A nice find over at Law.com: It’s America’s first law school, at least according to its sign in rural Litchfield, Connecticut.
The story is perfectly timely, as the class of 2019 strolls on campuses across the country: little do many know that they have this 232-year-old law school to thank. Called The Litchfield Law School, the school educated more than 1,100 men, “making it by far the most successful proprietary law school of its time,” reports Karen Sloan.
The article sketches a history:
Litchfield Law School founder Tapping Reeve didn’t set out to be a pioneer of legal education: He trained to be a teacher at Princeton University and taught for several years before apprenticing with a lawyer in Hartford. Reeve moved to Litchfield, then Connecticut’s fourth-largest town, with his young wife Sally Burr Reeve in 1773 and established a thriving legal practice. Sally’s brother, Aaron Burr, was the first apprentice at Reeve’s firm, and other aspiring lawyers followed suit as apprentices as word spread that Reeve had a gift for teaching. Responding to student demand, Reeve constructed a modest law school next to his house in 1784, through which 100 congressmen, 28 senators, three Supreme Court justices and 14 governors would eventually pass. One of those students, James Gould, came on as Reeve’s teaching partner in 1798 and continued to run the school after Reeve died in 1824.