MCS’ Jonathan Thalheimer Mentors Students at Texas’ Newest Law School
The newest law school in Texas opened its doors in downtown Dallas this fall with a different vision for legal education. At the University of North Texas College of Law, the goal is to attract nontraditional students with the promise of an affordable path to obtaining a J.D. that emphasizes practical, real world skills and encourages public service. The school is tapping experienced Dallas lawyers to serve as mentors, and that’s where attorneys like McGuire, Craddock & Strother’s Jonathan Thalheimer enter the picture.
Housed in repurposed downtown offices, the fledgling school is a long way from the history-laden corridors Thalheimer’s undergrad alma mater, Yale (est. 1701), and the University of Virginia School of Law (est. 1819). Thalheimer says he jumped at the chance to participate. A typical Friday at lunchtime finds a handful of veteran Dallas lawyers meeting with a group of six to 10 students from the school’s inaugural class.
The free-form sessions include plenty of give and take and discussion ranging from questions about billing rates and the nuts and bolts of writing briefs to ethical questions and advice on how to deal with conflicts. It’s an experience that Thalheimer did not have as a law student and one that serves a valuable and practical purpose.
“It’s a great idea and the whole program is really valuable,” he says. “We try to both show these students how a lawyer thinks and provide insight into the day-to-day practice of law.”