History of Blackstone

A pioneer in distance learning, serving students since 1890.

If you search back issues of the World Book Encyclopedia, you will find Blackstone listed as one of the oldest correspondence schools in the nation.

It all began in 1890. At the turn of the century, students with a desire to study law were confronted with many difficulties. Most textbooks were written in a technical style which was difficult to understand and cluttered with Latin words and phrases. The texts dealt primarily with practice and procedure, while the branches of the law that pertain to business transactions, such as private corporations and partnerships, were not readily accessible for student use.

Around 1912, a group of prominent educators identified with the Chicago-based Blackstone Institute decided to prepare an up-to-date commentary dealing with the modern rules of law and their origin, nature, and growth.

Eugene A. Gilmore, at the time Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Educational Committee of the American Bar Association, was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the new series. His high standing in the field of legal education, as well as his acquaintance with university professors, lawyers, and judges, enabled him to attract the best legal talent in the country for this project.

The entire field of law was divided into sixty branches. The best authors for each subject were selected, and the decision was made to leave out as many of the Latin phrases, unnecessary technical matter, and useless citations as possible.

As the volumes were released to judges, lawyers, and law schools, the response was highly gratifying. The splendid editorial work and the manner in which the books filled a long felt need were instantly recognized. Court after court added the books to their libraries. Legislative and public libraries purchased them. Many resident law schools adopted certain articles for their classrooms. Attorneys purchased the books for reference work. The series was even cited by State Supreme Courts and United States District Courts. Why? Because judges, lawyers, and laymen recognized them as the only simple yet authoritative commentary on the law.

In the late 1970s, the educational component of the Blackstone Institute changed from a School of Law to a legal assistant/paralegal program of study. The Institute moved from Chicago to Dallas and assumed operations under the name Blackstone Paralegal Studies, Inc. Additional study units on legal research, ethics, and employment skills were added so that graduating students could sit for the prestigious Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam.

Direct Learning Systems, Inc., a distance education school, purchased the legal assistant/paralegal school from the retiring owner in September of 2001. In December of that year, the school was moved to Emmaus, PA, and later relocated in the summer of 2007 to Allentown, PA.

Blackstone Career Institute is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Washington, D.C., and regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools, Philadelphia, PA.