Mitchell Hamline’s Legal Residencies are culminating 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.
An Immersive Work Experience
Mitchell Hamline’s Legal Residencies are immersive work experiences that 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. Individual schedules will vary, but a student may work 25 or more hours at the placement site each week.
Together with their placement site supervisor, students:
- Establish learning objectives and goals
- 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
Under the guidance of a Mitchell Hamline faculty advisor, students also complete an academic component in each legal residency that may include participation in a seminar taught by a Mitchell Hamline professor or the independently scheduled equivalent of such a seminar. Through this academic component, the student and faculty advisor often focus on:
- Goal-setting and observations of progress towards goals through reflective writing assignments
- Developing lawyering skills such drafting, negotiation and advising clients
- A 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 placement site supervisor and the faculty advisor 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.
Eligibility, Timing and Academic Credit
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 30-40 hours per week at the placement site.
Effective February 2017, students may also receive financial compensation from the placement site for their work, but that is not a requirement. Placement sites may elect to financially compensate students or not.
Interested in Establishing a Legal Residency?
If you are interested in establishing a legal residency opportunity for a Mitchell Hamline student at your law firm, office or business, please contact Mitchell Hamline’s Dean of Career and Professional Development Leanne Fuith at 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.