Minnesota Law

Fall 2020
For the Record

In Brief

Kellar Lecture Focuses on Marriage Equality in Minnesota

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker '72
Angela Jimenez

On Oct. 15, the Law School held “Marriage Equality in Minnesota,” an online discussion featuring Jack Baker ’72 and Michael McConnell, the first same-sex couple in the U.S. to have their marriage legally recognized. 

The webinar was part of the Law School’s Horatio Ellsworth Kellar Lecture series. More than 200 people registered for the hour-and-a-half program, the first time a Kellar Lecture has been held as a virtual event. 

Listen to this program via LawTalk, an offical Minnesota Law podcast series

In addition to Baker and McConnell, the panel included political and community organizer Richard Carlbom and Minnesota attorney Cristine Almeida; Professor William N. Eskridge Jr. of Yale Law School; Gail Langer Karwoski, author of The Wedding Heard ’Round the World, a book chronicling Baker and McConnell’s courtship and marriage; and Christopher R. Riano, president of the nation’s Center for Civic Education. 

The session was moderated by Dale Carpenter, constitutional law professor at SMU Dedman School of Law and a former Minnesota Law faculty member. Dean Garry W. Jenkins, William S. Pattee Professor of Law, delivered the opening remarks.

George Floyd Scholarship Created

With a generous gift from Catlan M. McCurdy ’11 and Sanjiv P. Laud ’12, and an equal match from the Law School, the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law was established in June.

Catlan M. McCurdy '11 and Sanjiv P. Laud '12

The endowed scholarship will provide critical financial support, allowing underrepresented students, and Black or African American students in particular, to pursue careers in the law and achieve their dreams.

“Mr. Floyd’s killing was a tragic reminder of the inequity and injustice facing Black Americans today, despite the decades that have passed since the civil rights movement,” McCurdy and Laud stated in making the gift.

Support the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law

Career Center Launches Civic Scholars Initiative

Minnesota Law’s Career Center launched a new Civic Scholars Initiative to encourage law student engagement in elections and other civic activities and to highlight the importance of civic engagement in a legal career. Students were able to attend educational workshops and participate in volunteer activities related to voting, volunteering, and learning about the election process. Students who participate in the workshops and a sufficient number of volunteer activities will be eligible for a Civic Scholar notation on their transcript. 

“We have a wide range of volunteer activities available,” says Hannah Stephan, 2L, who worked with fellow 3L James Holden and the Career Center’s Anne Sexton ’12 to develop the initiative. “There is something for everyone who wants to be involved, regardless of time availability or prior knowledge about elections and civic engagement.”

Minnesota Law is “committed to supporting all members of our local and global communities to create a more just society,” Sexton notes. “Understanding election law, participating in civic engagement initiatives within your community, and voting if you are able to do so are all avenues to effectuate change.

Law School Welcomes Most Diverse Class in 15+ Years

At a Glance: Class of 2023

>> 54% women

>> 25% students of color or Indigenous

>> 24% identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community

>> 13% first-generation college grads

The Law School this fall welcomed 212 students from more than 120 under graduate institutions in 34 states and seven countries to its first-year J.D. class. The class of 2023 is setting new records for gender and racial diversity at Minnesota Law. In addition to women making up a majority of incoming students for just the fourth time in the school’s history, the first-year class is the most racially diverse to enter the Law School in more than 15 years.

The students also have outstanding academic credentials, with a middle 50% range of 3.54-3.85 for their undergraduate GPAs and a middle 50% range of 160-166 for their LSAT scores. Nine percent have already earned a graduate degree in another field. “We are thrilled to welcome this talented and enthusiastic group of future lawyer-leaders,” said Garry W. Jenkins, dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law. “This diverse group of law students is truly ready to contribute to our profession and tackle the many challenges facing the world.