Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de São Paulo

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Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de São Paulo

Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo (in Portuguese: Faculdade de Direito da Universidade São Paulo, also known as Faculdade de Direito do Largo de São Francisco) is an institution of higher education and research in the field of Law located in São Paulo, Brazil. It joined the University of São Paulo (USP) in 1934, when the latter was established.


One of the oldest establishments of higher education in Brazil, and the oldest law school, the São Francisco Square Law School (in Portuguese: "Faculdade de Direito do Largo de São Francisco"), as it is also known, was founded together with the Olinda Law School (later moved and renamed Recife Law School), by Brazilian regent Dom Pedro I on August 11, 1827, but its classes began earlier than Olinda's. As it was founded a few years after the proclamation of the Independence of Brazil, it was essential for the administration of the Brazilian Empire, having formed most of those who would later become the class of public administrators in Brazil.

It is claimed to be the first university in Brazil, although two other academic institutions, specifically from Olinda and Manaus, also dispute such title.

The school was first installed in a monastery building from the Franciscan order, which was later rebuilt many times, one of them after a fire. The most recent construction dates from 1934. A number of Brazilian politicians and famous writers have studied at Largo de São Francisco since its foundation - for instance, Castro Alves, Álvares de Azevedo, Fagundes Varella, Rui Barbosa, Monteiro Lobato and others.

There is a statue of Álvares de Azevedo in front of the building with this quote: "Foi poeta, sonhou e amou vida". In English: "He was a poet, dreamed and loved in life".

It is said that the students who came from all over the country to study at São Francisco gave the then dull town of São Paulo a bohemian and cultural lifestyle, which is now a part of the city's character.

There is a gravestone in its patio, where Julius Frank, a German professor dear to students, was buried in 1841. Because Frank was a Protestant, he could not be buried in any of the Catholic graveyards in São Paulo, so the students chose to bury him inside the school as homage.


Consistently ranked as the first Law School in Brazil, the Sao Francisco Square Law School has been the alma mater of 12 Brazilian presidents and many outstanding public officers, diplomats, scholars, writers, politicians and businessmen. Each year the Sao Francisco Square Law School admits 460 new students in its graduation (LL.B.) program, from roughly 15,000 applicants. Postgraduate programs (Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science) are also available.