World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ave Maria School of Law

Ave Maria School of Law
Established 1999
School type Private
Dean Kevin Cieply (Dean)
Location Naples, Florida, USA
Enrollment 375
Faculty 35
ABA profile Ave Maria School of Law profile

The Ave Maria School of Law, founded in 1999, is an ABA-accredited Roman Catholic law school, located in Naples, Florida.[1] In the 2009-2010 academic year, there were over 375 students enrolled from a variety of states, countries, and undergraduate institutions.[2] Classes commenced in the fall semester of 2000.

Ave Maria School of Law offers a full-time three year Juris Doctor (J.D.) program that complements a traditional legal education based on the Socratic Method with an emphasis on how the law intersects with the Catholic intellectual tradition and natural law philosophy. The curriculum of Ave Maria School of Law includes a three-semester Research, Writing and Advocacy Program as well as several required courses that focus on law and ethics.[3]

According to Ave Maria's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 30.2% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[4]


  • History and governance 1
    • Organization and Administration 1.1
  • Campus 2
  • Publications 3
  • Rankings 4
  • Post-graduation employment 5
  • Bar passage rate 6
  • Costs 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History and governance

Dean Emeritus Bernard Dobranski
Dean Emeritus Eugene Milhizer

Thomas S. 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, which also includes Adam Cardinal Maida, and Michael Uhlmann and included before their deaths Bowie Kuhn and John Cardinal O'Connor.[5]

Ave Maria School of Law was founded in 1999, and for the first nine years of its existence was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The law school's beginnings lie in discussions between future Founding Dean Bernard Dobranski and Monaghan. The school currently has thirty-five professors, several visiting professors, and eight esteemed legal writing professors.[6] Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia assisted Ave Maria School of Law leadership in developing the school's curriculum, and in 1999 Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the school's first annual Ave Maria Lecture.[7] Former professors include Robert Bork.[8]

The school moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Naples, Florida, opening in the new location in August 2009.

Organization and Administration

Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, Chairman of the Board of Governors and Founder of Ave Maria School of Law announced the appointment of Dean Kevin Cieply, JD, LLM, as the third President and Dean of the Law School effective July 1, 2014.[9]

Some of the controversy surrounding the school administration is described in an article entitled, " Pie in the Sky: What happened when a billionaire pizza mogul tried to build an elite Catholic law school." [10]


Ave Maria School of Law educates students at The Vineyards Campus in northeastern Naples, Florida. From 1999 to Spring 2009, the Law School was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[11] Monaghan planned to construct a new building for the law school on Ave Maria University's campus in Ave Maria, Florida. But, he has stated, the troubled Florida real estate market means that the law school had to shelve its plans for a building in Ave Maria, as its existing campus is worth less than was paid for it.[12]

The current campus consists of six major buildings located on 12 acres (49,000 m2) in the Vineyards community: the Faculty and Administration Building;[13] the Law Library;[14] the St. Thomas More Commons;[15] West and East Halls; and the Clinic/Student Organizations Building. There is an additional 16 villa-style residences available on campus for student/faculty families.[16] Located adjacent to the campus is the Vineyards Elementary School. The St. Thomas More Commons contains a large classroom for 100+ students, the Moot Courtroom, the Law School Bookstore, the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, a student lounge and coffee shop, and the Office of Admissions. The Ave Maria Law Library is located between the Faculty and Administration Building and the St. Thomas More Commons. The Law Library includes a large main reading room, multiple group-study rooms, carrel and table seating, and administrative offices for library staff. The Ave Maria School of Law Library supports the mission of the school by providing a core research collection and a research environment that includes print and electronic formats. The Acting Director and Head of Public Services is Mr. Ulysses N. Jaen, J.D., M.P.A., M.I.L.S. The collection is especially strong in Legal History, Legal Ethics, Bioethics, the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Legal Ethics and Canon Law. The Library’s materials can be located and accessed via the law library online catalog.

[17] [18]


The Ave Maria Law Review[19] and the International Law Journal[20] are prepared and published by the students of the Juris Doctor program. The Law School External Affairs Office also publishes the Ave Maria School of Law Advocate, a yearly publication reflecting the status of the school and current events.


