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

  8. 1930: First male graduates

    1930 First Male GraduatesIn addition to the 75 women receiving the LL.B degree, two men and two women are awarded the LL.M.

    John William Sliwa, 1931 LL.M. graduate. Courtesy of Andrew Tabak

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

  10. 1939: Fully coeducational

Top of Page | Exhibit Home | New England Law Home | Questions? | Copyright Notice