The Great Depression and Educational Reform

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:
The Great Depression and Educational Reform

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Chapter 4 explains Dean Wilkinson’s leadership in legal education reform within the American Bar Association and the New York state bar during the 1920s and 1930s and the impact of the Great Depression on legal education and the legal profession in New York. Wilkinson’s petition on behalf of the Law School persuaded the New York Court of Appeals to establish the four-year night school law program. Wilkinson continued to raise academic standards within the law school, hired the first full-time faculty members, expanded the law library, and reestablished the Fordham Law Review, opened the Bronx division in 1926 and closed it in 1938. He gained ABA accreditation for the Law School and membership in the Association of American Law Schools. Wilkinson and other members of the law faculty played leading roles in debating the most important issue of legal scholarship during the 1930s and 1940s: Legal realism versus natural law jurisprudence. They also were prominent in opposing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court packing scheme, which merited a commendation from the ABA.

Keywords: night law school education; ABA accreditation; AALS membership; legal realism; natural law jurisprudence; Scholastic philosophy; Bronx night division; financial issues; bar admissions and the Great Depression

Chapter.  23512 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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