SOL Magazine Spring 2023

Lawyer University of St. Thomas School of Law SPRING 2023 ST. THOMAS



The Mentor Externship Program

is a key component of a St. Thomas legal education, which emphasizes professional formation and the fostering of relationships. This award-winning, nationally recognized program pairs each law student, each year of law school, with a legal professional working in their interest area to help them gain work experience, develop a network and navigate the legal field.

Photo by Mark Brown

Hennepin County judges and attorneys who are mentors in the St. Thomas School of Law Mentor Externship Program gather for a photo with their law student mentees outside of the Government Center in Minneapolis.

Top row from left to right: Judge Juan G. Hoyos, Judge Edward T. Wahl, Judge Patrick D. Robben, Judge Thomas J. Conley, Referee Richard Stebbins, Judge Paul R. Scoggin, Judge Shereen M. Askalani, Judge Mark J. Kappelhoff, Judge Carolina A. Lamas, Judge Tamara Garcia, Judge William H. Koch, Theresa B. Crunk and Judge Michael K. Browne. Bottom row from left to right: Maria Golberg, Arissa Lewis, Trevor Warzecha, Tate Thielfoldt, Chelsey Fischbach, Vanessa Deerberg, Julia Abreu Siufi, Jiayuan Kirby Li and Caroline Anderson.

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ST. THOMAS Lawyer Spring 2023 – Volume 16, Issue 1

It’s not usually exciting to cite accreditation standards. But bear with me … because when the story is that law schools nationwide are now following the lead of St. Thomas, those standards are worth citing!

Published by the University of St. Thomas School of Law 1000 LaSalle Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (651) 962-4892 Senior Marketing Program Manager and Editor Carrie Hilger Designer Anne Taylor Photographer Mark Brown Contributors

At St. Thomas Law, we have long put people at the center of what we do. We don’t want to engage with the law in only intellectual ways, even if such engagement may shape policy goals or serve political, even justice-based ends. Instead, we want to put the impact of laws and policies on particular people at the center. We want to understand the experience of each community member even as we work together for the common good. We want to accompany our students on their journey to become who they are called to be, so that they develop their gifts and skills on behalf of others. Academia sometimes refers to the process of working with students in a way that builds their legal skill set alongside their aptitudes for connecting relationally with others and for growing their own sense of self-understanding as “professional formation.” As the American Bar Association adds, this includes the idea of the “development of a professional identity.” As you’ll see in this issue, the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Profession is at the forefront of the professional formation movement nationally. Other schools have long benefitted from the conferences, writings and thought-leadership of the Holloran Center. Now some of those core ideas are embedded in accreditation standards that are mandatory nationwide for every law school. For example, every school should help students with “an intentional exploration of the values, guiding principles, and well-being practices considered foundational to successful legal practice” (ABA Interpretation 303-5). It might seem obvious that schools should do this, but it hasn’t always been central for legal education generally. At St. Thomas Law, though, we’ve been helping students in these ways since our founding over 20 years ago. For years, St. Thomas students have been the main beneficiaries of our best thinking and work on this, and we’re so proud of our alums who continue to carry this out into their professions. We’re also glad that these efforts and ideas continue to gain wider traction, ultimately benefiting future attorneys, clients, and the legal profession overall. We’re not done innovating and moving forward, and we will continue to give our best thinking and efforts to our students. We know that St. Thomas Law’s leadership will continue to shape the profession in the years to come.



A Message From the Dean


School of Law News


Admissible Hearsay



Sheree R. Curry Ann Harrington Gloria Sonnen Myre Joel Nichols

Profile: Justice Margaret Chutich


Brant Skogrand Abraham Swee Front cover Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Margaret H. Chutich Photo by Mark Brown Back cover Photo by Mark Brown

Alumni Clerkship Reflections 18

Holloran Center & Professional Formation



Advocates: Archbishop Ireland Justice Fellows



Lessons from the Ice


Class Notes

The University of St. Thomas is an equal opportunity educator and employer. St. Thomas does not unlawfully discriminate, in any of its programs or activities, on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, family status, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Facebook @ustlawmn Twitter @ustlawmn Instagram @ustlawmn

Joel Nichols Interim Dean and Mengler Chair in Law University of St. Thomas School of Law

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and Robin Fretwell Wilson, who co-authored a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) prior to the Senate’s approval of the RFMA. It urged Republican senators to support the bill and explained the religious freedom protections that had been added. During the floor debate, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), a lead Republican proponent of the bill, repeatedly quoted and cited the letter from Berg and his colleagues – “the opinion of leading experts in the field” – as the key analysis showing that the religious liberty protections were significant. For Berg and his colleagues, the passage of the RFMA is an important milestone during a time of significant political polarization and an example of how groups on two sides of a legislative issue can find balanced solutions and respect the constitutional freedoms of both sides. “The great benefit of this law is that it will exemplify that we can protect both same-sex marriage rights and religious liberty – indeed, as a practical matter in our divided times, we must protect one as we protect the other,” Berg said. “The refusal by activists on both sides to seek balanced solutions has blocked the passage of LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws and harmed the appeal of religious liberty as a fundamental right. This bill helpfully shows that it’s possible to overcome the impasse, even in a small way; thus, it could encourage future, broader efforts.”

