• Dean’s Message: Celebrating a Decade of Success

    This fall we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. An anniversary is an opportunity to look back, to review what has happened, and to evaluate the current situation against the visions and dreams that guidedthe early days of the institution. Did we build on the right foundation? Did we set the right goals? Did we move in the right direction?

    Overwhelmingly the answer is yes. We always knew that we had something special here, but no one could have predicted that concepts so core to our mission would be the very things that the legal academy and the world at large are calling for as we move into our second decade. Recent media reports about the legal profession have focused on the transparency of data provided by law schools on the employment and salary statistics of recent graduates, as well as the renewal rate of merit scholarships. The choices we made at the beginning and continue to make in support of our students, faculty and staff, guided by our mission, enable us to be leaders in the national debate on these issues. Professor Jerry Organ was quoted recently in the New York Times and on Bloomberg Law, discussing his research on transparency and professionalism. Professor Organ summarizes his research and its implications in this  magazine.

    Another indication that we are on the right track is the excellent faculty members who call the School of Law their home. Our intention from the beginning was to recruit outstanding teachers and scholars who would make valuable contributions to our knowledge of law and society. We looked for and found deeply thoughtful people whose sense of call and personal mission has in turn guided us. And then we have supported them as they have pursued intriguing questions in their particular fields of expertise. For this 10th anniversary issue of the magazine, we asked them to briefly summarize their best idea of the last 10 years. Their responses will provide you with a glimpse of the depth and breadth of intellectual activity that goes on in this building, to which our lucky students are exposed on a daily basis.

    As most of you know, this is really the University of St. Thomas School of Law, part two. Part one was started in 1923 and lasted, interestingly enough, only 10 years, succumbing to the financial pressures caused by the Great Depression. But even in that short time, the faculty (adjunct and full-time) and students went on to make their mark on the Twin Cities’ legal community as judges, leaders in legal education and founders of some of the Twin Cities’ pre-eminent law firms. I think you’ll be surprised by how many names you will recognize. And I think our more recent alumni will be glad they graduated in the last 10 years and not 80 years ago when they read about the grading and the narrative assessments used back then.

    We are grateful that unlike School of Law, part one, part two is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a beginning, not an ending. We have accomplished much in the past 10 years and are positioned to enter our second decade with a strong foundation, a clear vision and a fresh set of goals and objectives. With your support and prayers, we are preparing the next generation of servant leaders in our communities.

     

    Thomas M. Mengler

    Dean and Ryan Chair in Law

    University of St. Thomas School of Law

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