Although he was running a private practice, Ralph H. Klapp fell in love with the Law School and with teaching after he became a lecturer for the Columbus College of Law in 1931. He became the Law School’s first full-time dean in 1935. During his deanship, classes were held during the evenings on the second floor of the Central YMCA building on Long Street in Columbus.
Dean Klapp’s greatest and hardest sought accomplishment was pressing to earn accreditation from the American Bar Association, which he said was a challenge given his belief that the ABA discriminated against evening schools – and YMCA-sponsored evening schools in particular.
He applied for provisional approval for the then-named Franklin University Law School as an accredited law school in 1949 – the first step in a five-year quest for full accreditation.
The law school received conditional ABA sanctioning in February 1950 and was placed on the approved list of the Section of Legal Education of the ABA.
Dean Klapp became Ohio’s assistant attorney general in 1951 and then chairman of the Ohio Industrial Commission in 1957. Full ABA accreditation came in 1954.
He returned as dean in 1960. Franklin University severed its ties to the Y in 1964, and subsequently “sold” the Law School to Capital University in 1966.
He was named Dean Emeritus in 1966. He passed away in 2002 at age 105.