University of St. Thomas School of Law—Minneapolis

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

As a lawyer, you will have the power to change lives. As a St. Thomas lawyer, you will change them for the better—whether you advocate for social justice, serve in the courts or legislature, or provide corporate counsel. That’s why the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is nationally recognized for its professors, practical training, clinical programs, externships, and quality of life.

Curriculum

The University of St. Thomas School of Law offers an innovative curriculum that emphasizes professional formation and the education of the whole person. We strive to help each student develop the professional and ethical values that are vital to long-term success in the legal profession, enabling them to become lawyers who lead their communities by serving them.

First-year students complete courses in civil procedure, contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law and property. In addition, three Foundations courses help students discern and articulate the moral dimensions of law and lawyering, understand how to serve the interests of their future clients and gain basic business knowledge. Lawyering Skills I and II, our intensive legal research, analysis and writing program, are another important part of the first-year curriculum.

Among the strengths of our program is a vast catalog of courses that can be tailored to fit the professional aspirations of each student. Whether your passion is corporate law, civil litigation, dispute resolution, intellectual property, criminal law, family law, public interest law, international law or one of the many other specialty areas of law, the faculty and staff at St. Thomas can help advise you on a curriculum that truly fits with your personal and professional goals.

St. Thomas Law’s practicum courses, legal clinics and externships provide opportunities for students to learn through experiences, build their resume and develop professional relationships. The school was ranked second in the nation for practical training in 2020 by National Jurist.

St. Thomas Law’s distinctive, nationally recognized Mentor Externship Program matches each student with an experienced lawyer or judge for each year of law school. In addition to introducing students to a variety of lawyering tasks and helping them develop a professional network, mentors prepare students to face the intellectual, ethical and moral challenges of professional life.

St. Thomas School of Law students can take courses that are part of the innovative Organizational Ethics and Compliance Program. Through a partnership with the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, the School of Law offers a JD/LLM joint-degree program. The program is designed for JD students to gain knowledge and experience in compliance—one of the fastest growth areas for attorneys and other professionals in financial services, health care, foreign business practices and many other fields. Those who are not interested in pursuing a joint degree may obtain a concentration in Organizational Ethics and Compliance while pursuing a JD. In addition, St. Thomas Law offers master’s and LLM degrees in this area.

JD students also may pursue one of three other joint-degree programs in the fields of Business Administration (JD/MBA), Social Work (JD/MSW) and Catholic Studies (JD/MA).

Special Programs

At the University of St. Thomas Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC), our students work alongside their professors to provide representation and assistance to the underserved populations of the Twin Cities and beyond. Law students work side-by-side with students from graduate programs in social work and professional psychology. The IPC is among the first clinical programs in the country to forge an equal partnership among the three disciplines. It is housed in a 16,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis. The IPC offers 14 clinics:

  • Bankruptcy Litigation
  • Catholic Social Teaching and the United Nations
  • Community Justice Project
  • Consumer Bankruptcy
  • Criminal and Juvenile Defense Clinic
  • Elder Law and Guardianship Alternatives
  • Federal Appellate
  • Federal Commutations
  • Immigration Appellate
  • Immigration Law
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Religious Liberty Appellate
  • Special Education
  • Trademark

The Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions unites leaders from a range of professions who work together to pursue practical solutions and create effective tools in confronting the challenge of helping students grow to become ethical leaders. The center hosts an annual national professionalism conference, business and law roundtables on ethical leadership, and Trusted Advisor Lunches with students and recognized leaders from the Twin Cities.

The Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy is a collaboration between the St. Thomas Center for Catholic Studies and the School of Law. The institute explores the various interactions between law and Catholic thought on topics ranging from workers’ rights, to criminal law, to marriage and family. The Murphy Institute offers a fellowship program for law students and funds two 12-month postgraduate fellowships each year to support the work of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland.

The University of St. Thomas Private Investment Fund Institute (PIFI) is a research and advisory center dedicated to the study of private investment funds worldwide. PIFI aims to promote and develop long-term dialogue and research in collaboration with individual private funds and the private fund industry. Bridging the gap between private investment fund managers, academics, and policy-makers, PIFI is growing a global network through its dedicated research platforms and annual events.

The International Dispute Resolution Research Network (IDRR Network) is a community of experts, stakeholders, and academics from all corners of the globe engaged in a partnership dedicated to sharing knowledge in the dynamic field of dispute prevention and resolution.

The Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice is a convener of thought leaders, scholars and students. The Center fosters a robust exchange of ideas and practical strategies for advancing the common good. This begins in the classroom through experiential learning in which law students learn how to leverage their legal training to address social justice challenges. Outside the classroom, the Center’s programming and community outreach supports students on their journey of discovering the leader within. Students interface with lawyers who are using their legal skills to create new inroads to justice and freedom. Through this exchange, students gain in-depth insights related to civil and human rights law and advocacy strategies.

The Twin Cities Area

Minneapolis, Minnesota is the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication, and with our location in the heart of downtown, students at St. Thomas School of Law benefit from it all. Minneapolis and the nearby capital city of St. Paul make up the core of the Twin Cities metropolitan area with more than 3.5 million residents. Home to the Mall of America and 17 of Fortune 500’s largest corporations, including Target, Best Buy, Cargill, General Mills, 3M and UnitedHealth Group, the Twin Cities is well positioned among the nation’s top metropolitan communities in business and industry.

The Twin Cities is also the entertainment and cultural center of the upper Midwest, with world-class museums, top restaurants, breathtaking architecture and more theater seats per capita than any U.S. city outside of New York. The active lifestyles of residents is remarkable, with Minneapolis being ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in America, the #2 healthiest city in America and the #1 city for parks.

Admission

St. Thomas School of Law seeks to identify students who show the potential to distinguish themselves academically and to integrate values into their professional character and identity.

