New England Law | Boston

A Women’s Law School

1908

Students surround school founder Arthur MacLean, 1938. Courtesy of The Boston Public Library, Print Department

As an institution tailored to women from working-class families, Portia Law School was sensitive to financial and time pressures, offering part-time enrollment. And when the state toughened requirements for law students, Portia added resources like a GED-equivalency program and college-level courses.

Out of financial necessity, particularly during the Great Depression, Portia Law School began opening up its programs to male students. Like their female classmates, the men were drawn to the school’s flexible approach and established reputation.

  1. 1908: First steps

  2. 1918: Becoming official

  3. 1919: First student organizations

  4. 1920: Changing rules

  5. 1921: Move to Beacon Hill

  6. 1926: Establishment of a Master’s program

  7. 1927: First publications

    1927 First PublicationsPortia Law School’s first yearbook, The Legalite, comes quickly on the heels of the Portia Punster, the first student paper, which debuted in 1926.

    Helen Thompson, pictured here, was editor of both The Legalite and Portia Punster. She graduated from Portia Law School in 1927. Courtesy of the Enterprise News, Brockton.

  8. 1930: First male graduates

  9. 1934: Founding of the Portia College of Liberal Arts

  10. 1939: Fully coeducational

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