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University of Colorado Law School records

Identifier: COU:2988

Scope and Contents

The Law School Collection begins with correspondence regarding employment in the Law School (1899-1927), largely consisting of applications. Also included is a file containing correspondence regarding the Professor Brewster Case (1915-1916), one of the first cases regarding academic freedom at the University of Colorado. A major portion of the collection consists of miscellaneous Law School items, including Annual Reports, Alumni activities, Law School building and planning of the Flemming Law Center, Admissions records, and Law School Catalogs dating back to 1970. The collection also contains information on the Natural Resources Law Center. The collection in organized in the following series: Series 1. Correspondence -Employment in the Law School, Series 2. Miscellaneous Law School materials, Series 3. Natural Resources Law Center


  • 1895 - 1997

Biographical / Historical

Proposed under President Baker’s administration, the Regents established a law school at the University of Colorado in the fall of 1892. During first year, the law school was operated by Baker’s secretary, and had only one paid lecturer. The rest of the lectures were attorneys from Denver who volunteered their time to the fledgling school.

Judge Moses Hallet was appointed as the first Dean of the Law School in 1893. That year the law school classes were held in the old Hospital Building (Kent Hall). Soon after, instruction moved to the second floor of Hale Sciences.

The structure of the Law School differed considerably from what it would become decades later. The Law School operated in conjunction with the undergraduate studies at CU. One could complete the requirements for both schools in 6 years, being that their senior year of undergraduate work would count as their first at the Law School. Therefore, the first graduating class of 12 was in 1894. The attendance continued to grow to 52 students in 1899. After 1898 the Law School replaced the 2-year course with a 3-year course, which eliminated the graduating class in 1900.

In 1900, the Law School became member of the Association of American Law Schools. Its attendance continued to rise to 70 students in 1902, due to an increase in out-of-state attendance. That same year Dean Hallet resigned, and John Campbell was appointed the new dean, a position he would hold for 6 years until John Donaldson Fleming was appointed in 1908. The next year a new building was donated to the Law School by Senator Simon Guggenheim. The Law School building was named the Guggenheim Building, where it stayed until the nineteen fifties.

Prior to 1912 the only requirements for entrance were “good moral character” and a high school education. In 1912, the requirements changed to include 2 years of college for entrance. This only slightly effected enrollment in the law school. In 1919, during World War I, the enrollment dropped to 36. The return of the veterans spurred the first summer session that year, and requirements were lowered for the following fall. The requirements returned to normal the next fall when the enrollment climbed to 93 students.

The early 1920s brought much national recognition to the Law School. In 1921, the Law School was honored by the report of President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Law, as being in high standing among the other laws in the US. The Law School was also added to the list of approved law schools by the American Bar Association in 1923. After a sharp drop in the percentages of passing the Bar Exam in 1932, the requirements for entrance in the Law School were changed again. The requirements included 3 years of pre-law study for admission

In the later 1920s, Dean Fleming died of cancer. Professor Folsom served as acting Dean until James Grafton Rogers was appointed in 1928. Rogers took a two-year leave of absence in 1931 to become Assistant Secretary of State under President Hoover. During this time Robert L. Stearns was appointed acting dean, then the dean of the Law School until he accepted the presidency of the University in 1939. Edward C. King then took over as of dean of the Law School. During World War II King took leave to be in the military. In King’s absence there were two acting deans, Milton D. Green and Frederick P. Storke.

In 1959, a new law building was dedicated, and named after former Dean Fleming. The Law School’s first year in the building featured a student population of 150 students. In 1961, the requirements for acceptance into the Law School rose again to include a BA from an approved institution.

After Dean King’s retirement in 1963, there were two acting deans, Albert R. Menard Jr. (spring) and Don W. Sears (fall) until they were replaced by John W. Reed in 1964. Reed was dean until 1968, when Sears took over. He remained the dean until 1973. During the summer of 1973, Courtland H. Peterson was acting dean, until Arthur H. Travers Jr. took over as acting dean in the fall. After Travers, Peterson was the dean from 1974 until 1979.

During the seventies the Law School expanded with an addition to the Fleming Law Building. The Law Library was enlarged, and many other parts of the building were remodeled and extended.

In 1996, 680 were accepted out of 2,299 applicants. The Law School is a member of many national legal organizations. The Law School also features the Legal Aid and Defender Program, the Natural Resources Law Center, the Indian Law Clinic, the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, and the Appellate Advocacy Clinic.


5.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



The University of Colorado Law School was founded in 1892 and has developed, changing its requirements, structure, and curriculum during the past century. The law school collection consists of records relating to its early first twenty-five years. Included are papers regarding the dismissal of Professor Brewster in 1915, the Natural Resources Law Center, and the building of the Fleming Law Center in 1959.The history of the Law School is also archived in this collection with early documents of the administration, application in to the law school, and events.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States