The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) held its annual pre-orientation service project (POSP) prior to the start of the School of Law's fall semester. Twenty-four incoming Hamline Law students participated in the project, gaining early experience with the pro bono opportunities MJF presents to local law students.
Five students volunteered with LegalCORPS, an organization that provides free legal help to small businesses and non-profits. The students participated in a client satisfaction survey, through which they learned a great deal about the workings of a non-profit organization.
Four students participated in a pro se dissolution clinic that was hosted by SMRLS Winona. After being trained by MJF in the basics of family law, the students traveled to Winona, Minn., and assisted pro se litigants in filling out the paperwork needed for a divorce.
Five students participated in a research project for Legal Services Advocacy Project. The students contacted a number of school districts in Minnesota to learn about the districts' policies when dealing with students who do not have funds available in their school lunch accounts. The research will be used for proposed legislation to prevent school districts from turning children away for lack of funds.
Finally, 15 students attended the Navigating Public Interest training; five students participated in both a POSP and attended the training. The students learned about the basics of public interest law, professionalism, soft skills, working with low-income people, and cultural competency. At the end of the training, the students had an opportunity to mingle with 2L and 3L student volunteers and public interest attorneys.
An independent nonprofit organization, MJF creates pro bono opportunities for law students at all four Minnesota law schools. Since 1982, the MJF has been meeting the legal needs of low-income and disadvantaged Minnesotans through programs that pair volunteer law students with legal services agencies.
MJF draws participation from the four law schools in the Twin Cities: Hamline University School of Law, the University of Minnesota Law School, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law. In volunteering, students find practical application for their new skills, meaningful legal experience, and an appreciation for the need and impact of pro bono work.
Minnesota Justice Foundation
Students: How to Volunteer