Vischer has a storied tenure at St. Thomas. He served as dean of the School of Law from 2013-22, rising through its ranks from when he started as an associate professor of law in 2005. The announcement comes as St. Thomas approaches an important juncture in its history as it continues its decades-long evolution from one of Minnesota’s small liberal arts colleges to a national Catholic university. “Rob is known as a highly effective relational leader with a strong dedication to the mission of the university and someone who puts the students at the center of every decision and action,” said Dr. Amy Goldman, CEO and chair of the GHR Foundation, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and vice chair of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees. “The board has put its faith in Rob as the leader who will continue the St. Thomas trajectory to become the undisputed premier private university in the Midwest.” At the 12th annual Alumnae Brunch, St. Thomas Law honored Victoria Brenner ‘04 J.D. with an Alumna Achievement Award. She was nominated by fellow alum and colleague Michael Boulette ‘10 J.D. ⁣Brenner is a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in their Minneapolis-based Domestic Relations group. She is past-president of the Warren E. Burger American Inn of Court; past-president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts; and past-chair of the Minnesota Justice Foundation. Victoria cofounded the Ramsey County Veterans Limited Scope Legal Services Program and was named Attorney of the Year by the Tubman Safety Project. Brenner is also an advocate for diversity in the legal profession, serving as a mentor with Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and as a voice for diversity within her law firm.

The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) was passed by the U.S. Senate on Nov. 29, 2022, with the help of analysis and support from a group of leading religious liberty scholars that included School of Law Professor Thomas Berg. The bill, which was signed into law on Dec. 13, 2022, requires all states to recognize same-sex unions legally performed elsewhere in the country. It was ultimately passed because its authors negotiated an amendment for religious liberty protections, which secured endorsement of the bill from religious groups such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was also endorsed publicly by top constitutional law experts Thomas Berg, Douglas Laycock, Carl Esbeck

The St. Thomas Board of Trustees unanimously selected law school Dean Robert K. Vischer as the university’s 16th president following a nationwide search. He is the second layperson to assume the role and had been serving as interim president since June 2022. Vischer assumed the permanent role on Jan. 1, 2023.



The fifth edition of “The Constitution of the United States,” co-authored by Professor

The second edition of “Learning Sales Law,” co-authored by Associate Dean Elizabeth Schiltz , was published by West Academic.

Michael Stokes Paulsen, was published by West Academic.

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A St. Paul elementary school student will receive appropriate special education services as a result of the advocacy work of students in St. Thomas Law’s Special Education Legal Clinic. In response to an administrative complaint filed by 3L Kari Thoreson, an advanced student practitioner in the clinic, and Professor Andrea Jepsen ’06 J.D., on January 12, 2023, the Minnesota Department of Education issued a decision that found that St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) did not follow federal and state special education laws and that the child was eligible for compensatory educational services to address the educational failures. Law students working in the Special Education Legal Clinic began representing the child in the spring of 2022 through a partnership the clinic has with

St. Peter Claver Catholic School, where the student was attending school. Under Minnesota law, students who attend a private school and qualify for special education services receive them from the public school district in which the private school is located, in this instance St. Paul Public Schools. “Our clinic students were essential to ensuring that this student will now receive the services they are entitled to, services that are calculated to result in educational progress,” Jepsen, who co-leads the clinic with Associate Dean Elizabeth Schiltz, said. “I’m very happy for the student and the student’s family and overjoyed to see the hard work of our law students changing the course of a child’s education.”


creates better lawyers – not only in how they approach the practice of law, but also how they work with their clients. “Having a diverse set of voices helps students hone their own positions on an issue, and practice articulating and respectfully expressing their views clearly while considering the full perspective of others,” Nichols said. “They need those same skills as attorneys. Those skills are harder to build if everyone around you thinks just like you.” In 2018, the University of St. Thomas School of Law was listed among the most politically balanced law faculties in the country, according to a study from Harvard and the University of Chicago.

St. Thomas Law is ranked among the country’s politically moderate law schools according to a recent report by preLaw magazine. Just under 12% of law schools fell into this category. “We’re pleased for another validation of the balance we seek to achieve,” Interim Dean Joel Nichols said. “In pursuit of our mission, we work to create an environment that will draw a diverse set of voices and opinions to our law school. And further, we want to foster an environment where people can express differing views and perspectives, be fully welcomed and learn from one another.” Ideological diversity among faculty and students is important in law school, he said, because it ultimately

Andrea Jepsen ‘06 J.D. (pictured left), co-director of the Special Education Legal Clinic, and 3L Kari Thoreson (right).

