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LAW SCHOOL PROFILE

William Mitchell College of Law [by Zamzam Syed] This Minnesota law school was founded as an alternative to the legal education offered at the time, and by adhering to that idea, it has allowed students of diverse backgrounds to flourish as productive members of the legal profession.

A century ago, hardworking, socially con-

Much like other law schools, William Mitchell

Chief Justice of the United States Warren

scious attorneys in Minnesota had a vision

strives to educate attorneys who will become

E. Burger ‘31, Minnesota Supreme Court

for their brothers and sisters in the working

productive, ethical members of the legal

Justices Sam Hanson ‘65 and Helen M. Meyer

world. The idea was to create an alternative

community, both in serving clients and their

‘83, and Minnesota’s first woman on the Su-

avenue for legal education, and to open up

communities, and by continuing to promote

preme Court Justice Rosalie E. Wahl ‘67.

the practice of law to working professionals,

justice and the public good. What truly distin-

an idea well before its time, at a point where

guishes William Mitchell from other schools

legal education was the prowess of the elite.

is the way in which it accommodates the

The vision culminated in 5 different law

work, family and other needs of its students,

school campuses in Minnesota where immi-

something that was inherent in its history as

grants, children of immigrants and working

a school designed around the needs of work-

adults in fields like banking, insurance and

ing professionals.

healthcare, could converge on centrally-located downtown campuses and indulge in

Students at William Mitchell enjoy an inte-

the rigors of a legal education by night, while

grated curriculum which is focused on both

maintaining their jobs by day. By 1940, the

theory and practice, along with a strong

campuses were consolidated to form one in-

emphasis on ethics and the public good. In

novative law school, named William Mitchell

keeping with the practice skills approach, the

after the Minnesota Supreme Court justice,

law school was one of the first in the nation

whose opinions were regarded as models

to dedicate several full-time tenured faculty

of brevity and sound judicial reasoning. The

members to clinical teaching. The school

founders chose St. Paul as the location for

offers a plethora of both civil and criminal

this independent, non-profit private law

clinical programs, in addition to a legal writ-

school.

ing program that includes diverse skills like contract negotiation and client counseling,

The St. Paul location has since served the

in addition to the traditional legal writing

school well in harnessing a strong regional

exercises.

reputation for its graduates. The law school’s proximity to the state capital and St. Paul’s

Today, William Mitchell boasts a 335-mem-

twin city of Minneapolis provides a treasure

ber first year class with an average age of

trove of opportunity, for both professional

25, and with 25% of its students hailing from

growth and personal development. Students

outside of Minnesota. Furthermore, the most

are readily able to take advantage of several

impressive factor is the stellar employment

large firms, government institutions at the

record the school’s graduates enjoy. With

capital and up to 15 of the Fortune 500 firms,

well over a 95% employment rate most years,

headquartered there. Furthermore, the city

William Mitchell produces well-balanced

consistently ranks as one of the most livable

professionals who take on the practice of

in the US, as ranked by the Morgan Quitno

law as they have learned it. Among the most

Press annual survey of US cities.

notable of William Mitchell’s alumni are

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William Mitchell College of Law  

The Minnesota law school was founded as an alternative to the legal education.

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