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Mitchell Hamline School of Law

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

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Sara Schwebs
MJF Staff Attorney
E-mail

Andrew Crouse
Asst Dean for Students & Multicultural Affairs
E-mail 
P: (651) 523-2143

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

Each J.D. candidate at Hamline University School of Law entering the law school in 2009 and thereafter is required to perform twenty-four (24) hours of pro bono service as a requirement for graduation with a J.D. degree. The completion of this requirement will be noted on the student's transcript as follows: "Completed Hamline pro bono service requirement."

Definition of Pro Bono Service

Qualifying Clients or Recipients: For purposes of the definition below, qualifying groups or individuals to receive such service are the same as those listed in Rule 6.1 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 6.1 defines pro bono services as services to

persons of limited means or
charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means, or
individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect the civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or
charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate.

Qualifying Services: Pro bono service is defined as service to groups or individuals using lawyering skills and undertaken without compensation or academic credit, such as:

  • the provision of legal services under the supervision of a licensed attorney;
  • counseling clients or participants in nonprofit or governmental entities and giving them advice on law-related matters under the supervision of an attorney;
  • participation as a coach, judge or teacher in a non-law school moot court, mock trial, or legal education program;
  • participation in dispute resolution activities, such as mediation, negotiation, arbitration, litigation, restorative justice practices, and others under the supervision of an attorney; or
  • any of the following with prior approval of the dean or the dean's designee:
    • critical thinking (legal or professional problem analysis and generation of solutions and strategies);
    • legal research, legal writing, critique or synthesis of legal argumentation;
    • planning or implementing factual investigation of a conflict or legal problem;
    • strategic analysis and project design for community issues facing nonprofit or governmental entities.

The Minnesota Justice Foundation, Hamline Chapter, will administer the graduation requirement for Hamline. Students who wish to earn hours toward their pro bono requirement may select from projects offered or supervised by MJF. In the alternative, students may select a project or projects which comply with the definitions and limitations of the pro bono policy, and have their project approved in advance on the Pro Bono Requirement Approval Form available in the Registrar's office. The Assistant Dean for Students and Multicultural Affairs approves such projects.

Students are encouraged to continue to provide pro bono service after completing their 24 hour requirement, working toward the 50+ hour certification of MJF.

Location of Programs

MJF has a central administrative office off site, but has a staff member on site at Hamline 30 hours/week. That staff person shares space with the Student Bar Association in an area of high student traffic, and works closely with the Career Services Office.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The MJF administrative staff is located at the University of Minnesota. MJF has a full-time staff of 4 attorneys spread across four law schools. The Board of Directors is made up of law students, private attorneys, legal services attorneys and client-eligible community members. Three students (from each school) sit on MJF's Board of Directors. Drawn from the membership of MJF's student chapters, these students help steer the agency and its programs - including its law school pro bono program. Each School also appoints several of its own law students to its own Student Chapter.

Funding

HUSL underwrites the MJF staff attorney position with a substantial "donation" and in-kind office space, equipment and supplies.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

MJF Student Chapter - The Hamline Chapter sponsors activities that allow both students and practicing attorneys to meet, socialize, and discuss non-profit, pro bono, and public interest areas of law.

Hamline has numerous other student groups which regularly engage in pro bono activities for the benefit of the community, including the Children's Rights Association, the Hamline Women's Legal Caucus, the Student Bar Association, and the Hamline Veteran's Association.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty and staff are encouraged to volunteer time on pro bono projects. Additionally, interested faculty formed the Public Law Community in 2005 which includes faculty, staff and students with an interest in public law, and is dedicated to offering speakers, panels, etc on public interest topics during the academic year.

Awards/Recognition

Each student who has completed 50 hours of pro bono service is recognized in the graduation program and receives a notation on his/her diploma.

Community Service

Many of the Hamline Law School student groups regularly engage in community service projects, such as clothing drives, Big Sister/Little Sister mentoring, etc.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Sara Schwebs
MJF Staff Attorney
E-mail
P: (651) 523-2081

Nancy Lochner
Director of Career Services
E-mail
P: (651) 523-2470

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

None listed

Public Interest Centers

Minnesota Justice Foundation - The MJF administrative staff is located at the University of Minnesota. MJF has a full-time staff of 4 attorneys spread across four law schools. The Board of Directors is made up of law students, private attorneys, legal services attorneys and client-eligible community members. Three students (from each school) sit on MJF's Board of Directors.

Public Interest Law Community - Though not a formal center the Hamline Public Law Community is a group of faculty, staff and students who share a commitment to public interest law, and meet regularly to present programming and opportunities to share experiences.

Public Interest Clinics

Mediation Clinic: takes up to 6 students who act as third-party neutrals in court-based volunteer small claims or family law mediation programs

Child Advocacy: takes up to 8 students who act as court-appointed guardians-ad-litem or represent parents, third-parties or children in other proceedings affecting their custody

Criminal Misdemeanor Clinic: takes up to 4 students who represent low-income clients who have been charged with misdemeanors

Employment Discrimination Mediation Representation Clinic: takes up to 4 students who represent clients in EEOC mediation procedures who have been referred from the EEOC because they have suffered adverse employment actions and claim discriminatory treatment

Health Law Clinic: takes up to 4 students who represent low-income health care workers who have been denied their licenses due to issues that arose in background checks

Innocence Clinic: takes up to 6 students who work with the Innocence Project of Minnesota staff attorneys to investigate and litigate claims of wrongful conviction for Minnesota prisoners

Small Business/Non-profit Clinic: takes up to 8 students who represent small business owners and non-profits in transactions that structure their operations or help them comply with legal regulations

State Public Defender Postconviction Clinic: takes up to 4 students who work with the State Public Defender Appellate Office on postconviction matters

For more information, go to http://law.hamline.edu/clinics/clinical-programs.html

Externships/Internships

Hamline provides four externships with public interest placements:

Public Interest Externship: takes up to 8 students who are placed at legal services agencies (such as Legal Aid, Centro Legal, etc);

Criminal Law Externship: takes up to 8 students, the majority of whom are placed with public defender, community defender legal services, or county attorney offices;

Immigration Externship: takes up to 8 students to work in offices doing immigration work, about half of which are public interest or government offices;

Legislative and Lobbying: takes up to 8 students each spring when the Minnesota State Legislature is in session to work with state legislators or lobbying organizations.

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

Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy - http://law.hamline.edu/jplp/index.html

PI Career Support Center

Hamline's Career Services Offices offers assistance to those students interested in public interest positions after law school, including individual counseling, mock interviewing, resume review, etc. Additionally, the four local law schools collaborate to host a fair highlighting public interest careers and employers.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

For a description, see http://www.lrapmn.org/

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

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

http://law.hamline.edu/current_new_students/returning_student_scholarships.html

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:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Hamline Public Law Community sponsors speakers and panels on public interest topics approximately 4-6 times per year open to all faculty, staff and students. Additionally, student groups frequently bring in speakers on public interest topics, and MJF offers training sessions for students interested in pursuing pro bono opportunities.

Student Public Interest Groups

None listed

August 6, 2018