Lawyer UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS SCHOOL OF LAW SUMMER 2021 ST. THOMAS
“THE TRUSTEES RESOLVED TO ESTABLISH A LAW SCHOOL WHERE FAITH, VALUES AND PROFESSIONALISM WOULD BE CRITICAL INGREDIENTS THROUGHOUT THE CURRICULUM.
They imagined a law school in which students would grow as individuals while developing the essential skills necessary to practice law successfully. Second, they resolved to establish a law school that would not be narrowly doctrinal, but one that was inclusive – open to ideas and committed to preparing leaders for an increasingly global community. …And third, the trustees envisioned a law school where students would graduate with a strongly ingrained ethic of service. We hoped that many would choose to utilize their legal talents in careers advancing the interestsof social justice,especiallyby assisting the poor. We hoped that all graduates would volunteer some part of their professional lives to serving justice and community. … To meet this challenge the law school will draw on its Catholic tradition to focus on formation and on the integration of faith and
ethics throughout the academic program, to maintain an inclusive and diverse environment of people and perspectives, and to build a community of service and leadership. Ethics and professional ideals are being emphasized in all its classes, in its clinics and in its mentor program.” – Hon. Diana E. Murphy , Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, October 17, 2003, at the dedication ceremony for the School of Law’s new building. Judge Murphy was a member of the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees. She served in 1999 as chair of an advisory committee that recommended St. Thomas reopen the law school and was a founding member of its Board of Governors in 2001. Judge Murphy passed away in 2018.
ST.THOMAS Lawyer Summer 2021 – Volume 14, Issue 2
Published by the University of St. Thomas School of Law 1000 LaSalle Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (651) 962-4892 firstname.lastname@example.org stthomas.edu/law Senior Marketing Program Manager and Editor Carrie Hilger Assistant Editor Amy Carlson Gustafson Designer Carol Garner Photographers Mark Brown Liam James Doyle Contributors Lisa Montpetit Brabbit Marigrace Carney Gloria Sonnen Myre
A Message From the Dean
20 Years: A Timeline
Authentic Community Engagement
Tips for Effectively Managing Stress 18 Mission: Our Twentieth Year 20 A Guided Start to a Career in Law 24
Brant Skogrand Robert Vischer Front cover
The School of Law building and downtown Minneapolis campus on a sunny morning, June 6, 2021. Photo by Mark Brown Back cover Law school construction in 2002. University of St. Thomas photo
First-Generation Law Student Association
Thought Leaders: Faculty Scholarship and Research
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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. stthomas.edu/eostatement
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AT ST. THOMAS LAW, WE AIM TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF “LIFE AS IT IS” FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
After a 68-year hiatus, our law school reopened its doors in August 2001, confident in our mission but unsure of precisely how that mission would impact the world. A few weeks later, the attacks of 9/11 happened. That first semester looked different than anyone had imagined, but our mission mattered unmistakably in our community’s response to the nation’s pain. Twenty years later, it’s easy to discern the many meaningful ways in which St. Thomas Law has contributed to the common good. It is perhaps fitting, though, that our anniversary as a law school comes
during another period of acute pain. There has been no time to pat ourselves on the back for two decades of success – there is urgent work to be done navigating a global pandemic, responding to a deepening awareness of racial injustice, and looking to help mend an increasingly fractured society. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about a single phrase from Pope Francis’s most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti . He reminds us to “shoulder the inevitable responsibilities of life as it is.” Life as it is. Not as we wish it was, not as we hoped it would turn out – as it is. There are many areas in which our community has brought a distinctive perspective to debates about the law and legal education, and they all reflect a commitment to meet the needs of a broken but hopeful world. For example, we have emerged as a leading voice for: Bringing mercy to criminal justice reform Showing how legal education can foster wellness
Explaining why the political left and right should take religious liberty seriously Implementing restorative justice practices as a resource for the legal system Innovating access to justice strategies in the developing world Educating professionals who can strengthen the ethical cultures of organizations Serving the holistic needs of clinic clients, not just legal needs Establishing professional identity formation as a priority for law schools Demonstrating the relevance of Catholic social teaching to legal reform
It has never been clearer than it has been during this, our 20th year, that what we are doing as a law school community can, should and will have a meaningful impact on the world around us – now, and for generations to come. That impact is a function, though, of our willingness to look unflinchingly at, and respond courageously to, “life as it is.” I am grateful for the many ways in which you help us do precisely that.
