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    Experiential Learning: Learn While Doing

    Hamline Law's experienced-based curriculum integrates skill development with classroom learning

    At Hamline Law, you gain the legal knowledge and the context for how to apply it to solve problems for clients and employers immediately upon graduation. We know that substantive knowledge combined with hands-on practical experiences creates the best foundation for a successful and meaningful legal career – and satisfied clients and employers.  

    We also know that it’s a progression, with one year or experience building on another. We call it the Hamline Experiential Progression, which links entry level, exploratory, and advanced instruction in three key areas of practical lawyering: problem-solving, advocacy, and transactional planning throughout your first, second, and third years. It is a coordinated plan to bridge you from classroom to practice, and introduce and reinforce the basic problem-solving focus of our curriculum. 

    Experiential learning curriculum

    Skills labs

    In second-year skills labs, you put into practice the law you are learning in the classroom through hands-on, process-oriented exercises in client interviewing, analyzing facts, negotiating, advocating, and more. Working in small cohorts, you go step-by-step through skills specific to the lab’s respective focus area. 


    In clinics you develop practical skills while advocating for low-income clients. In our 8 different clinics, you gain valuable litigation, transactional, and problem-solving skills by representing clients under the close supervision of our clinical faculty, who are dedicated to your learning. Beginning in your second year, you can enroll in clinics and become a certified student lawyer, experiencing the excitement, challenge, ethical issues, frustration, and rewards of being a lawyer. Because of our size and the number of clinics we offer, you can generally be placed in the clinic or clinics of your choice. Our clinics are one way that we fulfill our commitment to meeting low-income individuals’ unmet need for legal assistance.  

    Certificate Programs

    Certificate Programs equip you to address specialty areas of law, specifically, alternative dispute resolution, health law compliance, eDiscovery and bank law compliance, which are in particular demand in the marketplace. These certificates are offered through Hamline Law's renowned Dispute Resolution Institute, Health Law Institute,  Business Law Institute, and the Legal Studies Department respectively.


    Competitions give you a chance to pit your skills against students from U.S. and international law schools. By participating in these regional, national, and international competitions, you gain exceptional opportunities to practice your skills while creating close relationships with team members and alumni or faculty coaches through your work together.


    Externships give you first-hand, in-the-field experience, supporting the work of attorney mentors and judges. This, combined with reflective exercises and classroom discussions with students participating in similar externship placements, provide you with rich, real-world exposure to many aspects of legal careers.


    Our Semester-in-Practice allows you to work 30 to 40 hours a week at a law office or another professional setting where your law skills can be fully utilized while also working with a faculty member on an academic component.

    Experiential Third Year

    Through our Experiential Third Year, you work with an advisory team of two faculty members and a practicing lawyer to structure your entire third year to meet your graduation requirement and prepare you for your specific career path following graduation. (Coming in 2015-2016.)