History and Development of Blackstone’s Paralegal Studies

Blackstone Career Institute owns the original curriculum for legal training. The vision of a thorough but simple reference series-one that would make law accessible to laymen-led to the foundation of the Blackstone Institute in 1890. The series was Modern American Law, and its authors were among the most respected of district judges, law professors, state supreme court justices, and members of the Board of Law Examiners. Special contributors included such distinguished men as:

Henry Parker Willis, secretary of the Federal Reserve Board
Joseph E. Davies, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission
George Sutherland, Utah state senator
William H. Taft, former President of the United States

The first edition of the books was published in complete form in 1916, four years after the work was started. The response was tremendous. Experts instantly recognized the splendid editorial work and the manner in which the books filled a long-felt need. Court after court added the series to their libraries, as did legislative and public libraries. Many resident law schools adopted certain articles for their classrooms, and attorneys purchased the books for reference. The series was used and recommended by judges, lawyers, and laymen. They considered it the best, and only, simple yet authoritative commentary on the law.

Before the series was completed it had been accepted and cited as an authority by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in the case of Dingman v. Hillbery, 149 Western 761, decided in November 1914. Since that time many other state Supreme Courts and United States District Courts have also cited the books. The present texts reflect many revisions and are continually updated as changes in law and legal procedure occur. The series was acclaimed as a masterpiece when the first edition appeared and subsequent editions have continued to add to its laurels.

Today this set stands uniquely as the only law series ever prepared for home study purposes which has received such high recognition and is cited by supreme courts as “authoritative”. Modern American Law, the first series of study of its kind, led to the development of Blackstone Institute, the first school of its kind. The Modern American Law series continues to be the backbone of Blackstone’s Paralegal Studies program today.

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