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News-Record (Sept. 15, 1966)


WILLIAMSBURG (AP) -- The College of William and Mary has won a round in its fight to retain the honor that its Marshall-Wythe School of Law was the first law school in the United States.

The National Park Service has agreed to clarify its citation to a former Connecticut law school to preserve William and Mary's historical priority.

In an initial citation, the park service had designated the former Litchfield, Conn., Law School simply as "Tapping Reeve' law school, the first in the United States."

William and Mary, which has always claimed its law school was the first in the nation, said the Park Service had no consulted the college in its intention to give the honor to the Connecticut school.

So the park service has agreed to designate the site of the former Connecticut school as "Tapping Reeve's propriety law school, the first in the United States not associated with a college or university."

In a letter to William and Mary officials, released Wednesday, the service said it had made the clarification to meet objections raised by the wording of the first citation awarded Litchfield.

William and Mary Dean, Dr. W. Melville Jones, said the revised statement was "deeply appreciated and accurately reflects, for purposes of historical recognition, the status of the famed Tapping Reeve School which was so influential in New England during the time it was in existence."

At the same time, Jones, said, the revised citation "preserves the historical pr[i]ority of the law program at . . . William and Mary, which program began in December 1779."


Legal Education, Law Schools, History