Law School Constitution

Date Adopted: December 2014 - Date Published: June 2019

Article I. The Law School

1.1. Purpose. The Law School of the University of Minnesota is committed to teaching, scholarship and service in law and related disciplines.

1.2. Powers. Powers delegated by the Board of Regents are delegated in accordance with the constitution of the University Senate. Powers delegated by the Board of Regents may be modified by its action.

1.3. Periodic Review. The periodic accreditation visits of the Council on Legal Education and admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools review the performance of the Law School.

1.4. Senate. The Law School acts in accordance with the policies established by the University Senate and the Twin Cities Assembly in matters which materially affect the University as a whole or the interests of other campuses, institutes, colleges or schools.

Article II. Organizational Structure

2.1. Single Unit. The Law School is a single collegiate and academic (departmental or budgetary) unit. The Law School includes the Law Library as a semi-autonomous academic unit, governed as provided in Article VI.

2.2. Governing Body. As provided in the Charter of the University the governing body of the Law School is its faculty. The chief administrative officer is the dean. Students and employees have a consultative voice in its governance.

Article III. The Dean

3.1. The Dean. The dean is the chief administrative officer of the Law School. Within the scope of the educational policies adopted by the faculty, the dean has general administrative authority over the affairs of the Law School. The dean also provides leadership for formulating policies, recommends educational developments to the faculty and stimulates discussion leading to improvements of the educational program of the Law School. The dean prepares and administers the budget and exercises other managerial functions in consultation with the consultative bodies of the faculty, students, civil service employees and other groups, as may be designated in the bylaws. The dean makes recommendations on salary adjustments in accordance with the policies of the Law School after consultation with the Faculty Consultative Committee or such other body as may be specified in the bylaws.

3.2. Appointment. The dean is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Executive Vice President and Provost, subject to approval by the Board of Regents. [Amended 2014]

3.3. Process. Law School accreditation standards require the University to follow a procedure that assures meaningful involvement by the faculty or a representative body of the faculty in selection of a dean (ABA Accreditation Standard 203 (c) and Interpretation 203-2) and provide that a dean should not be appointed or reappointed over the stated objection of a substantial majority of the faculty, except for good cause (ABA Interpretation 203-1).

To ensure compliance with these standards, the following procedures will be followed in the selection process. The Executive Vice President and Provost will provide an opportunity for the faculty to comment on the search committee composition before the members are appointed and to comment on the finalists nominated for consideration before a selection is made. The search committee should include a substantial number of Law School representatives, including members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty, appointed after consultation with the Law School’s Faculty Consultative Committee; at least one member of the clinic or professional skills faculty, appointed after consultation with that group; and a student, appointed after consultation with the student Law School Council. Before submitting the names of finalists to the Executive Vice President and Provost, the search committee will provide an opportunity for the faculty to review the qualifications of potential finalists and discuss and offer its advice regarding them It will communicate the vote and views of the faculty to the Executive Vice President and Provost, together with its own recommendation. [Amended, 1979, 2014].

3.4. Review. The dean’s performance is periodically reviewed in accordance with University Administrative Policy: Performance Management for Academic Professional and Administrative Employees. [Amended, 2014]

3.5. Qualifications of Dean. As required by accrediting standards, the dean shall also hold appointment as a member of the faculty with tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances. (ABA Accreditation Standard 203(b)). At the expiration of the term of office, the dean may resume duties as a member of the faculty. [Amended, 2014]

3.6. Associate and Assistant Deans. The dean, after consultation with the Faculty Consultative Committee, may appoint associate deans and assistant deans to assist in the administration of the Law School. If they are members of the faculty of the Law School, they retain their status and tenure. If they are not, they do not acquire either faculty status or tenure by administrative appointment or service. [Amended, 2012.]

