, there are also a rotation of forty more visiting professors as well as over a hundred and fifty lecturers, instructors, and other faculty members.
6. Harvard Law Record, the student newspaper, is still being printed
In the 1940s, the Harvard Law Record began being printed. It has been continuously published ever since and is now one of the longest-running law school newspapers in the US. Among its chief editors was Ralph Nader in 1958. Not to be left behind, today the student newspaper maintains an online social presence and airs podcast as well.
7. Women were allowed to enroll at Harvard Law School in 1950
Women finally were allowed to enroll in 1950 at the School for the first time. The number of female enrollees has grown ever since. As a matter of fact, as recent as 2014, the class entering for that year was compromised fifty percent by women. One of the more famous women to enroll during that first decade was Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1956. She became an Associate Justice in 1993 of the US Supreme Court.
8. Harvard faculty and graduates were involved in Watergate
During the Nixon Administration in 1973, Professor Archibald Cox served as special prosecutor in the Watergate matter after taking a leave from the School’s faculty. Later, in what would become known as the “Saturday night massacre,” two Harvard law graduates refused to fire Cox under Nixon’s claim of executive privilege. The two graduates, Attorney General Elliott Richardson and Willaim Ruckelshaus, his deputy, resigned instead. These events subsequently led to the SCOTUS ruling 8-0 rejecting Nixon’s claim and the president resigned soon after.
9. First woman president was in 1977 and the first African American president was in 1990
In 1977, the first female to be elected as president of Harvard Law Review was Susan Estrich. In 1990, however, the first African American president was elected, none other than Barack Obama himself! Obama would go on to become a US Senator of Illinois. In 2008. Obama also became the forty-fourth president of the United States and the first African American president in the history of the country. First Lady Michelle Obama also graduated from Harvard Law School as well.
10. How many famous people have graduated from Harvard Law School?
Besides the Obamas and Rutherford B. Hayes, there have been several Attorney Generals, such as Loretta Lynch and Janet Reno. There have been too many executive council members, senators, representatives, judges, justices, governors, state politicians, and other political members to name. The following is some of the more famous graduates: Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, Ralph Nader, Antonin Scalia, Sigourney Weaver, Keith Boykin, Jack Ryan, Cole Porter and so many more.