Paul DeForest Hicks
The Litchfield Law School: Guiding the New Nation
Prospecta Press, 2019, 288 pp.
In this well-researched and engaging book, Paul
DeForest Hicks makes a convincing case that the Litchfield Law School provided
the most innovative and successful legal education program in the country for
almost fifty years (1784-1833). A recent history of the Harvard Law School
acknowledged, “In retrospect, both Harvard and Yale have envied Litchfield’s
success and wished to claim it as their ancestor.”
Upwards of twelve hundred bright and ambitious
students came from all over the country to study law at Litchfield with Tapping
Reeve and James Gould, who took a national rather than state perspective in
their lectures on the evolving principles of American common law.
In every year from 1791 to 1860, there were law
school alumni, including Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun, who served at high
levels in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal and
state governments. Hicks gives fascinating details about many who succeeded as
lawyers and in public office but also in the fields of business, finance,
education, art and the military. Whether they practiced law or pursued other
careers, their collective achievements continued to enhance the prestige of the
Litchfield Law School long after it closed.
DeForest Hicksis a graduate of Princeton
University and Harvard Law Schools and former Managing Director of J.P. Morgan
Please join the Lillian Goldman
Law Library for a book talk with and
commentary by . They will discuss
Mr. Hicks’ new book,
The event will take
place on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 2:10-3:00pm in SLB 127.