Article IV. The Faculty

4.1. The Faculty. The faculty is the governing body of the Law School.

4.2. Voting Faculty

  1. Except as provided in subsection (b), actions of the faculty are taken by the voting faculty which consists of the dean, all members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty, and all persons holding faculty-like continuous or probationary professional and administrative appointments in the clinic and in the professional skills programs of the Law School.
  2.  
    1. For matters relating to the appointment of members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty and their terms of service and for amendments to this constitution, the voting faculty consists of the dean and the members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty.
    2. For matters relating to the granting of tenure, the voting faculty consists of the members of the faculty holding continuous tenure.
    3. For matters relating to academic rank of tenured/tenure-track faculty, the voting faculty consists of the members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty who hold that rank or higher.
    4. For the election of University Senators, the voting faculty consists of the dean, all members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty and all persons holding faculty-like continuous or probationary professional and administrative appointments in the clinic, the professional skills programs, or the Law Library.
  3. The dean or other presiding officer will rule upon which voting rule applies as a point of order, subject to an appeal to the voting faculty as defined in subsection (b)(1).

4.3. Non-voting Members.

Other persons holding full-time faculty appointments at the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor; associate and assistant deans who are not otherwise members of the voting faculty; the president of the student Law School Council; and one other student designated by the Law School Council shall be entitled to attend meetings of the Faculty other than the portion of meetings during which faculty personnel matters are to be considered. These individuals shall be entitled to participate in the discussion, to make and second motions, but not to vote. Student members of committees reporting to the faculty shall also be entitled to attend meetings at which their committees report (other than the portion of meetings during which faculty personnel matters are to be considered) and to participate in the discussion of the report, but not to vote.

4.4. Bylaws.

The appropriate voting faculty may, by majority vote, establish and amend bylaws and rules to implement the policies of the Law School and govern its procedures. The policies, procedures and rules of the Law School in effect before the adoption of this constitution remain in effect until altered or repealed.

4.5. Presiding Officer.

The dean presides at meetings of the faculty. The dean may designate a member of the voting faculty to preside. Otherwise, the senior member of the voting faculty present presides.

4.6. Committees.

The dean shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the faculty, such committees as may be necessary for the discharge of the business of the Law School, in addition to those provided in this Constitution. Ordinarily each committee shall be composed of members of the faculty and students. The Faculty Consultative Committee is composed exclusively of members of the faculty. Its student counterpart is the Law School Council.

Article V. Appointments and Tenure

5.1. Appointments.

  1. Appointments to the tenured/tenure track faculty must be made through the process described in this subsection or by the process described in subsection (c). The Faculty Appointments Committee evaluates candidates for tenured and tenure track faculty positions and recommends appointments to be considered by the voting faculty. The Committee arranges in consultation with the Law School Council for student participation in the faculty appointment process and transmits student views to the voting faculty. All members of the voting faculty (as described in section 4.2(b)(1)) are entitled to vote on all proposals for appointments to the faculty. If the appointment is to carry continuous tenure or the rank of professor, the vote must carry by an absolute majority of both the voting faculty and the tenured faculty (as provided by sections 4.2(b)(1), 4.2(b)(2), and 4.2(b)(3), as applicable). After the faculty votes to recommend appointment of a candidate, the dean forwards the faculty’s recommendation to the University administration together with the dean’s own recommendation. The Faculty Appointments Committee shall be composed of members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty except that the faculty may provide for student membership on the Faculty Appointments Committee.
  2. Appointments to the clinic and professional skills faculty on the professional and administrative track must be made through the process described in the “personnel policies and procedure for the P&A Clinic Faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School” or through the process described in subsection (c)
  3. .
  4. If a position on the clinic and professional skills faculty may be filled by either a candidate for the tenured/tenure-track faculty or for the professional and administrative track, the dean may appoint a joint search committee to search for and consider candidates. The committee will have substantial representation from both the tenured/tenure-track faculty and from the clinic and professional skills faculty, as well as a student from the clinic.  The joint committee will evaluate the candidates and will also suggest whether tenured/tenure track appointment or professional and administrative appointment would be more appropriate for the candidate it recommends.          
    1. If the committee suggests a tenured/tenure-track appointment, the faculty may recommend the appointment by concurrent majorities of the tenured/tenure-track faculty (and, if the appointment is with faculty tenure, of the tenured faculty)(as defined in section 4.2(b)), and of the clinical and professional skills faculty.
    2. If the committee suggests a professional and administrative track appointment, the appointment may be made by concurrent majorities of the voting faculty (as defined in section 4.2(a)) and of the clinical and professional skills faculty.

[Amended, 1981, 2012.]

