In September 1893, Wake Forest College opened a School of Law. Its first students enrolled in 1894. Inaugural Dean N.Y. Gulley taught at the school for 44-years. His tenure yielded steady growth and a legendary state bar admittance rate.
Committed to educating all who wanted to learn, Gulley ignored a trustee directive and allowed women to begin auditing classes in 1915. Two women students passed the state bar examination in 1927. By 1931, approximately half of North Carolina attorneys had been school by N.Y. Gulley. Other talented scholars taught during these years and contributed immeasurably to the school’s success.
New professional standards influenced the school and culminated in its 1935 admittance to the American Association of Law Schools. World War II brought innovations. On June 1, 1943, the law schools of Wake Forest College and Duke University joined programs and began a two-year degree course. The joint school ceased when the war ended, but the program remained until the war’s veterans were educated.
Able post-war leadership from Deans Robert E. Lee and Carroll W. Weathers– with support from outstanding faculty including Professor E.W. Timberlake, Jr., and Dr. I Beverly Lake, Sr., helped solidify the Law School’s prominence in this state and beyond.