DATES: 1921-1977

SIZE: 4.25 linear feet


ACQUISITION: The Law School Records were deposited into University Archives. The acquisition records are unavailable.

ACCESS: Available for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Department of Special Collections.


The School of Law at the University of North Dakota was established in 1899, the first professional school to begin operation within the university. Guy H. Corliss, a Grand Forks lawyer and the first chief justice of the North Dakota state supreme court, was selected as the first dean. The only full-time instructor during the early years of the program, John E. Blair, a recent Harvard Law graduate, served as the secretary of the law school and directed the curriculum and operations. In 1904, when Andrew Bruce accepted the deanship, admission standards were lowered to require only two years of high school; nearly all students passed their courses and enrollment grew relatively strong. Early graduates were admitted to practice law without an equivalent of today's Bar, which was instituted in 1905 on Bruce's recommendation.

When Frank McVey became President of UND in 1909, incoming law students were required to possess a high school certificate and the program was lengthened to three years. Soon after, the program was accredited by the American Association of Law Schools. By McVey's retirement in 1917, incoming students were required to have completed two years of collegiate study and new program and degree options were instituted, most of which could not be implemented until students returned from World War I.

Due to a national movement at the recommendation of the American Bar Association, the UND School of Law changed its degree distinction from a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with the graduating class of 1968. Previously the J.D. was awarded only to those law students who had earned an undergraduate degree in addition to their law degree; those that enrolled directly to the School of Law without a Bachelor degree had earned a LL.B. The elimination of the LL.B. was influenced by national trends, but also by increased standards in the UND School of Law: all incoming students were now required to hold an undergraduate degree and a new curriculum was established that required every student to enroll in legal writing and research seminars. In a special commencement ceremony on October 11, 1969 at the Gamble Hall auditorium, 94 alumni-who previously held a LL.B. from the UND School of Law-were retroactively awarded a J.D.; an additional 245 alumni received the retroactive J.D., but were unable to attend the ceremony. Alumni who had previously graduated with the J.D. were retroactively awarded a J.D. "with distinction."

The School of Law building houses the Thormodsgard Law Library, named for Olaf H. Thormodsgard, Dean of the Law School from 1931 to 1962. More than 312,000 volumes are housed in the Law Library. The School of Law's first publication, the Law Bulletin, was introduced in 1914. Today it publishes the North Dakota Law Review, which is the journal of the State Bar Association of North Dakota. Some of the professional development activities in which students participate include Moot Court Board, Student Bar Association, Law Women's Caucus, and the Student Trial Association. Special Programs offered by the School of Law today include the Joint Degree program (M.P.A./J.D.), the Native American Law Project, the Tribal Environmental Law Project, the Tribal Justice Institute, and an exchange program to Norway.

The School of Law at UND is the only law school in the state.


The Law School Records are broken up into seven series as follows:

Series I: Administrative
The first series contains correspondence, financial documents, policies, reports and other administrative material. The correspondence mainly consists of letters between the Dean of the Law School and other university officials, while the financial records include budgetary, scholarship, and financial aid documents. Also included are files on the construction of a new law building, annual and biennial reports, and policy statements.

Series II: Degrees
This series contains various documents regarding the Law School's change from the Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree to the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Also included is material regarding the Honorary Degree bestowed upon United States District Court Judge Edward Devitt.

Series III: Programs
The third series contains documents regarding the Rural Apprenticeship Program, in which ten to fifteen students would spend a summer interning at a rural law firm.

Series IV: Seminars and Speakers
The fourth series pertains to seminars and speakers sponsored by the Law School. The largest portion of the series deals with Continuing Legal Education, a program for already practicing attorneys. The remaining folders deal with other seminars, as well as general correspondence with speakers, and the Law Forum on Leading Legal Issues.

Series V: University of North Dakota
The prominent topic in this series is the Jackson Committee, which consisted of seven faculty members and seven students whose responsibility was to study the conduct of the Dean of Men, Ronald Jackson, and to the study the dispute on who should control various aspects of the dormitories. The documents contain correspondence between committee members and witnesses, the reports distributed by the committee and a resolution signed by many students. The Jackson Committee was chaired by Law School Dean Jerrold Walden. Other topics in the series include correspondence between the School of Science, Literature, and the Arts, the University College, and Veteran's Housing and Administration.

Series VI: Organizations
Materials in the sixth series mainly regard the State Bar Association of North Dakota, the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the Order of the Coif. Documents in this series include correspondence, budgetary information, historical and administrative documents, and questionnaires.

Series VII: Faculty Files
The final series are the Faculty Files, which are arranged in alphabetical order by last name. The documents included in the folders are correspondence, course documents, bar briefs, scholarly publications, and any other documents pertaining to the faculty member.


