History of Vanderbilt Law School revealed; First book to chronicle the school’s unique 132-year path

[Media Note: Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live or taped TV interviews and a radio ISDN line. Click to download a high resolution image of Don Welch and the book cover.]

From its birth in the late 1800’s, to closing down during World War II when many students enlisted in the military, to being the first private law school in the South to admit African American students, to its rise as one of the top law schools in the nation, Vanderbilt Law School tells a unique and powerful story. For the first time, the history of the law school is now chronicled in Vanderbilt Law School: Aspirations and Realities.

The book was written by the law school’s associate dean for administration and professor of law, D. Don Welch. Welch said he “spent all day every day for five months” in Vanderbilt’s archives, researching university and law school records and the correspondence of former deans, faculty members and administrators. Welch said he first became interested in writing a history of Vanderbilt Law School after the wife of former Dean John Wade delivered a box of Wade’s personal papers to his office. Wade joined the faculty in 1947 and served as dean from 1952 to 1972.

Welch’s history frankly acknowledges Vanderbilt’s early struggles along with emphasizing Vanderbilt’s numerous contributions to legal education such as publishing the influential Race Relations Law Reporter during the Civil Rights era from 1956 to 1968 and the law school taking the lead in introducing ethical training into the legal curriculum in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

“The publication of this thorough, well-researched history truly illuminates the many ways in which Vanderbilt Law School has contributed to the legal profession and legal scholarship nationally and regionally,” said Vanderbilt Law School Dean Edward L. Rubin.

Welch joined the law school in 1984 and has experienced nearly a fifth of the law school’s history as a member of the school’s faculty and administration. He has appointments in both the law school and the graduate department of religion.

Vanderbilt University Law School is located in Nashville, Tenn. and currently has approximately 630 students in its J.D., LL.M. and Ph.D in Law & Economics programs. You can learn more about the law school at www.law.vanderbilt.edu. More information on the book, including how to buy a copy from the Vanderbilt University Press can be found at http://www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com/bookdetail.asp?book_id-4120.

Media Contact: Amy Wolf, (615) 322-NEWS

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