Robert K. Vischer portrait

Robert K. Vischer

Dean and Mengler Chair in Law
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., University of New Orleans
MSL 412
(651) 962-4838
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-4838
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Rob Vischer serves as dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. His scholarship explores the intersection of law, religion, and public policy, with a particular focus on the religious and moral dimensions of professional identity. His recent book from Cambridge University Press, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Morality of Legal Practice: Lessons in Love and Justice pushes back against the individualist premises underlying our modern conception of the lawyer’s role by exploring Dr. King’s vision of “the beloved community.”  In an earlier book, Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space Between Person and State (Cambridge Univ. Press 2010), Vischer defines and defends the relational dimension of conscience and identifies ways in which our legal system can better maintain the communal venues in which the dictates of conscience are shaped, articulated, and lived out.

His scholarship has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Illinois Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Florida Law Review, Indiana Law Review, Stanford Journal of Law & Policy, Washington University Law Review, Journal of Law & Religion, Legal Ethics, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, and Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, among others. He also writes for the magazine Commonweal and blogs regularly at Mirror of Justice and Legal Ethics Forum. Vischer teaches Professional Responsibility, Torts, Family Law, Foundations of Justice, and The Religious Lawyer. He was voted Professor of the Year by the graduating class in 2008 and 2011, and he received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007. 

Vischer came to St. Thomas from St. John's University Law School, where he was an Assistant Professor of Law and Fellow of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society. While at St. John's, Vischer received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching and was voted Professor of the Year by the student body. Previously, Vischer was associated with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, where he practiced corporate litigation. He clerked for three federal judges: Judge David Ebel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Joan Gottschall of the Northern District of Illinois, and Judge John Wiese of the Court of Federal Claims. He received his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from the University of New Orleans, and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Selected Publications


Martin Luther King Jr. and the Morality of Legal Practice: Lessons in Love and Justice (Cambridge Univ. Press) (2013)

Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space Between Person and State (Cambridge Univ. Press) (2010)


How Necessary is the Right of Assembly?, 89 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1403 (2013)

Where Do Businesses Fit Within the Freedom of the Church?, 21 J. of Contemp. Leg. Issues 369 (2013)

The Uneasy (and Changing) Relationship of Health Care and Religion in Our Legal System, J. of Theoretical Medicine & Bioethics (2013)

Big Law and the Marginalization of Trust, 25 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 165 (2012)

Legal Advice as Moral Perspective, 19 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 225 (2006)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Rethinking the Value of Associations, 79 Notre Dame L. Rev. 949 (2004)


The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws, First Things (Mar. 2012)

Political, Not Partisan, Commonweal (Dec. 3, 2010)

Robert Vischer Curriculum Vitae

Click here to read Vischer's scholarship on SSRN.

Fall 2017 Courses

Fall 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
LAWS 635 - 02 Torts - T - R F - - 0900 - 1015 MSL 235
CRN: 43289 Instructor: Robert K. Vischer This course will examine the legal principles that determine whether civil liability will attach to conduct that results in injuries to persons or property. Students will explore in depth, the issues and principles related to the law of neg- ligence and its elements of duty, breach, causation and damages. The course will also address principles of liability for intentional torts. Throughout the course, students will explore the social and economic policies underlying tort law principles.

Schedule Details

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J-Term 2018 Courses

J-Term 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2018 Courses

Spring 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
LAWS 950 - 26 Supervised Resrch & Writing - - - - - - U 0600 - 0601
CRN: 22833 Instructor: Robert K. Vischer Under the supervision of a faculty member, a student may receive up to two hours of course credit for researching and writing a substantial paper on a topic of the student's own choosing. The student must receive the instructor's per- mission to enroll in this course and must meet periodically with the instructor for discussion, review and evaluation. Each faculty member may supervise the research of no more than five students each semester.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)