The Litchfield Law School, established by Tapping Reeve in Litchfield,
Connecticut, was the first law school in America. From its opening in 1774, the
school trained more than 1,000 students before it closed in 1833. The course of
instruction included lectures by Reeve, a graduate of Princeton College, and
moot court sessions. Students transcribed Reeve's lectures into notebooks like
this, which would later serve as useful reference works in the law office.
William Samuel Johnson (not the first president of Columbia College, but
related to that family) received his A.B. from Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.)
in 1816 after which he read law at the Litchfield Law School. He began his
practice in New York City and was later elected to the N.Y. State Senate in
1848, representing the sixth district in Manhattan.