South Texas College of Law was officially established in 1923, following a recommendation by both the YMCA Educational Committee and the Board of the Governors of the School of Technology. The law school, which became part of the United YMCA Schools under the control the Houston YMCA, was initially established to provide working individuals with the opportunity to study law in the evenings. The school's curriculum was based on the curriculum and law programs in existence at the University of Texas. In 1945, the law school changed its name to South Texas College of Law and in 1967 it ended its association with the YMCA.
In 1998 the dean and president signed an affiliation agreement between South Texas and Texas A&M University. This affiliation was later questioned by the courts and ultimately terminated. Also in 1998, South Texas joined forces with California Western School of Law, New England School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, and William Mitchell, to establish the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education. Through the program, which combines the resources of the four participating schools, students can earn transferable credits and participate in foreign study programs. Past consortium activities have included a two-week course in Europe on European legal systems and the establishment of a LLM degree in Advanced Litigation Management.
Today, in addition to its JD program, South Texas offers the “3 and 3” Program, which allows students to earn their bachelor's degree and JD in just six years. The program, which is the result of a joint effort with Texas A&M University, permits admission to the law school following the junior undergraduate year. Participants are eligible to receive a Bachelor's degree after completing the first year of law school.
The school's centers of excellence include the Advocacy center, the Corporate Compliance Center, The Frank Evans Center of Conflict Resolution, and the Transactional Practice Center.
South Texas College of Law encourages the development of legal skills and judgment, as well as a sense of public responsibility through its Clinical Studies Program. The forms of clinical preparation offered through the law school include simulation activity, direct representation clinics, and academic internships. Simulation advocacy clinics are typically offered in small group settings and include family law trial advocacy; voire dire; mediation training; interviewing and counseling; administration of estates; contract drafting; and corporate, real estate, and international/intellectual property transaction skills. On-site Direct representation clinics include the Mediation Clinic, the Family Law Basic Clinic, the Family Law Complex Clinic, the Probate/Estate Planning Clinic, the Access to Justice Clinic, and the Guardianship Clinic. US and international court-based, public interest, government, and hospital internships are available all year long.
South Texas College of Law student publications include the Corporate Counsel Review, the Construction Law Journal, the Currents International Trade Law Journal, the South Texas Law Review, and the Texas Journal of Business Law. Additionally, the law school produces Annotations, an on-line school and legal news publication.
With more than 35 student organizations, students have ample opportunity to socialize and network. Student organization offerings include the Aggie Law Students Association, the Animal Law Society, the Board of Advocates, the Intellectual and Tech. Law Society, the Real Estate Law Society, and the Student Bar Association.