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Arguments about pay-for-play serving as the final straw to destroy college athletics should fall on deaf ears as we already know how consumers will react to pay-for-play based on how they reacted to Name, Image and Likeness—not only will fans accept pay-for-play, but they will also gladly spend their own money to procure the best players for their beloved teams.” Professor David Grenardo in his forthcoming paper “Preparing for the Inevitable—Compensating College Athletes for Playing—By Comparing Two Pay-For-Play Methods: The Duke Model Versus the Free Market Model”

admissible hearsay

Even though the blueprint lacks any teeth from an enforcement standpoint and is not mandatory, it’s a good step to signal to all organizations that our government cares about these systems and what they are capable of doing to impede our civil rights. Colleen Dorsey, director of the law school’s Organizational Ethics and Compliance program, in an essay about the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights.”

Overheard in and around the University of St. Thomas School of Law

Like Trump, Biden has used the tool of clemency for symbolism rather than substance, while ignoring clemency’s official process. More than 17,000 petitions have piled up — an historic backlog — and many petitioners have been waiting for answers for five years or more. Professor Mark Osler in an op-ed he co-authored with NYU School of Law Professor Rachel Barkow for the New York Daily News

As a pastor and a teacher, and now in law school, where I focus on immigration law, I recognize that the spiritual depth of any community can be measured by how it treats people in these in-between spaces. It’s exactly the test Americans now face in the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan. 3L Jeffrey Heidkamp in an op-ed about the Afghan Adjustment Act

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Professor Carl Warren, 2L Isaac Schumacher, Professor Virgil Wiebe and Interim Dean Joel Nichols (pictured at right) attended the 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast in Minneapolis on January 16. The law school was also represented among the speakers. As part of the event, alumnus Abou Amara ‘19 J.D. (pictured above) moderated a conversation with keynote speaker Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Warren, Schumacher, Wiebe and Nichols

Casey Matthiesen ‘20 J.D., (pictured center) an attorney at Robins Kaplan LLP and president of the Minnesota Native American Bar Association, spoke with law students during a Taco Tuesday event in the fall. The events are new this year and are sponsored by the law school’s Spiritual Life Committee.

Tommie Give Day 2022 was a big success for the law school thanks to an outpouring of support from our 3Ls, staff, faculty and alumni. Thanks to you we surpassed our goal of reaching 300 donors to unlock $50,000. AND, we more than doubled the Tommie Give Day participation of any other academic unit on campus. Thank you!

At last year’s Mission Awards event, the School of Law honored Adam Terwey ‘11 J.D. (pictured right) with a Living the Mission award. Terwey is the director at St. Croix Legal Services, a nonprofit firm that serves individuals and families of low-to-moderate income who may not otherwise have access to the legal system.

On Veterans Day, the law school’s Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH), in partnership with the Veterans Defense Project (VDP), held an event at the law school to honor those who served in our armed forces and highlight Minnesota’s Veterans Restora- tive Justice Act. Among the speakers and panelists were Ryan Else ‘11 J.D. (pictured right), Professor and VDP Vice Chair Hank Shea and Professor and Director of the IRJH Father Dan Griffith.

Last fall’s Alumnae Brunch included a discussion about the advancement of women in the legal profession. Alumnae panelists (from left to right) Molly Hough ’18 J.D. , Barb Weckman Brekke ’05 J.D., Pamela Steinle ‘11 J.D. (moderator) and Kelli Riley ’12 J.D. shared their experiences as women lawyers and business leaders and offered advice on how to intentionally create space for women to succeed.

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Minnesota Supreme Court Justices take questions from law students following a hearing in the law school’s Frey Moot Courtroom.

of belonging to everyone she encounters. In person, Justice Chutich is outgoing, upbeat and

she starred on the tennis team. She graduated as a history major and won a scholarship to spend nine months at the University of Zagreb, studying Croatian, before heading to the University of Michigan for law school. Then Chutich got the opportunity of a lifetime: clerking for the late Judge Diana Murphy on the federal district court. “I learned what an excellent judge should do: how to conduct a courtroom; how to craft opinions. I learned from her the importance of trying to do your work promptly, because people are out there waiting for those decisions that are affecting their lives.” And she gained confidence. “When I first started working for [Judge Murphy], I was reluctant to give her recommendations,” Chutich recalled; she felt that she didn’t know enough. But the judge told her that her job was really to do the best that she could—advice she holds to this day. After years as an advocate in private

practice, working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and at the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, Chutich was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2012. In 2016, Governor Mark Dayton appointed her to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and she was elected to her position in 2018. Chutich married her longtime partner, Dr. Penny Wheeler, in 2013, as soon as same-sex marriage was legal in Minnesota. She and Wheeler have now been together for more than 25 years. (Dr. Wheeler is a member of the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees and a physician who retired as the chief executive of Allina Health in 2021.) The couple adopted a daughter, Olivia, from Guatemala, and raised her together. The family suffered a tragic loss in January 2021 when Olivia died at age 21 of hypothermia and alcohol on her first day back at Iowa State. The sudden loss of their beautiful and vibrant daughter—“our walking exclamation point,” as they called her—has been


approachable, with an easy laugh. She describes her childhood as “idyllic,” growing up the third of four kids, in a home with loving parents and doting grandparents nearby. Her family owned the local hardware store. Her father, the child of Croatian immigrants, nurtured her love of the outdoors. A natural athlete, Chutich gravitated early to sports, playing tennis, softball and basketball, but also to music—she has played the piano since first grade and played the clarinet in high school. In both music and sports, she learned, “If you do devote time to things and practice, you can get better,” she said. After graduation, she headed to Stanford, where she played varsity basketball. She says she loved her experience there, but transferred to the University of Minnesota, where

