The University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor is one of the world’s finest institutions of legal education. Housed in the Cook Quadrangle on the University of Michigan’s central campus, the Law School is unmatched for beauty and is superbly functional for its residential and scholarly community. The School has a sizable and diverse faculty, with many preeminent in their fields. The careers of alumni also speak eloquently to the strength of the School; our graduates are leaders serving with distinction in the public, private, and academic sectors in this nation and beyond.
The University of Michigan, founded in 1817, celebrates a long and distinguished history. It was in 1787 that the Northwest Territorial Ordinance provided public land for this and other Midwestern universities and established a tradition of respect for excellence in higher education. Three Native American nations—the Ojibwa (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa), and Bodewadini (Potawatomi)—subsequently granted certain lands for use of the University of Michigan and by the end of the 19th century, Michigan was the largest and most generously supported public university in America and already a leader in graduate education.
The University of Michigan Law School, one of the oldest law schools in the nation, was founded in 1859. But unlike other highly selective law schools established in that era, admission was never restricted to the privileged. When Gabriel Hargo graduated from the Law School in 1870, Michigan—then the largest law school in the country—became the second American university to confer a law degree on an African American. That same year, Michigan was the first major law school to admit a woman, and in 1871, graduate Sarah Killgore became the first woman with a law degree in the nation to be admitted to the bar; by 1890, Michigan had graduated more women than any other law school. That commitment to access and diversity joined an equally powerful commitment to excellence, which continues to this day.
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