Timeline

February 1, 1896
Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma M. Gillett hold the first Woman's Law Class, using Mussey's law office as a classroom.

April 1898
The District of Columbia incorporates WCL. It is the first law school in the world founded by women - and the first one with a female dean. The school begins as a part-time evening school for whites only. Mussey becomes the first woman dean of a law school in the United States.

1899-1900
The Honorable William E. Mason, a U.S. Senator from Illinois, teaches the first International Law courses at WCL.

1905
WCL's first international student, Josefa Larroque Harriague, graduates.

1908
Enrollment is up to 55 students.

1913
Enrollement more than doubled to 128 students.

Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin

1914
WCL's first Native American student, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, graduates.

1925
Students from Sweden, Italy, Canada, Nicaragua and the Philippines are members of this class.

1947
WCL appoints its first male dean, Horatio R. Rogers and has had male deans ever since.

1949
WCL merges with American University.

1953
WCL's earliest known African American student, James Taylor, graduates.

1964
WCL becomes the first law school in D.C. and on the East Coast to change the Bachelor of Laws degree to the Juris Doctor.

1972
WCL establishes Office of Clinical Programs.

1984
Women & the Law Program launches; WCL's Women & the Law is the only program of its kind in the world.

1989
WCL launches the summer Program in Chile, followed by others around the globe. The mixture of class-based learning and real-life experience gives students a firsthand look at comparative legal issues and institutions.

1990
WCL establishes the Federal Tax Clinic; eight years later, federal legislation authorized federal grants from the IRS to support the creation of new low-income taxpayer clinics modeled after WCL's across the country.

1996
The first Annual Sylvania Woods Conference on African Americans and the Law brings together WCL students, jurists, scholars and practitioners. The next year WCL launches the Annual Hispanic Law Conference and Career Forum.

2000
A $1.5 million gift from Law Professor Pamela Samuelson and her husband, Robert Glushko, funds a pioneering intellectual property (IP) law clinic. Students in the Glushko-Samuelson Clinic filed five Supreme Court amicus briefs within two years.

2001
WCL establishes Public Interest Service (PIPS) three-year scholarships. Recipients devote three of the first five years after law school graduation to either the public interest or public sectors.

WCL students travel overseas to work on a human rights case and accompany Dean Grossman as he argues Awastingi v. Nicaragua before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. The UNROW Fund, a $2 million endowment that supports WCL's work defending and extending human rights, underwrites student involvement in human rights litigation.

The National Association of Public Interest Law names Dean Claudio M. Grossman, Dean of the Year.

2002
WCL is awarded a grant of $216,400 from the Urban Debate Program of the Open Society Institute to establish the Marshall-Brennan Urban Debate League. This league helps high school students in Washington, D.C. public schools to build their knowledge and to develop their debate and reasoning skills.

2003
The Hispanic Bar Association of D.C., awarded WCL Dean Claudio Grossman with the Lifetime Achievement Award because of his "exceptional leadership and record of achievement in the fields of legal education, human rights, the development of Latin American jurisprudence and the advancement of Latino lawyers in the United States."


- 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 direction of Dr. Paul Purta, Consultant and former Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement.

- The 2003 Washington College of Law Application Viewbook. Office of Admissions, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., 2003.

- WCL Media Relations press releases.