Ave Maria School of Law

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Ave Maria School of Law
Location Naples, FL, US
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Ave Maria School of Law is located in Naples, FL

Ave Maria School of Law, a Roman Catholic law school, is located in Naples, Florida (formerly in Ann Arbor, Michigan). Enrollment as of Fall 2005 is approximately 360 students. Ave Maria espouses a natural law philosophy and teaches law within the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Politically, its student body and faculty tend to lean in a conservative direction. Ave Maria's dean and president is Bernard Dobranski and its faculty includes legal scholar Robert Bork and scholar Bruce Frohnen.

Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, supports the school through his Ave Maria Foundation and serves as the chairman of the board of governors of the school.

Ave Maria School of Law's Board of Governors has confirmed a move to the newly planned town of Ave Maria, about 30 miles east of Naples, Florida, where the new campus of Ave Maria University, another institution supported by Monaghan's Ave Maria Foundation, is to be built. This is a matter of controversy within the school, as many of the students and faculty are opposed to such a move. The Law School has been ranked as a "tier 4" law school by U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools 2008,[1] the lowest rated tier.

History[edit | edit source]

Ave Maria's beginnings lie in discussions between former Oakland County prosecutor Dick Thompson and Mr. Thomas Monaghan. In 1998, Stephen Safranek, Richard Myers, Joseph Falvey, Laura Hirschfeld, Michael Kenney and Mollie Murphy left University of Detroit Mercy School of Law after a dispute regarding the invitation of a pro-choice Michigan Supreme Court justice to give the oath at the end of the school's Red Mass. With the financial support of Thomas Monaghan, Bernard Dobranski was recruited to serve as Dean.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia assisted Ave Maria's leadership in developing the school's curriculum.

In 1999, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the school's first annual Ave Maria Lecture.

Ave Maria's inaugural class entered the school in 2000. In 2003, Ave Maria's first graduating class passed the Michigan Bar Exam at a rate of 93 percent among first-time takers, which was the top rate in Michigan. The University of Michigan Law School came in second with a pass rate of 90 percent. In 2004, the school had 100% Michigan bar passage rate. In 2006, the passing rate was 96%, which is the highest overall among Michigan law schools.

Ave Maria gained full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2005. This was achieved after five years, the shortest time frame possible.

Ave Maria's Moot Court team has won top honors three years in a row for the state-wide competition held annually for the last 5 years. The 2005 competition was held at Ave Maria.

In 2004 the Asylum and Immigrant Rights Law Clinic began with one course and one professor. A second course and professor were added in 2006. The clinic's focuses on religious persecution and women's rights cases.

On February 20, 2007 at 9:25 A.M. Dean Dobranski made the announcement that the School of Law would be moving to Ave Maria, Florida.

External links[edit | edit source]