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich has never shied away from competition. Growing up in Anoka, Minnesota, in the 1960s and ‘70s, she started playing tennis at the age of nine, and by age 11 was ranked first in her age group. By the time she got to ninth and tenth grades, few girls could play at her level, so she joined the boys’ teams, and compiled a winning record. With Title IX in 1972 came more opportunities for girls, including, in Chutich’s junior year, the first Minnesota State High School

League girls’ tennis tournament. The young star decided to switch to the girls’ team, for two reasons: She wanted to play in that first tournament, but also because she recognized, as she recalled recently, “if all the best girls’ players were playing on the boys’ teams, the girls’ teams wouldn’t improve that much.” The decision paid off: Chutich made it to the state tournament in singles that first year, losing only to the eventual state champion. She returned her senior year and won the singles championship. The

story illustrates not only Chutich’s drive and determination, but her generous spirit, foreshadowing the way she would use opportunities to lift others up throughout her life. At St. Thomas School of Law, Chutich has been a mentor for 14 years, and since 2018, a member of the Board of Governors. As the first openly gay justice on the state’s highest court, she has taken a special interest in making sure every person feels represented and respected, and is known for extending that care and sense

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society today—if people disagree with you, you’re not misguided, you’re evil. We have to have a successful democracy—we can’t have people interacting in such a toxic manner.” St. Thomas is training people who care about the community, and people who care about those who haven’t had the same opportunities, she said. “They’re training people who can learn to get along with people who don’t have the same opinions as they do.” All that, Chutich said, means the school’s mission is more relevant than ever.

Chutich said, many of her mentees were young Black women and she appreciated the opportunity to talk to them about racial issues frankly and directly. She has also had some LGBTQ+ students as mentees, she said, “and I think they see me as a sign that they’re not going to be excluded from the highest levels of law at the state of Minnesota just because of their sexual orientation.” “I have always appreciated Catholic social justice efforts: helping the poor, feeding the hungry, all of those parts really appeal to me, and I like that the law school is really emphasizing the full development of people,” Chutich said. “I really resonate with the mission of the school,” she said. “It’s for the common good. It’s not just about

trying to learn to be the best litigator that you can be, it’s about using your skills to help people.” Still, when Justice Chutich was asked to join the law school’s Board of Governors in 2018, she felt some hesitation, given some of the Catholic Church’s past statements on gay people. But a lesbian friend who had served on the board before her assured her it was a welcoming environment, and Chutich said she has found that to be true. “There is a diversity of intellectual thought there, that I think, frankly, is a good thing for law students to see.” As with the court, “It’s about modeling how to have different viewpoints in a collegial fashion, or at least a civilized fashion. That’s really a dangerous thing in our

difficult, Chutich said, but going forward, she aims “to love others in my life as best as I can, to honor her spirit.” Chutich is one of four women justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court—a female majority. Though the seven justices bring different life experiences to the court, Chutich said the state’s highest court remains a haven of civility, even at a time of deep political divisions. “There is a real esprit de corps here, and I think for the most part we agree to disagree without being disagreeable, which is really important.” Justice Chutich has two recent St. Thomas Law graduates clerking for her this term— Megan Massie ’22 J.D. and Mary Clare Mulcahy ’22 J.D . Massie said she’s been

impressed with the way the justice prioritizes writing her opinions in a way that the general public can understand, noting “she’s always thinking about the impact she will have.” Mulcahy added that Justice Chutich is a great role model in many respects, including her dedication to self-care: “I get outside and exercise every day, and I can do that because my boss prioritizes it.” Chutich first became involved with St. Thomas through Judge Murphy, who was instrumental in the reopening of the law school in 2001. She introduced Chutich to Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, associate dean for external relations, who in turn recruited Chutich for the Mentor Externship Program.

“Justice Chutich is what I would call a professional exemplar,” Brabbit said, “not just for the way she does her job, but for who she is as a person.” Rob Vischer, former dean of the law school and now president of the University of St. Thomas, added “she is an exceptionally kind and caring person. She models for our students

the fact that you can occupy a position of prominence and

power without compromising your commitment to affirming the dignity of every person you encounter.” For her part, Chutich said she gets a lot out of her encounters with her mentees: “They’re really enthusiastic and I find that invigorating, to get to know young people who have a desire to change the world.” Early on,

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Erik Money, ‘ 20 J.D. Minnesota Supreme Court Clerk 2020-2021; Current Clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CLERKING FOR THE STATE’S HIGHEST COURT Three St. Thomas alumni share reflections on what they learned.

“Clerking at the Minnesota Supreme Court is one of the best jobs a new lawyer can have. The experience demystifies the judicial decisionmaking process and provides an opportunity to observe first-hand which advocacy styles are effective. I encourage any and all interested students to apply.”