The Admissions Committee reviews applications with the goal of understanding the strengths, skills, and unique perspectives of each applicant. The committee examines quantitative criteria such as LSAT scores and undergraduate transcripts, but it also focuses on qualitative factors, such as writing skills, leadership experience, motivation, public service orientation, and commitment to our mission of exploring the integration of faith and reason. Thus, a student’s personal statement, letters of recommendation, and similar information play an important role in assisting the committee in determining whether the student and the School of Law are a good fit.

Faculty

At St. Thomas, students are taught, shaped, and challenged by professors who are leaders in their fields academically, but also receive consistent praise for accessibility and teaching. Professors influence students through the classroom, other scholars through writing in scholarly journals and books, and judges through work in the courts. St. Thomas Law professors are approachable, engaging, and dedicated to the well-being of our students. Further, faculty create opportunities for students to work side-by-side with them on research, writing and advocacy work.

Enrollment/Student Body

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 533 students made the total student body. Students in the fall 2019 entering class represented 20 states and 63 undergraduate institutions. While many students come to St. Thomas directly from undergraduate institutions, a significant number have earned postgraduate degrees or have work experience. St. Thomas School of Law is home to both full-time and reduced-time JD students, as well as students seeking their master’s in organizational ethics and compliance, LLM in organizational ethics and compliance, and LLM in US Law.

Library and Physical Facilities

St. Thomas School of Law occupies a beautiful building of over 150,000 square feet in downtown Minneapolis near the federal courthouse, major law firms, and businesses. The building has several defining features that make it “quite simply breathtaking,” as described by an ABA site-evaluation team. These include the dramatic four-story Schulze Grand Atrium, Frey Moot Courtroom, and the Chapel of St. Thomas More.

Modern technology enhances the classrooms, library, group-study areas, and moot courtroom.

The law library provides an attractive, functional environment for group or individual study, with 12 group study rooms and more than 370 individual study seats. The library’s strong electronic collection provides convenient access to many resources from both on and off campus.

Financial Aid

St. Thomas is committed to making high-quality legal education available to students by offering scholarships, employment, and loans. The School of Law administers scholarship programs that acknowledge applicants who we believe will be a great fit for our community, whether they bring a strong academic background, a unique viewpoint or a dynamic experiential voice. All incoming students are automatically considered for scholarships and, if awarded, your award will stick with you for every year of law school.

The President’s Scholarship is awarded on behalf of Dr. Julie Sullivan, president of the University of St. Thomas. President’s Scholars typically reflect strength in their academic performance and demonstrate a compelling fit with the mission of the School of Law. President’s Scholars receive a full-tuition scholarship.The Dean’s Scholarship is awarded on behalf of the dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Dean’s Scholars typically reflect strength in their academic performance and demonstrate a compelling fit with the mission of the School of Law. Dean’s Scholars receive a partial-tuition scholarship that can range up to 90% of tuition annually.

Applicants committed to practicing in a rural setting can apply for the Access to Justice Scholarship.

In addition to scholarships, student loans (federal and/or private), and federal work-study opportunities are available to help meet the direct costs of tuition and fees, as well as to assist with living expenses while attending law school. Student loans have deferred repayment until after completion of the program, and the federal loan programs have flexible repayment plans and forgiveness programs available.

Career and Professional Development

Students and alumni from St. Thomas Law work in a wide variety of legal practice areas and capacities. The Office of Career and Professional Development (CPD), in collaboration with faculty and staff, works with students and graduates to support each individual’s unique career aspirations and goals. The list of employers who have hired our graduates is extensive and includes federal and state judges; international, national, and local public interest organizations; corporations; banks; local and federal governments; and law firms of all sizes and specialties.

CPD offers a wide range of career and professional development services both to the current student and after graduation, including:

  • Employment Workshop series for first year law students
  • Individual counseling sessions with a dedicated career counselor
  • Development of application materials, including résumés, cover letters, and writing samples
  • Mock interviews and interview strategies
  • Networking training and events
  • On- and off-campus interview programs
  • Programming on numerous topics related to your professional path and job search

CPD also provides distinctive support for each member of the most recent graduating class through our innovative JD Compass program. This program pairs students with a Career Strategist who provides individualized support to help students secure full-time, long-term employment as quickly as possible following graduation.

Student Activities

St. Thomas School of Law has more than 37 student groups, including Federalist and American Constitutional Societies; Black, Latinx and Asian Pacific law student associations; Out!Law; Women’s Law Student Association; Military Law Society, several faith-based student organizations; and groups formed around practice-area interests. An active and collaborative student government enhances the School of Law’s high quality of life, hosting activities for the entire student body throughout the year.

The University of St. Thomas Law Journal and the Journal of Law and Public Policy give interested students the opportunity to contribute to the development of legal scholarship and further hone their research, analytical, and writing abilities. The Board of Advocates oversees interscholastic competitions in moot court, trial advocacy, client counseling, and negotiation.

Students at the School of Law are required to perform 50 hours of community service work, exploring a variety of ways in which their interests, skills, and talents can best serve the public. The student-led Public Service Board administers this public service requirement and maintains and distributes information about public service opportunities.

St. Thomas Law works to foster an environment where each student feels connected, is supported and understands the importance of making wellness a professional priority. Throughout the year, the law school provides resources and hosts events and activities aimed at helping students develop healthy skills and habits that will serve them throughout their careers.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at St. Thomas - MN:

3.23 to 3.76

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at St. Thomas - MN:

149 to 159

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at St. Thomas - MN:

3.23 to 3.76

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at St. Thomas - MN:

149 to 159

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at St. Thomas - MN:

3.23 to 3.76

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at St. Thomas - MN:

149 to 159

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

1000 LaSalle Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55403,
United States