The South Texas School of Law opened in 1923 in the YMCA building at the corner of Fannin and McKinney streets. Organized by the Young Men’s Christian Association in response to the need for adult education, it was one of twenty such law schools in the country. Other law schools that were founded by the YMCA include Northwestern University School of Law, Western State New England College of Law, New York Law School, and Southern Methodist University School of law.
Houston in the 1920s was experiencing the explosive growth of the oil industry, which created a pressing need for lawyers to handle the business arising from the discovery, production, transportation, refining, and marketing of oil. The only accredited law schools in Texas at the time were The University of Texas in Austin and Baylor University in Waco. Confident that there a need for a law school in Houston, the YMCA Board of Directors established the South Texas School of Law on April 23, 1923.
The new law school offered students a chance to attain an LL.B. degree at night. The first class met on September 23, 1923, and consisted of 29 men and 5 women. The mission of the school was simple: train lawyers who would serve the legal needs of Houston and Harris County. The college would accommodate the needs of working students while providing a high quality legal education at an affordable cost. There were three basic entrance requirements: students must be of good moral character, be at least 18 years of age, and be classified as either regular or special. Regular students graduated from an approved four year high school or its equivalent and have a diploma as evidence. Special students did not meet the academic standards of regular students, but were permitted to enroll with the permission of the Dean. These students were required to make up the necessary work in order to attain regular standing and graduate. Tuition was $85 per year.
The name changed to South Texas College of Law Houston, but the misson of the school has remained same: to provide accessible legal education, distinguished by its excellence, to a diverse body of students committed to serving their communities and the profession.