Law School history


1851 University of Minnesota incorporated by territorial legislature  
1857 First University building opens on east bank of Mississippi river Old Main
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over demerits, faculty member inadvertently shoots student in the leg; President Folwell resigns; Minnesota Plan repealed  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 S. PATTEE 1888-1911William S. Pattee

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 Pattee Hall
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 R. VANCE 1911-1920William R. Vance

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

DEAN EVERETT FRASER 1920-1948Everett Fraser

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 Fraser Hall
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 1948-1955Maynard Pirsig

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)  

DEAN WILLIAM B. LOCKHART 1956-1972William Lockhart

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 1972-1979Carl Auerbach

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 Mondale Hall

DEAN ROBERT A. STEIN 1979-1994Robert Stein

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 E. THOMAS SULLIVAN 1995-2002E. Thomas Sullivan

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  

DEAN ALEX M. JOHNSON JR. 2002-2006Alex Johnson

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 2006-2008Fred Morrison and Guy-Uriel Charles

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 2008-2016David Wippman

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 2016-PresentGarry W. Jenkins

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.  

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University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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