Mitchell Hamline is proud to offer our students a wide array of opportunities to earn credit by working outside of the law school with practicing attorneys in the community in externships or legal residencies. These programs aim to provide students with an opportunity to achieve their individualized learning goals and gain practical, real-world experience in order to facilitate smooth transitions into their roles as legal professionals.
Mitchell Hamline offers students a variety of Externships that provide valuable hands-on learning experiences under supervision of both Mitchell Hamline faculty and attorneys or judges in the field.
Students work across a range of practice areas, including health law, business law, alternative dispute resolution, and criminal law. Students also practice law in a variety of legal settings, working with public defenders to preserve the rights of the accused; with prosecutors to achieve just results in criminal cases; with state and county agencies to shape public policy and protect society’s most vulnerable; with federal, state, and tribal judges to ensure the judicial system is just; and with numerous other partners.
All Mitchell Hamline students are eligible for externships after completion of their first year of law school. Students earn academic credit for their externship experiences. The number of credits is determined based upon the individual student’s learning goals and objectives and the type of educational placement, but it is typical that a student earns 2-4 credits in an externship.
Mitchell Hamline’s Legal Residencies are culminating, immersive work experiences that bridge students from law school to legal practice and the professional legal community. Students are placed inside of law firms, businesses, government offices, courthouses, and non-profit organizations where they put into practice all that they have learned throughout law school and gain a deeper understanding of the role of lawyers in our society and legal system. Legal Residencies provide students with an opportunity to achieve their individualized learning goals and gain practical, real-world experience during their final year of law school and seamlessly transition into their roles as legal professionals.
Eligible students are in their final year of law school and must be in good academic standing and have completed certain pre-requisites as agreed on by Mitchell Hamline and the individual placement site. Students earn academic credit for their legal residency experiences. The number of credits is determined based upon the individual student’s learning goals and objectives and the type of educational placement, but it is typical that a student may earn up to 10-12 credits based on working 25 hours or more per week at the placement site.
Externships & Legal Residencies: Complete Learning Experiences
Mitchell Hamline’s Externships and Legal Residencies combine both a field component and an academic component for the most complete learning experience. For the field component, students spend a semester working inside of law firm, business, government office, courthouse or non-profit organization gaining substantial lawyering experience under the supervision of a field placement supervisor. Under the guidance of a Mitchell Hamline faculty supervisor, students also complete an academic component that may include participation in a seminar taught by a Mitchell Hamline professor or the independently scheduled equivalent of such a seminar.
Together with their field placement supervisor and faculty supervisor, students:
- Establish learning objectives and goals and observe progress towards those goals over the semester
- Perform legal work and develop substantive knowledge and critical lawyering skills
- Attend and participate in meetings, negotiations, or court hearings
- Observe the role of other lawyers in the placement environment
- Participate in related professional growth opportunities
- Students may also engage in deep exploration of a topic of law, legal policy, or legal practice related to the student’s placement through reading and discussions, a research paper, or other academic pursuit.
The field placement supervisor and the faculty supervisor provide regular feedback to the student regarding the student’s understanding of foundational areas of the law, ability to solve law-related problems and communicate professionally and effectively, and future opportunities for professional growth.
Compensation for Externships and Legal Residencies
Effective February 2017, students may also receive financial compensation from the placement site for their work in an externship or legal residency, but compensation is not a requirement. Placement sites may elect to financially compensate students or not.
Interested in Hosting a Mitchell Hamline Student for an Externship or a Legal Residency?
If you are interested in hosting a Mitchell Hamline student for an externship or a legal residency at your law firm, office or business, please contact Externship Director Professor Denise Roy (email@example.com) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 ABA Standard 304 provides additional detail regarding the requirements for substantial lawyering experience and feedback in a legal residency or other field placement program.