The William & Mary Law School, also known as the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, is located east of campus beside the National Center for State Courts on South Henry Street. Before the construction of its present home, the law school was housed in a number of buildings. It was located in the Old Gymnasium from 1922 to 1931, in James Blair Hall from 1935 to 1968, and in St. George Tucker Hall from 1968 to 1980. The school is named for John Marshall, class of 1780 and the 4th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and William & Mary professor, George Wythe, the first professor of law in America.
The opening ceremony for the School of Law occurred on January 14, 1922, when the school was still housed in the Old Gymnasium. The ceremony was attended by members of the Virginia General Assembly as well as other governmental officials. At that time, courses taught at the law school were arranged to prepare students for legislative, educational and diplomatic lines of work.
By 1974, overcrowded conditions in classrooms in Tucker Hall caused the administration to plan for a separate building. In 1975, the firm Wright, Jones, and Wilkerson designed the new law school building, and the groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 11, 1976. However, construction of the building was delayed until March 1978 due to lack of funding. The Law School moved in during the summer of 1980, and the dedication ceremony was held in September of that year.