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Creighton University School of Law

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Creighton University School of Law
Location Omaha, NE, US
Faculty (See List)
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Creighton University School of Law is located in Omaha, NE

Creighton University School of Law is a Jesuit Catholic institution. Located in Omaha, Nebraska in view of the Missouri River and the Loess Hills, Creighton has educated aspiring attorneys in the theory, practice and ethics of lawyering for over 100 years. Consistent with its mission, the Law School's motto is "educating for service and justice," which means that our goal is to produce attorneys who not only meticulously care for their clients' needs, but also recognize their own over-arching duty to the profession and society at large.

Institutional History

In 1903 Creighton's president, Rev. Michael Dowling, S.J., began formulating plans for a Department of Law. He sought advice from the local Bar and the University’s major benefactor and namesake, Count John Creighton. The Count is reported to have said: "Why should I lend my support to such a project when it is common knowledge that all lawyers are scoundrels?" Father Dowling responded, "that is one of the best reasons why Creighton University should undertake the education of your men for the legal profession." The support was forthcoming and on October 3, 1904, twenty-three law students were welcomed as the first class.

Much has changed in the past century, yet much has remained the same. Coursework for first-year law students at Creighton in 1904 included constitutional law, torts, property, contracts, criminal law, and moot court. That same curriculum is reflected in law schools across the country today, except instead of criminal law, students take civil procedure, and moot court is part of the legal writing class. But the school's structure was very different. Back then, the faculty consisted of a dean, associate dean and 31 practicing attorneys who donated their time to teach, tuition was $45, and there was no electricity.

Today, Dean Patrick Borchers leads a faculty of 25 full-time professors who are experts and published authors in their fields and who are dedicated to training Creighton's future attorneys. And the electricity at Creighton is definitely on; physically manifested in updated fiberoptic dataports throughout classrooms, conference rooms, and every chair in the Law Library, and emotionally manifested in the excitement at Creighton – which is truly reflective of a school on the move.

The 480 law students at Creighton are among the best in the nation. Drawn from over 40 states, 7 foreign countries and 165 undergraduate institutions, they move into judicial clerkships and jobs at top law firms in Omaha, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City and beyond. With three fully functioning courtrooms and a newly remodeled state-of-the-art wireless technology Law Library, students leave Creighton prepared to enter practice and succeed. Anchored in its humble beginnings a century ago, Creighton has emerged as a leader in Catholic legal education and is moving forward boldly into the 21st Century. In 2005 alone, Creighton inaugurated the Werner Institute for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution which was funded by a $4 million gift, hosted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who taught a supreme court seminar to second and third-year students, and was awarded a federal grant by the United States Agency for International Development to develop a model for a future, post-Castro bilateral U.S.-Cuba Property Claims Settlement Tribunal.[1]

Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

The Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution was established in 2005 thanks to a generous gift from the C.L. Werner family, creating the most richly endowed program of its kind in the country. The mission of the Werner Institute is to be a leader in advancing the field of conflict resolution to a new quantum level with a focus on developing the next generation of practitioners and scholars who are responsive to the real, and often unacknowledged, needs of those in conflict. With an interdisciplinary foundation and a focus on collaboration and open inquiry, the Institute supports the mission of Creighton University and builds a bridge between the field of conflict resolution and the issues faced by people in an increasingly complex world.

The Werner Institute is on the cutting edge of developing innovative approaches that reduce the costs of conflict and increase the opportunities for collaborative gain in the conduct of business, in relationships within and among organizations and communities, in the workplace, and in health care settings. The Werner Institute envisions a major role in helping the field of negotiation and dispute resolution make the quantum leap to the next level and training a new generation of practitioners and scholars in the field. Among the goals and initiatives of the Werner Institute:

  • Strong emphasis on a systems approach. The Werner Institute is becoming a major center for the study and application of dispute systems design to organizations including corporations, courts, communities, and health care institutions.
  • Focus on preparation of leaders and emerging leaders in the field with specialized applications in areas of greatest need. Developing specialized expertise in health care, the workplace, and in global business relations.
  • Breaking new ground in the advancement of dialogue as a critical part of the field of conflict resolution. The Werner Institute seeks to be a leading regional and national center for dialogue, hosting people in productive, collaborative conversations to explore innovative ideas and insights on important issues.
  • Development of an executive program for leaders in business, law, health care, and the workplace. To provide leaders with cutting edge techniques and approaches in negotiation, conflict management, mediation, dispute systems design, and other valuable tools through short, intensive courses, conferences, and workshops.
  • Creation of an advanced, interdisciplinary curriculum leading to graduate certificates and masters degrees in the field of dispute resolution. Programs for graduate students in law, business, and the health professions as well as for mid-career professionals in a range of endeavors from corporate managers to lawyers, from human resources professionals to hospital administrators, and from educators to community leaders. Emphasis in these offerings will be on linking applied studies to specific career opportunities.
  • Facilitation of projects to design suitable systems within major enterprises and institutions for effectively responding to conflict. The Werner Institute will seek opportunities for assisting organizations with design of conflict management systems that will meet the needs of the organization and provide clinical and research opportunities for students in the applied study of negotiation and dispute resolution.[2]

School of Law Facts

Creighton University is a private Jesuit University with nine schools and colleges, located in Omaha, Nebraska. Creighton, founded in 1878, provides a professional education in the context of a value-based curriculum.

ENTERING CLASS OF 2006 155 Students 32% Female Average Age: 24

LSAT Range: 157 (75%) - 153 (25%) GPA Range: 3.67 (75%) - 3.15 (25%)

61% of the entering students are from states other than Nebraska.

GRADUATING CLASS OF 2005153 Students

97% Placement Rate (9 months after graduation)

$57,016 Salary Mean

$62,879 Salary Mean - Private Practice

Graduates were placed in 22 states

80% Bar Passage Rate for the first-time test-takers


30 Full-Time Professors 23 Adjunct Faculty Members 10 Legal Writing Instructors Student:Faculty Ratio - 16:1 Legal Writing Sections - 15:1

There are three endowed chairs and two endowed professorships in the School of Law.

Creighton’s School of Law also hosts lectures by nationally prominent attorneys and other officials. In 2006, the law school will host Charles Ogletree (Harvard), Geoffrey Stone (Chicago), and Judith Miller (formerly of the New York Times).


About 68 percent of the law students are from states other than Nebraska.

The student population is 46 percent female, 54 percent male, and 11 percent minority.

Each year, nearly 1,500 individuals apply to the school— nearly 10 applications for every one seat in the entering class.


Of law graduates seeking employment, 76.2 percent were employed at graduation and 97.4 percent were employed within nine months of graduation.

School of Law Facts

Creighton’s Jesuit Roots

Creighton is one of fourteen Jesuit Catholic law schools in the U.S. One out of every ten American law students is enrolled in a Jesuit law school. Situated primarily in urban centers, these schools were traditionally among the first to provide women and minorities access to high-quality legal education. With a reputation for rigorous study, Jesuit law schools value the pursuit of academic excellence and preparation for public service.

Three years after its founding, Creighton's Law School was granted full accreditation to the Association of American Law Schools in 1907, becoming the second religiously-affiliated law school (along with Georgetown) to achieve accreditation in the AALS. In 1924, Creighton, St. Louis, and Georgetown became the first religiously-affiliated law schools to be accredited by the new American Bar Association.

Like all Jesuit schools, Creighton adheres to the tradition of cura personalis, Latin for care of the whole person. Cura Personalis has been a hallmark of Jesuit education since it was culled from the Ratio Studiorum in 1599 – the first treatise of the Order on academics. Basically, for the mind to flourish and intellectual curiosity to thrive, the person must develop as a whole. In practice, this means that professors spend more time with students, counseling them, cajoling them, and challenging them to go farther than they think they can. The faculty does not hold office hours. They have an open-door policy. Students are welcome to come visit, ask questions, test theories, or just chat. Creighton can achieve this because it decided to be a small, highly interactive law school. Consequently, students are not a number to us; they are people.

Creighton's Territorial Bench

One piece of history that continues to live at Creighton University School of Law is Nebraska's old Territorial Bench. Acquired by the Law School in 1913 from the Douglas County Courthouse, the beautiful cherry wood judicial bench was used by scores of judges and practitioners to hear thousands of cases and witnesses through the centuries. One can still see the circular marks on its top surface where gas lights were installed for the judge in the 1880s. Today, it is used to train law students in the art of trial and appellate advocacy and witness examination. The Territorial Bench is a reminder to students of those who have come before, and remains a unique link to Nebraska's rich legal heritage.


College of the Holy Cross Pre-law Program, Dr. Richard E. Shugrue, ABA, AALS, Creighton University School of Law Centennial Guide.