A Legal Residency is an exciting opportunity designed to provide a bridge from law school to real-world work as a lawyer. It combines two key components:
- an intensive, high-credit fieldwork experience doing work that is similar to the experience of a lawyer representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks under appropriate supervision, and
- an academic component, usually a two-credit seminar, in which the students and professor engage in goal setting, discussion, and reflection to enhance learning from the fieldwork and also work on lawyering skills such as interviewing, problem-solving, counseling, and advocacy.
The Legal Residency Program is only available to students in the last three semesters of law school. Combined with the law school’s nationally ranked clinical program, robust externship program, and partnership with the Minnesota Justice Foundation, the Legal Residency Program gives students unmatched opportunities to gain practical, real-world experience during each year of law school.
Legal Residency examples
Each spring semester, Mitchell Hamline offers specialized residency courses in the areas such as criminal law, family law, health law and solo practice. Residency placements in a variety of other areas of law and work settings are available through the Independent Residency option.
- Central Minnesota Legal Services
- Colich & Associates
- Family Law Referee, Hennepin County
- Federal Public Defender’s Office
- Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (Minneapolis and St. Cloud)
- Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office
- Croix County District Attorney’s Office
- United States Attorney’s Office
- Waggoner Law Office
Collaborative Community Law Initiative
The Collaborative Community Law Initiative (CCLI) provides recent Mitchell Hamline graduates with the opportunity to develop community-based solo practices that serve low and moderate income clients in the supportive environment of a shared office space with on-site mentorship. Students interested in pursuing this opportunity after graduation are encouraged to apply for the residency in their last semester of law school. In addition to a full-semester immersion in legal practice, we plan to conduct a workshop seminar on creating a business plan for community law practice in conjunction with CCLI. If you have an interest in setting up a solo practice in an area that is not covered by our existing residencies in Criminal and Family Law, such as Immigration Law, Business Law, or general Civil Law, please so indicate on your application and we will work with you to develop a practice immersion plan that will help meet your goals.
For additional information, please visit the Collaborative Community Initiative website.
“Legal incubator for Mitchell Hamline graduates begins work” November 1, 2016
“I stepped out of ‘traditional’—and never regretted it.” January 2019, Bench & Bar of Minnesota (p. 13)
Credits and hours
Students gain 10–15 credits total for the fieldwork and academic components and must work at least three full days each week at their residency site. A 10-credit residency, including a 2-credit seminar, requires approximately 26 hours of fieldwork per week over 14 weeks. A 15-credit residency, including a 2-credit seminar, requires approximately 42 hours of fieldwork per week over 14 weeks.
Placement process & COVID information
Students are encouraged to find their own legal residency placements. Availability of placements may be limited and cannot be guaranteed due to Covid-19, but Mitchell Hamline faculty will also try to assist students in finding field placements (see specific contacts below). Fieldwork supervision must be provided by an attorney. Students should be prepared to begin work at their legal residency early in the semester.
Registration for the Legal Residency will be completed after the student’s placement has been confirmed. Students are advised to register for other courses until their legal residency is confirmed. (If you are being placed by a course instructor, placements will be finalized and students will be notified of their placement before the start of the semester. In that situation, placements are not final until you receive written confirmation from the applicable faculty member.)
Due to Covid-19, spring 2021 placements may take place in-person or remotely as public health concerns and the needs of the placement require. Student health and wellness will be prioritized in all circumstances.
If you are interested in a Legal Residency for the Spring 2021 semester, please contact one of the following faculty by Friday, November 13, 2020. Please include a copy of your resume.
• Criminal Law Residencies: Professor Ted Sampsell-Jones (email@example.com)
• Health Law Residencies: Professor Thad Pope (firstname.lastname@example.org )
• Business Law Residencies: Professor Leanne Fuith (email@example.com)
• Solo Law Firm Practice Residencies: Adjunct Professor Karin Ciano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Residencies in All Other Areas: Professor Denise Roy (email@example.com)
If you have application questions, please contact Externship Director Denise Roy (Denise.Roy@mitchellhamline.edu).
Please contact Sue McBrayer (firstname.lastname@example.org)