Robert K. Vischer Dean and Mengler Chair in Law University of St. Thomas School of Law
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SCHOOL OF LAW NEWS
FOUR GRADS NAMED ARCHBISHOP IRELAND JUSTICE FELLOWS St. Thomas Law remains committed to addressing America’s justice gap through the continued expansion of its Archbishop Ireland Justice Fellows program. The program places licensed St. Thomas Law graduates 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. The positions are funded through an innovative model, which maximizes the resources of the law school, donors and organizations serving those most in need. Our newest fellows from the class of 2020 include: • Tori Kee , St. Thomas School of Law Community Justice Project • ZuzanaMenzlová , Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid • Eric Penniston , Ramsey County • James Rasmussen , Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
CONGRATULATIONS, MARIANA VIELMA! At the 10th annual Alumnae Brunch on Nov. 7, 2020, the School of Law honored Judge Mariana Vielma ’05 J.D. (left) as the 2020 Law Alumna Achievement Award recipient. Vielma is a judge in Adams County, Colo. She was nominated by her friend and former classmate Loddy Tolzmann ’05 J.D. (right). Vielma was presented with the award during an online ceremony and in her remarks, she shared some advice for current law students: “Don’t ever let anyone tell you who you are and what you cannot do, or that you have to do your work in a traditional way,” she said. “You know who you are. You are called to serve. Take time to identify your values. Know that vulnerability is a strength and be open to a legal career path that you might not even imagine for yourself.”
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SCHOOL OF LAW NEWS
LAW SCHOOL ADDS COURSES THAT ADDRESS CURRENT LEGAL TOPICS
St. Thomas School of Law has added new courses that focus on race, policing, social justice and the law. This spring, Dr. Artika Tyner ‘06 J.D., ‘10 MA, ‘12 EdD taught Leadership and Social Change, which examines leadership from diverse perspectives and provides students with advocacy tools to influence the law and policy. Tyner will teach the course again during the 2021-22 academic year. Also this spring, Associate Professor Rachel Moran taught the new course Controversies in Policing. The course focuses on the intersection of law and policing, including the historical and current role of law enforcement in our society, unions, use of force, immunity and liability, accountability and discipline structures, and movements to defund, abolish or reimagine departments. Adjunct Professor Reid LeBeau will teach Native American Law this fall semester, which will explore the complex legal and political relationship between the United States government and Native American tribes. Students will examine the history of federal Indian law and policy, tribal sovereignty and property rights, congressional plenary power and the trust doctrine. LeBeau is a shareholder with the Jacobson Law Group in St. Paul. He is also an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
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SCHOOL OF LAW NEWS
#8 for Quality of Life The Princeton Review, 2021 ST. THOMAS LAW HAS BEEN ON THIS LIST OF TOP 10
#2 for Practical Training National Jurist, 2021 ST. THOMAS LAW HAS BEEN RANKED AMONG THE TOP THREE LAW SCHOOLS IN THIS CATEGORY SINCE 2014.
SCHOOLS NEARLY EVERY YEAR SINCE 2008.
CONGRATS, 5-, 10- AND 15- YEAR ALUMNI! Though we couldn’t celebrate together this year, St. Thomas Law congratulates the classes of 2006, 2011 and 2016 on the anniversary of their graduation from law school.
Members of the classes of 2006 (left) and 2011 (below) at their reunions in 2016.
Members of the class of 2016 (above) at their commencement ceremony.
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SCHOOL OF LAW NEWS
THE MIPLA CUP RETURNS TO ST. THOMAS LAW Rising 3Ls Jessica Hughes and Erin Herdeman took first place in the 2021 Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association (MIPLA) moot court competition in March, bringing the MIPLA Cup back to St. Thomas Law. The annual competition is coordinated by MIPLA for students at Minnesota’s three law schools who are registered to compete at the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) Giles Rich Moot Court Competition. Judging was provided by volunteer MIPLA members, including St. Thomas Law alumna Sherry Roberg-Perez ’05 J.D . Hughes andHerdemanwent on toplace second at theAIPLAMidwest regional competition and advance to theAIPLAnational tournament. This is the fourth year in a row that a St. Thomas teamhas qualified for the national competition. Hughes andHerdeman advanced to the semi-final round and finished as one of the top four teams in the nation. St. Thomas’ team is coached by LeaWestman ‘15 J.D. , Lee Bennin ‘19 J.D. and Adam Szymanski .
TRADEMARK CLINIC PARTNERS WITH WOMENVENTURE The St. Thomas School of Law Trademark Clinic has partnered with the nonprofit WomenVenture to assist local entrepreneurs with trademark matters related to their new businesses. WomenVenture’s mission is to “help women attain economic self-sufficiency.” The organization provides women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to achieve economic success through small business ownership. Since starting the partnership last fall, St. Thomas Law students have assisted WomenVenture clients with trademark searches, clearance, applications and the prosecution of their applications. Rising 3L Marigrace Carney and Michael Pfau ‘21 were student practitioners in the Trademark Clinic this spring and worked withWomenVenture clients. “It’s inspiring to see women opening businesses they’re passionate about,” Carney said. “Trademarking a name or logo is important for new business owners and I’m glad I was able to help them take that first step.” St. Thomas Law’s Trademark Clinic is taught by BradleyWalz ’04 J.D.
