Only 10 percent of the American population completed high school 100 years ago. That diploma was enough to qualify for law school at the time, including Albany Law School. And with three women, two students from Puerto Rico and one Jewish student, Albany Law’s Class of 1912 was far more diverse than most law schools.
This was the class Robert Jackson attended. And this was the time period described by Associate Judge of the Court Appeals Victoria A. Graffeo '77 on Feb. 2 to a packed Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom. The event launched the Centennial Celebration of Justice Jackson’s legacy since attending Albany Law School.
Jackson lived on Lark Street during his law school days, a short walk from the old campus. He skated frequently on the Lincoln Park pond, where he met his wife. Albany historian and Times Union reporter Paul Grondahl described Albany life in 1912, and Professor John Q. Barrett of St. John's University School of Law, who is also the Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow at the Robert H. Jackson Center, spoke specifically about Jackson's time in Albany.
A permanent Jackson exhibit was unveiled in the East Foyer, not far from the new banner that hangs behind the security desk, giving Jackson a new campus presence.
The Feb. 2 event was the start of a year-long celebration that includes a movie night on Feb. 22, the Justice Robert H. Jackson Centennial Student Writing Competition with cash prizes and a three-day conference on Africa and International Law featuring the annual Justice Jackson Lecture.
Judge Graffeo explained on Feb. 2 that at the time of Jackson’s legal education, a typical route to bar admission was through apprenticing. It was not until the very next year that the New York Court of Appeals approved a three-year curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Laws degree (an LL.B.).