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Emory Law Centennial: 1970s-1980s

Scholarship and Specialized Academic Programs and Centers

An Increased Focus on Scholarship:

Deans of the 1970s & 1980sDean L. Ray Patterson’s six-year tenure (1973-1979) is notable for unprecedented growth among both students and faculty. The student body nearly doubled and became more diverse while no fewer than twelve new faculty members were hired. At this time, the law school also began to more actively encourage interdisciplinary work. Professor Jonas Robitscher was hired in 1972 with a joint appointment in medicine, and the first joint degree program, in law and business, was established in 1975.

Thomas D. Morgan was appointed to the deanship in 1980. The Woodruff gift to the University several months earlier allowed Dean Morgan to begin to recruit both prominent faculty members from other law schools, who brought their academic programs with them, as well as promising junior scholars to the faculty. The Law School finally had the resources to elevate scholarship as a top priority.

David G.Epstein became Dean in 1984 and continued the emphasis on scholarly productivity. An interdisciplinary perspective requirement and a writing requirement were also introduced. 

Development of Nationally Recognized Academic Programs and Centers:

Beginning in the mid-1970s, and accelerating throughout the 1980s, Emory Law was able to develop and support several outstanding academic programs and centers. In 1974 Emory began offering an LL.M. in Taxation, and by 1981 seventy-five students were enrolled in the program. By the end of the 1980s Emory Law offered three LL.M. programs (the general LL.M, Tax, and Litigation).  

The Law and Economics Center moved from the University of Miami to Emory in 1981. The Center’s sponsorship of conferences and publication of the Supreme Court Economic Review were of benefit to both students and faculty.

The multiple award-winning Trial Techniques Program began in 1982 as an intensive two-week trial practice course. The program was based on the National Institute of Trial Advocacy model and was soon required for all second year students.   

The 1980s also saw the founding and growth of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (originally the Law and Religion Program in 1982). Soon after the arrival of Professor Harold Berman, the Program began to attract law and religion scholars internationally and became an important and productive center of scholarly activity.  

In addition to the flagship Emory Law Journal, in 1984 the Law School began publishing a second journal, the Bankruptcy Developments Journal. And just two years later, a third journal, the Emory Journal of International Dispute Resolution (which evolved into the Emory International Law Review) was begun. U.S. Senators Sam Nunn (62L) & Wyche Fowler (69L), 1987