Southern University Law Center

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Southern University Law Center
Established 1947
School type Public university
Dean John K. Pierre
Location Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US
Enrollment 481 Full- and 248 Part-Time[2]
Faculty 71 Full- and Part-time[2]

Southern University Law Center, a campus of the Southern University System, opened for instruction in September 1947. It was authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Education as a Law School for blacks to be located at Southern University, a historically black college, and to open for the 1947-1948 academic session.

The Law Center offers full-time, part-time, and evening programs. For students who want to pursue the JD and MPA, the school offers a joint-degree program in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern. SULC's students learn two different systems of law: Louisiana is a civil law jurisdiction (in the tradition of France and Continental Europe), while law in every other state is based on the British common-law tradition.

A study-abroad program is offered in London, in which students take courses with international subject matter. SULC publishes two legal journals: its traditional Law Review and The Journal of Race, Gender and Poverty.

According to SULC's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 22.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[3]


In 1946, Charles J. Hatfield, III, an African-American veteran of Louisiana, applied to Louisiana State University Law School, the only state school that offered a law degree. Although he was academically qualified, he was rejected because of his race, as the state system was segregated. Hatfield filed suit against the state for rejecting his application. While he did not win in court, the State Board of Education decided to found a law school for African Americans.[4]

The State Board of Education responded by deciding at its January 10, 1947, meeting to found a law school at Southern University to serve African-American students, to open in September of that year. On June 14, 1947, the Board of Liquidation of State Debt appropriated $40,000 for the operation of the school. The Southern University Law School was officially opened in September 1947 to provide legal education for African-American students in the state. After 38 years of operation as a School of Law, the Southern University Board of Supervisors re-designated the school as the Southern University Law Center.

From 1972 to 1974, the law school dean was Louis Berry, a civil rights attorney originally from Alexandria, Louisiana.[5]

Today, the law school is one of only two public law schools in the state. Its student body is the most diverse in the state of Louisiana.[citation needed]


The Law Center program is accredited by the American Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Association of American Law Schools. It is approved also by the Veterans Administration for the training of eligible veterans.

Clinical program[edit]

The clinical education program at Southern University Law Center is ranked by the American Bar Association as 42nd out of 216 clinical education programs nationally. At Southern University Law Center, clinical education is available to third-year students but not required.

  • Administrative/Civil Law Clinic
  • Criminal Law Clinic
  • Domestic Violence Clinic
  • Elder Law Clinic
  • Juvenile Law Clinic
  • Low-income Taxpayer Clinic
  • Mediation Clinic

Physical plant[edit]

Housed in the 93,400-square-foot (8,680 m2) A. A. Lenoir Hall, the Law Center's program of study is designed to ensure that students graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of civil law and common law. Though emphasis is given to the substantive and procedural law of Louisiana, with its French and Spanish origins, Anglo-American law is integrated into the curriculum.


According to SULC's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 22.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[3] SULC's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 39.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[6]

According to The Faculty Lounge in March 2013, 43.2% of the Class of 2012 was employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar admission; SULC ranked as 161st out of 197 law schools.[7]

ABA Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates[3]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 206 Graduates


The total cost of full-time attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at SULC for the 2013-2014 academic year is $31,078 for Louisiana resident and $39,678 for non-residents.[8] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $122,502.[9]


  • Ranking among the "Best Law Schools for Public Service" in 2012 by PreLaw Magazine.[10]
  • Ranking first among law schools awarding "Law Degrees With Most Financial Value at Graduation" in 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.[11]
  • Ranking fourth most popular law school by U.S. News & World Report.[12]
  • Ranking in the top ten among law schools for competitiveness and diverse faculty & student body in the 2000 edition of The Princeton Review: The Best Law Schools'.
  • Ranking third among institutions awarding law degrees to African Americans by Black Issues in Higher Education (2000)
  • Ranking first among accredited law schools in the country for women-friendliness in a Woman’s Guide to Law Schools]] (1999)
  • Ranking in the top 20 percent of the nation’s accredited law schools in favorable student/faculty ratio (13:1)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Law School Profiles". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "ABA School Data". ABA. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Section of Legal Education, Employment Summary Report". ABA. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Miriam Childs, "Chief Honored at SULC 70th Anniversary", De Novo (Newsletter of the Law Library of Louisiana), Vol. 14, Issue 3, Fall 2017; accessed 18 June 2018
  5. ^ Leona W. Smith, St. Landry-Up From Slavery Then Came the Fire!!, p. 33. Bloomington, Indiana: Author House, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4567-6032-8. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Southern University Law Center Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Rosin, Gary. "Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term", The Faculty Lounge, 30 March 2013. Retrieved on 2 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Southern University A & M College - 2013 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). SULC. Retrieved 19 July 2014. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Southern University Law Center Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "10 Best Law Schools for Public Service". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "10 Law Schools with Most Financial Value". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Top 10 Most Popular Law Schools" (PDF). U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Richard Gallot, Jr. Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved September 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Judge Jeff Cox". Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Judge Mike Craig". Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Stephen Dwight". Facebook. Retrieved September 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Randal L. Gaines' Biography" Check |url= value (help). Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 4, 2015. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Judge John Michael Guidry receives new position". May 20, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2015. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "James "Jimmy" Harris, III, Announces Candidacy For Louisiana House of Representatives, District 99". August 12, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Edward C. "Ted" James, II". Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Edmond Jordan Announces Candidacy for Louisiana House District 29". July 15, 2015. Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Rep. Sherman Q. Mack". Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Kanawha delegate Poore says she'll run for Congress - Statehouse News - Charleston Daily Mail - West Virginia News and Sports". July 9, 2013. Archived from the original on July 10, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ledricka Thierry's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  25. ^ Staff, WAFB. "Southern University graduate makes Alabama history as youngest African-American female judge". 
  26. ^ "Ebony Woodruff". 

External links[edit]