Law School Welcomes the Class of 2020, LL.M. and M.S.P.L. Students
At 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, the members of the J.D. class of 2020 gathered in Mondale Hall for the start of their University of Minnesota Law School orientation. The next four days would be a whirlwind: welcoming speeches from Dean Garry W. Jenkins and other leaders, meet-and-greet moments, section assignments and meetings, no less than three legal writing sessions, insights from professors, introductions to the Law Library and Career Center, a group photo, an ice cream social, mock classes, working lunches, the Great Law School Scavenger Hunt, and much more.
The 196 members of the incoming 1L class come from 29 states and the District of Columbia—and for the first time in the Law School’s 129-year history, there are more women (52%) than men in the entering class. The students range in age from 20 to 42; the average age is 24. They hold undergraduate degrees from 100 U.S. institutions and 16 international institutions. The class includes Fulbright Scholars, a Marine cryptologist, a pilot, a patent agent, a special education teacher, a professor of comparative literature, and a student who met the president of South Korea because he—the student—was the first foreigner to donate an organ in that country.
Members of the class of 2020 have interned for U.S. Senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar; worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign; started a clothing company; drafted letters in Spanish to DREAMers in Texas; presented at a model U.N. conference; and worked with NGOs in places ranging from Minneapolis to Cape Town. Students have studied abroad in Norway, Bangladesh, Rome, Hong Kong, and Morocco. Class members’ hobbies include beekeeping, house flipping, ballet, horseback riding, designing movie trailers, winning medals at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, and playing music (percussion, ukulele, saxophone, and Irish fiddle)—which will no doubt be of interest to the producers of next spring’s Theatre of the Relatively Talentless (TORT) performance.
The 2017-18 LL.M. students arrived and began their orientation in early August with an intensive three-week Introduction to American Law course.
This year’s LL.M. enrollment totals 50 students—27 women, 23 men. They come from 20 different countries, with the largest contingent (17 students) from China. LL.M. students have each completed a law degree in their home country and come to the Law School to further their legal education and broaden their experience.
The backgrounds of this year’s class members include government service, energy, accounting, physics, journalism, and law enforcement work. One student translated his country’s constitution into various local dialects to help citizens better understand their rights and responsibilities. Two others have served as judges. Another was a patent attorney for a large electronics manufacturer. The students’ legal interests range from judicial reform to finance law, from human rights to administrative law, and from criminal law to intellectual property.
Master of Science in Patent Law students
The Law School’s Master of Science in Patent Law program begins its fourth year with a class of 10 new students and 3 returning part-time students from a diverse array of science and engineering backgrounds. M.S.P.L. candidates start their academic year with a two-week course introducing them to the American legal system and the law school environment. Their subsequent coursework will focus on patent law, patent prosecution, patent portfolio management, and persuasive writing.