Hamline News

Hamline School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law to Combine


Two law schools that have shaped Minnesota’s legal landscape for more than a combined 154 years, Hamline University School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law, have announced plans to combine, creating the top law school in the Midwest for students seeking a rigorous, practical, and problem-solving approach to legal education.

The combined school will be named Mitchell|Hamline School of Law and will be located primarily on William Mitchell’s existing campus in Saint Paul. Mitchell|Hamline School of Law will be an autonomous, non-profit institution governed by an independent board of trustees, with a strong, visible and long-lasting affiliation to Hamline University.

The combination will occur following acquiescence by the American Bar Association. Until then, the two schools will continue to operate as separate entities. Once combined, the law school will offer expanded benefits for its students, including three nationally-ranked programs: alternative dispute resolution, clinical education, and health law; an array of dual degree programs, and an alumni network of more than 18,000, making it the largest law alumni network in Minnesota.

The Mitchell|Hamline School of Law will offer more enrollment options than any other school in the country, including full-time, weekend, and part-time programs, as well as a hybrid, on-campus/online JD option. In addition, students will be able to earn dual degrees through the school’s affiliation with Hamline University, and they will have access to Hamline’s athletic facilities, library and cultural programs.

“This move brings the best of each existing school together and is a win for Hamline, for William Mitchell, for the legal community both regionally and nationally, for alumni, and most of all, for all of our students,” said Dr. Linda Hanson, president of Hamline University, “This combination is an example of the innovative leadership shown by the board chairs of both institutions, Bob Klas, Jr. and Dan O’Keefe. We expect the process to move forward as expeditiously as it can for the benefit of our students, faculty and staff.”

“This is a bold move at a time when students and the legal profession are calling on law schools to do things differently,” said Eric Janus, William Mitchell president and dean. “It will leverage the best of two outstanding institutions to create a stronger law school with the ability to put a greater focus on helping students prepare for the new realities of the profession, which is increasingly competitive, specialized, and technology-based.”

“The combined law school will be a unified and vibrant blend of two institutions with common goals, focused on innovation and a comprehensive and dynamic approach to legal education that produces problem solvers,” said Jean Holloway, dean of Hamline University School of Law.

The president and dean of the combined law school will be Mark C. Gordon. Gordon brings nearly 30 years of experience in higher education and public service. He is currently president of Defiance College, a private college in Defiance, Ohio. Previously, he served as dean of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

There is more information about the Mitchell|Hamline School of Law on the website.

William Mitchell College of Law was founded in 1900 to provide an accessible, practical legal education through an outcomes-based curriculum rooted in the real-world needs of lawyers, the legal profession, and the community. Today, it is home to the top-ranked clinical program in the region; robust externship and mentoring programs; faculty who are teachers, scholars, and practitioners; and a large, proud, and supportive alumni base. Accredited in 1943, Mitchell is the only ABA-approved law school to offer three distinct enrollment options: full-time, part-time, and a new on-campus/online hybrid option.

Hamline Law was named Minnesota’s top-ranked private law school in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Law Schools.” Hamline University School of Law was founded and received accreditation from the ABA in 1975. Personalized classes, top-ranked professors, and a spirit of collaboration distinguish Hamline University School of Law, where students are challenged to become competent, professional, ethical lawyers with a global perspective.