U.S. News & World Report ranks Ave Maria in the bottom tier.[21]

In 2003, the graduating class passed the Michigan bar examination at a rate of 93% among first-time takers, which was the top rate in Michigan. In 2004, the school had 100% Michigan bar passage rate, and in 2006, the passing rate was 96%, which is the highest overall among Michigan law schools. Its Moot court team earned top honors in four of the last six years the school was in Michigan.[22] Graduates have secured 54 judicial clerkships – 44 of these with federal courts.[23] Ave Maria School of Law increased enrollment in its entering class of 2009. The class of 2012 has 209 students from 38 states and 148 undergraduate institutions.[24]

As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ave Maria School of Law was one of 114 private colleges nationwide to fail a federal financial responsibility test in 2007, 2008, and 2009.[25][26] In a statement about the Chronicle report, the ten-year-old law school said its low asset-to-debt ratio was “typical of recently founded institutions” and “represents no change in our fiscal health and should not be cause for concern.” Tom Monaghan also has committed to cover the school’s operating deficits until 2017.[27] In 2010, Ave Maria's Dean Milhizer said, "The Law School's finances are very strong and our fundraising results were up in the fiscal year that closed June 30 compared to the past few years. We project this trend will continue and grow stronger in the years to come as our student population increases in size and fundraising results continue to improve." Since the move of the law school in 2009, both enrollment and selectivity of students has increased dramatically from the drop it initially suffered when the move occurred. In 2010, the school's director of external affairs, John Knowles, said the quality of the incoming classes was improving and in 2010 the school's selectivity rate improved to 46 percent - the best in the school's history.[28] Ave Maria School of Law is not affiliated with Ave Maria University, which has not been cited in any federal financial test.

Post-graduation employment

The Ave Maria School of Law drew national attention in 2010 by becoming the only law school in the United States to agree to provide detailed post-graduate information to the Law School Transparency Project.[29] It subsequently reversed its decision; according to the Law School Transparency Project, “the school does not want to act before the ABA opines on the issue, seeing as ABA reform is on the way. Part of Ave Maria’s concern is also that, if the school is the only one to comply with the LST Standard, it will not be useful to prospective students because they will not have anything with which to compare Ave Maria’s employment data.”[30]

According to Ave Maria's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 30.2% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[31] Ave Maria's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 44.7%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[32]

ABA Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates[33]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 159 Graduates

Bar passage rate

In 2011, the last graduating year with students that entered in Ann Arbor, Ave Maria officials claim that the move from Michigan to Florida "could still be felt". For Florida bar exams taken in July 2011, 11 of the 23 of Ave Maria Law School graduates taking the exam passed, placing it last among Florida's eleven law schools. The school added a mandatory class on the bar exam about a year prior to the 2011 testing.[34][35]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Ave Maria for the 2013-2014 academic year is $61,935.[36] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $231,707.[37]


  1. ^ American Bar Association Grants Full Accreditation to Ave Maria School of Law [1]
  2. ^ Academic Information
  3. ^ Curriculum
  4. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  5. ^ Board of Governors List
  6. ^ Research, Writing, and Advocacy
  7. ^ Lectures
  8. ^ Faculty Profiles
  9. ^
  10. ^ name="Pie in the Sky.""Pie in the Sky: What happened when a billionaire pizza mogul tried to build an elite Catholic law school". Washington Monthly. 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ Location
  12. ^ Sparks, Evan (Spring 2012). "New U.". Philanthropy. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  13. ^ Faculty and Administration Building
  14. ^ The Law Library
  15. ^ St. Thomas More Commons
  16. ^ Housing
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ Law Review
  20. ^ International Law Journal
  21. ^ US News and World Report Rankings
  22. ^ Moot Court
  23. ^ Alumni Placement
  24. ^ Admissions Profiles
  25. ^ Karen Sloan (August 13, 2010). "Government says law school's financing lags". The National Law Journal. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  26. ^ Goldie Blumenstyk and Alex Richards (August 11, 2010). "149 Nonprofit Colleges Fail Education Department's Test of Financial Strength". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  32. ^ "Ave Maria School of Law Profile". 
  33. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  34. ^,61675a51&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=TgRYmuocq5SnNqWoRxYjQA--
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Cost of Attendance". 
  37. ^ "Ave Maria School of Law Profile". 
  • "Premier National Catholic Law School to be Established in the Ann Arbor Area," Ave Maria School of Law media release, April 7, 1999
  • "Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan is a man of faith, plans and action," Marci Elliott, Naples Daily News, April 13, 2003. Archived at Catholic Education Resource Center, accessed October 9, 2006

External links

  • Ave Maria School of Law
  • Ave Maria School of Law Library

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.