The exceptional international law faculty drew Amanda McAllister (’17) to the University of Minnesota Law School. Here she has found many ways to explore and hone her strong interest in international and human rights law. “The multiple opportunities to be part of the school’s legal programs have been the most valuable part of my experience,” she says. “Everyone can find their place here. Even though law school is structurally competitive, there is a real emphasis on cooperation and compassion here that fosters a sense of community.”
“The Human Rights program has given me the opportunities to network and perform fieldwork in Washington, D.C. and Belfast, Northern Ireland. To come out of law school with these significant and well-rounded experiences makes me feel prepared to work in this worthwhile field.”
Amanda McAllister (’17)
Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic, student director
Legal Writing Program, student instructor Law Review, Note & Comment editor
Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain, research assistant
Human Rights Watch Advisory Project, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, researcher
Benjamin B. Ferencz Fellowship in Human Rights and Law at World Without Genocide
“We’re committed to bridging legal education and practice. And we take writing seriously here because it is a crucial skill for all lawyers, no matter what kind of law they might practice,” says Professor Christopher Soper, assistant clinical professor of law and director of legal writing. That’s why the University of Minnesota Law School is one of only a few to require three writing experiences. With small sections of only 8–10 students in the first-year legal writing course, Soper notes, “Students benefit from a level of individualized feedback and attention that’s rare among law schools but important in developing writing skills. Most of this feedback is provided by practicing attorneys, which helps students develop the analytical writing skills they’ll need and use as lawyers.”
“The Twin Cities legal community and the Law School are in the Goldilocks zone: Not too big to be overwhelming or anonymizing, not too small to be stifling. There are many opportunities for students to discover and pursue their interests, the school environment is inclusive, and local attorneys are supportive.”
Professor Christopher D. Soper
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Director of Legal Writing
Dentons US LLP, of counsel
B.A., Tufts University, magna cum laude
J.D., Cornell Law School, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif
Law Clerk, Honorable James B. Loken, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Law Clerk, Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau
“Our primary motivations are helping people and teaching students. It’s that simple,” says Laura Thomas, associate professor and primary supervising attorney of the Family Law Clinic, which is expanding its reach from Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka Counties into Dakota County. Thomas, a family law expert with extensive experience as a practitioner of family law and general civil litigation, is increasing the pipeline of cases to ensure students have rewarding, career-enhancing experiences—and to address the pressing needs of underserved communities. In July 2015, Thomas also became director of clinical education at the Law School, overseeing one of the largest clinical education programs in the country.
“Collectively, the clinics at the University of Minnesota Law School provide a range of legal representation to Minnesota’s indigent and working poor. By March in any given year we have more than 400 open files. We are essentially a full-service law firm, representing our clients in asylum, bankruptcy, tax, family, criminal, juvenile justice, detention hearings and more. This breadth in practice areas echoes the business model in law firms, and it instills in our students an understanding of client service.”
Director, Clinical Education Program
Co-Director, Law in Practice
Primary Supervising Attorney, Family Law Clinic
B.A., Political Science, University of St. Thomas magna cum laude
J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law
The Tax Clinic inspired Braxton Roam (’17) to transfer to the University of Minnesota Law School in his second year. He has gained valuable experience by working with his own clients under the supervision of clinical professors. “Even though the winters are a little cold, the environment is very warm here,” he says. “I was welcomed into this community with open arms. Classes are filled with fruitful debates and professors are very approachable, which is a rare atmosphere to find at many law schools around the country.” He plans to attend an LL.M. program in taxation after completing his J.D.
“The Tax Clinic provided me with hands-on legal experience. I was responsible for all facets of my clients’ cases, and the clinical faculty pushed me to accomplish more than I thought possible. I argued a case before the U.S. Tax Court—something I couldn’t have imagined doing just a year ago.”
Tax Clinic, student director
Jewish Law Students Association, officer Minnesota Journal of International Law, member
Moot Court, participant
Competing in National Moot Court and serving as a research assistant have proven to be highly rewarding experiences for Andrew Leiendecker (’17). “National Moot Court allowed me to develop my legal writing and oral advocacy skills more than any other aspect of my law school career,” he says. “It has been highly rewarding to work with my teammates to develop legal arguments and convert them into brief and oral argument form.” He also cites the opportunity to conduct substantial, detailed research into a multitude of domestic and international legal topics as preparing him for an upcoming clerkship with Justice David Lillehaug on the Minnesota Supreme Court and, after that, work with Briggs and Morgan law firm.
“I chose the University of Minnesota Law School because I wanted to return to my home community. The Law School had a tremendous reputation for being a more welcoming, collegial environment than the traditional law school, an attribute that I have found to be well-deserved. It’s an environment filled with highly motivated, ambitious individuals and talented faculty but nevertheless one where most everyone will lend a hand and work together.”
Andrew Leiendecker (’17)
Criminal Justice Clinic director
Law Council president
National Moot Court
Research assistant, Professors Oren Gross and Neha Jain
Legal writing instructor
Dean’s Distinguished Scholarship recipient
Mozhdeh Nikoui Mehr (LL.M. ’17) chose the University of Minnesota Law School because of its top-ranked LL.M. program. In an environment she says is both academically demanding yet congenial, she is improving her career options through a superior legal English writing course and a balance of classroom and experiential opportunities for LL.M. students.
“The community here is wonderful. People are supportive and kind. The attention given to each student is so important for individual success. The faculty care about the students and work to make their experience positive.”
Mozhdeh Nikoui Mehr (LL.M. ’17)
DRabord, international business law firm
Paralegal and legal assistant, civil and business
Bachelor’s degree in law, Azad Islamic University of Tehran, Iran
Experiential learning is a top priority at the University of Minnesota Law School. We offer one of the nation’s largest and most distinguished clinical education programs, a unique first-year Law in Practice course, abundant corporate externships, capstone courses focused on solving real-world problems, extensive legal practice skills courses, and your choice of 11 concentrations.
The Twin Cities is one of the most energetic, livable and literate communities in the country, distinguished by a nationally renowned park system with hundreds of miles of trails and an amazing chain of lakes, the largest theater community outside New York, and an internationally renowned music scene. Add to that distinctive neighborhoods, numerous professional sports teams, a new light rail system just steps from the Law School’s front door, and ready access to federal, state and local courts and the state capitol. More
Civility, cooperation and support define the University of Minnesota Law School. While our faculty are some of the most accomplished scholars in the world, they also are eager to mentor and readily available to help you succeed. Our collegial culture emphasizes teamwork, problem solving, leadership and persuasion, skills that are essential beyond law school for all fields of employment. More
The exceptional faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School bring real-world experience, practice, and leading research into the classroom. Passionate about their vocation and committed to integrating theory and practice in their teaching, they are demanding but eager to mentor and readily available to help students succeed along their chosen paths.