Mitchell Hamline School of Law is awarding its first-ever Judge Edward J. Devitt Professorship to Marie Failinger, a professor of law at Mitchell Hamline and former interim dean of Hamline University School of Law.
“Judge Devitt was a towering figure in the judiciary who inspired respect among his clerks and colleagues alike,” said Mark Gordon, president and dean. “We looked for someone who has earned that level of respect both within the law school among faculty and students and outside the school among so many attorneys, and Marie was the clear choice.”
Judge Devitt served on the U.S. District Court for Minnesota from 1954-81—including 23 years as chief judge. He was one of the most respected and influential jurists in the nation. The epitome of professionalism and ethics, Judge Devitt committed himself throughout his career to improving the administration of justice, advancing the rule of law, and bettering society as a whole.
In addition to his judicial service, Judge Devitt also taught as an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, a predecessor to Mitchell Hamline. A scholarship in his name was established at William Mitchell by his friends, family, and colleagues in 1992.
Professor Failinger came to Hamline Law in 1983, became a professor in 1988, and served as associate dean from 1990-93 and 2008-10. She became interim dean in 2015, prior to the school’s combination with William Mitchell that created Mitchell Hamline in December 2015.
Professor Failinger previously served as a staff attorney and managing attorney at Legal Services Organization of Indiana and a clinical fellow at Valparaiso University School of Law. She earned her J.D. from Valparaiso and her LL.M. from Yale Law School. She is an expert in constitutional law, law and religion, and gender and law.
The Devitt Professorship is one of 13 endowed faculty positions at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.