Thomas S. Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza and previous owner of the Detroit Tigers, funded the school's development through the Ave Maria Foundation, formerly known as the Mater Christi Foundation. Monaghan established the foundation with the intention of supporting Catholic education, community projects, Catholic media, and other Catholic charities. The law school
was initially located in Ann Arbor, Michigan but was relocated to Naples, Florida in 2009. The campus now sits on the 12-acre ''Vineyards Campus,'' just miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
In an effort to incorporate an understanding of the connections between religion, ethics, and the law, the Ave Maria School of Law requires that students complete the following courses: Moral Foundations of the Law; Jurisprudence; Professional Responsibility; and Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.
The school publishes the Ave Maria Law Review and the Ave Maria Journal of International Law, both of which are published by second-and third-year students. Typically, students are selected to serve on the law review based on academic performance or writing ability.
Additionally, the Ave Maria School of Law is home to more than 30 student organizations, which provide opportunities for networking, gaining pertinent experience, and learning about specialized practice areas.
The school's Career Services Office serves students and alumni through a variety of services including one-on-one career counseling, attorney mentoring, resume and cover letter assistance, skill development, employer resources, and more.
The law school also hosts lectures and other programs that serve to expose students to a variety of areas and opportunities in law. The Ave Maria Lectures are usually presented by high profile figures and have featured speakers such as US Supreme Court Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and the Honorable Kenneth Starr. The Distinguished Speaker Series consists of presentations offered by prominent legal authorities and have focused on topics such as capital punishment and plea bargaining. The school's conferences are typically offered on a topic of interest to the Catholic community, and have included University Faculty for Life and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Academic Success Program, the Student Advisor Program, and the Faculty Assistance Program, all of which are designed to assist students in their academic development.
During the 2009-2010 school year there were 375 students enrolled at the Ave Maria School of Law. In the average class, about twenty-percent of the students are married and many also have children. The school caters to this population by offering network groups, such as the Law Partners and family housing options.
As a Catholic Law School, the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel is located on the campus and mass is offered several times a day. The Office of the Chaplain manages events such as feast day celebrations, retreats, and other spiritual enrichment activities. Students of all faiths are invited to contact the Law School Chaplain for counseling services.
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