Megan Massie, ‘ 22 J.D. Current Minnesota Supreme Court Clerk “I’ve learned so much working at the court. For one, this experience has really helped sharpen my research and writing skills, especially since I’m working with Justice Chutich who is just a fabulous writer and jurist. I feel like my practical skills have improved leaps and bounds already and am excited to continue to sharpen them over this year. “Justice Chutich has also shown me that the work you do outside of the courtroom is just as important as the work you do in it as a legal professional. She is deeply involved in the Minnesota legal community and gives back in ways that go beyond her decisions on the court. She values doing what she can to contribute to the community and help make it a better, more inclusive place to practice law. It has shown me the importance of and motivated me to get involved and connect with other people and groups within our community.”

Mary Clare Mulcahy, ‘ 22 J.D. Current Minnesota Supreme Court Clerk

“Clerking at the Minnesota Supreme Court has already proved to be an amazing experience, and I encourage law students to pursue clerkship opportunities. This position has allowed me to hone my legal writing, research and editing skills. I have also been exposed to a broad range of legal issues, requiring me to be resourceful and curious. Justice Hudson and Justice Chutich are incredible mentors, and I am grateful to learn from them each day. Not only are they excellent jurists, but their commitment to the State of Minnesota and the justice system is inspiring.”

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The Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions at the School of Law is making an impact on law schools nationwide. As a leader in professional identity formation, the center’s influence was confirmed in February 2022 when the American Bar Association revised accreditation Standard 303 to require law schools to provide substantial opportunities for students to develop a professional identity. Professional formation is deeply embedded in the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s mission, vision and values. “Since its founding, the Holloran Center has been deeply connected to the mission of the law school as we seek to educate our students in a holistic way that enables them to turn inward and draw upon their deepest values while simultaneously learning how to turn outward in service to others,” St. Thomas Law Interim Dean Joel Nichols said. “The idea of professional formation is central to all we do, as it connects to our desire to be deeply welcoming to students ‘as they are,’ while also partnering with them on a path toward their vocation with the knowledge and skills of a professional.” Holloran Center co-directors Neil Hamilton and Jerry Organ ’s scholarly work and collaboration with law schools nationwide has built the framework for the professional identity formation movement. Since 2007, Hamilton has published 60 long articles and three books on professionalism and student professional identity formation. Organ has published several articles as well and has been one of the principal investigators in

an ongoing study of law student wellness. Cross-institutional collaboration The Holloran Center has organized six University of St. Thomas Law Journal symposia on student professional formation starting in 2008 and is now organizing a seventh for the spring of 2023. In early 2013, Hamilton and Organ decided that an effective way to get other legal educators interested in professional formation and build awareness about it nationally was to host a workshop where teams of faculty and staff from law schools could come to learn about the topic and develop individual and institutional plans to foster it among their students. Following success in summer 2013, the Holloran Center hosted two workshops every summer through 2019 – ultimately welcoming more than 250 faculty and staff from more than 40 law schools, with several sending multiple teams. The workshops initially focused on faculty “A couple of schools wanted to bring administrative staff and career services teams, and we welcomed them,” Organ said. “That opened our eyes to the fact that everyone in the building contributes to professional formation – it doesn’t just happen in the classroom with professors. It happens in the milieu of the law school, and is shaped by interactions with librarians, academic support personnel, adjunct professors and all sorts of other people. We have come to understand how much this is a whole-building approach.” Todd Peterson, Carville Dickinson Benson research professor of law at The George Washington

University Law School, has brought several team members to numerous Holloran Center workshops. He is the director of the GW Law Inns of Court and Foundations of Practice programs, and brainstormed ideas with his team to implement professional formation at the school. One idea, which Peterson’s team thought of at the first Holloran Center workshop they attended, resulted in a revamped legal research and writing program. They took the program from one taught by adjunct professors to a program taught by full-time faculty with increased credit hours. The additional credit is devoted primarily to professional identity formation based on what Peterson and his team learned from Hamilton and Organ. “I honestly feel that I owe each of them so much both from an institutional perspective on behalf of GW Law and from my own personal perspective,” Peterson said. “The work they have done and the work they have encouraged me to do has enhanced my enjoyment of teaching and greatly enhanced the meaning I draw from the work that I do with the law school in ways that I don’t think I could have developed by myself. Their thoughtful and inspiring guidance has helped me to increase and develop my own enthusiasm and joy in the teaching of law on so many levels.” Hamilton was one of the Holloran Center’s founding members, along with Thomas Holloran and School of Law Senior Distinguished Fellow Hank Shea . The momentum of the Holloran Center has drawn others to serve as Holloran Center fellows. In addition to Shea, other

What type of image do they want here?

Holloran Center Efforts Lead to Revised ABA Standard


From left to right: David Grenardo, Jerry Organ and Neil Hamilton.

