Page Hall, the College's home from 1903-59
In the fall of 1890, a small group of Ohio State University students organized to persuade the University's Board of Trustees to provide formal instruction in law. By the following spring, the young advocates scored a victory, and a resolution was passed for the establishment of a Law Department to be supported solely from student tuition, set at $60 per year.
Classes began Oct. 1, 1891, in the Franklin County Courthouse with 33 students, including one woman. Instruction was provided by prominent lawyers under the administration of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Marshall J. Williams.
In 1892, Rutherford B. Hayes, chairman of the Board of Trustees and former president of the United States, made a $300 personal gift and encouraged support from others. University funding of $1,500 was made available early in 1893, a fulltime dean was appointed, and by 1894 classes were moved to the main campus. The Law Department was elevated to the status of a College of Law in 1896 and five years later became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.
Throughout the 1900s, the College continued to establish itself as a leading law school. During the Great Depression, students refused to let their initiatives decline. It was then that the Student Bar Association was formed, the Ohio State Law Journal was established, and the legal clinic and moot court appellate advocacy programs were initiated.
In the 1950s, the College's moot court program produced three national championship teams. An innovative and expanded clinical education program provided students with valuable legal skills training. Today, the College's clinical program is one of the nation's oldest and most comprehensive.
The Moritz Law Library was significantly expanded in 1992 to accommodate the growing volume of holdings and the increasing student body. In 1995, the home of the Moritz College of Law was named after John Deaver Drinko, a 1944 graduate of the College. Students also benefit from a state-of-the-art courtroom located within Drinko Hall.
Presently, the College is well-positioned for its second century of service to the profession. A $30 million gift from Michael E. Moritz '61 allowed the College to add faculty chairs, expand programming, and start several other initiatives. In addition to the Ohio State Law Journal, the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution and the Ohio State Journal on Criminal Law, the College has added the I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society and the Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal in the past decade.
Opportunities to study off-campus have expanded to include summer- and semester-long programs at the University of Oxford in England, and a summer program in Washington, D.C. The College's Barrister Club facility was created with alumni donations to house programming for alumni and students, including the innovative Mentoring and More @ Moritz Program, which promotes professionalism and serves as a bridge between the theory and practice of law. Through the Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Distinguished Practitioners in Residence Program in Business Law, students take one-credit courses from prominent practitioners.
In 2007, the College began its Master of Laws Program (LL.M.) for foreigntrained attorneys. Offering foreign-trained lawyers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous and expansive legal curriculum, the LL.M. program also provides J.D. students with the opportunity to interact with practitioners from a wide and varied range of legal systems. In the same year, the College also started the Program on Law and Leadership, which is committed to the idea that leadership development and education is a lifelong endeavor combining theoretical knowledge, practice, and applied skills.
The handful of students who pioneered the founding of the College could not have envisioned The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law as it is today. The College's proud past is the prologue to its exciting future as one of the nation's premier public law schools.