Public Service

Public service at William Mitchell

At William Mitchell, you’ll gain lawyering skills while using your education to help others.

  • In our clinic program, you can represent low-income clients and organizations that otherwise would go unrepresented.
  • William Mitchell’s work with the Minnesota Justice Foundation provides students with a wide range of volunteer opportunities, including teaching law to high school students, ensuring that foreign speakers have access to legal aid, and assisting the poor in accessing health care.
  • Our externship program puts you to work in the public sector with judges and government agencies
  • In addition, if you are interested in non-legal volunteering opportunities, you will find numerous options through William Mitchell’s student organizations.

These experiences help develop a commitment to public service, ethical understanding, and insight into the legal process. And more important is the need such programs fill in the greater community.

Faculty leading by example

William Mitchell faculty members generally spend about one-third of their professional time in public service work, although many of them dedicate personal time as well. They help extend legal counsel to those who might not otherwise attain it, consult for public interest agencies and nonprofit organizations, and provide pro bono representation in a wide range of civil and criminal cases. Through their work, they model the highest values of the legal profession for our students.

Minnesota Justice Foundation

The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) is a membership-run, nonprofit organization.  Its mission is to promote social justice and to improve legal services to those who have been under-represented by the legal profession. Through MJF, students have the opportunity to work with lawyers in a variety of legal advice settings or to complete research projects for lawyers who have taken cases on a pro-bono basis.

In addition, MJF sponsors several summer clerkships per year, in settings which provide legal services to indigent clients.

Busy with studies, jobs and family, William Mitchell students still find time to donate thousands of volunteer hours every year. While we do not require students to do pro bono work, we encourage it and find that most do. Almost 50 percent of our students are recognized upon graduation for donating 50 or more hours to public service and many of these also are honored through MJF’s Law School Public Service Program.

Jobs in public service

William Mitchell alumni are employed in hundreds of different public service jobs in many different organizations, including legal aid agencies, public defender or county attorney offices, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, public interest associations, and legislative offices. And even those alums who do not work in public service jobs often volunteer their time to work on pro bono cases or offer expertise in a variety of other ways.

Students can begin working in public service jobs while in law school. You can find open positions through our Career Development office.

Our faculty can help you determine the best courses to take and the experiences you’ll want to have on your resume in order to get the job you want. The Alumni and Career Services offices can connect you to alumni and others who are working in the types of public service jobs you are most interested in through programs like our alumni mentor programs.

Loan repayment program

One of the barriers to taking a job in public service after graduation is the concern that the salary earned will not be enough to pay the cost of your legal education. To help defray those costs, you can apply to the Loan Repayment Assistance Program of Minnesota. Through this program, students can receive assistance in paying off the debt incurred during law school, given that they are employed full time in a position that provides legal services to the poor, enhances the administration of justice, or provides law-related education to the public.

About 60 percent of William Mitchell faculty members contribute to LRAP every year through the college’s Faculty Public Service Fund.