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SCHOOL OF LAW NEWS
ST. THOMAS LAW’S FOUNDING FACULTY
Front row – left to right: Ursula H. Weigold, Michael P. O’Connor, Celia M. Rumann, Patrick J. Schiltz, Elizabeth R. Schiltz, Thomas E. Holloran Back row – left to right: Jerome M. Organ, Rev. D. Reginald Whitt, O.P., Neil W. Hamilton, Thomas C. Berg, Edmund P. Edmonds
FACULTY PUBLISH NEW BOOKS
Professor Tom Berg was a contributor for the new book Law, Religion and Freedom: Conceptualizing a Common Right (Routledge, 2021). He wrote the chapter titled “‘Christian bigots’ and ‘Muslim terrorists’: religious liberty in a polarized age.”
Dr. Artika Tyner published The Inclusive Leader (ABA Book Publishing, 2021), which provides a framework for building leadership
Professor Wulf Kaal co-authored a new book
Decentralization: Technology’s Impact on Organizational and Societal Structure (De Gruyter, 2021) with Craig Calcaterra, a professor at Metropolitan State University.
competencies rooted in the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
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admissible hearsay Overheard in and around the University of St. Thomas School of Law
“We have, for many decades across this country, largely trusted law enforcement agencies to police their own officers and it hasn’t worked.” – PROFESSOR RACHEL MORAN IN HER TESTIMONY TO THE OREGON LEGISLATURE IN FEBRUARY ABOUT A BILL TO ALLOW PUBLIC ACCESS TO POLICE DISCIPLINE RECORDS.
“One thing about criminal law is that you’re not going to make a million dollars, you’re not going to necessarily be on TV like these lawyers are. But it always matters – deeply – and that’s something the students want. They want their work to be meaningful.” – PROFESSOR MARK OSLER IN AN INTERVIEWWITH KARE11 NEWS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF WATCHING THE TRIAL OF FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER DEREK CHAUVIN ON STUDENTS STUDYING CRIMINAL LAW.
“Law schools teach suspension of judgment, critical thinking, the cultivation of trust, precision with language, detached empathy and the courage to represent unpopular clients and causes – these are all important habits for a divided nation.”
– DEAN ROBERT VISCHER IN A POST FOR THE BLOG MIRROR OF JUSTICE, “CATHOLIC LEGAL EDUCATION IN AN AGE OF POLITICAL TRIBALISM.”
“If you say we can’t support any anti-discrimination protection for sexual orientation or gender identity because such behavior or identity is wrong or flawed, then it’s very hard to explain to someone else why they should support religious freedom protections or traditional religion when they believe its behaviors or tenets are wrong.” – PROFESSOR TOM BERG IN AN ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER ADVOCATING FOR THE FAIRNESS FOR ALL ACT. BERG IS ONE OF FOUR LEADING FIRST AMENDMENT SCHOLARS WHO WROTE AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE LEGISLATION.
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The law school building opened in the fall of 2003 with a dedication ceremony held on October 17 (see inside front cover). The Interprofessional Center (IPC) for Counseling and Legal Services opened in 2003 as a collaboration between the School of Law, School of Social Work and College of Applied Professional Studies, now the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Among the first of its kind in the country, students fromeach discipline, under the guidance of IPC faculty, work together to represent and assist the underserved populations of the Twin Cities.
The Mentor Externship Program received the
The law school’s inaugural class consisted of 120 students. Classes were held in Terrence Murphy Hall until the law school building was completed in 2003. The Mentor Externship Program has been a distinctive aspect of a St. Thomas legal education since it was created. The program pairs every law student with a lawyer or judge in their area of interest each year of law school to help them gain work experience, develop relationships and navigate the legal field. Turn to page 24 to learn more about the Mentor Externship Program.
ABA’s E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. This award recognizes the nation’s exemplary, innovative and on- going legal professionalism programs. “Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment,” written by professor Neil Hamilton, won the award in 2015. ( Photo: Ryan Wensmann ‘12 J.D., right, poses with his mentor Thomas Ting, left, in 2011. Ting is one of 64 “all-star” mentors who have guided St. Thomas law students for 15 or more years.)
St. Thomas first opened a law school in 1923. It operated for 10 years before closing, in part, due to the Great Depression.
After a two-year study, the St. Thomas Board of Trustees recommended that the university reopen its School of Law. A core team of individuals was assembled, including the law school’s first Dean David Link (now Father Link), Sr. Sally Furay, Associate Dean Patrick Schiltz (pictured, now Judge Schiltz) and library director Edmund Edmonds, to hire faculty and staff, establish temporary facilities, recruit students, apply for accreditation and more.
Thomas M. Mengler served as the School of Law’s second dean from 2002 until 2012. During his tenure, Mengler oversaw many of the school’s early milestones, such as the construction and opening
Formed in 2004, the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy is a collaboration between the Center for Catholic Studies and School of Law. It works to engage the church, the academic community and the public in rigorous discussions that bring historical and contemporary Catholic perspectives to bear on debates about law and public policy. The Institute has hosted many prestigious speakers and thought- provoking events since it was created, including a 2017 discussion between New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (pictured right) and professor and political commentator Cornel West (pictured left) about Christianity and politics in the U.S.
The Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, founded in 2006, provides innovative interdisciplinary research, curriculum development and programs designed to help both law students and practicing professionals become ethical leaders in their communities. The Holloran Center is at the forefront of a growing national movement focused on greater intentionality regarding professional formation. In 2006, the ABA unanimously approved full accreditation for the University of St. Thomas School of Law. (Photo: Students, faculty, staff and guests gather to celebrate the law school’s accreditation.)
of the law building and becoming accredited by
the American Bar Association (ABA).
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EVENTS AND MILESTONES
2008 | The first issue of St. Thomas Lawyer magazine was published. Professor Hank Shea, who had joined the law school in 2006, was featured on the cover. 2010 | U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas visited the School of Law. In his remarks he told students that, “Good oral arguments are thoughtful. You should know your case. Be flexible. Don’t be cute. Be candid and well prepared.”
St. Thomas Law began offering a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Organizational Ethics and Compliance. A dual-degree option was also added for J.D. students. Today, St. Thomas offers online and on-campus M.S.L. and LL.M. degree options. ( Photo: A group of 2021 Organizational Ethics and Compliance graduates at commencement.)
St. Thomas Law was one of the first schools in the country to sign the ABA’s Well-Being Pledge. The law school has since formed a collaborative relationship with Mayo Clinic Sports Performance to bring wellness resources to students, faculty, staff and alumni. Turn to page 18 to learn more.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visited the law school. He had previously visited in 2006, to preside over former associate dean, interim dean and professor Patrick Schiltz’s investiture as a United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota.
2011 | The law school marked its 10-year anniversary with a celebration that included distinguished guests and a performance of parody songs written especially for the evening by professor Tom Berg and his wife, Maureen. 2012 | Robert K. Vischer was named dean of the School of Law after previously serving as the associate dean for academic affairs. He joined the law school’s faculty in 2005. In 2011, Dean Vischer was named to National Jurist’s list of “23 Law Profs to Take Before You Die.”
St. Thomas Law welcomed its first class of LL.M. in U.S. Law students. The program is designed to introduce international attorneys to the U.S. legal system and prepare them to succeed in legal practice in a global context. Graduates of the program have come fromMexico, Guatemala, China, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Spain, India, Ethiopia, Chile, Colombia and other countries. Kirti Rana (left) and Rennatto Tible Marroquín (right) are two members of the inaugural class.
Out of 200 law schools nationwide, St. Thomas School of Law’s world-
St. Thomas Law was again named #2 in the nation for practical training by National Jurist in 2021. The law school has been ranked among the top three law schools in this category since 2014. St. Thomas School of Law is currently ranked #8 on Princeton Review’s Best Quality of Student Life list. The law school has landed among the top 10 in the nation nearly every year since 2006.
class faculty ranked #23 for scholarly impact, using the methodology developed by University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter. In 2012, the law school was ranked #30.
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS SCHOOL OF LAW
Summer 2021 Page 13
The School of Law celebrates its 20th anniversary as Minneapolis begins to emerge from the chaos of overlapping crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, and the death of George Floyd and resulting trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. For a law community that places a premium on authentic personal engagement, this year’s challenges of distance learning, isolation, civil unrest and political polarization have been difficult. As we leave our homes and come back together, we have a rare opportunity to consider how we want to exist in relationship to each other within our beloved community. AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT By GLORIA MYRE ‘07 J.D.
Weckman Brekke (second from right) has been a member of the Shakopee Rotary Club for several years and is active in the club’s community service initiatives. Photo by Sheila McNeill.
At St. Thomas, legal education has always been about more than learning statutes, caselaw and rules; it is about relationship building and civil discourse. Graduates seek to serve the common good as professionals and as community leaders. We caught up with three alumni who told us what it means to be servant leaders and what it’s like trying to build bridges across differences.
Weckman Brekke said that elected officials, county leadership and staff, citizens and other stakeholders must work together to find positive solutions to the biggest issues facing their community. As a county commissioner, Weckman Brekke focuses on the common good and the impact of the law on individuals and communities, which was also her focus during law school. Weckman Brekke believes that
ENGAGE DEEPLY IN COMMUNITY
BarbWeckman Brekke ’05 J.D. is a second-term Scott County Commissioner; a founding attorney of Brekke, Clyborne & Ribich L.L.C., located in Shakopee, Minnesota; and the mother of a current St. Thomas Law student. Weckman Brekke’s interest in and excitement about county government started in her teens and has continued to grow as she serves the cities, townships, businesses and families in her large and quickly developing district.
