Founded in 1909, the University of Oklahoma College of Law is one of the great public law schools in the United States with small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty with international expertise and a state-of-the-art facility featuring study rooms, courtrooms and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. As Oklahoma's only public law school, OU Law is currently the academic home of approximately 500 students enrolled in the Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Legal Studies and various dual degree programs. The University of Oklahoma Law Center is the parent entity of the College of Law. The Law Center also includes the Donald E. Pray Law Library, OU Legal Clinic, Department of Legal Assistant Education, Oklahoma Law Review and American Indian Law Review.
The University of Oklahoma College of Law, as part of the Oklahoma Law Center, seeks to provide a dynamic intellectual community dedicated to teaching and learning, research and service in the pursuit of law and justice as its students incorporate their legal training in preparation for the practice of law, judicial service and other leadership positions in Oklahoma, the nation, and the world.
The College of Law has progressed quite a bit since Julien C. Monnet founded it and in 1909. From its humble beginnings of Dean Monnet, two faculty members, and 47 students, the College of Law has grown to become the preeminent legal institution in the state. In 1914, thanks to the incessant lobbying of state legislators by law students for funding its construction, the college moved into its first permanent home, Monnet Hall. The 47,000-square-foot Law Barn, as it was affectionately known, was home to the college for 62 years. As the home of the College of Law, it was witness to many events in Oklahoma (and American) history, including the admission of then-future OU Regent Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, the first black woman admitted to the College of Law, in 1948. Other notable graduates include former US Senator and current OU President David L. Boren, former Oklahoma Governors Frank Keating and Brad Henry and former Oklahoma County District Attorney and current Dean Emeritus Andrew M. Coats. Despite the additional square footage built onto the rear of Monnet Hall, the Law Center, which the College of Law and its associated entities came to be called in 1971, outgrew the building, forcing a relocation to its current home on Timberdell Road in 1976. But it didn't end there. Adding the American Indian Law Review to complement the established Oklahoma Law Review, expanding clinical legal education, and generally striving to meet the increasing demands of legal education in the late 20th century caused OU Law to once again outgrow its facilities. In October 1999, the ground was broken on a $19 million construction and renovation project which ultimately added 80,000 square feet to the facility, featuring the 58,000 square foot Donald E. Pray Law Library and the 250-seat Dick Bell Courtroom. The new library features the Chapman Reading room, modeled after the reading room in Monnet Hall, with a parquet floor reminiscent of the floors in the Louvre. The Donald E. Pray Law Library, which is open to the public, boasts the largest law collection, public or private, in the state. The Dick Bell Courtroom is one of the largest and most technologically advanced courtrooms in the region, if not the nation, and hosts live trials from the various courts in central Oklahoma. The Bell Courtroom has hosted appellate cases from both the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (including a death penalty appeal) and the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, as well as civil trials from the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.