William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., is offering a new type of scholarship for people committed to practicing law in rural areas of the United States, including in small towns and on Indian reservations.
The new North Star Scholarships will provide $10,000 a year to students who enroll in the law school’s Hybrid Program, which allows students to earn their J.D.s through a combination of week-long, on-campus trainings and online coursework—with much of the doctrinal studies being completed using web-based learning tools.
The goal of the scholarship is to enable people to earn their law degrees from an ABA-approved law school and then practice in their communities—many of which are facing a shortage of lawyers.
According to the National Association of Counties, roughly 20 percent of United States residents live in rural areas, but only 2 percent of law practices operate out of those regions.
William Mitchell’s new Hybrid Program and the North Star Scholarships are designed in part to address the need for attorneys in small and mid-sized towns across the country. Attorneys are critical to the fabric of life in rural America; they provide guidance to town councils and county commissions, work with school boards, and serve the public’s need for estate planning, family law service, criminal defense, land contract drafting, and myriad other kinds of legal advice.
To be eligible for the scholarship, people must be admitted to William Mitchell’s Hybrid Program and intend to practice law in an area of the country currently underserved by local lawyers, including:
- a rural area
- a reservation
- a small town or city.