The first law school at Saint Louis University opened in 1843, one of fewer than a dozen law schools in the country and the first west of the Mississippi. Founded by Judge Richard Aylett Buckner, the only faculty member listed by name, the law school shared a 34' by 80' building (on Washington Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets) with a public chapel, a laboratory for the physical sciences, a lecture hall, an artist's workshop and a museum. Classes were held in this building until the law school closed upon the death of Judge Buckner in 1847.
The Law School was re-established as Saint Louis University Institute of Law in 1908. The building was located on the southeast corner of Leffingwell and Locust, in the same neighborhood where T.S. Eliot once lived. The first floor held the school offices, a general assembly hall and the courtroom. The second floor held three classrooms, a practice law office, a faculty room and a "lady students assembly room." (The five women who entered the class of 1908 were the first women admitted to classes at the University.) A 3,000-volume library was housed on the third
By 1911 the Institute of Law had outgrown its original facilities, and a large house at 3642 Lindell was purchased. In 1912 an addition to the rear of the residence was constructed to house a large auditorium on the first floor. The library, three classrooms and a practice courtroom occupied the second floor. This building, with numerous subsequent alterations, was the home of the law school for nearly 70 years
In 1922 the old residence at the front of the law school was torn down and replaced by a building of "modified Tudor Gothic" architecture, more in keeping with the rest of the University. The new building contained office space, a student lounge, several classrooms and a large courtroom. The space this made available, allowed for an expansion of the library, now numbering over 10,000 volumes, in the rear of the building. The fourth floor held five rooms which, until 1928, were used to house students from out of town; in exchange for housing, the students worked as library assistants and did custodial work. From 1928 to 1938 the fourth floor was the home of WEW, the Midwest's first radio station. In 1933 the law school began a series of radio lectures by law students on topics of current legal interest.
The need for a new law school building was apparent as early as 1955; by 1963 the library was overflowing with more than 60,000 volumes. In 1966 the University purchased the lot at the southwest corner of Lindell and Spring and began a building campaign that culminated in the dedication of the Omer Poos Law Library building in 1973. The design planned for the addition of a new law school building attached to the Law Library. The four-story Morrissey Hall was dedicated in 1980.
The Vincent C. Immel Atrium
The Vincent C. Immel Atrium was part of a renovation and building expansion that began in the summer of 1996. The project restored Queen's Daughters Hall and linked it to Morrissey Hall by way of the new connector building. The additions and restoration to the School of Law were dedicated in 1998. The atrium served as the main entrance to the School of Law and functioned as a lively, open student lounge, overlooking the clock tower in the John E. Connelly Plaza and Mall.
Read more about the history of the School of Law in Saint Louis Brief.