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Boston College. Law School


Historical Note

The Boston College Law School opened for classes on September 26, 1929. The first Regent was John B. Creedon, SJ, and the first Dean was Dennis A. Dooley. On December 5, 1932, the Law School received formal approval from the American Bar Association. In 1939, the students began to play a role in the school's internal affairs by forming the Student Advisory Council. In 1940, a faculty committee decided to admit women into the Law School; the presence of women was rare until the 1960s.

The outbreak of World War II was devastating to the Law School. Because of low enrollment, in 1945, the school relocated to the Kimball Building at 18 Tremont Street. After the war, enrollment increased dramatically, and the school was forced to find larger accommodations or lose its accreditation from the American Bar Association. As a result, St. Thomas More Hall was built and dedicated on September 27, 1954.

In 1953, the faculty voted only to admit students who had earned a bachelor's degree. Previously, the formal entrance requirement was only two years of college study. However, an exception was made for Boston College students who were allowed to apply after three years of undergraduate study. Under the tenure of Robert F. Drinan, SJ, the Law School instituted the LSAT as a mandatory requirement for application. During Drinan's administration, faculty and students grew considerably, and the Law School became nationally recognized.

In the fall of 1962, the faculty voted to recommend that the university trustees drop the night program. The faculty proposed to stop admitting new night students beginning in September 1963. Enrolled students were allowed to continue with their academic plan, but the night school ceased to exist by the spring of 1966.

In 1969, due to student pressure, the faculty voted to change the degree granted from LL. B. to the Juris Doctor (J.D.). Since an undergraduate degree was required for admission, students felt it was unfair to award a second bachelor's degree. Alumni were asked to mail in their old LL. B. degrees in exchange for a J. D.

During Richard Huber's term, the composition of the student body changed dramatically. In the 1970s, women represented almost forty percent of the student body, while minority students represented about fifteen percent. In 1974, the university started negotiations to acquire Newton College of the Sacred Heart, and in August of 1975, the Law School moved to the Newton Campus.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Boston College Law School records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Scope and Contents

Composed of annual reports, correspondence, photographs, press clippings, publications, recordings, and other items relating to the Law School and Law School Library.

Restrictions on access

Collection is closed until processed.

Dates: 1929-2022

William J. Murphy, SJ, President's Office records


The William J. Murphy, SJ, President’s Office Records contain correspondence, memos, student applications, contracts, notes, brochures, and pamphlets documenting Murphy's term as the nineteenth president of Boston College. Murphy's presidency coincided with World War II, and these records also document the war's effects on campus military programs and funding.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Dates: 1929 - 1948; Majority of material found within 1939 - 1945

Michael P. Walsh, SJ, President's Office records

Abstract The Michael P. Walsh, SJ, President’s Office Records document Walsh’s tenure as twenty-second president of Boston College, 1958-1968. This collection consists largely of administrative records and contains committee, departmental, and faculty files as well as admission records, building plans, correspondence, subject files, and materials relating to the University's centennial celebrations in 1963. Subject files contain biographical information in addition to other topics of interest to...
Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Series I. Admissions is closed in its entirety due to privacy restrictions, and is stored off-site. A small amount of material in other series is also closed due to privacy restrictions.

Dates: 1933 - 1982; Majority of material found within 1958 - 1968

Robert F. Drinan, SJ pre- and post-congressional papers


Papers document Robert F. Drinan's career as an academic, lawyer, Jesuit, and social justice advocate. Materials cover his years before Congress as a faculty member and Dean of Boston College Law School, and his post-congressional years as a faculty member at Georgetown University Law Center.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Audio and video recordings are not available for playback due to format impermanence and can not be reformatted by Burns Library at this time. Please let Burns Library Public Services know of your specific interest; when it becomes possible we will schedule reformatting.

The majority of the collection is stored offsite; advance notice is required for retrieval.

Dates: 1955-2007; Majority of material found within 1981 - 1995