From Maverick to Mainstream
Cumberland School of Law, 1847–1997

David J. Langum and Howard P. Walthall


"An important contribution to the fledgling field of southern legal history because of the intrinsic interest of their story and because book-length histories of regional law schools are rare or nonexistent. . . . This is a solid work which will provide a model for subsequent histories."
Journal of Southern History

"Placing the local firmly in the national context, the authors set a new standard for the institutional history of American law schools."
Journal of American History

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Founded in 1847 in Lebanon, Tennessee, the Cumberland School of Law holds a unique place in the history of American legal education. As the premier law school in the South in the nineteenth century, Cumberland trained two United States Supreme Court justices, nine senators, a secretary of state, and scores of other federal and state judges, representatives, and governors.

Cumberland is among the oldest law schools in the southeast and is the first law school to have been sold outright from one university to another, passing from Cumberland University to Birmingham, Alabama's Howard College (now Samford University) in 1961. This book is a comprehensive narrative analysis of the school's pedagogical and social history in the context of legal education throughout the South and the nation.

Southern Legal Studies

Page count: 336 pp.
35 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9


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David J. Langum is the Director of The Langum Charitable Trust, a Research Professor at Cumberland School of Law, and the author, among other books, of William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America and Crossing over the Line: Legislating Morality and the Mann Act. Howard P. Walthall directs the Samford State Constitutional Law Project. He also serves as reporter for a joint drafting committee of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the American Bar Association aimed at developing an omnibus business entity statute.