New England Law | Boston

Changing Demographics


Portia Law School officers, 1946. Courtesy of The Boston Public Library, Print Department

In 1943, Portia Law School was still primarily a women’s institution, but the end of World War II changed everything. Veterans taking advantage of the G.I. Bill swelled the school’s ranks, ensuring that male students were now overwhelmingly in the majority.

By the mid-1960s, the school was in the midst of another dramatic transformation. The board had decided to pursue accreditation from the American Bar Association, a significant undertaking involving upgrades to admission standards and the school’s facilities, as well as the hiring of a full-time faculty.

  1. 1943: Changing of the guard

    1943 Changing Of The GuardW. Chesley York takes the reins as dean after the death of Portia Law School founder Arthur MacLean. The new position is bittersweet for York, a long-time faculty member and close friend of MacLean.

    Dean York (far right) at the 1943 commencement exercises with dignitaries and honorees. Courtesy of The Boston Public Library, Print Department

  2. 1944: Tough times

  3. 1949: Male students tip the balance

  4. 1952: A woman becomes dean

  5. 1958: The school expands

  6. 1962: Slade becomes dean

  7. 1963: A bold new path

  8. 1965: Portia Law Journal launches

  9. 1966: Kozuch becomes dean

  10. 1968: The board is restructured

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