History

A History of the University of St. Thomas School of Law

1885: College of St. Thomas is founded by Archbishop John Ireland and dedicated to patron saint Thomas Aquinas.

1923: After offering a prelaw program since 1914, St. Thomas opens a School of Law, classified a "day school" by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court's former chief justice, Thomas D. O'Brien, is named dean.

June 2, 1926: The first class of law students - nine in all - graduates.

1928: From the 43rd Annual Catalog: "First-year law students are challenged to a rigorous, yet familiar docket of courses, including: Contracts and Quasi Contracts, Torts, Common Law Actions, Domestic Relations, Personal Property, Sales, Criminal Law, Damages, Agency and Nature of Law."

1933: The Depression and decline after World War I force the closure of the School of Law.

May 16, 1999: After extensive research, the university's board of trustees announces the reopening of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. David T. Link, dean of Notre Dame Law School for 24 years, is named founding dean in July.

Winter 1999: The University of St. Thomas Law School of Law moves into Terrence Murphy Hall on the downtown Minneapolis campus.

Spring 2000: Patrick Schiltz, professor at Notre Dame Law School, is named associate dean and Edmund Edmonds, library director at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, is named director of the law library.

August 2001: The founding class of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, 120 members strong, begins classes in Terrence Murphy Hall.

June 2002: Thomas Mengler is named the second dean of the School of Law. Mengler arrives at St. Thomas after 11 years as dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.

February 2002: Ground is broken on the new School of Law building at the corner of 11th Street and Harmon Place in downtown Minneapolis.

August 2002: 99 members of the Class of 2005 begin classes at the School of Law.

April 2003: More than 100 members of the School of Law community take part in the first ever Public Service Day.

April 2003: Keshini Ratnayake receives the first Living the Mission Award as part of the School of Law Awards Day. Consistent with the mission of the law school, awards are presented in the categories of excellence in professional preparation, scholarly engagement and societal reform and service and community

July 2003: The School of Law moves into a new 158,000 square foot building at the corner of 11th Street and Harmon Place. The $34.8 million building includes 11 classrooms, a 40,000 square foot law library, a two-story chapel, and a classically designed moot court room.

August 2003: The American Bar Association House of Delegates grants the University of St. Thomas School of Law Provisional Accreditation.

August 2003: Along with the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, the Law school opens the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC).  The IPC houses the Legal Services Clinic of the law school.

August 2003: The School of Law welcomes the 123 members of the Class of 2006. For the first time, a full complement of three classes is in place in the law school.

September 2003: With the start of the academic year, more than 450 members of the Twin Cities bench and bar are involved in the one-of-a-kind University of St. Thomas Mentor Program.
 
October 2003: The School of Law building is formally dedicated. Archbishop Harry Flynn blesses the building, the Honorable Diana Murphy delivers the keynote address and Saran Jenkins speaks on behalf of the students.

February 2004: The School of Law hosts the second annual University of St. Thomas Moot Court Competition. Second year students Betsy Thompson and Phil Wilson present strong arguments before three judges and about 50 spectators in the Frey Moot Courtroom.

April 2004: Work is completed on the first University of St. Thomas Law Review under the direction of Editor in Chief Ryan Palmer. The 780 page volume is titled "God, the Person, History, and the Law: Themes from the Work of Judge John T. Noonan, Jr."

May 22, 2004: Members of the first graduating class of the University of St. Thomas School of Law receive their Juris Doctor degrees.

February 14, 2006: The School of Law is granted full accreditation by the American Bar Association. The designation comes six months earlier than anticipated.

January, 2012:  School of Law welcomed to full membership in the American Association of Law Schools