Law School history

History

1851

University of Minnesota incorporated by territorial legislature

1857

First University building opens on east bank of Mississippi river

1858

Minnesota admitted into the Union

1861

University closes due to Civil War

1869

University permanently reopens under first president, William W. Folwell

1870

Regents accept President Folwell's "Minnesota Plan" for University to be educational and cultural center offering graduate training

1882

Students demonstrate over demerits, faculty member inadvertently shoots student in the leg; President Folwell resigns; Minnesota Plan repealed

Dean William Pattee

Dean William S. Pattee 1888-1911

1888

University establishes professional schools; Law School opens in basement of main University building; William S. Pattee appointed first dean and faculty member; 32 enroll in day school and 35 in night school

1889

First law school building (Pattee Hall) completed

1890

Second full-time faculty member (James Paige) hired; first woman student (Flora E. Matteson) begins classes

1893

First women (Flora E. Matteson, Marie A. McDermott, Nora L. Morton) graduate from Law School

1894

First African American, John Frank Wheaton, graduates from Law School

1896

Third full-time faculty member (A.C. Hickman) hired

1901

Night school enrollment peaks at 194

1905

Addition to Pattee Hall doubles its capacity

1909

Law School requires 1 year of undergraduate work for applicants seeking a degree

Dean William Vance

Dean William R. Vance 1911-1920

1911

William Vance becomes Law School Dean

1912

Vance begins to recruit nationally-recognized instructors and scholars to the faculty; the night school is abolished; Arthur C. Pulling is recruited as the Law Library's first director, serving 1912 to 1942

1913

The Law School Clinic Program is founded, in association with the Minneapolis Legal Aid Society

1913

First issue of the Minnesota Law Review (succeeding another journal in the 1890s)

Dean Everett Fraser

Dean Everett Fraser 1920-1948

1920

Everett Fraser becomes Law School dean; Minnesota Law Review becomes official journal of state bar association

1921

Dean Fraser itemizes urgent need for new building: classrooms and reading room inadequate, library space exhausted and flammable

1923

Law School receives full accreditation from the American Bar Association (the first year of the ABA accreditation process)

1928

New Law School building opens for classes

1930

Dean Fraser initiates "Minnesota Plan," a strategy of admission, curriculum, and program-length requirements destined to undergo numerous modifications

1939

Law Library holdings exceed 100,000 volumes

Dean Maynard E. Pirsig

Dean Maynard E. Pirsig 1948-1955

1948

Maynard E. Pirsig becomes Law School dean; Minnesota Law Review's relationship with bar association terminated

1951

Law School building dedicated as Fraser Hall

1939

Library holdings reach 185,000 volumes

1954

Interdepartmental training program for delinquency-control professionals established (runs until 1970)

Dean William B. Lockhart

Dean William B. Lockhart 1956-1972

1956

William B. Lockhart becomes Law School dean; additions to Fraser Hall ready for use; first woman, Dorothy Oerting Lareau ('52), joins faculty)

1957

State Bar Association authorizes Law School's Legal Aid Clinic; Minnesota Plan discontinued

1960

Legal Aid Clinic reports 220% increase in caseload over three-year period

1964

Entering-class enrollment limited to 250 students

1965

Faculty approves three-year curriculum; third-year students begin receiving credit for work in Legal Aid Clinic

1967

Minnesota Supreme Court permits senior students, under supervision, to appear in court in civil and criminal matters; "Decades Ahead" report estimates need for $14 million to remodel or replace law building by 1980

1969

Robert E. Oliphant becomes first full-time clinical professor in "nonregular" appointment

1970

Library seating accommodates only 46% of student

1971

First black (and second woman), Joyce A. Hughes ('65), joins faculty

Dean Carl A. Auerbach

Dean Carl A. Auerbach 1972-1979

1972

Carl A. Auerbach becomes Law School dean

1977

Faculty-edited Crime and Justice begins publication

1978

New Law School building opens on West Bank campus

Dean Robert Stein

Dean Robert A. Stein 1979-1994

1979

Robert A. Stein ('61) becomes Law School dean

1980

Faculty exchange program with Sweden's Uppsala University initiated

1981

Student-edited Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice begins publication

1983

Students added to Uppsala University exchange program; computer-based instruction programs in conjunction with Harvard Law School initiated; two computer labs for students added to Law Library

1984

Faculty-edited Constitutional Commentary begins publication

1988

Entering-class limit raised to 270; Law School celebrates its centennial; Law Library acquires its 500,000th volume; Human Rights Center established

1991

Student-edited Minnesota Journal of Global Trade begins publication (name changed to Minnesota Journal of International Law in 2006); Minnesota Center for Legal studies established

1993

Institute on Race and Poverty established

1994

LL.M. Program established

Dean Thomas Sullivan

Dean Thomas Sullivan 1995-2002

1995

E. Thomas Sullivan becomes Law School Dean

1994

Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences established; student-edited Minnesota Intellectual Property Review begins publication (name changed to Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology in 2004)

2001

Addition to Law School building completed; Walter F. Mondale Hall dedicated; Kommerstad Center for Business Law established; Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center established

Dean Alex M. Johnson Jr.

Dean Alex M. Johnson Jr. 2002-2006

2002

Alex M. Johnson Jr. becomes Law School dean; average annual enrollment at Law School's 18 clinics exceeds 300; students' Theatre of the Relatively Talentless founded; annual 5K Race for Justice formed to raise funds for Loan Repayment Assistance Program

2004

Law Library acquires millionth volume, the papers of Clarence Darrow; laptop program for first-year students begins

2005

Institute on Crime and Public Policy established

Co-Deans Fred Morrison & Guy-Uriel Charles

Co-Deans Fred Morrison & Guy-Uriel Charles 2006-2008

2006

Fred Morrison and Guy-Uriel Charles become interim Law School deans; student summer study in China program opens; Institute for Law and Economics, Institute for Law and Politics, and Institute for Law and Rationality established

2007

Program in Law and History established

Dean David Wippman

Dean David Wippman 2008-2016

2008

David Wippman becomes Law School dean

2009

Law School becomes new editorial home of ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law

2011

Law School launches $70 million fundraising campaign; Corporate Institute established; Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice established

2012

Institute on Race and Poverty renamed Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity

2013

Law School celebrates its 125th anniversary; Human Rights Center celebrates its 25th anniversary; Center for New Americans established; Mock Trial Scholars Program established

2014

Energy Transition Lab established; Master of Science in Patent Law Program established

2015

Doctor of Juridical Science program established; LL.M. in Patent Law program established; Law School's Generations fundraising campaign ends exceeding its goal ($73 million raised)

Dean Garry W. Jenkins

Dean Garry Jenkins 2016-Present

2016

Dean Garry W. Jenkins becomes 11th dean of the Law School; Minnesota Law Public Interest Residency Program established

2017

The Law School receives the largest contribution in its history with an award of $25 million from the Robina Foundation for the Center for New Americans. The Center is renamed James H. Binger Center for New Americans.

2019

Law School expands its partnership with the Great North Innocence Project (formerly named the Innocence Project of Minnesota), and the independent nonprofit organization moves its offices into Mondale Hall.

2020

Law School successfully pivots to a virtual learning model after the onset of a global pandemic in March; operations continue uninterrupted with hybrid education model until a full return to Mondale Hall in August 2021.

2021

Law School celebrates the conclusion of its Driven to Lead campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the Law School’s history, raising $106 million on its $80 million goal.

2022

Law School names inaugural assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and inaugural assistant dean of experiential education.

2023

Law School celebrates its 135th anniversary.