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University of Minnesota Law School History


William S. Pattee

William R. Vance

Everett Fraser

Maynard E. Pirsig

William B. Lockhart

Carl A. Auerbach

Robert A. Stein

E. Thomas Sullivan

Alex M. Johnson Jr.

David Wippman

Law School Timeline

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over demerits, faculty member inadvertently shoots student in the leg; President Folwell resigns; Minnesota Plan repealed

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

Pattee Hall

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) 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

1911: Law School requires 2 years of undergraduate work for applicants seeking a degree

1911: William R. Vance becomes Law School dean

1912: Arthur C. Pulling arrives from Harvard to oversee library's collection of 17,000 volumes; night school closes

1913: Law School begins clinical program

1917: Student-edited Minnesota Law Review begins publication

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)

Fraser Hall

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 volume

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

1952: Library holdings reach 185,000 volumes

1954: Interdepartmental training program for delinquency-control professionals established (runs until 1970)

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 3-yr period

1964: Entering-class enrollment limited to 250 students

1965: Faculty approves 3-yr 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

1972: Carl A. Auerbach becomes Law School dean

1977: Faculty-edited Crime and Justice begins publication

Mondale Hall

1978: New Law School building opens on West Bank campus

1979: Robert A. Stein becomes Law School dean

1980: Faculty exchange program with Sweden's Uppsala University initiated

1981: Student-edited Law and 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

1995: E. Thomas Sullivan becomes Law School dean

2000: 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

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

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

2008: David Wippman becomes tenth 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

"Old Main", the original site of the Law School.
Pattee Hall
Fraser Hall
Mondale Hall