Jerry Organ

Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, University of St. Thomas School of Law

A native of Wisconsin, Jerome M. Organ graduated magna cum laude from Miami University and attended Vanderbilt University School of Law as a Patrick Wilson Scholar. At Vanderbilt, Organ served as an editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif. After clerking for Justice William G. Callow of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Organ entered private practice with Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organ practiced law for five years, predominantly in the environmental law area.

In 1991, Organ left Foley & Lardner to join the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, where he taught property, environmental law, regulation of hazardous substances, land use controls, and client interviewing and counseling. In 2001, Organ became one of the founding faculty members here at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.  He has earned a reputation as a gifted classroom teacher who cares deeply about his students, receiving a Gold Chalk Award at Missouri in 2001 and a Mission Award for Professional Preparation in 2005 and the Dean’s Award for Teaching in 2010 here at the University of St. Thomas.

Organ believes profoundly in the importance of integrating the skills and values of the profession into the doctrinal classroom and in instilling in students an appreciation of the vocation of being a lawyer. Organ is coauthor of Property and Lawyering, a casebook for first year property that integrates lawyering skills and dispute resolution materials. This text and course received the 2003 CPR Institute of Dispute Resolution Award for Problem-Solving in the Law School.

Organ's scholarship initially focused on environmental law; in particular, on developing more efficient means of resolving environmental disputes and on considering questions of the appropriate locus for environmental regulation -- that is, the balance of authority in environmental matters as between the federal government and state and local governments. More recently, he has begun to write about issues associated with the culture of law school and the formation of professional identity.

A strong believer in pro bono activities, Organ tries to model servant leadership for students.  He has invested hundreds of hours in a variety of social justice activities over the last two decades, from providing legal services to people who lack the financial resources to gain access to the legal system to serving as a member of the board of the Central Missouri Food Bank and St. Stephens Human Services, to coaching youth soccer.

Having served for four years as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Organ has recently taken on responsibilities as the Associate Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions.  His current research is directed toward transparency in financial aspects of the decision to attend law school – addressing both scholarship programs for students and employment and salary data of graduates.  In addition, he is working on obtaining funding for a survey of law students to assess the extent to which alcohol consumption, drug use and mental health issues are prevalent among law students.  He also is working with the Holloran Center on developing assessment tools to document the development of professional identity among law students.