University of St. Thomas School of Law

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University of St. Thomas School of Law
UST Seal.png
Established 1999
School type Private
Dean Robert Vischer
Enrollment 410
Faculty 109
USNWR ranking 135
Bar pass rate 87.72%[1]

The University of St. Thomas School of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and is one of four law schools in the Twin Cities. It currently enrolls 410 students. The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association.[2] It is also a member of The Association of American Law Schools.[3]


The School of Law was originally founded in 1923, but closed in 1933 in the wake of the Great Depression and World War I. [4] The School of Law re-opened in 1999 and accepted a class of 120 students in the fall of 2001. David T. Link, then current Dean of Notre Dame Law School, was credited as the founding Dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in July, 2001. The School of Law was granted accreditation by the American Bar Association in 2006, and membership in the American Association of Law Schools in 2012. [5]


The School of Law building

The University of St. Thomas School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The 158,000 square foot building opened in 2003, and sits at the corner of 11th Street and LaSalle Avenue. The $34.8 million building includes a four-story atrium, a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) law library, a two-story chapel, and a classically designed moot court room.[6] The law school is connected by skyway to the downtown Minneapolis legal and business communities.

Mentor Externship Program[edit]

Students at UST Law participate in a mentor externship program where students are partnered with Minnesota lawyers and judges to experience the law in practice. With more than 700 placements for a student body of 410, the School of Law is one of just two law schools in the country that offer more externships than full-time enrollment.[7] In 2005, the Mentor Externship Program was awarded the prestigious E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism.[8] It has been ranked the #1 law school in the nation for externships since 2010. [9]


For the first time, UST School of Law ranked in the U.S. News and World Report "Best Law Clinics" for 2016 at #27. [10] Among the school's 11 clinics are:

  • Bankruptcy Litigation Clinic[11]
  • Community Justice Project[12]
  • Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic[13]
  • Elder Law Practice Group[14]
  • Federal Appellate Clinic[15]
  • Federal Commutations Clinic[16]
  • Immigration Appellate Clinic[17]
  • Immigration Law Practice Group[18]
  • Misdemeanor Clinic[19]
  • Nonprofit Organizations Clinic[20]
  • Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic[21]

Employment Outcomes & Cost of Attendance[edit]

According to UST's ABA-required employment disclosures, 44.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term employment requiring a J.D.[22] St. Thomas' Law School Transparency under-employment score is 31.6%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 who were unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation. [23]

Tuition at St. Thomas for the 2015-16 academic year is $37,580. The estimated cost-of-living for St. Thomas students is $19,963. Assuming no tuition or cost-of-living increases, over the course of three years St. Thomas costs $172,629 to attend, or $57,543 per academic year. The school currently has a tuition freeze in place for current and incoming students.[24]


The University of St. Thomas School of Law is ranked #135 by U.S. News & World Report, making it the top private law school in Minnesota.[25]

  • The school is ranked #1 in the country for practical training by National Jurist.[26]
  • The school is ranked #1 in the country for having the most externship placements per full-time student in 2010, 2011 and 2013 by National Jurist. The school’s Mentor Externship program matches every current law student with a mentor during all three years of law school.[27]
  • In 2011, 2013 and 2014, UST School of Law professors ranked in the top 10 on Princeton Review’s “Best Professors” list. The faculty currently is ranked at #8 in the nation. [28]
  • The school was ranked between #1 to #4 for the “Best Quality of Life for Students” by the Princeton Review for five straight years from 2004 to 2009 and again in 2014, where the school currently sits at #4.[29]
  • The scholarly impact of the School of Law's faculty ranked #30 out of 200 law schools nationwide, using the methodology developed by University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter.[30]
  • UST Law achieved the #1 spot for the percentage of living alumni contributing to annual giving campaigns in the nation for five straight years.[citation needed]

Student body profile[edit]

The 406-member student body at the UST School of Law represents a wide range of experiences and beliefs. The population is made up of recent undergraduates as well as established professionals who are making a change into a legal career.

The class of 2016 is made up of 115 students. 43% are female and 57% are male. 15% of the class represents minority students. 44% identify as Roman Catholic, with others identifying as Christian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist, Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Presbyterian, or no religious affiliation. The median undergraduate GPA was a 3.38 and the median LSAT score was 155.


The school is best known for its emphasis on real world practice and influence. The school offers the three-year Juris Doctor, as well as combined degrees: the JD/MBA; the JD/MA in Catholic studies, and public policy and leadership; and the JD/MSW. In fall 2014, the School of Law will launch a new master's program in Organizational Ethics and Compliance, and new LL.M. degree programs in Organizational Ethics and Compliance, and U.S. Law.[31]

Some of the most popular programs of study include courses in the areas of family and community law, public policy, civil procedure, advocacy, environmental law, international law, as well as human rights law. UST Law students are placed at the top firms and companies in the Midwest through the On Campus Interview program and through the extensive mentorship program. The school has a 13:1 student to faculty ratio.

Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy[edit]

The Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy is a partnership between the Center for Catholic Studies and the School of Law at the University of St. Thomas. The Institute explores the various interactions between law and Catholic thought on topics ranging from workers' rights to criminal law to marriage and family.[32]

Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions[edit]

The Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions is one of 13 national centers in law schools devoted to ethics and professionalism that is recognized by the American Bar Association's Center for Professional Responsibility. Its mission is to provide innovative interdisciplinary research, curriculum development, and programs focusing holistically on the formation of both students and practicing professionals into ethical leaders in their communities.

Notable faculty[edit]

Downtown Minneapolis Campus
  • Mark Osler, author and critic of capital punishment in the United States. At St. Thomas, he founded the nation's first law school clinic on federal commutations,[3] and he has advocated for an expansive use of the presidential pardon power.[4]
  • Robert Delahunty, author of controversial memos under the Bush Administration related to the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the War on Terror[33][34][35]
  • Robert Vischer (dean), who was named to National Jurist’s 2011 list of "23 Law Profs to Take Before You Die." [36]


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  2. ^ "Alphabetical School List". 
  3. ^ "Member and Fee-Paid Schools". Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
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  6. ^ A History of the University of St. Thomas School of Law
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  8. ^ [1][dead link]
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  12. ^ "University of St. Thomas : Interprofessional Center : Legal Services Clinic : Community Justice Project". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ "University of St. Thomas : Interprofessional Center : Legal Services Clinic : Elder Law Practice Group". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "University of St. Thomas : Interprofessional Center : Legal Services Clinic : Federal Commutation Clinic". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
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  18. ^ "University of St. Thomas : Interprofessional Center : Legal Services Clinic : Immigration Law Practice Group". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  19. ^
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  22. ^ "Employment Summary Reports Accessed July 16, 2015.
  23. ^ "University of St. Thomas Profile" Accessed July 16, 2014.
  24. ^ "Financing Your Education" Accessed July 16, 2015.
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  33. ^ Big, The. "St. Thomas still employs potential war criminal Robert Delahunty". MN Progressive Project. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  34. ^ [3][dead link]
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