In 1889, aged only 28, Cambridge-educated Edward Jenks became the second Dean of Law at the University.
Also a Professor of Law, Jenks was the first to occupy a Chair of Law at an Australian university.
Professor Jenks was succeeded in 1892 by William Harrison Moore, appointed Professor of Law at the University at the young age of 25, starting work there in 1893 and becoming the longest serving dean.
Professor Moore specialised in constitutional law, which was transformed by Australian federation in 1901. He was the author of one of the first and most authoritative books on Australian federal constitutional law, The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, and his teaching influenced generations of law students, among them future Chief Justice Owen Dixon and future Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
Professor Moore became an adviser on constitutional issues to State and Federal governments, also to the Governor-General and the Victorian Governor.
Sir Kenneth Hamilton Bailey succeeded Professor Moore in 1928. He became the University's first Australian-born Dean of Law. As a Melbourne University student, Sir Kenneth was awarded the Rhodes scholarship for Victoria in 1919, and graduated in law and arts at Oxford University.
In 1924 he returned to the University, where he was lecturer in history and Vice-Master of Queen's College before becoming Professor of Jurisprudence and then Professor of Public Law. One of his former students and future Law School Dean Sir Zelman Cowen recalled "Bailey's courses were searching, stimulating and complex".