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fellows include School of Law Senior Distinguished Fellow Dennis Monroe and external fellows Louis Bilionis (University of Cincinnati College of Law), Barbara Glesner Fines (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law), and Kendall Kerew (Georgia State University College of Law). Reflecting on the impact of the Holloran Center, Hamilton said, “I feel deep gratitude. It’s such a blessing to work with these people.” Chiming in, Organ referred to Scripture. “We’ve been planting seeds, and not all of those seeds flourish,” he said. “But we’ve been blessed because a lot of them have flourished and a lot of the people we’ve interacted with have found this inspiring.” A locus for professional identity formation work

Professor Jerry Organ was a featured speaker at the National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals (NALSAP) conference in June 2022. Photo Credit: Wayne Espinola

more effectively than any of the other professional disciplines, but failed to a considerable measure in providing law students with meaningful professional identity formation experience or training, and contrasted legal education with medical education, which the authors held up as a model of good professional identity formation practice,” James Leipold, former executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) said. “The criticism hit home. It’s from this work that the Holloran Center springs.” “The Holloran Center is unique in that it has provided a place for scholars and teachers and other professionals involved in law student teaching, training and counseling to come together to study the problems and challenges associated with making meaningful change in the legal education curriculum,” Leipold said. “The Holloran Center has been a locus for the most sustained work on law student professional development that has been done ever in the history of U.S. legal education.” One of Hamilton’s books, Roadmap, helped to elevate the visibility of the Holloran Center. The book, which is

used by St. Thomas Law as well as a number of other law schools, helps law students focus on the path to meaningful employment. “A commitment to serving others does not happen by accident – it happens through reflection and moral growth,” said Rob Vischer, former dean of the law school and now president of the University of St. Thomas. “The Holloran Center has led a national movement to take professional formation more seriously. Conversations about formation come easily to a law school that takes faith seriously, and when we combine that with rigorous research and an investment in relationship-building, the Holloran Center’s conversations translate into action and systemwide change.” The Holloran Center was a major aspect of what attracted St. Thomas Law Professor David Grenardo to the school. He joined the center in 2022 as its associate director. “The Holloran Center is considered the leader in professional identity formation. The center has literally changed legal education,” Grenardo said. “Jerry and Neil have done such an incredible job.” Grenardo helped to launch the

Law student professional development and lawyer

professional identity formation became a topic of discussion in 1992, when the ABA’s MacCrate Report called for a more practice- oriented approach to legal education by setting out 10 lawyering skills and four professional values. Practical skills training and professional identity formation efforts gained additional traction in 2007, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. “Among other things, that book made the forceful point that law schools excelled at teaching critical thinking skills, perhaps

June 2022 Conference

center’s blog in August, which features guest contributors from across the nation. The team is also considering launching a podcast. “A theme to all of this [success] is gratitude and blessing,” Organ said. “We have been blessed

that our interest in professional identity formation was something that a lot of other people shared an interest in and wanted to support. The winds were blowing the right direction at the right time, and we found people to walk with us

on this journey to help give the movement momentum. We plan to take advantage of the wind behind our sails.”

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If you didn’t know any better, Maya Karrow ‘21 J.D. might come off as a private investigator. And that assumption would be partially correct. She’s certainly on the ultimate search for answers. Karrow is convincing in her investigator ways; last year she spent countless hours in the bowels of county courthouses across Minnesota. She sent dozens of letters requesting case files from county clerks. And she scoured the internet, earmarking media reports and taking copious notes. Despite outward appearances, Karrow is not a private eye. But she does have a long list of clients who are dear to her heart—88 of them in fact, all who deserve justice even though their cases are closed and their voices silenced. “My clients are children, and even though I’m not actually speaking to these kids, or actually hearing from them, I am advocating for them,” Schulte said. “I have a lot of passion for giving a voice to people who are voiceless.” Karrow is a recent School of Law graduate and was part of the school’s Archbishop Ireland Justice Fellowship program. Fellows are placed in one- year, full-time employment with Minnesota organizations that work to address the civil legal needs of individuals who otherwise could not afford assistance from an attorney. In Karrow’s case, she took on a placement as staff attorney with

Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota, one of the leading child welfare organizations in the state. For several months, Karrow collected data on 88 child fatality cases connected to Minnesota’s child protection system. “Their stories were completely pushed under the rug,” Karrow said. “No one is bringing their stories to light, and we’re not going to see any change if someone isn’t pointing out these issues.” The 88 cases in question span eight years, from 2014 to 2022. Many feature what Karrow describes as “alarming and disturbing trends,” where a little extra care or concern from the state may have saved the child’s life. Karrow considered a multitude of factors, such as how many times reports of abuse or neglect were made, how many times the family was investigated, and what did the state know about the case before the child died. In the end, she wants to know what could have prevented the death, all in an effort to avoid future tragedy. “It’s almost like I am a kind of investigator, in a way, and I am just poking holes in a lot of these cases or asking a lot of questions. What happened here and why?” Karrow said. With the research portion of the project complete, a massive report was painstakingly compiled in collaboration with Richard Gehrman, executive director of Safe Passage for

