A History of the US Presidency and T-14 Law Schools
Joe Biden is the first lawyer to become president without a J.D. from a T-14 law school in over a century.
Law.com reports that the last lawyer-president who didn’t graduate from a T-14 law school was William Howard Taft, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and held the presidential role in 1909. President Biden graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968.
T-14 LAW SCHOOLS THAT PRODUCED PRESIDENTS
Over the years, America has seen a handful of presidents who graduated from the top 14 law schools. Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law, Bill Clinton at Yale Law, Richard Nixon at Duke Law, and Franklin D. Roosevelt at Columbia Law, according to Bloomberg Law.
The Bloomberg Law report even analyzes across party lines and dives into how many House and Senate members T-14 law schools produced. Amongst House and Senate law makers, 16 Republicans attended T-14 law schools compared to 58 Democrats.
Vice President Kamala Harris earned her J.D. from the University of Hastings College of the Law in 1989.
According to Law.com, Harris led the Black Law Students Association as president at Hastings and also held a regional leadership role in the national organization for Black law students.
Hastings law Dean David Faigman spoke highly about Harris last year.
“There is no question that there is over-the-top excitement among the alumni community,” he told Law.com. “Not just the class of ’89—which was her class—but I would say up and down our 20,000 alumni. There is just a sense of pride and a sense of excitement. It’s hard to have a conversation with an alumni in which Kamala’s name doesn’t come up.”
LAW SCHOOLS SEE JUMP IN APPLICATION
The number of applicants to US law schools increased by 35% last year, according to numbers from LSAC.
While experts can’t pinpoint one singular reason behind the jump in applications, some say the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have played a large role.
“It has become trite, but 2020 is a unique year,” Kellye Testy, president of LSAC, says. “We are seeing a real surge in candidates taking the LSAT and applying. There are a lot of factors at work here. But we hear a lot of about motivation from [Ruth Bader Ginsburg]—the RBG moment. We’ve been saying our candidates have ‘really big goals.’ They are talking about racism, COVID, economic inequality, political polarization, and climate change. They are inspired to make a difference.”
At Hastings, law school applications were up more than 50%.