Mitchell Hamline is helping students serve the community and get experience working with clients starting on their first day of law school.
A new program called LAUNCH, a joint effort with the Minnesota Justice Foundation, connects first-year students with dozens of social service partners.
In its first year, the program turned in some impressive numbers:
- 104 students, 31 percent of the fall 2016 incoming class, took part in LAUNCH
- Students served more than 1,000 clients
- Students logged 2,820 hours of public interest pro-bono work
Mitchell Hamline honored the students’ achievements, and the work of MJF and its social service partners, during a celebration Tuesday, April 25, at the school.
President and Dean Mark Gordon congratulated those involved for being pioneers, and he expressed enthusiasm for the program’s future.
“We know it’s only going to get better and grow,” Gordon said.
MJF staff attorney Susan Morrow ’98 (HUSL) worked with first-year students to coordinate volunteer opportunities around their academic schedules. Morrow told students they not only helped the community but also earned valuable legal experience.
“We really hope that you continue with experiential learning now that you’re heading into your second year,” she said. “There’s going to be a whole host of opportunities for you.”
Students in the LAUNCH program helped clients create estate planning documents and fill out marriage dissolution papers, participated in restorative justice efforts, and conducted client intake duties, among other activities.
Mitchell Hamline students who provide 150 hours of pro-bono work during law school will wear a gold honor braid during their graduation ceremony. A few of the students in the LAUNCH program have already earned that honor in their first year.