In August 2014, the University of North Texas at Dallas welcomed the inaugural class of its new law school. Out of 600 applicants, 152 students—88 full-time students and 64 part-time students began a new law curriculum focused on practical application of the law over theoretical exercises.

At a time when law school applications were declining nationwide, and with nine other law schools already established in the state of Texas, UNT envisioned a program focused on making the law profession accessible to previously underrepresented groups and emphasizing comprehensive testing and student-teacher interactions over a traditional end-of-term exam. [1] Admissions for the inaugural class focused less on grades and LSAT scores and more on life experiences and recommendations. [2]

That inaugural class of the UNT Dallas College of Law was the culmination of more than ten years of planning and an investment of $5 million from the Texas legislature in 2011. The school’s first and current dean is Judge Royal Furgeson, a former federal judge for the Western District, and later the Northern District, of Texas. Judge Furgeson left the bench in 2013 to oversee the founding of a law school with a different vision: a vision of “lawyers as public servants.”[3]

— by Robert Lay, Special Collections Librarian

[1] Samantha McDonald, “Turning a Blind Eye to Law School Recession,” NT Daily, 4 September 2014, p. 4.

[2] “New Law School Only Accepts Students Who Want to Be Lawyers for ‘Right’ Reasons.” Huffington Post, last modified 18 April 2014, accessed 31 August 2015.

[3] Ibid.

Royal Furgeson, advocate in chief, UNT Dallas College of Law (Photo credit: NT Daily)

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