The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society recognizing high achievement among law school graduates. The University of Houston Law Center launched its Order of the Coif chapter in 1983, and has admitted more than 700 graduates and faculty as members.
The seal of the Order of the Coif depicts a serjeant-at-law, the highest order of counsel in medieval England. Known as serjeants of the coif and distinguished by white head coverings, the coifs, these serjeants served in a corporate society known as the Order of the Coif. Society members were appointed by judges and held a monopoly in the Court of Common Pleas until 1837, when Parliament decreed that appointed judges did not require the degree of serjeant-at-law – leading to a loss of privileges for all serjeants of the coif and, ultimately, a disbanding of the society in 1877.
Early in the 20th Century, the University of Illinois College of Law established an honor society for academic achievement, and Northwestern University School of Law followed suit with a society called The Order of the Coif. A national convention in 1911 merged the societies of the two schools into one Order of the Coif. Today, 80 U.S. law schools maintain Order of the Coif chapters.
Insignia of the American Order of the Coif depict the distinctive serjeant-of-the-coif seal and include the Certificate of Membership, the Badge of Membership, and the Key.
UH Law Center Chapter President: Professor Richard Alderman
UH Law Center Chapter Secretary: Professor Robert Schuwerk