Leondra Hanson joined the Hamline faculty in 2008 after several years teaching and practicing law in the Twin Cities. She earned her BA from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and her JD from the University of Minnesota. Professor Hanson’s scholarly and professional work focuses on access to justice, expansion of legal services, the role of jurors and juries, and legal education and assessment.
Professor Hanson directed the paralegal program at Hamline for several years and has been an active member of the American Association for Paralegal Education. From 2010-2012, she served as the Hamline University Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment, overseeing the curriculum assessment strategies across all schools and disciplines.
Currently, Professor Hanson is the Director of Hamline University’s Center for Justice and Law which works to advance justice by developing creative, concrete, and equitable solutions to legal issues and policy concerns through teaching, research, and active collaboration with community partners and policy makers. Professor Hanson also serves on the Minnesota State Bar Association Alternative Legal Models Task Force.
In her law practice, Professor Hanson has represented plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation in a wide range of legal matters including sexual assault and harassment, premises liability, professional liability, and housing and employment discrimination. Her work as a trial attorney led to her interest in the role of juries in the legal system and the expectations of jurors.
In the classroom, Professor Hanson believes in the importance of embedding professional skills in the context of the liberal arts. She focuses on teaching students to understand and interpret the complicated texts that make up the law and on giving them the tools to continue learning- as professionals or in other academic settings. She teaches a number of courses, including Real Property, Law in the Lives of Women, Legal Research and Writing, and the department's introductory course: Legal Systems. She has also taught First Year Seminars and Senior Seminars on topics related to juries, controversial judicial outcomes, and access to justice.
"I hope I can empower students to believe that the law is not the province of others. It is theirs. Theirs to find, interpret, and apply. They need tools and confidence to understand how law impacts their personal and professional lives. More than anything I want to help them find the answers they need about the legal system in order to formulate and articulate their own questions."
- Leondra Hanson