On December 4, 1779, George Wythe became the first professor of law in America, a professorship created at William & Mary by the Board of Visitors at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. Wythe was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a “second father” to Jefferson, and epitomized the lawyer as civic leader and passionate advocate for equality and justice.
The Law School will commemorate the 240th anniversary of that historic event in December 2019. The occasion also gives us a chance in 2019 to recall our place in history as America's first law school and the contributions of all the citizen lawyers educated here who have epitomized Wythe's spirit of leadership, integrity and selfless service. In coming months, we will be sharing details for upcoming celebrations, including:
• alumni receptions across the nation;
• the dedication of a permanent Law School History Exhibit in The Wolf Law Library, made possible by the generosity of the Class of 1988, during Alumni Weekend on April 12;
• a celebration of our Citizen Lawyers and dedication of the Citizen-Lawyer Commemorative Wall in the Law School's Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership on November 8.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.