Our J.D. program is unique in that it embraces the importance of relationships as well as the traditional aspects of a legal education. It's because of this distinct approach that the University of St. Thomas law school is the #2 law school in the nation for practical training and the #1 law school in the nation for externships, while also employing an exceptional faculty who are committed to scholarship in their fields. At the same time, our students report a remarkable quality of life that truly embodies our commitment to community. A few of the St. Thomas law school distinctives include:
Foundations of Justice
In your first year as a law student, our Foundations of Justice courses will help you discern and articulate the moral dimensions of law and lawyering, thereby empowering you to better serve the interests of your clients and community. You will explore topics such as human dignity, the social order, the role of the state, economic justice, truth and freedom, and the vocation of the lawyer. Classroom exercises encourage you to wrestle with the implications that your own moral convictions have for your understanding of law and the lawyer's role.
For each of your three years of law school, you will be paired with an attorney or judge working in your area of interest who will serve as your mentor. Through this relationship, you will earn credit while gaining work experience, developing a network and learning to navigate the legal field. The relationships you form through this #1-ranked program will last a lifetime. Read more about our Mentor Externship Program.
As a law student, you will give 50 hours of your time to your community through volunteer work. Public service ensures that you remain a member of the broader community and fosters your commitment to pro bono work throughout your legal career. Read more about public service at St. Thomas Law.
At St. Thomas, you can integrate what you've learned with a deeper experience of professional relationships through our clinics, practicum courses and externships. You may choose to serve real clients by working in one of our 13 legal clinics, or delve deeply into a particular area of law by working on a simulated problem in a practicum course. You might also choose an externship in which you work for a business or judge, or in a public interest setting, while taking a class that helps you understand how to build the relationships necessary to succeed in that environment.