Leon H. Wallace, son of Harry S. and Leona A. Wagoner, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on January 24, 1904. He attended Harrison School, and then graduated from Garfield High School in 1921. He transferred to Indiana University in 1923, after attending the University of Illinois for two years. From I.U., he earned his B.A. in 1925, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an honorary academic. That same year, he married Anna Ruth Haworth.
From 1926 to 1930, Wallace was the production manager for RandMcNally Company in San Francisco, and then returned to Bloomington to enroll in the I.U. Law School. He graduated with his J.D. in 1933, and was employed in the law firm of Wallace, Randel & Wallace. In 1945, Wallace became a full professor at the I.U. School of Law, and was chosen in 1952 to succeed Bernard Gavit as Dean of the Law School. During Wallace's term, he designed and opened the new, and present, construction of the Law School in 1956. Wallace resigned as Dean to return to teaching in 1966, and remained on the I.U. faculty for ten more years, retiring in 1976.
Among his many significant memberships and contributions, Wallace was a founder of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association and national president of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. Wallace also served as secretary-treasurer of the Indiana State Bar Association Foundation from 1951-1976.
Wallace was the recipient of several awards. In 1958, Garfield High School named Dean Wallace the recipient of its tenth annual Distinguished Alumnus Award. For his service in the Indiana State Bar Association Foundation, and upon retirement, he was given the honorary title of "secretary emeritus". After his death in 1986, the Leon H. Wallace Teaching Award has been awarded to an outstanding member of the IU Law School faculty.
Dean Wallace died in Bloomington on November 19, 1985, at age 81.