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History

A History of Innovation

Established in 1833, the University of Cincinnati College of Law is the 4th oldest continuously operating law school in the country. Timothy Walker, along with Edward King and Judge John C. Wright of the Ohio Supreme Court, established the Cincinnati Law School, a small law school with 17 students, above a downtown office in a city that was then a frontier outpost. The Cincinnati Law School became a department of the Cincinnati College in 1835, which gave it the authority to confer degrees. Until 1885, Cincinnati was the only law school in Ohio.

Did you Know?

The College’s most famous alumnus, William Howard Taft, is the only person in history to be both President and Chief Justice of the United States.

Cincinnati Law Firsts

1837 Timothy Walker published the Introduction to American Law, one of the first major publications by a law teacher. Called “the American Blackstone”, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes told Chief Justice Taft that it was Walker’s book that “first gave him an adequate concept of what law was and what was the profession upon which he was entering.”
1896 University of Cincinnati established a Law Department and William Howard Taft, then a Federal Circuit Judge, was made Dean. The following year, the Cincinnati College and the University of Cincinnati entered into a contract for a merger.
1900 The American Association of Law Schools is formed with the University of Cincinnati as a charter member.
1927 Cincinnati Law Review begins publication, the first law review by an Ohio law school.
1973 First person of color, Elwin Griffith, joins the faculty.
1979 The Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights was established – the first of its kind at an American law school.
1980 Nora J. Lauerman becomes first tenured female faculty member.
1995 First JD/MA joint degree established in nation in law and women’s studies
2001 The Ohio Innocence Project, one of the most successful innocence projects in the nation and the only one at an Ohio law school, is founded.

Notable Alumni

Our ranks include many distinguished alumni who have gone on to impressive careers, including:

  • a President of the United States
  • a Vice-President of the United States
  • 3 Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • a Secretary of Commerce
  • 2 U.S. Solicitor Generals
  • a United States Attorney General
  • 2 U.S. Supreme Court Justices (including a Chief Justice)
  • 4 state Supreme Court Justices (including two Chief Justices)
  • 6 Governors
  • a Nobel Peace Prize winner