The University of Minnesota Law School offers numerous public interest academic, career and volunteer opportunities through a wide variety of courses, clinics and institutes, its newly launched Robina Public Interest Scholars Program, and organizations such as the Public Interest Law Students Association and the student chapter of the Minnesota Justice Foundation.
Robina Public Interest Scholars Program
Supported by major funding from the Robina Foundation, the Robina Public Interest Scholars Program creates a seamless path from admission to full-time employment for students interested in public service careers. As one of the only integrated programs of its kind in the country, the Robina Public Interest Scholars Program builds on the Law School's long history of public service in providing transformative opportunities for interested students and helping badly stretched legal services providers better serve their clients and communities. Click here for more information.
The Law School offers more than 30 courses on public interest topics, including administrative law, civil rights, disability law, education law, federal and state courts, health law, legislative process, local government economic development, and poverty law. Public interest courses are listed here: www.law.umn.edu/prospective/course-guide.html
The Law School offers one of the nation's largest and most distinguished programs of clinical education, with 24 diverse clinics, including Civil Rights Enforcement, Consumer Protection, Criminal Defense Appeals, Environmental Sustainability, and Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy, among others. A complete list of clinical programs is found here: www.law.umn.edu/prospective/clinics.html
Institutes & Journals
The Law Schools hosts a wide variety of research Institutes that are committed to public interest work and make important contributions to legal scholarship and public policy research. Institutes such as Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & Life Sciences, Human Rights Center, Institute on Crime and Public Policy, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, and Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice offer students unique opportunities to explore worthwhile scholastic and community issues and to address challenges with real-world legal application.
Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, a student-edited journal, examines the social impact of law on disadvantaged people. Detailed information about the Law School's Institutes and Journals is found here: www.law.umn.edu/institutesjournals/index.html.
Summer Clerkships & Post-Graduate Fellowships
The Robina Foundation provides funding for numerous summer internships in public policy work and public interest work, as well as year-long, post-graduate fellowships. Summer clerkship opportunities are also available through the Minnesota Justice Foundation, Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation, University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, among others. University of Minnesota Law Students are also competitive both for national summer funding and national post-graduate fellowships with Equal Justice America, Equal Justice Works, Peggy Browning Fund, and many others. Clerkships with district, tribal, and federal courts are also available both local and nationally.
The Public Interest Law Students Association (PILSA) is dedicated to furthering post-graduation careers in public interest law. PILSA encourages curriculum related to public interest law, produces a speaker series featuring professionals working in public interest, and helps fund the Minnesota Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).
Numerous other Law School organizations provide students with public interest opportunities for academic study and community service, ranging from groups promoting the values of Mar¬tin Luther King, Jr. through volunteerism to Asylum Project-sponsored trips to work on cases for immigrants. A full listing of student organizations is available here: http://www.law.umn.edu/prospective/studentorgs.html.
Minnesota Justice Foundation
The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to linking volunteer law students with opportunities to assist attorneys in meeting the legal needs of the low-income community. Law students have the opportunity to serve as volunteer law clerks and research assistants to legal service organizations and legal clinic attorneys. Students who participate in 50 hours or more of law-related public service receive a special notation on their transcript. More information on MJF can be found at http://www.mnjustice.org/.
Career Development Support
Along with access to a full-time Public Interest Coordinator, the Career Center has extensive resources for students interested in a career in public interest law, summer opportunities, or volunteering during law school. For more information on the services provided by the Career Center, visit www.law.umn.edu/careers/index.html.