1957-1967

Rockwell Hall constructionIn an unusual move for the time, a woman—Elizabeth Scheib—was tapped to oversee the school’s administration in the wake of Dean Brophy’s death. Scheib had long been associated with Duquesne University, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees here and teaching English and Latin in the undergraduate College from 1932 until 1940. She then moved to the Law School as Dean Brophy’s executive secretary, and would later serve as Law Librarian.

Another break with tradition followed. For the first time since Dean Swearingen, the university looked outside for the Law School’s new leader. Thomas F. Quinn arrived with degrees from Georgetown, Albany Law School of Union University, and Harvard. 

Shortly after Quinn’s arrival, the school made its long-awaited move to new on-campus quarters in Rockwell Hall. The combination of an energetic, enthusiastic new dean and 42,000 square feet of modern space propelled Duquesne’s ascent from local to regional prominence.

Among the benefits of the new surroundings was an enlarged law library spanning three floors. Judge O’Brien spearheaded a fund drive for the library, which was named in memory of Dean Laughlin. a grant from the Maurice and Laura falk foundation provided a moot court complex, complete with judge’s bench, jury box, counsel tables and seating for 100, with an adjoining reception room, judge’s chambers and a small lounge/library. This facility allowed Dean Quinn to turn Dean Swearingen’s advice that students visit the courthouse to view proceedings on its head—now courts came to the students. When the U.S. District Court ran short of space, Dean Quinn offered use of the new court room. Later, the complex was used by the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and the Pennsylvania Milk Control Commission. 

With new and larger space, Dean Quinn immediately turned his attention to launching a day division. for nearly half a century, Duquesne Law School had exclusively offered part-time evening studies, catering to a working student body. Quinn realized that the school’s potential for growth and national recognition was limited without a full-time program.

Duquesne had amassed an enviable record of graduates passing the Bar exam on their first attempt. Scores of alumni had earned respected positions in a range of practice settings. But the American Bar Association would not accredit part-time schools, adding urgency to Quinn’s task. 

Law Review 1963

When it opened in 1958, the day division welcomed 43 students. Bolstered by the capacity of Rockwell Hall, evening enrollment rose to 117 that same year. over time, day and evening enrollments came more into balance and swelled to a total of nearly 475 within the next decade.

Like many other law schools in those days, Duquesne’s attrition rate was high, but 15 of the original 43 day students persevered to receive their degrees in the spring of 1961.

That year also marked the school’s golden anniversary. After 50 years, it proudly claimed 850 living graduates, including 14 judges.

The school received provisional approval from the ABA in 1960. Following the customary probationary period, Duquesne Law School won full accreditation in February 1962. Two years later, Duquesne was accepted as a member of the Association of American Law Schools. 

Student organizations quickly emerged. The Student Bar association debuted in 1959, serving as a liaison between students and faculty and providing a forum in which social and professional concerns were aired. In 1963, a chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta national law fraternity was chartered and named in honor of Dean John Egan. 

The year 1963 marked the first edition of the Duquesne Law Review. The inaugural issue was dedicated to William H. Lacey, the last surviving member of the original 1911 Duquesne Law faculty, who had finally retired with the title of professor emeritus in the spring of 1962.

In October 1966, Quinn was appointed Clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The Rev. Henry McAnulty, C.S.Sp., university president, named John E. Murray acting dean effective January 1, 1967. Eight months later, Murray left Duquesne to accept a position with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, though he would later return to the Bluff. In an unusual arrangement, a five-member faculty committee was named to govern the school until a new dean was selected—a decision that would take several more months. 

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