Gordon, Mitchell

Mitchell Gordon

Director of Lawyering Skills and Associate Professor

(651) 962-4978
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-4978

1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Office Location: MSL 312

J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

M.A., Public Policy, University of Minnesota

B.A., Tufts University

Mitchell Gordon joined the School of Law in 2003 after serving as an adjunct instructor of Legal Writing & Research at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Gordon was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, and attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, where he served as student body president. He earned a B.A. magna cum laude in political science and English from Tufts University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. His master's thesis examined the creation of the "Brandeis brief" method of legal argument. He was later named a Humphrey Institute Research Fellow and worked as an assistant to former Minnesota Gov. Orville Freeman.

Gordon graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was a director of the National Moot Court program and a member of Minnesota's competition team, which advanced to the national finals. He also clerked at the Minneapolis law firm of Mansfield & Tanick, P.A., and in the Special Litigation Division of the Hennepin County Attorney's office. After law school he joined the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P.

From 1999 to 2003, Gordon served in the office of Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch as an Assistant Attorney General. In that office Gordon represented the state in cases involving fraudulent charities and telemarketers, and participated in the Attorney General's groundbreaking investigation of HMOs and other health care nonprofits. He also advised numerous state agencies, primarily the schools of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, and worked on behalf of the Attorney General's legislative agenda.

Gordon is a member of Temple of Aaron Congregation and many religious, social justice, and community organizations. In 1999 he was a candidate for the St. Paul City Council, and won the endorsements of both the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and the Independence Party.

Gordon is married to his high school sweetheart (Karen). This achievement is the most significant example of his skills in negotiation and persuasion.

Courses Taught

Number Title Credits
620 Lawyering Skills I 3
625 Lawyering Skills II 2
770 Comparative Constitutional Law 2
950 Supervised Resrch & Writing .5

From the article "Grand Ideas: Faculty members describe the best ideas from their scholarship" St. Thomas Lawyer Magazine Fall 2011

My most important idea has been that Supreme Court justices differ greatly in how they discuss history. Some judges use history to identify and implement the original understanding of the framers of our country’s founding documents, focusing on what they meant to do, and then using that understanding to argue a particular point in a case. In “Adjusting the Rear-View Mirror: Rethinking the Use of History in Supreme Court Jurisprudence” (2006), I proposed that history might be more effectively used to help us focus on the present and the future, concentrating on why the framers did what they did. This approach to the historical record allows us to consider the accumulated wisdom of the past two centuries as we determine the best course of action to take now with an eye toward creating a stronger future.

Upcoming: My current work concerns the Ninth Amendment and the problem of unenumerated rights. As the Bill of Rights was created, it became clear that the founders would not be able to delineate every last right to which people were entitled, then or at any point in the future. The Ninth Amendment provides a structure for discussing those rights that are not explicitly addressed in the Bill of Rights.


Mitchell Gordon, Don’t Copy Me, Argentina: Constitutional Borrowing and Rhetorical Type, 8 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 487 (2009).

Mitchell Gordon, One Text, Two Tales: When Executive/Judicial Balances Diverged in Argentina and the United States, 19 Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 323 (2009).

Mitchell Gordon, Adjusting the Rear-View Mirror: Rethinking the Use of History in Supreme Court Jurisprudence, 89 Marq. L. Rev. 475 (2006).

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