Barb Weckman Brekke
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lawyers should be involved community members and leaders. “Our work is demanding and sometimes it is hard to find time and energy to engage in the community outside of work, but I feel that it is our duty as citizens to be active, engaged community members. It also makes us better lawyers.”
more about a situation. This is so important in building authentic connections and relationships.” “Living and growing in community is essential to the mind and soul,” Weckman Brekke said. “Community is not just defined by geography but also industry, practice, interest and need.” She encourages law students to engage deeply with the St. Thomas Law community, their neighborhoods and in the causes important to them. “Community engagement is finding and accepting a role in the world around you. Meet people, talk with people, share and be vulnerable, and change the world!”
elected role can be even more adversarial than the practice of law. “People care passionately – and sometimes oppositely – about their community. The challenge is always to see opponents as neighbors and people first. It is an uncommon and great privilege to restore relationships between neighbors and sometimes restore community between enemies.” As a city councilmember, Trautmann serves diverse organizations and communities; and as a lawyer, he serves as general counsel for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC-led organizations. In his experience, consensus building “starts with understanding what is important to people and communities that come from different places. It is valuable to meditate on the values of others. Sometimes it just takes sitting with a seemingly contradictory set of values for an extended period of time. Often it involves being in community with people for common values and goals to emerge. But every good lawyer is always keenly studying and intuiting the values and priorities of others.”
Weckman Brekke has found that being visible in the community also helps people of diverse backgrounds feel comfortable reaching out to her when issues arise. She proactively sends information out to stakeholders so they are aware of issues and have an opportunity to be heard. “It is important for all of us, as we live and work in community, to strive to listen to and try to relate to our neighbors. Ask questions and learn
MEDITATE ON THE VALUES OF OTHERS
Simon Trautmann ’08 J.D. is a second-term city councilmember for Richfield, Minnesota, and a founding attorney of Trautmann Martin Law PLLC, located in Minneapolis. Trautmann has deep ties to his hometown as a “third-generation Richfielder raising the fourth generation.” He finds that serving in an
Weckman Brekke is sworn in as a Scott County commissioner in 2017. Photo by Amanda McKnight, Southwest News.
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Since law school, Simon Trautmann has made community engagement a priority, and now as a city councilmember, Trautmann has continued that commitment and regularly meets with members of the Richfield community. Photo one by Jennifer Trautmann, Gratitude Photography. Photos two and three by Simon Trautmann.
on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” St. Thomas taught Steinle that when it comes to voicing differing viewpoints effectively, “it is all about relationships.” She recalled a time when one student made political statements during class
When asked how lawyers can encourage civility, Trautmann said, “Effective lawyers are masters of framing and context. And they are also tough. Better than most, I think lawyers can hold space for people and causes in ways that are passionate but not bitter. We can advocate without personally destroying people.” Trautmann credits his St. Thomas Law training for “grounding passion in reason, and advocacy in morality and social justice. We can peaceably, but firmly, engage in conversations (especially around justice issues) with patience, diligence and firmness. I am grateful for so many St. Thomas lawyers who can and are doing this work.” Trautmann encourages law students to engage in their communities right away. “Don’t wait. Get involved now. Life will not slow down after law school. There is a temptation in law school to focus on academics to the exclusion of nearly all else. But as demanding as law school is,
practice can be more demanding still. The demands of real clients take more time and energy than exams. Family commitments often grow as you get older. If you haven’t cultivated a habit of community engagement in law school, it may be hard to do it as a new lawyer.”
INTENTIONALLY INVEST YOURSELF Pamela Steinle ’11 J.D.
opened Steinle Law PLLC in her hometown of St. James, Minnesota, where she also serves as the co-president of the St. James Rotary Club, a service organization, and oversees children’s ministries at her church. To Steinle, servant leadership means intentionally donating resources – time, talent and treasure – to the community. Her philosophy of servant leadership is inspired by Matthew 5:14–16: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it
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that were afterward criticized by peers in a casual conversation. When Steinle voiced her support for the controversial comments, the tone changed, and a respectful and analytical dialogue ensued. “At some point, my classmates confessed they had never met someone like me who held those beliefs. The key was that they had ‘never met’ someone like me – because I’m sure there are a lot of people in the world ‘like me,’ but my classmates had yet to develop the kind of trusting relationship that would allow true debate to occur.” Steinle defines true debate as an honest exchange of ideas where both parties are able to be vulnerable as they receive, process and articulate viewpoints in the search for truth. Steinle warns against the temptation of dwelling too long in the “echo chamber,” where your professional circle is in unanimous agreement on all divisive issues. For example, in rural Minnesota it is easy to isolate oneself and interact solely
with attorneys within your own firm, or who share your opinions and beliefs. Steinle challenges lawyers to purposefully join organizations like the state and local bar associations, where a diverse membership is united under a common affinity, and then seek out opportunities to develop collegial relationships where true debate can occur. Steinle uses her voice and her professional network to amplify diverse perspectives. She is currently promoting a presentation titled “The Intersection of Race Law, and Art” by Sandy Sunde, a local community member whose work features visual impressions to reflect cultural views of racial and ethnic bias and prejudice. After Sunde presented to Steinle’s Rotary club, the two began working together to modify the presentation to tailor themes more specifically to the practice of law and administration. Steinle helped Sunde apply for elimination of bias credit in connection with
presenting Sunde’s work to Minnesota’s Sixth District Bar Association, and she continues to look for opportunities to bring the presentation to a broader audience. For Steinle, community leadership is about really investing yourself. “It is better to be the best parliamentarian in one community group than to be a half-committed president of five. Start slowly by picking one organization at first, and over time, consider whether to add another organization or maybe transition to a new one entirely. The community respects those who communicate their intentions and follow through in the small things as well as the big.” As we reflect upon 20 years of educating St. Thomas lawyers, success can be defined in many ways. One keen example is seeing our graduates apply skills cultivated during law school for the benefit of society through public service.
