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Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Mitchell Hamline School of Law
875 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN  5105

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Minnesota Justice Foundation Staff Attorney
[email protected]


Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program by a Referral System with a Coordinator


Description of Programs

Mitchell Hamline School of Law supports the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) along with the other two law schools in Minnesota. MJF is a separate non-profit organization that links law students at all three Minnesota law schools with pro bono opportunities and funds summer public interest fellowships.


Location of Programs

MJF is a stand-alone non-profit organization with the mission of matching law students with pro bono opportunities. The program works collaboratively with the law schools and with legal services organizations. Mitchell Hamline has an MJF staff attorney with an on-site office in the law school.



MJF is staffed by an Executive Director, two staff attorneys, and a communications director. One staff attorney is dedicated to Mitchell Hamline and has an office at the law school. 



Each law school provides funding for MJF. MJF also raises funds independently. The summer public interest stipends are funded through an annual fundraising event.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The law school sponsors a law-student run self-help clinic for walk-in clients on criminal expungements, family law issues (child support modification, dissolution, and parenting/custody time).


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Several faculty and staff members engage in pro bono representation or other work, but there is no organized program for faculty and staff pro bono.



Students who have completed at least 50 hours or pro bono work are recognized at graduation with a special cord and notation in the commencement program. There is also an annual award for outstanding student pro bono work each year. 


Community Service

There is no organized community service group at the school.


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Brad Colbert
Director, Clinical Program
[email protected]


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

We do not have a certificate or curriculum program focused on public interest.


Public Interest Centers

Mitchell Hamline has centers and institutes that focus on public interest in specialty areas.

The Dispute Resolution Institute focuses on alternative dispute resolution and social justice.

The Health Law Institute focuses on public health issues and the relationship between law and the social determinants of health.

The Institute to Transform Child Protection focuses on public interest and representation in child welfare law and systems.

The Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute focuses on public interest matters affecting tribes.


Public Interest Clinics

Mitchell Hamline offers the following clinics, which focus on representing low-income clients:

Business Law Clinic

Child Protection Clinic

Civil Advocacy Clinic

Employment Discrimination Mediation Representation Clinic

Health Law Clinic (a medical-legal partnership)

Housing Justice Chatbot Clinic

Indian Law Clinic: Impact Litigation

Indian Law Clinic: Tribal Code Drafting

Innocence Clinic

Intellectual Property Clinic

Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners Clinic

Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic

Re-Entry Clinic

State Public Defender Postconviction Clinic



Mitchell Hamline offers the following public interest-focused externships:

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Bankruptcy Law

Civil Rights Litigation and Policy

Criminal Justice

Elder Justice

Family Law

Veteran’s Law


Classes with a Public Service Component

In addition to the Clinics and Externships offered at Hamline: students may participate in Equal Justice -- Applied Research - - a seminar offered jointly by the four Minnesota Law schools. The class meets at a different law school each year (Hamline in 2009) and is open to students from all four schools. This class is not an internship, but rather a three-credit research course.

During the class, students choose research topics from the LSEJ research topic list and work singly or in small groups to produce research papers that advance equal justice. Classroom sessions focus on the development of project topics, research skills needed for equal justice issues, policy analysis and problem solving, working collaboratively, the role of the public interest lawyer, and additional topics of interest to the seminar participants. Class members are linked with the attorneys whose legal issues generated their projects. These attorneys serve as field contacts to help supervise the project.

In addition, students spend approximately twenty hours on field work (either with their field contacts or other local public interest practitioners) to gain an understanding of public interest practice in general, the legal issues involved in their individual projects, and the real world implications of their topics.

Students' completed works are presented before a CLE audience of lawyers and are made available to practitioners, students, faculty and others on the LSEJ website.


Public Interest Journals

Mitchell Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice -


PI Career Support Center

Mitchell Hamline's Office of Career and Professional Development supports students and alumni interested in public interest careers. The Office of Career and Professional Development works with Mitchell Hamline students and alumni to provide individual counseling, mock interviews, and resume, cover letter, and writing sample review.

The Office of Career and Professional Development also connects students and alumni with job shadow, mentoring, and professional development opportunities in the public interest sector and hosts programs and recruitment fairs to introduce Mitchell Hamline students to externship, residency, clerkship, and post-graduate job opportunities in public interest organizations. The Office of Career and Professional Development also has a full-time staff person focused on programming, advising, and developing professional connections for students and alumni interested in public interest careers. The Office of Career and Professional Development also maintains an annual membership to both Equal Justice Works and the National Association of Law Placement PSJD subscription service which provide employment and fellowship opportunities in the public interest sector to law students and lawyers.

Finally, Mitchell Hamline’s Office of Career and Professional Development partners with the other two local law schools and the Minnesota Justice Foundation to host a recruitment fair highlighting public interest careers and employers and to facilitate an application and interviewing process for the Minnesota Justice Foundation summer clerkships.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Mitchell Hamline participates in the Minnesota Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). This program is funded by contributions from the three Minnesota law schools and provides grants to cover the expenses of loan repayment for graduates of Minnesota law schools working in public interest jobs or graduates from other law schools working for public interest agencies in Minnesota.


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

Mitchell Hamline participates in the Equal Justice Works program which makes post-graduate fellowship opportunities to Mitchell Hamline graduates. Each year Mitchell Hamline students and graduates apply for these opportunities and several Mitchell Hamline graduates have been selected in the last five years. Mitchell Hamline’s Office of Career and Professional Development provides support to students and graduates applying for these opportunities.


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:

Students who are eligible may work at public interest organizations being paid through Hamline's Federal work study money. Additionally, Hamline offers the following returning student scholarships in recognition of public service:

Elsie Leavitt Blackhurst Public Service Award

Justice James C. Otis Memorial public interest scholarship


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The student chapter of MJF annually raises money to support 1 to 3 clerkships at $4000 each. Hamline contributes a portion of another summer clerkship annually through its budget and Hamline uses federal work study funds to support other students working in public interest positions.

Since the summer of 2009, the law school has sent between 11-22 into Dean's Summer Fellowships positions. This program provides students with opportunities to clerk with judges and observe the legal process from the inside. The Fellowships come with small stipends.


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

Mitchell Hamline collaborates with the other two law schools in Minnesota to support the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) in funding public interest summer fellows hosted at various public interest law firms in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Mitchell Hamline requires all students to complete six hours of extracurricular programming designed to prepare them to be lawyers in a diverse world. Additionally, student groups frequently bring in speakers on public interest topics.


Student Public Interest Groups

Mitchell Hamline has an active MJF Student Chapter which supports the work of the Minnesota Justice Foundation in fundraising, participating in and through participation in volunteer projects which benefit low-income Minnesotans. Mitchell Hamline has numerous other student groups which engage in pro-bono activities for the benefit of the community.