Alaska Common Law School

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Alaska Common Law School
Established 1984
Location Kenai, AK, US
Coordinates: 60°33′07″N 151°15′39″W / 60.551955°N 151.260919°W / 60.551955; -151.260919

Alaska Common Law School was an unaccredited school founded in 1984 in Kenai, Alaska. The school offered a two-year program to teach students how to represent themselves before Alaska courts. Graduates received pre-law certificates.


Alaska Common Law School of Barristry was founded in 1984 in Kenai, Alaska by a group that included Kenneth W. Cole and other members of "the Freedom movement."[1][2] Around that time, Cole had filed a lawsuit against a hospital to prevent recording the birth of his daughter with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.[2] Cole, who was not a licensed attorney at that time,[3] found the legal process very intimidating, and at the end thought he had "been shuffled off to the side and not given much weight."[2] The Alaska Common Law School was founded by the 25-year-old construction worker and his friends with the idea of "helping others use the courts to protect their rights" and to pursue a common desire to return the United States to "constitutional Christian government."[2]

Initially, the school was run out of a private home in Kenai, where the administrators sold instructional materials, and featured a 90-hour video course as part of the school's curriculum.[2] The facilities included a research room, a law library, an office, and a lecture room.[2] The lecture room included an American flag that was arranged upside down above a sign that read: "Nation in distress."[2] Students who attended the school in 1986, which included some who had civil lawsuit problems and others accused of criminal offenses, were taught how to represent themselves and receive advise from counselors and help drafting motions.[2][4] Community members, such as Homer, Alaska assemblyman Tom Brown, also sought advise from the school.[2] Lacking a formal fee structure, the two-year-old school operated through donations and included an empty coffee can to receive contributions.[2] Assemblyman Brown noted that the school was working for the people by "getting people involved in the system and forcing the system to accommodate them."[2] The local assistant district attorney viewed the school as causing his office to spend a disproportionate amount of time working on frivolous proceedings.[2] In the mid-1980s, the school called for the creation of a state militia.[5] The school issued pre-law certificates after two years of education.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marrou Brings U.S. Campaign to Kenai", Anchorage Daily News, p. B1, February 26, 1988, retrieved December 17, 2013 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ronnie Chappell (May 30, 1986), "Fighting For a Vision of Freedom Ken Cole says he wants to help others use the courts to protect their rights", Anchorage Daily News, p. B1, retrieved December 17, 2013 
  3. ^ Cole became a license Alaska attorney in 1998. See "",, May 12, 2010, archived from the original on May 12, 2010, retrieved December 17, 2013  and
  4. ^ "Property Taxes: The Biggest Issue in Kenai Elections", Anchorage Daily News, p. 1, October 5, 1986, retrieved December 17, 2013 
  5. ^ Martin Durham (2000), The Christian Right, the Far Right and the Boundaries of American Conservatism, Manchester University Press, p. 77, ISBN 0719054869, retrieved December 17, 2013 
  6. ^ "House District 8, Soldotna Seward", Anchorage Daily News, p. Z22, October 27, 1996, retrieved December 17, 2013