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EFFECTIVELY MANAGING STRESS
By LUKE COREY, RD AND ADAMMARONDE, MS, CSCS
As a lawyer, the stress is real. In fact, according to a 2016 study performed by the American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, 28% of lawyers experience depression, 19% have symptoms of anxiety and 21% are problem drinkers. And that stress doesn’t start when you begin your first professional assignment. It has been reported that 96% of law students experience significant stress, compared to 70% of medical school students and 43% of graduate students. While some stress is a natural part of any competitive profession, a significant amount of stress can create a laundry list of physical and mental health problems. Significant stress has been shown to cause or exacerbate health problems such as depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and obesity, to name just a few. Therefore, it is imperative that law professionals and law students have tools that allow them to effectively manage the stress they will undergo throughout their career. Two of the easiest and most effective tools for managing stress are the use of breathing techniques
and the introduction of stress- busting foods into your diet. A practice of slow breathing (6-8 breaths per minute) for just 2-3 minutes a day has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure on average by 15 points. This number is significant, especially when you consider that in 2018, high blood pressure was listed as the primary or contributing cause of death for nearly half a million Americans. To start, try the 6-4-10 method. Inhale slowly for 6 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds and exhale slowly for 10 seconds. This method will slow down your respiratory rate and has been shown to increase alpha waves in the brain which foster a relaxed, yet alert state of mind. By putting this method into practice, you can not only benefit from a reduction in blood pressure, but a reduction in stress levels, as well. Maintaining a healthy diet is another way to combat the negative effects of stress. Food can help to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and help stress in other ways.
AdamMaronde is performance manager with Mayo Clinic Sports Performance in Minneapolis. He holds a master’s degree in human performance and is a certified strength and conditioning coach. Luke Corey is a registered dietitian and general manager at Mayo. As part of this role, he is the team nutritionist for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Since it opened, the St. Thomas School of Law has focused on the education of the ‘whole person.’ Faculty and staff work to foster an environment where each student feels connected, supported and part of the school’s community. This whole-person approach also includes placing an emphasis on the importance of wellness. St. Thomas Law has long had an active Wellness in Practice student organization and provided resources for students through the school’s Director of Academic Achievement Scott Swanson and the university’s Center for Well-Being. In 2019, St. Thomas Law was one of the first law schools in the country to sign the American Bar Association’s Well-Being Pledge.
Luke Corey speaks to law students, faculty and staff about health and wellness in 2019. Photo by Carrie Hilger.
It also formed a collaborative relationship with Mayo Clinic
Sports Performance to advance the school’s commitment to and culture of wellness. Mayo Clinic Sports Performance, a world leader in integrated performance training and nutrition for amateur, elite and professional athletes, offers law students, faculty and staff opportunities, on campus and at its downtown facility, to learn and form healthy habits through its four pillars of mindset/ mental health, nutrition, movement and recovery/resilience.
A healthy diet starts by eating regularly. Your brain needs fuel and glucose helps it to work at its best. Eating regularly during the day helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Stable blood sugar levels help to stave off any crashes in mental acuity and have been linked to academic success. Eating enough healthy fat is another way to fight stress and improve mental performance. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like pistachios, walnuts, almonds and fatty fish like salmon are associated with improved brain function, and deficiencies in Omega-3 fatty acids can result in increased risk of depression and anxiety. Finally, crunching raw vegetables like celery or carrots can alleviate stress. The vitamins and minerals can neutralize the harmful molecules produced when your body is under stress and the act of munching on the raw veggies is also a way to release a clenched jaw and ward off tension. Given the statistics surrounding health and lawyers, it is clear that the ability to manage stress is vital to maintaining a high quality of life, both personally and professionally. Further, forming healthy skills and habits regarding stress will allow you to better serve clients and sustain a productive and healthy career in law.
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OUR TWENTIETH YEAR
By AMY CARLSON GUSTAFSON
BY KEEPING ITS MISSION, VISION AND VALUES FRONT AND CENTER, THE LAW SCHOOL HAS RECEIVED HONORS AND ACCOLADES OVER ITS 20-YEAR HISTORY AS IT CONTINUES TO GROW AND EVOLVE. THE MISSION OF “INTEGRATING FAITH AND REASON IN THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH THROUGH A FOCUS ONMORALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE” IS WOVEN INTO EVERY ASPECT OF THE SCHOOL, INCLUDING MENTORSHIP, CULTURE, COMMITMENT TO SERVICE AND SCHOLARSHIP. IT REMAINS AS RELEVANT TODAY AS IT DID TWO DECADES AGO.
