On the evening of December 6, 1847, Judge Henry Adams Bullard, a Harvard alumnus and Louisiana Supreme Court associate justice, delivered the first lecture in the federal courtroom of the Customs House. As one local newspaper noted, the large audience consisted principally of "several...judicial functionaries, the veterans of the bar, the studious tyros in the profession, and those...about to be initiated into the mysteries of Themis." Judge Bullard, a native of Massachusetts, stressed what has become a unique and valuable aspect of legal education at Tulane: the teaching of the civil law, which is not only the legal system in private law matters in Louisiana, but also the dominant legal system in most of the rest of the world.
The second lecture was equally appropriate to the modern Tulane. It was given by federal Judge Theodore McCaleb, a South Carolinian who had studied at Yale, taught admiralty and international law, and was a friend of Alexis de Tocqueville and WIlliam Makepeace Thackeray.
The third and last inaugural lecture was delivered by Professor Randell Hunt, who became president of Tulane University after the CIvil War and specialized in constitutional law, commercial law, and evidence, the traditional grist of virtually all US law schools.
Tulane prospered in its early days, with classes of at least 22 students each paying $100 for the full course. By the time of the Civil War, 263 people were Law School alumni or former students. Christian Roselius reopened the Law School as dean in 1865. It has been closed only once since then--from August 29, 2005 until January 9, 2006, as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Tulane Law School has had 21 deans since Judge Bullard, and ten homes. It has over 10,000 living alumni.
Tulane University law school has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1925.