University of Memphis Cecil C Humphreys School of Law


The University of Memphis School of Law School relocated from its main campus building to the Historic US Custom House, Court House and Post Office in downtown Memphis. The new location, in the heart of the legal district, offers students opportunities for involvement in the local legal community. The design and restoration preserved the building’s historic environment, modernized all of its systems & adapted it for its new educational mission.

The new location is within close proximity to the offices of lawyers and judges of Memphis, giving students a better opportunity to become more involved in the local legal scene. The redesign and restoration preserves the building's inspiring environment, modernizes its safety and comfort, and adapts it for its new educational mission.

ANF preserved the historic nature of the building while providing a comfortable learning environment. The historic 1880’s federal court room was retained as a mock court room as were parts of other courtrooms and court functions to create an entire Moot Court Suite.

Renovations include providing four classrooms that seat approximately 100 students each and a main classroom that seats 300.

The school houses the 50,000 SF Plough Law Library, a bookstore, vending, faculty and administration offices, a legal clinic, student organization, and study areas. Three student terraces overlooking the Mississippi River provide an ideal setting for studying or social gatherings. Additional highlights of the renovation include a spacious reading room on the top level that overlooks the river, the careful mix of both historic and contemporary architecture in the design, and the close integration of Downtown public plazas and Bluff Riverwalk on both the east and west side of the school.

Because of the complexity of working on this existing historic building that was built in 3 distinct time periods, (1884, 1903 and 1929) many specialty consultants were contracted and managed by ANF (the JV Project Director), to aid in providing all of the new building systems necessary for a modern Law School, as well as historic seismic design. All of these systems were concealed without compromising the historic nature of the original and new building.

This project was an ANF led joint venture with Fleming.

ANF Architects Project Responsibilities:

  • overall project designer & director (Bill Nixon)
  • concept design documentation to assist UofM School of Law initiate fundraising & TBR interest in the project (100%)
  • feasibility study & building assessment
  • overall management of joint venture architecture, engineering, interior design, & specialty consultants team (100%)
  • programming, schematic design, & design development of building shell & core (100%)
  • programming, schematic design, and design development of new reading room overlooking river (100%)
  • demolition documents (100%)
  • construction documentation (60%)
  • construction administration & post occupancy phases (20%)
  • interior design, FF&E procurement (25%)
  • donor recognition & signage (100%)

Fleming Project Responsibilities:

  • seismic upgrade design
  • interior design
  • construction documents (40%)
  • construction administration & close out (80%)

Project Awards:
2018 PreLaw Magazine ranked the UofM the #1 Law School of the top 62 Law School Facilities in the nation
2014 PreLaw Magazine ranked the UofM the #1 Law School of the top 55 Law School Facilities in the nation
2014 Bext Choice Schools #24 of the 50 Most Impressive Law School Buildings in the World
2014 AIA Memphis Citation Award
2011 AIA Gulf States Honor Award
Masonry Construction Magazine 2010 Reader's Choice Award

From the Memphis Business Journal: