Thomas F. Broden

Thomas F. Broden

Professor Emeritus of Law

Professor Thomas F. Broden’s academic and personal accomplishments encompassed a broad range of service to humanity. He earned his LL.B. from the Notre Dame Law School in 1949, and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1950. He joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1950. He served as assistant dean of the Law School from 1965 to 1967, and is responsible for the Law School’s early involvement in neighborhood-based legal services programs.

At various times during his tenure at Notre Dame, he served the government in numerous ways. In 1956, he was integral to the creation of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. As counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, he was the staff attorney-in-charge of the first Civil Rights bill passed since the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. In 1965, he worked with the federal government to start the nationwide Legal Services Program to assist low-income persons, and the program he started with Notre Dame and the surrounding South Bend community served as the model for programs later initiated at other law schools. From 1967 through 1969, he directed training and technical assistance for the federal Anti-Poverty Program. And in 1970, he began the University’s Institute for Urban Studies and served as its director for 20 years. Under his leadership, the institute conducted research and educational activities to promote equality of opportunity, to develop strategies to assist the church in urban ministry, and to find ways to improve the lives of those living in poverty.

He co-founded the ecumenical United Religious Community of St. Joseph County (Indiana), and served on the boards of the Indiana Catholic Conference and the Legal Services Program of Northern Indiana. He served as principal investigator on a number of community projects, including the Battered Women and Cooperative Legal Services Program. He was a board member of the South Bend Fair Employment Practices Commission, the Coordinating Committee for Civil Rights of South Bend, the Urban Coalition, and the United Way.

Broden passed away on November 20, 2020. (In Memoriam: Professor Thomas F. Broden Jr. ’49 LL.B.)

Courses Taught

LAW75727, Law and Poverty



  • Materials on Administrative Law (Temp. ed., University of Notre Dame 1965).
  • Jurisprudence: Cases and Materials, with Robert E. Rodes Jr. (University of Notre Dame 1964).
  • Law of Social Security and Unemployment Compensation (Callaghan and Company 1962).


  • A Role for Law Schools in OEO’s Legal Services Program, 41 Notre Dame Lawyer 898 (1966).
  • How the Economic Opportunity Act Can Supplement Present Efforts to Extend Legal Services to Indigents, 36 Oklahoma Bar Journal 2367 (1965).
  • The Straw Man of Legal Positivism, 34 Notre Dame Lawyer 530 (1959).
  • The Legal Status of Joint Venture Corporations, 11 Vanderbilt Law Review 673 (1958).
  • Congressional Committee Reports: Their Role and History, 33 Notre Dame Lawyer 209 (1958).


  • St. Joseph County, Indiana, Strategy for Anti-Racism Effort Involving the Church (submitted to Irwin-Sweeney Miller Foundation).
  • National Youth Advocacy Training Program (submitted to the American Public Welfare Association and Catholic Church of America).
  • Evaluation of St. Joseph County Youth Advocacy Program (submitted to the Urban Coalition of St. Joseph County).
  • St. Joseph County Social Indicators (with others, submitted to the State of Indiana Department of Community Affairs).
  • Evaluation of Northern Indiana Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs (submitted to Northern Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Agency).
  • Northern Indiana Strategy for University Involvement in Community Affairs (submitted to the Indiana Department of Community Affairs).

Other Publications

  • National Network of Neighborhood Organizations, with the National Neighborhood Research Consortium (Notre Dame Institute for Urban Studies 1984).
  • Youth Advocacy Handbook, with others (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice 1980).
  • Handbook on Neighborhood Identification, with others (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 1979).
  • Neighborhood Conservation, with L. John Roos (South Bend Urban Observatory 1976).
  • Saving Residential Neighborhoods: An Analysis of the City of South Bend's Policy and Practice in Substandard Housing, with others (South Bend Urban Observatory 1976).
  • Proceedings of Multicultural Education Workshop (Notre Dame Institute for Urban Studies 1975).

Congressional Testimony

  • Legislative and Executive Oversight of the Administrative Process and Ethical Questions: Hearing Before the House Special Committee on Legislative Oversight, Subcommittee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 85th Cong. (1958).

Areas of Expertise

  • Law & Poverty