The School of Law is a part of the University of Dayton, which was founded in 1850 and is recognized as a top-tier national university and one of the 10 best Catholic universities in the nation.
- First established as the University of Dayton College of Law, the School of Law opened in 1922 under the guidance of Dean John C. Shea. Reflecting the Catholic Marianist tradition of inclusivity and acceptance, the college’s first class was composed of a diverse group of students.
- Every member of the first class passed the bar exam on the first attempt, with bar passage rates remaining extremely high for the next decade. Despite the success of its graduates, the economic turmoil of the Great Depression led the law school to close its doors in 1935 with the expectation of reopening when times improved.
- Nearly four decades later, in September 1974, this expectation became a reality, and the school, renamed, the "University of Dayton School of Law" reopened. University of Dayton President Rev. Raymond A. Roesch said at the time: "Our interest is not merely in providing, under private auspices, opportunities for the acquisition of legal expertise, worthy though this goal may be. Rather we see herein an exceptional opportunity to promote Christian justice, social as well as individual, and thus to help humanize society."
- Since reopening, the School of Law has become known nationally for innovative programs like its fully online LL.M. program and one of the nation's first online hybrid J.D. programs, an accelerated J.D. program that allows students to graduate in two years, its Leadership Honors Program and its Flyer Legal Pathways Program that holds out the promise of changing the way underrepresented and underserved students are recruited into law schools and the legal profession.
Our Mission Statement
As an integral part of the University of Dayton, a Catholic university founded by members of the Society of Mary in 1850, we share the University's commitment to serving others and offering an education that blends theory and practice. Like the University, we also highly value the role of faculty as teachers and mentors, as well as scholars.
Central to our curriculum and our teaching is the notion of developing complete professionals. The traditional approach to legal education prevalent at law schools across the country, centering upon the case method and legal reasoning, is augmented by development of the professional skills that our students will rely upon as practitioners and an enhanced appreciation for ethics and community service that will distinguish them as lawyers and leaders in the years ahead.
As a law school with a growing reputation, we are committed to developing and offering outstanding programs of study. We continually invest in those areas most important to the education of our students, our dedicated faculty, our innovative curriculum, and the physical environment in which our students' education takes place.
In 1979, Dayton’s School of Law received full accreditation from the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the American Bar Association. The School of Law also received membership in the Association of American Law Schools in 1984.
The University of Dayton is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, and many of its programs are accredited by various professional organizations.