Director of Lawyering Skills and Associate Professor
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.
|620||Lawyering Skills I||3|
|Description of course 620 :||This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of legal problem solving through legal analysis, legal research and legal writing methods. Students will learn methods of legal analysis, including fact analysis and rule-based reasoning, using common law and statutory sources. Students will learn legal research in primary and secondary sources, in both traditional and electronic formats, emphasizing efficient research strategies. Finally, students will learn to structure, write and edit a formal memorandum of law. Instruction in lawyering skills will be integrated to focus on the problem-solving process and to help students begin to develop independent professional judgment.|
|625||Lawyering Skills II||2|
|Description of course 625 :||This course will refine students' legal problem-solving skills using legal analysis, legal research, and legal writing strategies and will introduce students to additional lawyering skills. Students will advance from objective to persuasive legal writing projects set in an advocacy context and will draft typical litigation documents, such as plead- ings, pre-trial motions, and trial briefs. Students will consider various dynamics of the lawyer/client relationship, conduct a client interview, and prepare a client opinion letter. Finally, the course will explore alternative methods of dispute resolution.|
|770||Comparative Constitutional Law||2|
|Description of course 770 :|
|950||Supervised Resrch & Writing||.5|
|Description of course 950 :||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.|
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).