The Deans Collection

The Law School’s D’Angelo Law Library has created a new digital collection to showcase the history, achievements, and legacies of the deans of the Law School. Since its founding in 1902, the Law School has had fourteen deans. This collection, curated initially by Mariana Brandman, the 2020-2022 Hanna Holborn Gray Fellow, aims to tell the story of the Law School through the deans who have shaped its history.

At the turn of the twentieth century, University of Chicago President William R. Harper set out to create a premier law school in the West.


Joseph Henry Beale, profile, in a suit and tie, upon retirement.

Joseph Henry Beale

A sepia-toned photo of a Gothic building, Stuart Hall.

At the request of President Harper, Beale took a two-year leave from Harvard Law to help build the Law School from the ground up. Its first home was Stuart Hall.



James Parker Hall wears wire-framed glasses, suit, tie, and vest. In black and white.

James Parker Hall

Hall is the longest-serving dean in the history of the Law School. He held high ideals for the Law School and maintained rigorous standards to ensure its excellence. Hall felt strongly that legal education was a matter for graduate study, a model that UChicago and its Law School pioneered throughout the twentieth century.



Black and white photograph of Harry Bigelow sitting at a desk in wire frame glasses and dark suit and tie.

Harry A. Bigelow

Bigelow expanded the curriculum to include subjects not traditionally taught in American law schools, such as economics, psychology, history, political science, and statistics. This placed UChicago on the vanguard of American legal education. Bigelow also oversaw the founding of The University of Chicago Law Review.



Black and white photograph of Wilber Katz with wire-framed glasses and dark suit and tie.

Wilber G. Katz

Four white men in suits and ties look at piece of paper.

Katz’s years as dean spanned the prewar, wartime, and postwar years of 1939-1950. Having led the committee that birthed the curricular innovations from Bigelow’s time, Katz continued the Law School down the same trajectory. He also served as the unofficial mentor to The University of Chicago Law Review.



Black and white photograph of Edward Levi with wire-framed glasses and dark suit and tie.

Edward H. Levi

Levi oversaw the marked academic and physical growth of the Law School. He established a development campaign, which, along with grant funding from the Ford Foundation, led to Levi’s most tangible contribution: the Laird Bell Law Quadrangle.

An aerial view of the Law School building.
The Law School building under construction. Three floors are partially built with worker on the top.


Black and white photograph of Phil Neal at a lectern in glasses and a suit and tie.

Phil C. Neal

Four men and one woman lined up in front of the fountain in front of the Law School building.

Neal made his biggest mark on the Law School through his influential faculty hires, three of whom would serve as the next three deans. Programming also flourished during his time; he helped the community utilize the potential of the new Laird Bell Quadrangle.



Black and white photograph of Norval Morris flipping through a magazine at his desk.

Norval Morris

Morris bolstered the strength of the Law School’s faculty and initiated the capital campaign to revitalize the Law School’s library. He kicked off the fundraising effort that would result in the dedication of the D’Angelo Law Library in 1987.



Black and white photograph of Gerhard Casper in a suit and tie.

Gerhard Casper

Four men and two women stand on a balcony where ribbons trail from the railing.

Casper oversaw a massive campaign that allowed for new endowed professorships and financial aid, as well the expansion of the library’s building by 45 feet to the south. The library’s bookstack capacity doubled and the Louis H. Silver Special Collections Room’s capacity for rare books quadrupled.



Black and white photograph of Geoffrey Stone wearing glasses in a suit and tie, sitting at a desk with a sheaf of papers in front of him.

Geoffrey R. Stone

Stone established the Law School’s famous Work-in-Progress workshop, providing a means for faculty to present papers to their colleagues every week in lively discussions. He sought to foster a community spirit among students by incorporating their input on faculty committees, holding quarterly town halls, and fostering the creation of new academic and social organizations.



Black and white photograph of Douglas Baird with wire-frame glasses and in a suit and tie. A book is open in front of him.

Douglas G. Baird

People pass in front of a large pink and orange painting in the Law School's Green Lounge

Baird oversaw an artistic addition to the Law School environs in 1994. Four paintings, known as “The Law School Series,” by Chicago artist Judy Ledgerwood, were hung in the Green Lounge that autumn. He also facilitated the establishment of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.



Black and white photograph of Daniel Fischel in a suit and tie with large-rimmed glasses..

Daniel R. Fischel

Daniel Fischel, in a white button-up shirt and tie, with glasses, is surrounded by smiling students.

Fischel sought to support a wide range of career paths for Law School students. In particular, he encouraged entrepreneurship-related initiatives designed to prepare students for contemporary challenges in the legal field, such as globalization and the digital revolution.



Saul Levmore wears glasses and suit and tie.

Saul Levmore

Saul Levmore points at a whiteboard.

Levmore’s tenure saw significant changes at the Law School: more modern facilities, including renovated classrooms, impressive faculty hires, innovative curricular expansions, and an increase in clinical opportunities for students.



Michael Schill leans forward, wearing a suit and tie with glasses.

Michael H. Schill

Michael Schill sits a conference table in a suit and tie. Next to him is a woman in a red dress. Ten others sit around the table with cookies and soda cans in front of them.

A central focus of Schill’s deanship was to provide opportunities for students to develop leadership skills. He oversaw the institution of the Keystone Professionalism and Leadership Program, the Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, and the Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative.



Thomas Miles smiles in a suit and tie outside the Law School.

Thomas J. Miles

Thomas Miles points at a whiteboard in a classroom. Students with laptops and books open in front of them look on.

Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics, had been on the faculty for ten years before becoming dean. He deepened the Law School’s distinctive commitment to scholarship and learning through new centers and clinics, curricular innovations (including in the 1L year and in business-law), and the recruitment of outstanding faculty.