5.2. Tenure.

The Tenure Committee consists exclusively of members of the faculty with continuous tenure. It prepares data on the progress of non-tenured candidates toward the achievement of academic tenure, but does not make recommendations. The data shall include systematic student evaluation of each candidate’s teaching performance. The tenured faculty consists of the dean and all faculty members with continuous tenure. The tenured faculty periodically considers the progress of probationary faculty and makes recommendations for their reappointment, the granting of the tenure to them, or the termination of their appointments. Only members of the faculty with continuous tenure vote on recommendations to grant continuous tenure to members of the tenure-track faculty who do not hold it. A recommendation that continuous tenure be granted  requires the affirmative vote of an absolute majority of those entitled to vote. The dean forwards the tenured faculty’s recommendation to the University administration together with the dean’s own recommendation.  [Amended, 2012.]

5.3. Regulations.

Appointment of faculty members, tenure, termination of appointment and removal for cause are as prescribed in Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure. Original probationary appointments are ordinarily made in accordance with section 3.6 of that policy.  [Amended, 2012.]

5.4. Grievances.

Subject to the overriding authority of Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, the faculty establishes procedures for resolving grievances relating to academic freedom and responsibility in accordance with the policies of the University Senate.  [Amended, 2012.]

Article VI. The Law Library

6.1. Separate Unit.

The Law Library is a semi-autonomous academic unit within the Law School.

6.2. Director.

The director of the Law Library is recommended for appointment by a special appointment committee consisting of both members of the Law faculty and the academic and professional staff of the Law Library. After approval by the Law faculty and the Law Library academic and professional staff, the dean forwards the recommendation to the University administration together with the dean’s own recommendation. [Amended, 2012.]

6.3. Library Academic and Professional Staff.

The Academic and Professional Staff of the Law Library consists of persons holding continuous or probationary professional and administrative appointments in the Law Library. The Academic and Professional Staff of the Law Library consults with the Director regarding the policies and procedures of the Law Library. [Amended, 2012.]

6.4. Administrative Review.

The Dean of the Law School is the administrative officer to and through whom the Law Library reports. The Law faculty, acting through the dean, plays a special role in guiding the development of the Law Library. When the Law faculty considers matters relating to the Law Library, members of the Law Library academic and professional staff participate as additional non-voting members of the Law faculty. [Amended, 2012.]

6.5.

[Repealed, 2012.]

Article VII. Student Participation

7.1. Law School Council. Students are represented in the governance of the Law School through the student Law School Council. The Council or its president consults with the dean on matters of student concern. The Council president and one other student participate in the faculty meeting as provided in Section 4.3. Students are represented on committees as provided in Sections 4.6 and 5.4.

Article VIII. Employee Participation

8.1. Employees.

The participation of non-faculty employees of the Law School (other than the Law Library) in the governance of the Law School is provided through the director of Human Resources, who confers with the dean on matters of concern to the non-faculty employees. Non-faculty employees are represented in the grievance process affecting them as required by Section 5.4.

Article IX. Amendments

9.1. Amendments.

An amendment to this constitution may be proposed by the dean, by any faculty member, by the Law School Council or by the director of Human Resources. A proposed amendment to this constitution shall be submitted in writing, to the dean, the members of the faculty, the Law School Council, and the director of Human Resources at least seven (7) days prior to the faculty meeting at which action is first taken on it. An amendment may be adopted by vote of an absolute majority of the voting faculty in two successive regular faculty meetings, separated by at least six (6) days. A proposed amendment may be altered at the first, but not at the final, such meeting.

9.2. Effective Date.

An amendment so adopted takes effect when approved by as provided in the Board of Regents policy. [Amended, ____]

Article X. Ratification

10.1. Effective Date.

The constitution will take effect when approved by the faculty and by the Board of Regents. [This constitution was approved by the faculty, February 27, 1979 and March 6, 1979, and by the Board of Regents, July 13, 1979.] Amendments have been included, as follows:

SectionFaculty ActionUniversity Action
3.3May 22 and May 29, 1979July 13, 1979
5.1January 17 and February 3, 1981June 12, 1981
4.2October 25 and November 8, 1983February 10, 1984
VariousJanuary 24 and February 21, 2012February 24, 2012
VariousNovember 3 and December 4, 2014______________