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USF School of Law Marks Centennial with New Book

September 14, 2012

To mark its centennial, the University of San Francisco School of Law has published a book documenting the law school’s humble beginnings in a small building on Market Street to the modern facilities at Koret Law Center where more than 700 men and women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds attend classes today.

The University of San Francisco School of Law Century: 100 Years of Educating for Justice is authored by USF Associate Vice Provost and Historian Alan Ziajka and edited by USF School of Law Director of Communications Angie Davis.

“In these pages, we celebrate our first 100 years as prologue to our second century, noting with pride the law school’s hardy institutional DNA and our commitment to training great lawyers, inclusion, and service to others,” Dean Jeffrey Brand said.

The 192-page hardcover, large format book uses historical photos and personal narratives to tell the story of the law school.

The USF School of Law has undergone significant changes since its inception in 1912, when 49 young men, mostly first- and second-generation European immigrants, began evening classes in downtown San Francisco. The first Asian American to be admitted to the California bar graduated from the law school in 1918, and women were first admitted to the law school in 1927. Today, USF is one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. The 2012 entering JD class of 186 full-time and 34 part-time students includes 53 percent women and 46 percent students of color (entering class statistics current as of Aug. 20, 2012).

The law school has moved several times throughout its history, from its first location in the Grant Building in downtown San Francisco, to a temporary structure known as the “shirt factory” at the corner of Hayes and Shrader Streets in 1917, to the Liberal Arts Building on the USF campus in 1927, to the Gleeson Library in 1950, and finally to Kendrick Hall in the 1960s. The Koret Law Center, dedicated in 2004, includes a completely reconstructed Kendrick Hall and the Dorraine Zief Law Library, which was completed in 2000.

Despite the changes that have occurred, the law school has remained committed to the Jesuit ethical principals that underlie the institution, practical training opportunities including clinics and externships that span the globe, and public service as evidenced by the nearly 300 alumni who have become judges, and numerous graduates who have practiced public interest law or engaged in pro bono work, Ziajka said.

“The USF School of Law has changed dramatically during the past 100 years, yet many of its core values have remained constant,” Ziajka wrote.

The University of San Francisco School of Law Century: 100 Years of Educating for Justice is $50.00 and available for purchase at the University of San Francisco Bookstore.