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As a founding member of the school’s Board of Governors, John Carr ’72 , director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, said the law school is blessed with a community that brings the mission to life. “The law school and its leadership have been persistent and consistent in advancing its critical mission, building a culture of community, pursuing excellence and serving students during times of financial stress, changes in the legal environment and during the global pandemic,” Carr said. A MISSION-CENTERED LAW SCHOOL When talk started in the ’90s about reestablishing a St. Thomas law school (the first iteration was launched in 1923 but lasted only a decade due to the devastating effects of the Great Depression), a feasibility study was performed. It was discovered that a new school would need to be unique to appeal to those in the Twin Cities and beyond. What would make the school different? A mission melding the professional nature of law education with the faith-based values of a Catholic university. At the time of the school’s founding, Carr was a leader on Catholic social teaching for the U.S. Bishops’ conference. He remembers the first Board of Governors meeting as “surreal.”
“There was a vision, an initial plan and a lot of hopes, expectations, challenges and obstacles,” Carr recalled.
“But the leadership of the university and
new law school moved quickly, and this idea and mission began to take shape and actually happen.” The law school received several hundred applications for its inaugural academic year, coming from at least 30 states and a dozen countries. When 120
Students pose for a group photo at the School of Law Commencement Ceremony on May 16, 2021, in St. Paul.
and Harmon Place that included the light-filled Schulze Grand Atrium, Frey Moot Courtroom and the Chapel of St. Thomas More. Two decades after its opening, more than 2,000 students have graduated with law degrees. “I’ve been a part of a number of boards and been involved in a few institutional startups, but my very small part in watching this law school grow from a promising idea to a 20-year-old thriving community of faith and learning, justice and law is one of the best things I have ever been close to,” Carr said. BUILDING A COMMUNITY Sarah Brenes ’08 J.D. was drawn to the law school because of its reputation of holistic lawyering and its commitment to social justice.
students showed up to Terrence Murphy Hall on the Minneapolis campus in 2001, Thomas Berg , James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, said it proved there was demand for a school with a faith-based mission and a focus on social justice. “Many students are drawn to the mission,” said Berg, a School of Law founding faculty member. “That wouldn’t be the case if the mission were narrow and sectarian. Virtually everyone who was part of the founding faculty had tenure at well-established law schools ranging fromNotre Dame to Missouri. They came for the exciting prospect of developing a mission-based school.” In 2003, the law school moved across the street to its newly constructed home on 11th Street
“The law school and its leadership have been persistent and consistent in advancing its critical mission, building a culture of community, pursuing excellence and serving students during times of financial stress, changes in the legal environment and during the global pandemic.” – JOHN CARR
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As a student, she took part in the elder law clinic and later was a legal fellow at the immigration clinic. Brenes, who now serves as the director of the Refugee and Immigrant Program at the Advocates for Human Rights, said her professors were as vested in the education of students as they were in their own research ambitions. “Now that I’m more than 10 years out, seeing how the law school has grown, continued to thrive and remained committed to its mission, is reassuring for the future of the profession – to know St. Thomas is still attracting attorneys who are committed to working for the common good,” Brenes said. “It’s exciting to see the work alumni are doing and where their leadership is within the community. That’s something that should make us proud.” Each year brings a fresh group of students who add new energy to the school, Berg said. It’s “exciting” to see the work they’re doing. “We have students working in Catholic settings, students working for equality and justice and there’s a wide range of people doing important work across different forms of social justice,” he said. The law school’s dean, Rob Vischer , said, to attract top students, the school must have a strong value proposition. This includes a building-wide focus on meaningful employment for our graduates, encouraging strong faculty- student relationships, the much- heralded mentorship program, and innovative learning opportunities,
St. Thomas and a rising 3L, Nañez was attracted to the law school because of its willingness to listen to students and do things differently. “Access to the law hasn’t always been available to everybody, and I think that as a society we are constantly evolving and changing. We’re questioning: What is the law? What should be the law? Should we change the law?” Nañez said. “Because St. Thomas is newer, it’s able to foster that kind of environment.” Nañez appreciates that professors and staff are invested in academic outcomes and students’ well- being. “That’s part of what makes St. Thomas distinct from other law schools,” she said. At St. Thomas, Nañez doesn’t feel like she’s just a number. “For them to know all of our names, that creates a completely different relationship in the classroom. Visiting Professor Rachel Paulose said the faith-anchoring values of the law school are compelling to
including the Interprofessional Center’s 14 legal clinics. Vischer said creating a strong community has always been a St. Thomas hallmark, but it has been challenging during the pandemic. However, through creative ways of thinking, those relationships have continued to be built. Staff and faculty have reached out to each law student to check in and see if they needed help. The community continues to formbonds outside of the classroom at social gatherings via Zoom and through a limited number of in-person events. “What is most encouraging to me about where we are as a law school, are the students that we continue to attract,” Vischer said. “They are fundamentally good, motivated, other-centered people.” A COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT Since she was a young girl growing up in Texas, Yastril Nañez has wanted to be a lawyer. A 2017 undergraduate of the University of
“To be able to impact students, so many of whom really do care about justice, and to expose them to not just the evil in the world, but to try to give them tools for overcoming that evil, has been incredibly impactful to me.” – RACHEL PAULOSE
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her as both a person of faith and a woman of color. She doesn’t take the job of training future attorneys and upholding the school’s mission lightly. “To be able to impact students, so many of whom really do care about justice, and to expose them to not just the evil in the world, but to try to give them tools for overcoming that evil, has been incredibly impactful to me,” Paulose said.
