History Timeline


In 1999 Thomas S. Monaghan Founded Ave Maria School of Law

In 1999, Founder and Chairman, Thomas S. Monaghan along with Founding Dean Bernard Dobranski, worked to assemble a group of 11 distinguished Catholic leaders to make the vision of this Catholic law school a reality. These individuals comprised the Founding Board of Ave Maria School of Law. In addition, the Founding Faculty worked tirelessly to establish AMSL’s reputation for a quality legal education.


The Law School was licensed by the State of Michigan and classes began in the fall of 2000. The attention of many of the elite in the legal world, including Edwin Meese, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Kenneth Starr, and a host of others was focused on AMSL.
Original teaching faculty includes Judge Robert Bork, Richard Myers, Stephen Safranek, Joseph Falvey, Mollie Murphy, and Howard Bromberg.
Bernard Dobranski becomes the first President and Dean.

2001 – 2002

Students and faculty attend the March for Life in Washington D.C., a tradition that continues each year.
AMSL was granted provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association.
Ave Maria Lecturer: The Honorable Kenneth Starr


AMSL’s inaugural commencement and the highest bar passage rate in Michigan and above 90 percent nationwide.
His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan donates a rare collection of 45 Canon Law books to the Law Library.
Commencement speaker: Samuel Dale Brownback, U. S. Senate
Honorary degree recipients: The Honorable Samuel Dale Brownback, The Honorable Robert Heron Bork and Charles Edward Rice
Ave Maria Lecturer: Ambassador Michael Novak, George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy


AMSL opens its first clinical program: Asylum and Immigrant Rights Law Clinic.
Commencement speaker and Honorary degree recipient: The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
Ave Maria Lecturer: The Honorable Edwin Messe, III, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy the Heritage Foundation