Chapter

The Quest for Excellence in an Era of Bigotry

Robert J. Kaczorowski

in Fordham University School of Law

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239559
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239597 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239559.003.0003
The Quest for Excellence in an Era of Bigotry

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Chapter 3 recounts the leadership of Dean Ignatius M. Wilkinson in achieving higher admission and academic standards in legal education generally and Fordham Law School specifically. The school became one of a handful of law schools with a selective admission policy. Wilkinson restructured the Law School’s administration and activities, reviving moot court, establishing instruction in law library research, creating the Law School Alumni Association and placement office. It explains the experiences of Fordham law students in the context of the social and economic history of the 1920s, discusses the religious and ethnic prejudice directed against religious and ethnic minorities, especially Catholics and their affiliated ethnic groups that comprised the majority of the Law School’s student body. It discusses the success of Fordham Law School graduates to gain admission to the bar in an era in which state bar associations manipulated bar examination results and admission standards to exclude from the practice of law urban immigrants who were members of religious, ethnic and racial minorities. Recounts the leadership of Dean Ignatius M. Wilkinson in achieving higher admission and academic standards in legal education generally and Fordham Law School specifically. The school became one of a handful of law schools with a selective admission policy. Wilkinson restructured the Law School’s administration and activities, reviving moot court, establishing instruction in law library research, creating the Law School Alumni Association and placement office. It explains the experiences of Fordham law students in the context of the social and economic history of the 1920s, discusses the religious and ethnic prejudice directed against religious and ethnic minorities, especially Catholics and their affiliated ethnic groups that comprised the majority of the Law School’s student body. It discusses the success of Fordham Law School graduates to gain admission to the bar in an era in which state bar associations manipulated bar examination results and admission standards to exclude from the practice of law urban immigrants who were members of religious, ethnic and racial minorities.

Keywords: Dean Ignatius M. Wilkinson; pre-law academic requirements; selective admission; Fordham law student experiences; alumni association; job placement; xenophobia; anti-Catholic prejudice; anti-Semitism; Ku Klux Klan; bar exam passage rates

Chapter.  16506 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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