Dean Thomas Buergenthal

Dean Thomas Buergenthal

Beginning with the deanship of Judge Thomas Buergenthal in 1980, WCL set out to renew its commitment to the founding principles. Early in his term, Buergenthal had historical records and documents of the law school collected and preserved. Out of this initiative, WCL's unique heritage reemerged, and in 1983, WCL held its first Founders Day celebration, in honor of Mussey and Gillett and other WCL pioneers.

As WCL regained its pre-World War II size and became recognized as a quality legal institution, it proceeded to expand its programmatic scope. With the arrival of Dean Buergenthal, who later served as president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the law school began developing its international character. In 1980, Buergenthal inaugurated the law school's International Legal Studies Program, and the following year WCL's first joint degree venture, a J.D./M.A. program with AU's School of International Service.

Buergenthal also took steps to plan for WCL's future. Realizing that further expansion of the law school would require additional resources, Buergenthal set out to expand the law school's possiblities. His principal initiative was to pursue renewed relations with the law school's greatest resources: its alumni. In 1980, Buergenthal created the Office of Professional Programs and Alumni Affairs (later called the Office of Institutional Advancement, and then the Office of Development & Alumni Relations) to work with alumni on developing the law school's endowment. Since its creation, that office has been critical in raising funds for the creation of scholarships, enhancement of the curriculum and teaching, and development of the law school's programs. The same year, Buergenthal also launched WCL's alumni magazine, The Advocate, to reintroduce alumni to thier alma mater, and instituted alumni gatherings and special events at which former students could reminisce and renew old friendships.

Dean Thomas Buergenthal shaking hands with the Pope.
Click here to enlarge.

One of Buergenthal's most memorable experiences took place in 1975, when he had the opportunity to shake hands with the Pope.

Dean Beurgenthal Photo Gallery

The following information relates to the School from 1980 to 1985.

Location of the Law School
Myers Hall

Number of students
1982: 350 entering students, the most ever
1983: Entering class 52% women
Spring 1985: 1,029 students: 818 full-time (396 women, 422 men); 221 part-time (105 women, 106 men)
1981-1985: Strong push for minority recruitment, rise from 4% to 12% of student body

Faculty & staff
1981: Office of Professional Programs and Alumni Affairs established
1982: Six faculty scholars added
1983: Faculty-scholar chairs created
1984: 34 full-time, 25 part-time professors
1985: 36 full-time professors, 24% women

1981: LSAT 645; GPA 3.4
1982: LSAT 665; GPA 3.32
1984: LSAT 37 (scale 10-48); GPA 3.33

Degrees granted
1983: 294 J.D. degrees conferred
1980-1985: 44 LL.M., International Legal Studies degrees conferred, with 28 countries represented

Charter, incorporation, merger
1983: Income formula changed from 55% WCL, 45% university, to 78% WCL, 22% university

1980: LEXIS installed
1981: Acquisition of Judge Richard R. Baxter's International Law Collection
1983: WESTLAW and magazine index installed
1985: 215,000 + volumes (books, microfilms, A/V, microfiche, computers)

Student Publications
1982: Black Letter Law, the newsletter of BALSA started
1985-1986: Student Bar Association Newsletter

1981: 4 clinics; J.D./M.A. in International Affairs and LL.M. in International Legal Studies begun; spring elective instead of 2 semesters Of Legal Methods; voluntary moot court
1982: Israeli Civil Rights Program starts
1983: First annual Humanitarian Law Conference
1983: Supreme Court day initiated
1984: Women and the Law program founded; degree requirements raised to 86 hours; Legal Methods made 1 year

1981: WCL directed to hire 5 more professors over the next two years to lower student/faculty ratio from 31.5:1

Tuition & Miscellaneous
1979: Tuition $4,100, full-time
1980: Peter S. Ridley Jr. '70 Memorial Fund for minorities; SBA dues $40/semester
1982: Tuition $6,300
1983: Tuition $7,000
1984: Tuition $8,000; SBA dues $50/semester
1980: Alumni magazine, The Advocate; J.S. Myers Giving Society established

Groups & Organizations
1980: Asian Pacific Law Society; Public Interest Research Group; first BLSA alumni luncheon
1981: Dean's Advisory Council and Development Committee; Jewish Law Students Association
1982: Civil Rights Group; Evening students Assocation
1983: First Founders' Day and Alumni Luncheon; student lounge renovations; new groups: Juvenile Justice, LL.M., Existential Law, Catholic Law Students, Gay Law Students; African-American Alum incorporates as WCL Black Alumni Association.

- Timeline Brochure: Washington College of Law in Celebration of its Centennial: Facts and Events 1896-1996. Compiled by Karen Monroe, '82; Audrey Pia, '84; Di Horvath '86; Lisa Longo, '88; Susan Notar, '90; Melissa McGill, '94; Lycia Watts, '96; under directio of Dr. Paul Purta, Consultant and former Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement.

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