All incoming students are assigned to a Bigelow section, a part of the Harry A. Bigelow Legal Research and Writing Program in the Law School. There are six Bigelow sections and each section will take all of its courses together during the 1L year.
During Orientation, your Bigelow section will be your primary community for a variety of Orientation activities, including Kapnick. By spending your time together in Orientation you will develop a supportive community that is waiting for you on the first day of class.
Each Bigelow section is named after a Law School alum or former faculty member who is significant to our history. Check out the names and details of each Bigelow below.
Sophonisba Breckinridge was the first woman to graduate from the Law School when she graduated with the first full class in 1904. She decided to seek a law degree to ensure that the Law School would admit women. She was also the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in political science from the University, and was the founder of the University’s School of Social Service Administration. There is a “Breckinridge Hall” on the University of Chicago’s campus.
David Park Currie served on the Law School faculty longer than anyone except Edward Levi (43 years). He was the “architect” of three major casebooks, an expert in American and German constitutional law, the conflict of laws, pollution law, and a master of the Socratic Method. Former students fondly recall in-class performances of his beloved Gilbert & Sullivan tunes, the copy of the Constitution he always kept in his suit pocket, and his love for bicycling through Hyde Park.
Aaron Director was a celebrated professor at the Law School who played a central role in the development of the Chicago school of economics. Professor Director founded the Journal of Law and Economics in 1958, which is still regarded as the premier publication in the field. The founding of JLE cemented the University and the Law School’s central role in the growing discipline. The first issue included articles by Noble laureates Gary Becker and George Stigler.
James Parker Hall became the first full-time Dean of the Law School at the age of 33. He is the Law School’s longest serving Dean, serving for 24 years from 1904 until 1929, when Harry Bigelow replaced him. Hall strongly supported the vision of an interdisciplinary curriculum. He published a book on Constitutional Law and one on American Law and Procedure.
Jewel C. Stradford Lafontant was the first African-American woman to graduate from the Law School. She was also the first woman and the first African- American to hold the post of U.S. Deputy Solicitor General. She served as lead attorney before the Supreme Court in Lynum v. Illinois (establishing foundational law for the famous 1966 Miranda case). Lafontant also held leadership positions in the Department of State and was U.S. Representative to the United Nations in 1972.
Patsy Mink received her JD from the Law School in 1951. In 1964, she became the first woman of color elected to Congress. Mink is best-known as the principal author of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in academics and athletics at institutions receiving federal aid. Mink was also the first Asian-American woman to practice law in Hawaii.