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Albert John Farrah (1863-1944)
Albert John Farrah (1863-1944)
Dean Albert John Farrah was a native of the state of Michigan. He was born in Michigan, attended the University of Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Dean Farrah had been in education—a school superintendent. After practicing law for two years in Battle Creek, he was invited to return to his alma mater as a law professor. He taught there for three years. Farrah had found his true calling in the area of legal education.

Perhaps the bitter winters in the Midwest made the South look quite attractive to Farrah. He became dean of three southern schools— first Stetson, from 1900 to 1909; then Florida, from 1909 to 1912; and finally the University of Alabama, from 1912 until his death in 1944. He was the longest-serving dean in that school’s history.

When Farrah came to Alabama, the law library had only a few hundred books. Classes were held in Morgan Hail, a general classroom building where it was always hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Dean Farrah got to work. The library increased to over 20,000 volumes. The law school became accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools. And, he oversaw the construction of a new law building, where two generations of lawyers attended law classes. It became known as Farrah Hall.

Dean Farrah raised the level of legal education in the state of Alabama. His belief was that Alabama’s state law school should be a special place and that no son or daughter of Alabama should ever have to leave the state to obtain a great legal education. Succeeding generations of deans, professors, law students and alumni have built on Farrah’s firm foundation that he established at the University of Alabama School of Law.

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