Samford University, Cumberland School of Law

800 Lakeshore Drive , Birmingham, AL 35229 | Google Map

Founded 1847 | ABA Accredited 1949

Established in 1847, Cumberland School of Law holds the distinction of being the 11th oldest law school in the country. Rich with over 160+ years of tradition and history, the school was originally founded by Judge Abraham Caruthers in Lebanon Tennessee. During a time when legal study was conducted primarily by apprenticeship, Judge Caruthers’ vision pioneered an instructional method based on intensive trial practice. After President Lincoln called for a northern invasion of the South to start the Civil War, the campus split. Some students and professors fled to the North while others joined the South’s Confederate Army. Judge Caruthers fled to Marietta, Georgia. During his absence, Confederate officers ordered the law school’s buildings razed after learning that black Union soldiers had used them as barracks.

Cumberland persevered and progressed over the next hundred years and produced a list of distinguished graduates that includes two Supreme Court Justices, several state governors, a long list of U.S. Senators and Representatives and even a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In 1949, Cumberland received ABA accreditation. Twelve years later, in 1961, it was sold to Samford University and moved from Tennessee to Birmingham, Alabama.

Cumberland offers two degree programs, a Juris Doctor (J.D.), and a Masters of Law designed to instruct foreign lawyers on the basic legal principles of the United States. The school also offers six dual-degree programs. Today, Judge Caruthers’ passion and focus on trial practice still resonates – U.S. News recently ranked the school’s Trial Advocacy Program among the top ten in the country after several of its trial teams reached the finals and/or won high profile trial advocacy competitions.


Cordell Hull, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and U.S. Secretary of State Charlie Crist, Florida Governor Robert Aderholt, Representative from Alabama, U.S. House of Representatives Howell Edmunds Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice George W. Harkins, Choctaw Chief and Judge




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