History of ASU Law: 50 Years of Impact
G. Homer Durham was the president of Arizona State University from 1960 to 1969. Establishing a law school was one of his goals and in 1965 he hired Willard H. Pedrick as the first dean. In 1967, the ASU College of Law accepted 117 students into the inaugural class located on ASU’s Tempe campus. And three years later in 1970, 83 students graduated receiving their juris doctorate degree from the ASU College of Law.
The law school has accomplished many significant milestones in its 50+ years. In 2006, soon after her retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, ASU College of Law was renamed the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Students continue to personify Justice O’Connor’s legacy and lifetime work to advance civics education and civic engagement and discourse, by donating more than 120,000 hours of public service each year.
Led by Dean Douglas Sylvester, who was appointed the eighth dean in 2012, ASU Law has risen in national and world rankings, continued to attract highly credentialed students and offers more personalized programs than any other law school in the country. The second youngest law school in top 30, ASU Law is currently ranked No. 24 by U.S. News & World Report.
In 2016, ASU Law moved to the Beus Center for Law and Society in the ASU downtown Phoenix campus further enhancing the law school’s ability to serve the community and provide students access to the best legal opportunities. Students can also study beyond Phoenix at ASU campuses located in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, as well as participate in global study abroad and externship or internship opportunities.
Throughout 2020, we will celebrate 50 years of impact through unique events, sharing stories from the past, historical footage from our archives – capped off with an event fit for the history books, our Gold ’n Gala in Nov. 2020.
Walk Through ASU Law's History
Everyone entering the Beus Center for Law and Society Building is required to wear a face covering and all guests need to have an appointment.