Children of Minnesota. The goal is to present the findings to the Minnesota State Legislature, with a series of recommendations and steps lawmakers could take to improve our state’s child protection system. “Our findings are pretty incredible – in a really alarming way. The average person has no idea how bad our child protection system actually is,” Karrow said. “Through this work I feel like I’m bringing justice to the children that died, and their families.” Closing the justice gap in the United States is exactly what the Archbishop Ireland Justice Fellowship program is designed to do. Started in 2014, the program has placed 17 St. Thomas Law alumni in positions with legal aid organizations. Whether they work on immigration or disability law, the goal is the same for each fellow: bringing justice to those who would otherwise go unheard. Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, associate dean for external relations at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, is one of the cofounders of the program. She says it grew out of St. Thomas looking to do its part in addressing a mammoth issue, helping legal aid organizations that are underfunded and, in turn, the 60 million Americans who can’t afford an attorney. “Thirty-eight percent of low- income Americans are faced with life-altering legal issues that negatively impact their physical and emotional well-being, safety

Archbishop Ireland Justice


By Abraham Swee

Maya Karrow

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and sense of dignity,” Brabbit said. “And as we thought about what it means to be a Catholic law school, we asked ourselves, ‘How are we addressing the justice gap?’ This seemed to be one positive way to contribute to that.” For many of the fellows, a one- year commitment has quickly turned into a permanent path forward. Sixty percent of placements have led to the fellow accepting a full-time position with their aid organization. “It has been inspiring to watch these attorneys get into the work and find a strong return on their life energy,” Brabbit said. “They’re realizing that their gifts are meeting a serious social need, and in addition to helping clients, the work is bringing meaning to them personally.” One of those fellows who is far from ready to say goodbye to that meaningful work is Paulo Castro ‘21 J.D. Originally from Brazil, Castro came to the University of St. Thomas School of Law looking to expand his horizons in the United States. He quickly found much more than he bargained for. “I had a wish of spending a year here just to see how it feels,” Castro said. “And now my wish is to keep doing my work here. I’ve realized how valuable I can be.” A staff attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, Castro

is part of the youth services team. His fellowship ended last fall, but he received a full-time employment offer to stay and continue his work at the Disability Law Center. Castro focuses on cases involving special education students whose families run into roadblocks trying to access services across the state. He fields dozens of phone calls weekly from parents and caregivers, all hoping he’ll be able to unlock a pathway for their child to receive a better education. “Education changed my family’s life – I know how seriously education should be taken,” Castro said. “For my clients, it can change their lives, too, if they receive the appropriate services.” Often Castro works quickly with schools to establish those services for his clients. But he’s prepared to go to court if barriers remain. “They must be taken seriously and not discriminated against or segregated in the classroom,” Castro said. “Many parents just need someone to listen to them and point them in the right direction, but we can offer much more than that.” The Minnesota Disability Law Center is zeroed in on clients who cannot afford a private attorney. Creating access motivates Castro to keep fighting for each new

client who walks through the door. “Most of our clients are the ones who are the least favored in the community,” Castro said. “So, this is something I feel happy about, because I love to get to talk to people who are in need of legal advice, and to help them find a solution.”

With each passing year, the Archbishop Ireland Justice

Fellowship continues to grow. Six fellows received placements this past year, with leaders hoping to grow their numbers to 10 each year for the next decade. “We just don’t have enough lawyers to meet all of these needs,” Brabbit said. “Sometimes we hear there’s too many lawyers in the profession… well, actually there’s not enough lawyers doing this kind of work.” Despite that massive gap, St. Thomas is working to fill it, one lawyer at a time. As Maya Karrow comes to the end of her fellowship at Safe Passage, she’s not only working on a report for the Minnesota Legislature, but she’s also getting ready to pursue a career tackling more tough cases for families. “I just see it as a huge important piece of work that I got to be a part of,” Karrow said. “I’m so happy I got the opportunity to do this work.”

The groundbreaking study on Minnesota’s child protection system conducted by Maya Karrow and Richard Gehrman, executive director of Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota, was released in February 2023. Click on the QR code to read the final report.

Paulo Castro

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2019 alumni versus student hockey game

When Trevor Jones ’09 J.D. was admitted to the University of St. Thomas School of Law, he thought it was missing one thing: a hockey team. As a life-long hockey player, Jones recognized that his passion for the sport could help balance the academic rigors of law school. When Jones began his 1L year, he found he was in good company— there were enough hockey players on campus to start a team. In early winter 2006, Jones and several classmates formed the Fightin’ Apostles Hockey Team, a co-ed student club that has operated continuously ever since. The inaugural team played in a Sunday afternoon league and established the Golden Gavel hockey tournament along with other local law schools. “We tried to make it a team that the law school community could come and watch when we had events or bigger games—something outside of academia that the students could rally around,” Jones said. Over time, the team also began hosting student-versus-alumni games to build community between present and past players. After nearly two decades of Fightin’ Apostles hockey, current players and alumni say that the sport

offers lessons and opportunities well beyond the ice: friendships, work/life balance, community connections, professional development and more. Fightin’ Apostles players resoundingly agree that the best part of playing on the team is developing relationships outside of academics and across graduating classes. For 2L Stella Haberman, playing hockey, “is a great way to find balance and meet other students. We bond over the sport we love. They understand my hip and shoulder pain!” Jones echoes, “As is true with most experiences being on a hockey team, the locker room is what I remember the most. It’s where we were able to meet new people and cultivate friendships. Even as alumni, we can meet up once a year and pick up right where we all left off.” Josh Damberg ’17 J.D. shares a similar sentiment, “One of the best parts of playing for the team was sharing a hobby/passion with my classmates. It was a great mental escape from case law and statutes.” Adam Brown ’06 J.D., who was in the last semester of his 3L year when the team began, recalls how that season helped him feel grounded.

