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 Morrissey Hall and the School of Law in Saint Louis Brief.
In January 2012 SLU President Father Lawrence Biondi, S.J., announced plans to move the School of Law to a larger, free-standing facility two and a half miles from the law school's existing location on the main University campus. The building is located next door to the Civil Courts, a block away from the criminal courts and City Hall and three blocks away from the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse (home of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Eastern District of Missouri), the U.S. Attorney's Office and within easy walking distance from numerous law firms and government agencies. This proximity allows our faculty and students to spend more time with the practicing bar and judges, not just at the courthouse or attorneys' offices, but in the law school itself. It is in our new building where the legal community will have easier accessibility to teach, mentor and work with our students to improve the profession and provide access to justice through our clinics.
The University retained the services of The Lawrence Group, a nationally-known St. Louis architectural firm that has designed a number of buildings and renovations for Saint Louis University, and Clayco Construction, to lead the renovation efforts. The project involved demolition and redesign of the entire interior of the building and the addition of a 12th floor.
In August 2013 Saint Louis University School of Law officially opened the doors to its new home at 100 N. Tucker Blvd., in downtown St. Louis. The architects and contractors, with a great deal of involvement from the law school community, transformed a former office building into an attractive, multipurpose facility that enhances SLU LAW's educational program and creates a profound change in our ability to teach, learn and become more integrated with the legal community.
SLU LAW has a vibrant community that is physically together in one building for the first time. The vertical layout of the building along with thoughtful design elements will allow for improved collaboration within the law school community. Decisions on the building were driven by the needs of students and of our faculty of scholars and teachers.
From the lobby entryway to the newly created 12th floor that features a rooftop pavilion and courtyard, the building - named in honor of Joe and Loretta Scott, St. Louisans who donated the building to SLU in 2012 - is contemporary, spacious and suitable for a multitude of learning and networking opportunities. The interior spaces are adaptable to small group study and meeting sessions, diverse classroom arrangements, large events and professional skills competitions.