Birmingham School of Law

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The Birmingham School of Law is a law school located in the J. F. Oates Building at 22nd Street and 3rd Avenue South in downtown Birmingham's Midtown district.

The school offers evening classes taught by practicing attorneys and judges and leading to the Juris Doctor degree after 80 hours of credit in a 3-4 year course of study. The school is not accredited by the American Bar Association, but graduates are eligible for the Alabama State Bar Examination under state law. Current enrollment is approximately 540 students.

The Dean of the School is James Bushnell.

The Birmingham School of Law was founded by Birmingham Bar Association president Hugh Locke in 1915. In its first years classes were held in Locke's office, First Methodist Church, and Birmingham College, where Locke was a trustee. Later the school met at the 20th Street YMCA. During the Great Depression, classes were moved to the Jefferson County Courthouse, then later to leased rooms in the Frank Nelson Building at 205 20th Street North in downtown Birmingham.

Locke remained dean of the school into the 1950s, assisted by Winton Wilson as school director.

In 2012 the school moved into the J. F. Oates Building as its sole tenant. The renovation of the building, designed by ArchitectureWorks, won a Merit Award from AIA Birmingham in 2015.

The Birmingham School of Law recognizes chapters of Sigma Delta Kappa, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the Future Trial Lawyers of America.

Notable graduates


  • "Birmingham School of Law." (January 2007) Birmingham Then & Now Special Promotion. Birmingham Magazine. Vol. 47, No. 1, p. 137
  • Diel, Stan (May 9, 2012) "Birmingham School of Law gets a change of venue." The Birmingham News

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