Forest Hodge O'Neal
Professor of Law, 1959-1966, Law School Dean, 1966-1968, Professor of Law, 1968-1972, James B. Duke Professor of Law, 1972-1975

F. Hodge O’Neal joined the Duke Law faculty in 1959 and served as dean for two years.  He remained a faculty member until 1975.

During O’Neal’s tenure as dean the law school took a stance on the Civil Rights Movement.  In 1966 the North Carolina Bar Association refused to admit an African-American Duke graduate.  In response the Duke Law faculty resolved on December 12 to terminate relations with the organization until all qualified applicants were given membership regardless of race.  Relations were not resumed until July 1, 1969.

O’Neal is given credit for creating a new subject in the study of law, the suppression of minority stockholders in a close corporation.  His work on this topic led to the recognition that close corporations are quite different from the typical traditional public corporation with shareholders and required different legal treatment.

Dean O’Neal completed his AB and LLB at Louisiana State in 1938 and 1940 respectively.  During World War II he served as a lieutenant in the Navy.  His first teaching position was at the University of Mississippi starting in 1945.  From 1947 to 1956 he was dean of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.  After serving as Duke Law’s Dean he returned to a professorship.  He became the James B. Duke Professor of Law in 1972.  In 1977 he became a faculty member at the law school of Washington University in St. Louis.  He acted as their dean from 1980 to 1985.  He retired in 1988 and died in 1991.


Duke University, School of Law, Bulletin of Duke University School of Law [serial]

F. Hodge O'Neal, 73, Ex-Law School Dean [], The New York Times (January 24, 1991)

Frank L. Maraist, In Memoriam: F. Hodge O'Neal [], 51 La. L. Rev. (1991)

W. Bryan Bolich, Duke Law School, 1868-1968 : A Sketch [], Duke Law School Alumni Directory (1968-1972)

Forest Hodge O'Neal
Historic Faculty