Hakeem Onafowokan ’15 came to Minnesota Law with a degree in sports management and a desire to combine his twin passions: sports and law. He joined the Sports Law Association at the Law School and, as a 2L, secured an internship with NASCAR. Today, Onafowokan loves his job as corporate counsel at NASCAR’s corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida. He says the best part of what he does is that every day brings something different. For example, since NASCAR resumed its race schedule in May, he has assisted in making sure events can operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having great professors and great mentors and great classmates that helped push me to be the best version of myself that I could be, and helped push me to seek opportunities in the areas where I wanted to go—those are some of my fondest memories.”
While the Twin Cities has a very vibrant legal community, our students and alumni have many options. Alumni live and work in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries. No matter where you want to go, your Minnesota Law degree will carry you there (see Where Grads Go). The skills, experiences, and connections you acquire through your Minnesota Law education will allow you to go further than you ever imagined.
Peter Doely ’13, an attorney at the Maslon law firm, worked with 2Ls Yongxian Wang and Zach Wright, and 3L Hannah Payne representing policyholders who had been proceeding against their auto insurer without the benefit of a lawyer. Doely and the students quickly discovered that, unknown to the clients, judgment had already been entered against them, requiring the ruling to be overturned for their clients to have any chance of recovery. The students, working under Doely’s guidance, compiled the factual record and drafted the motion papers; two of the students actually argued the motions. Even though the briefing schedule ended up being over finals and the holidays, the team met the challenge with talent, tenacity, and good cheer, and ultimately prevailed in getting their clients relief from the judgment.
“Although clinical education has generally grown in popularity, the Insurance Law Clinic is the only one of its kind in the country,” Doely says. “The clients, who are generally low-income, have issues with a variety of insurance policies, from medical to automobile to liability. They are interesting cases for people who need the help. And the clinic pairs this need with students who are enthusiastic, engaged, and dedicated to their work.”
Minnesota Law provides students with unparalleled opportunities to gain practical experience while in law school. In addition to 25 clinics covering a wide variety of legal areas, we offer internships, externships, fellowships, and numerous pro bono experiences. Students get the opportunity to collaborate with our world-class faculty and to connect with and tap into the expertise of our powerful network of alumni, including prominent attorneys, state and federal judges, high-level government officials, entrepreneurs, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
YEMAYA HANNA, 2L, had the chance last summer to explore two different types of legal jobs. Through Twin Cities Diversity in Practice’s Rotation Clerkship Program, she worked at Maslon and with the legal department at international medical device maker Medtronic. She says her clerkship experiences challenged many of her preconceived notions about corporate law, and showed her that she is capable of thriving in that environment. Next summer, she will return to Maslon. She also has lined up an internship with the Minnesota Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, where she will research criminal justice reform and public safety issues. At the Law School, Hanna serves as co-president of the Black Law Students Association. (Read a Q&A with Hanna)
“As a woman of color who did not grow up knowing any lawyers, I had never considered working in the corporate world. I was completely surprised by my positive experience… My substantive work was valued by the attorneys and I was also surprised by the candid and meaningful conversations the firm held surrounding racial injustice in the community and diversity in the legal field.”
Minnesota Law provides numerous opportunities for internships, fellowships, externships, summer placements, and other ways to gain practical experience and make professional connections while in law school. Our experienced Career Center team is committed to helping students develop the skills and connections they need to achieve professional success.
“This institution is known worldwide for its human rights curriculum, which speaks to the caliber of education that students receive. Folks with a goal of breaking into and exceeding within the world of human rights will significantly benefit from carrying the prestige of the University of Minnesota Law School with them.”
Experiential learning is a top priority at the University of Minnesota Law School. We offer one of the nation’s largest and most distinguished clinical education programs, a unique first-year Law in Practice course, abundant corporate externships, capstone courses focused on solving real-world problems, extensive legal practice skills courses, and your choice of 11 concentrations.
The Twin Cities is one of the most energetic, livable and literate communities in the country, distinguished by a nationally renowned park system with hundreds of miles of trails and an amazing chain of lakes, the largest theater community outside New York, and an internationally renowned music scene. Add to that distinctive neighborhoods, numerous professional sports teams, a new light rail system just steps from the Law School’s front door, and ready access to federal, state and local courts and the state capitol. More
Civility, cooperation and support define the University of Minnesota Law School. While our faculty are some of the most accomplished scholars in the world, they also are eager to mentor and readily available to help you succeed. Our collegial culture emphasizes teamwork, problem solving, leadership and persuasion, skills that are essential beyond law school for all fields of employment. More
The exceptional faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School bring real-world experience, practice, and leading research into the classroom. Passionate about their vocation and committed to integrating theory and practice in their teaching, they are demanding but eager to mentor and readily available to help students succeed along their chosen paths.