Box 1
Series I: Administrative

  1. Admission Statistics, 1944-1950
  2. Bar Exam Review, 1963-1971
  3. Correspondence - President Thomas Kane, December 5, 1928
  4. Correspondence - President John C. West, 1933-1951
  5. Correspondence - President George W. Starcher, 1954-1965
  6. Correspondence - J. W. Wilkerson, Business Manager, 1932-1946
  7. Correspondence - E. W. Olson, Business Manager, 1933-1957
  8. Correspondence - R. O. Wilson, 1943-1944
  9. Correspondence - Registrar's Office, June 1962-December 1962
  10. Correspondence - Interpretations of North Dakota Law by Lay School Faculty, 1932-1943
  11. Financial - Financial Aid and Scholarship Information, 1941-1966
  12. Financial - Florence Yonaka Loan Fund, 1954-1957
  13. Financial - Harry Lashkowitz Memorial Trust Fund, 1964-1970
  14. Financial - Law School Budget, 1940-1968
  15. Law Library, December 7, 1956
  16. Law School Alumni, 1937-1964
  17. Law School Banquet, 1934-1963
  18. Law School Faculty Meeting Minutes, October 10, 1967
  19. Law School Honors Day, 1963-1964
  20. Law School Law Day, 1963-1969
  21. Law School Law Day - Moot Court Competition, 1965-1971
  22. Law School Radio Commercial, undated
  23. Legal Aid Association, 1971-1973
  24. New Law Building, 1959-1965
  25. New Law Building, 1966-1972
  26. News Releases, 1964-1965
  27. North Dakota Law Review, 1954-1962
  28. Policies - Admissions, 1962-1973
  29. Policies - The Honor System, undated
  30. Reports - Annual, 1955-1956
  31. Reports - Biennial, 1921-1952
  32. ROTC Credits, November 18, 1968
  33. Selective Service and the Law Student, October 1967-November 1967

Series II: Degrees

  1. Honorary Degree for Judge Edward Devitt, 1962-1965
  2. Retroactive Granting of the Juris Doctor Degree, 1964-1968
  3. Special Commencement - Juris Doctor, September 1969-October 1969

Series III: Programs

  1. Rural Apprenticeship Program, 1963-1964
  2. Rural Apprenticeship Program, 1965-1971

Series IV: Seminars and Speakers

  1. American Academy of Judicial Education, August 1973-December 1973
  2. Censorship and the Arts Panel, March 1967-June 1967
  3. Continuing Legal Education - Annual Meeting Seminar, April 1974-July 1974
  4. Continuing Legal Education - Comparative Negligence Seminar, July 1973- October 1973
  5. Continuing Legal Education Program, 1973-1975
  6. Continuing Legal Education - General Correspondence, 1967-1976
  7. Continuing Legal Education - Winter Seminar, 1972-1975
  8. Continuing Legal Education - Law Office Management Seminar, 1975-1976
  9. Continuing Legal Education - Uniform Probate Code Seminar, 1973-1974
  10. Continuing Legal Education - Young Lawyers Seminar, March 1976-April 1976
  11. General Correspondence - Speakers, 1967-1970

Box 2

  1. International Symposium, 1967-1971
  2. International Symposium on the Leading Rights of Indians - Transcripts, March 7-8, 1969
  3. Indian Court Judges Annual Training Course, 1963-1967
  4. Law for the Farmer Program, 1963-1967
  5. Law Forum on Leading Legal Issues - Sperry & Hutchinson Company, 1963- 1967
  6. Legislative Staff Development Seminar, August 26, 1968
  7. Oliver Wendell Homes Lecture, 1965-1967

Series V: University of North Dakota

  1. Jackson Committee, March 1965-October 1965
  2. Jackson Committee - Student Petitions, undated
  3. Science, Literature and Arts, School of, 1948-1962
  4. University College, 1957-1960
  5. University of North Dakota Placement Service, 1971-1972
  6. University Seal, 1956
  7. Veteran's Housing and Administration, 1945-1951

Series VI: Organizations

  1. State Bar Association of North Dakota, 1964-1967
  2. State Bar Association of North Dakota - Law School Improvement Committee, 1964-1966
  3. State Bar Association of North Dakota - Law School Liaison Committee, September 10, 1969
  4. American Bar Association, 1960-1965
  5. American Bar Association - Questionnaire, 1949
  6. American Bar Association - Junior Bar Conference, 1935-1962
  7. Association of American Law Schools, 1932-1969
  8. Association of American Law Schools - Questionnaires, 1933-1957
  9. Association of American Law Schools - Visit by Dean Lockhart, 1963-1965
  10. American Law Student Association, 1963-1965
  11. Highway Research Program, 1962-1964
  12. Legislative Research Committee, 1952-1966
  13. Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 1958-1962
  14. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1936
  15. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1937, 1936-1937
  16. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1938
  17. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1939
  18. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1947, 1947-1948
  19. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1949
  20. Order of the Coif - Correspondence 1940-1962
  21. Order of the Coif - Minutes, 1928-1948
  22. Order of the Coif - Historical & Organization, 1945-1958
  23. Order of the Coif - Treasure, 1949-1962

Box 3

Series VII: Faculty Files

  1. Beck, Robert, 1962-1969
  2. Beck, Robert, 1970-1976
  3. Buckley, Thomas, 1964-1966
  4. Crabb, John H., 1956-1967
  5. Cunningham, Harold D., 1957-1970
  6. Davidow, Robert P., 1966-1972
  7. Fisch, William, 1965-1969
  8. Goldberg, Joseph, 1968-1975
  9. Heckman, Charles A., 1969-1971
  10. Karabus, Alan, 1965-1975
  11. Kuhns, Richard B., 1969-1974
  12. Margulies, Martin B., 1966-1977
  13. Matthews, Paul C., 1952-1967
  14. McLaughlin, B. E., July 8, 1965
  15. Pace, Thomas, S. 1970-1971
  16. Partan, Daniel, April 1964-November 1964
  17. Partan, Daniel, 1965-1966
  18. Phillips, Walter R., 1962-1969
  19. Schwabacher, Christopher, 1966-1968
  20. Simet, Donald, 1965-1967
  21. Teitelbaum, Lee, 1968-1970
  22. Thormodsgard, Olaf H., 1970-1972
  23. Tibbles, Lance, 1971-1973
  24. Tibbles, Lance, 1974, 1975
  25. Tisdale, Ross, 1933-1974

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