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Mohammed Al Mulhim Becomes First UM Law Graduate to Earn Highest Level Law Degree
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U Minnesota Law

Summary: Since the university created its doctorate in juridical science a few years ago, they now have their first graduate.

The University of Minnesota Law School is celebrating a new first in the school’s history. Mohammed Al Mulhim, who came to Minnesota from Saudi Arabia, is the first person to graduate from the school with the highest level of a law degree, a doctorate in juridical science.


Al Mulhim, 33, was a law school instructor and judge in Saudi Arabia before he decided he needed to learn about Western legal practices. He took a leap and enrolled in the law school, even though he barely knew how to speak any English. He is now just one of a handful of international students that have taken part in the newly created degree program which is the equivalent of a Ph.D. in law.

With an S.J.D., Al Mulhim plans to open a human rights center in Saudi Arabia at King Faisal University where he teaches law. He said of his goal, “It’s a sensitive job,” but he hopes his knowledge of Islamic and Western law will “start conversations” on how to modernize legal education in his traditional culture, according to the Star Tribune.

Former dean of the law school and Al Mulhim’s adviser, Professor Robert Stein, said, “I think he could have a great influence. He’s a very talented young man.”

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Stein credit Al Mulhim for being a big reason behind the law school launching the degree option in 2015. The program is directed at legal scholars and those wanting to teach law. The law school only had traditional law degrees and master’s degrees but once Al Mulhim earned his master’s in 2014, he wanted to reach higher. Stein explained, “He was very interested in getting a doctorate, which we had never offered here, although we were considering it.” Once the University of Minnesota law school opened the program, Al Mulhim was one of the first to apply.

Al Mulhim started out as a judge in Saudi Arabia but soon realized he did not enjoy mediating disputes. He then began teaching law when his university offered to send him to a “world class” law school for more advanced training. He selected the University of Minnesota with the recommendation of a cousin who had attended the university.

He took one year to improve his English skills before starting his law school studies. He really enjoyed the practical side of the legal training he received here. He said, “They teach you here how to analyze cases, how to think as a lawyer, as a judge.”

He really picked up on the international human rights issues, hoping to build upon it even more when he returns to teaching. He knows he can’t simply “copy and paste” what he learned here back to Saudi Arabia but believes he can “raise awareness” and help his country change in some ways.

His wife stayed busy too, earning a degree from St. Catherine University while he was earning his degrees.

Do you think the advanced degree is necessary? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the University of Minnesota law school, read these articles:




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