Stories of 100 Years : Entering the Mainstream

Gonzaga Law in 1970, housed in the former Webster School

Stories of 100 Years is a series written by former Gonzaga Law professor Gary Randall that appears in the Lawyer Magazine, as well as online. See this story in the Winter 2012 Lawyer.

Entering the mainstream

Despite being a night school with many students holding full-time jobs, Gonzaga Law School was operating in a somewhat similar manner as when it opened for day classes in 1970 — the year it is considered as joining the ranks of mainstream law schools across the country.

Birth of the Gonzaga Law Review

The first Gonzaga Law Review, for example, had already debuted. The first issue was published in 1966 with Charlie Flower as editor. The single issue price was $2.

Flower, a Yakima attorney, recalls that the birth of the Law Review was not an easy one. Then full-time night students didn’t have much extra time on their hands. (As I recall my own experiences, such a task was indeed a major undertaking even as a student at a full-time day school. I was the first editor-in-chief of the University of Idaho Law Review that was published just two years prior.) Despite any obstacles, it was created and the first lead article was written by Eldon H. Reilly, then a faculty lecturer.

A study by one Gonzaga head law librarian in later years concluded that a substantial number of law review articles cited by the Washington Supreme Court – in some years the majority – were from the Gonzaga Law Review.

Starting the Clinical Law Program

The clinical law program was “born” in 1972 by the Student Bar Association (with less than great enthusiasm by the Law School administration). At least one (anonymous) member of the Bar lodged a formal complaint that it was the unauthorized practice of law. Jerry Moberg, the Student Bar Association class president, persisted with the help of Judge Kathryn Mautz and Doug Lambert. After a formal hearing before the Washington State Bar Association and with some interest by a local KREM TV reporter, the Bar Association decided this was a very good idea and not a problem at all.

The Gonzaga Student Bar Association won the National Award for Outstanding Student Bar Association the following spring. The law school shortly instigated its own formal clinical law program through Jeff Hartje and Mark Wilson. The program has flourished, provided practical education in an often impractical legal education system, and is one of the most important contributions by the Student Bar Association. Imagine, having students actually practice law rather than just read about it. Heresy.

The Class Action Newspaper made its appearance in 1972. At first it was an “underground newspaper.” Now copies reside in the Rare Books Archive of the Crosby Law Library. They make great reading.

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