Thomas Mitchell

Frederick W. and Vi Miller Professor of Law

On Leave


LL.M., University of Wisconsin Law School
J.D., Howard University Law School
B.A., Amherst College

Teaching Areas:
Land Use
Property Law
Rural Community Development

Recently Taught Courses
724 Property
830 Land Use
839 Remedies


Thomas W. Mitchell is a Professor and the Frederick W. and Vi Miller Chair in Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He teaches Property, Land Use, Remedies, and a seminar course in Rural Development. Formerly, he founded and directed the Program in Real Estate, Land Use, and Community Development, a multi-disciplinary program at the Law School designed with curricular, scholarly, and policy components to expand opportunities for students and faculty. He has done extensive research and legislative and outreach work on property issues impacting poor and/or minority communities, both domestically and internationally, and is a national expert on property issues which impact African-Americans. 

Professor Mitchell served as the Reporter, person tasked with primary drafting responsibility, for the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act which was promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (commonly known as the Uniform Law Commission) in 2010 and endorsed by the A.B.A. in 2011. The Act seeks to reform the law of partition with respect to family-owned tenancy-in-common property as many families have lost their property as a result of forced, court-ordered partition sales as well as the real estate-wealth associated with such property. The Act has been enacted into law in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, and Nevada, and Professor Mitchell is actively working with the Uniform Law Commission at this time to encourage other states (including South Carolina which is considering it at this time) to enact it into law. The act was also 1 of 35 recently enacted state statutes or uniform acts selected (from hundreds submitted by state officials from all across the country) by the Council on State Governments for its 2013 Selected State Legislation publication based on CSG's view that the act is particularly comprehensive and innovative and should be considered by states as a model statute. Professor Mitchell is just the second African-American to have served as a Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission in the commission's 124-year history, a period of time in which it has promulgated more than 350 uniform acts including the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Probate Code. He served on the Property Preservation Task Force, a task force of the A.B.A.'s Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, and serves on the board of directors for Farmers' Legal Action Group and Gathering Waters:Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts.

Prior to entering legal academia, he worked as an associate at the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. and served as a law clerk for Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District Court of the D.C. Circuit. He received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College; his J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and his LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin Law School upon completion of the William H. Hastie Fellowship Program.

Professor Mitchell's papers are available on SSRN at

Log In