The Law Department, the third of those mandated by the state statute of 1837, commenced to function on October 3, 1859. In the morning the three-member law faculty met and elected James Valentine Campbell, an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, as its dean. In the afternoon, Campbell delivered an address "On the Study of Law" to a crowd of faculty, students, and visitors in the Ann Arbor Presbyterian Church.
The next morning, 90 students - 60 from Michigan, 29 from other states of the Union, and one from Canada - assembled for the first lecture in the prescribed course of instruction, held in one fo the two rooms in University Hall (torn down after World War II to make room for Mason Hall) assigned to the law department for its use. The other room held the law library of about 350 volumes, presided over by a law student - responsible for sweeping the floor and attending to the stove.
Reflecting the expansionist feelings of the period, the 90 law students undoubtedly expected the department would prosper. None would have been offended by the fact that each faculty member was a part-time instructor nor by the Spartan quarters in which the department was housed. Both were typical of the period. Given this frame of reference, it is most unlikely that any man then on campus could have imagined the future Law Quadrangle, a law library with over 650,000 volumes, a tenured and tenure-track faculty of 51, and a total student body of 1,126 - 479 from Michigan, 617 from other states, and 30 from foreign countries, made up of 742 men and 384 women.
Brown, Elizabeth Gaspar, "Professional Education Then and Now: Law" (1987). Other Publications. 171.