The University of St. Thomas School of Law has a unique mission founded on the precepts of diversity, community, and inclusiveness. The mission demonstrates our commitment to ensure that the St. Thomas School of Law community fully reflects the greater community. Through the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness, we are able to support a learning community that furthers our mission. This is evidenced by the School of Law’s active student engagement, social justice curriculum, service in the community, and focus on practical skills development.
St. Thomas School of Law respects and appreciates the value of a diverse student population, and we welcome their background and experiences to our community. There are over 40 student organizations represented at the School of Law, which are representative of the diverse interests of our community. These student groups are actively involved in the furtherance of social justice efforts and public service. In particular, the diversity of St. Thomas School of Law is reflected in the seven multicultural student organizations and their efforts in furthering diversity initiatives campus-wide.
Social Justice Curriculum
The social justice component of the St. Thomas School of Law curriculum provides opportunities for students to become actively engaged in social justice lawyering. This component includes the Legal Services Clinic, in which students are able to provide direct legal services to the underserved. In addition, courses like Ethical Leadership in Social Justice and Poverty Law provide students with an opportunity to address the social justice challenges facing our communities and then deliberate together to implement practical solutions.
The law school also hosts service learning projects and educational events. Our students participate in projects that create a pipeline to college (100 Strong Who Care) and promote law/democracy initiatives (Books for Africa). We host a number of educational events in order to create opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to become informed and engaged about issues related to diversity. Past guest lecturers have included: Dr. Josie Johnson (Minnesota Civil Rights Pioneer), Dr. John Jackson (The Schott Foundation), and Dr. Edgar Cahn (TimeBank USA), who have educated the St. Thomas community on current civil rights issues. These experiences provide our students with opportunities to learn and grow as servant leaders.
Additionally, the law school is committed to furthering a diverse learning community beyond the classroom, and into the legal profession. Graduates must be prepared to work in an increasingly diverse profession and multicultural society. This requires practical skills development that fosters critical thinking skills, promotes cultural competence, and supports a robust exchange of ideas in collaborative working environments.
Practical Skills Development
The law school seeks to support the intellectual and social development of law students through its programming, training, and outreach efforts. This includes supporting learning objectives such as: providing students with opportunities to develop an understanding of people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds, and facilitating contact among students from different backgrounds. These experiences will prepare our graduates to effectively work with colleagues, clients, and community members from diverse backgrounds.