“The Fightin’ Apostles team is a great way to connect with people, especially from other class years,” he said. “During law school, it gave me something familiar to do. I did not have any family or friends who were lawyers, and law school was completely new for me. I knew how to hack around on the ice, though, and it helped me feel more at home.” Zach Graham ’18 J.D. agrees that playing provided “a great outlet and some familiarity to do something I’ve been doing my whole life when everything else in law school was so new.” For those who grew up playing hockey in Minnesota, the so-called State of Hockey, and elsewhere, the sport fosters a deep affection for the state. “[The team] adds a crucial part of Minnesota culture to an already strong St. Thomas Law community,” says 3L Josh Bykowski, a current team captain. “Hockey holds a special place in our culture,” comments Jones, “I feel more connected to being a Minnesotan as a hockey player.” Damberg describes the team as “creating a uniquely Minnesotan social and professional network.”

Hockey Offers Lessons for Life and the Law


Second-year law students and current Fightin’ Apostles team members Davis Cheney, John Greniuk and Dan Condon. on.

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That the Minnesota legal professional network has a strong hockey presence should come as no surprise. “Hockey requires discipline, teamwork and focus,” remarks Jon Farnsworth ’07 J.D./MBA, “these skills are integral to being a successful attorney.” Brad Walz ’04 J.D., graduated before the team was formed, but participates as an alumnus. “Hockey taught me discipline, perseverance and loyalty,” he said. “I would do anything I could for my teammates, and I would put in the extra work so the team succeeded. Because of my hockey experience I bring the same attitude to my client relationships and the relationships with the attorneys, paralegals and other support staff in my firm.” Hockey is a mental and physical outlet for Nate Summers J.D. ’20. “After hours of sitting behind a computer or in a courtroom, there are few things better for my mental health than strapping on the pads and hitting the ice,” he said. First-year law student Jill Schneider credits the sport with teaching her time management. “I need to make time for workouts and practice, sleep, school and part-

developed a passion for coaching youth hockey in his hometown of Delano, Minnesota. “I began coaching while I studied for the bar exam and continued once I became licensed to practice. It is an awesome way to network and give back to the community,” he said. Damberg, an estate planner, says that he finds himself putting on his “coach hat” with clients. “Many of my clients appreciate that I approach their planning from an educational/coaching perspective—I want them to really understand their estate plan and my process in helping them craft it.” After a lifetime of playing and now coaching, Brown says hockey has helped to redefine success on and off the ice. When asked to explain how his mentality has changed, he talked about the hockey strategy of rotating several “shifts” of players throughout a game. “As a younger player, I measured a good shift by whether I scored or not,” Brown said. “Let’s just say that with that mindset, I did not have many good shifts. I have learned to understand that a good shift can be defined by smaller successes such as making good passes, stopping an opportunity for the other team or maybe even backchecking hard all the way to my own defensive zone. “Now, instead of telling myself that I had a bad shift, I tell my teammates or the kids I am coaching that ‘we had a lot of good ideas out there.’ Over the course of the game, the small successes add up and turn into more good shifts than bad ones, which leads to a good game overall. Professionally, I use this same growth-oriented mindset to stretch my abilities, push myself and learn new things. “We all have successes every day

that we need to learn to recognize and acknowledge. There will be some tough bounces along the way, but the good shifts far outweigh the bad ones, and the bad ones just become learning and improvement opportunities. Most of us could do a better job with our mindset in the legal industry. At the end of the day, stay positive and remind yourself that you had a lot of good ideas out there today!” Hockey is much more than a game. Yes, it’s skates and sticks and pucks and nets. It’s also the comforting familiarity of the crisp smell of ice when you enter an arena lugging still-sweaty equipment; the Zamboni hum as it rolls over snowy cracks and leaves a mirrored sheen; the skate blade’s edge pulling the ice just right on a backwards crossover to pick up speed; pre-dawn practices; the buzzer blast; laughter in the locker room. It’s pushing yourself beyond physical and mental limitations, overcoming adversity, supporting teammates and working toward a common goal. Hockey is a metaphor for life, and especially for the practice of law.

time work as well,” she said. Third-year Bykowski learned

“several valuable lessons about professionalism, work ethic and discipline” through hockey that he says have undoubtedly impacted the development of his professional identity. Many Fightin’ Apostles players become community hockey coaches during or after law school. Law student Haberman currently coaches a local youth hockey team with Schneider. Damberg

Pictured (L to R): Stella Haberman ’24 J.D., John Greniuk ’24 J.D., Gloria Myre ‘07 J.D., Sam Libke ’23 J.D., Trevor Jones ‘09 J.D., Jill Schneider ’25 J.D. and Josh Damberg ‘17 J.D.

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