Professor Katherine (Kate) Kruse, a highly regarded leader in the clinical legal education community, has been named Professor of Law and Director of Clinics at Hamline University School of Law. Professor Kruse comes to Hamline from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she was Professor of Law and Director of the UNLV Innocence Clinic.
“I am truly looking forward to working with my Hamline colleagues to build on the law school’s already impressive experiential learning program,” said Professor Kruse. “I was well aware of Hamline’s commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for students to experience law in action, and I believe we have tremendous potential to create something outstanding in a region that is rich with opportunity for our students.”
Professor Kruse currently serves on the Clinical Legal Education Association Executive Committee and will become the organization’s president next year. She has been an Editor-in-Chief of the Clinical Law Review since 2003 and from 2003-09, served as Co-Chairperson of the Clinical Scholarship Committee of Association of American Law Schools Section on Clinical Legal Education. In addition, she has also served on a wide range of professional committees and boards and has published extensively.
“This is a critical hire for Hamline Law, and we are both pleased and gratified that Kate agreed to join us,” said Hamline Law Dean Don Lewis. “She is an acknowledged leader in clinical education, and I know she will be a tremendous asset in advancing our goal of fully integrating skills training and work experience throughout every facet of the curriculum and the institution. People who have worked with Kate tell me that she’s both an outstanding teacher and a world-class scholar, and we know our students will learn a great deal from her.”
For Professor Kruse, the move to Hamline marks a return to the Midwest. She earned her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1989, graduating first in her class, and having served as an Articles Editor on the Wisconsin Law Review. She had previously earned an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Oberlin College.
After graduation, Professor Kruse clerked for United States District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb, then Chief Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin. She spent eleven years teaching and practicing law at the Frank J. Remington Center, a clinical program at the University of Wisconsin Law School that provides legal assistance to state and federal prison inmates, developing specialized projects in criminal appeals, family law for prisoners, mental health law and elder law. Professor Kruse has also been a visiting professor in the clinical programs at American University, Washington College of Law and at Fordham Law School. Her research interests center around issues of lawyering and professionalism as well as systemic reform in the criminal justice system. At UNLV, she taught Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility, Evidence, and a Juvenile justice Clinic in addition to directing the UNLV Innocence Clinic.
Hamline Law students currently have the opportunity to represent actual clients under the Minnesota Certified Student Practice Rule in clinics that include child advocacy, education law, employment discrimination mediation representation, health law, immigration law, innocence, mediation, small business and trial practice. Students are supervised by in-house attorneys or adjunct faculty members who are experienced practitioners, and cases are chosen to maximize student interaction with clients and foster student control and responsibility for every aspect of case management.
“Hamline has had success in building and leveraging relationships in the legal community and I will work hard to continue that at Hamline,” said Professor Kruse. “My goal will be to build bridges between book learning and actual practice and to work closely with the Career Services Office to make sure that Hamline Law students leave here as practice-ready graduates with a portfolio of experience that they can present to potential employers.”