lifetime success of our students by deepening their understanding of the legal system” he said. “We are undisputedly the leader in professional formation among law schools in terms of trying to innovate curricular and co-curricular supports for students to grow holistically as professionals. We need to keep on that path and develop it further. “Our ability over the last 20 years, to become even more deeply a student-centered institution while maintaining our scholarly culture that has impact far beyond our walls – that is unusual,” Vischer continued. “Often that’s viewed as a choice. You can either be a student-centered place, or a serious scholarly place, and we’re doing both. We see that as part of our collective calling as a Catholic law school – our commitment to advancing truth in ways that advance the common good. That’s a nonnegotiable part of who we are.” As a student, Nañez said she’s proud to see her professors and their scholarship in the spotlight. “Our professors are an extension of the school and the institution itself,” Nañez said. “The fact that they are living the mission and putting action toward their words and thoughts, and St. Thomas is not only supporting that but encouraging it and allowing each professor to be an expert in their own field – that’s inspiring.” MORE TO DO Vischer said the school, because it is mission-focused, isn’t interested in chasing prestige. “The investment is in the impact on the lives of students and the lives we touch
THE IMPORTANCE OF SCHOLARSHIP
University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan said she’s proud of the law school faculty, who are ranked in the top 25 in the nation for their scholarly impact and have published in top law journals and major academic books. Their expertise has been sought after by media outlets across the globe. “Through their scholarship and work in our clinics, they are contributing to a more just world,” Sullivan said. “And they are involving our students in this work, which is rooted in the principles of human dignity, such as more equitable sentencing and clemency policies or police accountability and reform. This is so important in strengthening our law school graduates’ commitment to continuing the work of building a more just world throughout their careers.” Vischer said the scholarship the law school is doing in collaboration with students affects those at the school and beyond. “We are already building a distinctive legacy in certain areas, such as criminal justice reform and religious liberty, and the overall scholarly culture contributes to the
Dean Rob Vischer
through research, advocacy and collaborations,” he said. An ever-growing number of law school alumni are finding their way into impactful careers. Whether it’s as a judge, elected official, law firm leader or nonprofit director, these lawyers all have one thing in common – their journey included a stop at the law school. “The impact that our alumni have, as they grow into positions of greater influence, is a huge inspiration,” Vischer said. And, as Carr said, students and graduates are the measure of the mission. “[St. Thomas Law] was a brave, untested idea 20 years ago,” he said. “It has become a respected, distinctive, mission-driven example of the best of legal education for a challenging future.”
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Beyond learning the technical points of the law, the St. Thomas School of Law emphasizes to students the importance of professional relationships and continued career growth through individual reflection and vocational discernment. It also seeks to provide students with practical training to learn, in a hands-on way, the skills necessary to be successful in the legal profession.
competencies that might not be covered in the classroom. And because of the strong integration with the profession, the learning is guaranteed to be relevant to the real-world challenges of the day.” Students get to dive into different areas of the law, not only to see what their mentors do in the courtroom or with clients, but also to have discussions with their mentor about preparing for interviews, how to study for the bar exam, balancing work and life, building a law practice andmore. “They’re talking not only about the work that the attorney does, but also their life outside of work,” said Uyen Campbell , who taught a Mentor Externship course for 10 years before becoming co-director
These all come together in the school’s award-winning Mentor Externship Program , through which each St. Thomas Law student is paired with a lawyer or judge each year of law school to help them gain work experience, develop professional connections and navigate the legal field.
which is what the faculty and staff who designed the program in 2001 aimed to do when the law school opened and why the program remains impactful today. “Lawyers and judges have historically criticized legal education as long on theory and short on practice-ready,” said Associate Dean for External Relations and Programs LisaMontpetit Brabbit , who has overseen the program as part of her department since she started at the law school in 2002. “The mentor program sought to address that challenge head-on and bring professional identity formation to the mix to educate the whole person. The template allows students to reflect and to learn from their experiences, growing
“What we aim to do in the program is to give all of our
students an introduction to what it means to be a lawyer by being mentored by a lawyer,” Judith Rush , Mentor Externship Program co-director, said. By developing these relationships and exposing students to the day- to-day aspects of the profession, the gap between law student and legal professional is vastly narrowed,
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