Founded in 1872 as the first law school in Alabama. Henderson M. Somerville was the first professor and later an Alabama Supreme Court Justice. The first dean was William L. Thorington (1897-1908). The school occupied, in turn, parts of Woods, Manly, Barnard, and Morgan Halls, and all of Farrah Hall, named for Albert J. Farrah, Law Dean, 1913 to 1944. The present Law Center, designed by Edward Durrell Stone, was completed in 1978. In the year 2000, the Law School had graduated more than 8,300 students and was ranked among the Top 50 law schools in the United States.
The University of Alabama School of Law was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1926 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1928. At the beginning of the 21st century, the Law School offers a broad curriculum taught by a well-qualified faculty. High academic and diversity standards have assured an outstanding student body. Student academic achievement is recognized by admission to the Order of the Coif, selection to the staffs of three journals published by the Law School, participation in six moot court competitions, four national trail competitions, and numerous awards. Continuing Legal Education is offered to the licensed bar statewide from this and other locations. Service to the community and state is carried out through six law clinic.
One of the Law School's most celebrated alumni is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black (Class of 1906), whose home office and personal library, donated by his family, are replicated in the school's Bounds Law Library. Named for Donald Richard Bounds, Jr. and Russell Hampton Bounds, the library also houses the Howell T. Heflin Conference Room and the John C. Payne Special Collections Room. Graduates include numerous, state and federal judges, seven state governors, nine U.S. Senators, thirty-one U.S. Representatives, and numerous state legislators, academics, leaders of the bar, and corporate executives. Private support is provided by loyal alumni and friends through the Law Alumni Association, the Farrah Law Society, and the Law School Foundation.