Mitchell | Hamline School of Law
Course Information Pages

Public Interest Law


Property: Jurisprudential and Comparative Analysis (1651)

Examines basic concepts relating to ownership and possession of private property, in part through a comparative perspective. Addresses acquisition of property by find, adverse possession, and gift. Introduces possessory estates and future interests, concurrent ownership and marital interests, and the law of landlord and tenant.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: 4

Offered: Spring

Categories: Bar Courses, Required

Subject Areas: Academic Support and Bar Preparation, Public Interest Law, Real Estate Law

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Administrative Law (3130)

Clean water, safe food and drugs, stable banks, sensible land use, an open and accessible internet-these and many more aspects of modern American life depend largely on decisions made by unelected officials staffing administrative agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. This course examines the authority and procedures that these administrative agencies use to make law, investigate violations of the law, and adjudicate the application of the law to individuals and businesses. The course raises student awareness regarding the operation of the administrative state and important separation of powers and due process questions raised by ubiquitous administrative governance.

Grading: Exam

Credits: 3

Offered: Fall/Spring

Subject Areas: Administrative and Legislative Process, Business and Commercial, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Child and Family Law, Government Practice, Health Law, Public Interest Law

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Immigration Law (4200)

Provides a comprehensive overview of the federal laws as well as policy affecting the ability of foreign nationals to obtain visas to enter and to lawfully remain in the U.S. Topics include the organizational structure of the different branches of government impacting on immigration laws; historical, political, and social aspects of immigration legislation; visa processing and admission requirements; removal grounds and procedures as well as waivers; relief from deportation; applications and petitions; refugees and political asylum; judicial review; and citizenship and loss thereof.

Grading: Exam

Credits: 3

Offered: Spring

Subject Areas: Child and Family Law, Public Interest Law

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Mental Health Law Seminar (4840)

Covers the nature of mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and other mental disabilities; the provision of treatment and services for mental disabilities: financing, regulation, and administration; involuntary hospitalization and treatment; the right to treatment and services; incompetence and substitute decision-making mechanisms; informed consent; confidentiality, privacy, privilege and the duty to warn; mental disability and the criminal justice system; lawyering and mental disabilities; ethical and practical issues; sexually violent predator civil commitment laws; international human rights norms. This course will be co-taught by a forensic psychiatrist.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: Variable

Offered: Irregularly

Subject Areas: Health Law, Public Interest Law

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Poverty Law (5065)

This course challenges students to think about whether the law is or can be an effective anti-poverty strategy. We will review general information about poverty, the history of anti-poverty advocacy in the United States, the development of free legal services for the poor, and the role of the Constitution as the poor's protector. Students will gain introductory skills in several substantive areas of poverty law practice, for example, housing, government benefits, consumer, and child welfare law. The instructor uses a variety of teaching methods with an emphasis on experiential learning. All students will complete a group project and presentation on a topic of their choice related to poverty and the law.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: 2

Offered: Spring

Subject Areas: Public Interest Law

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Clinic: Civil Advocacy (8305)

Students take full responsibility for representing clients under the close supervision of faculty. The course focuses on the challenges of representing real people in real matters in an ethical, reflective, and creative way. Goals include developing a critical understanding of legal process and a contextual understanding of clients’ legal problems. Students interview and counsel clients, investigate facts, negotiate disputes, prepare trial memos and motions, and conduct administrative hearings and court trials. Cases cover a variety of subject areas, including landlord-tenant, unemployment compensation, employment, and consumer matters. The current affordable housing crisis has led to some focus on housing matters, including policy research and recommendations to neighborhood organizations and the City of St. Paul. Students meet weekly in seminar and also meet individually with faculty for supervision. Some required activities (such as court appearances, investigation, and community meetings) take place during normal business hours, but most students are able to combine this clinic's work with their own employment and care-giving responsibilities.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Civil Litigation, Public Interest Law

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Clinic: Immigration Law (8752)

Students represent indigent clients in administrative proceedings before the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Federal Court. Cases concern the immigration status of aliens. Students interview and counsel clients, research laws and regulations, write briefs, prepare for hearings, and act as trial counsel at evidentiary hearings. Heavy emphasis is placed upon active representation of clients, and cases that present novel and interesting issues of law and fact. Some required activities (such as court appearances, investigation and interviews) take place during normal business hours.

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Criminal Law, Public Interest Law

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Clinic: Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners (9002)

Students provide civil representation to indigent persons incarcerated in Minnesota. Students represent clients from interview through any trial. Cases include domestic relations, imprisonment-related matters (institutional grievances, parole, and detainers), and the full range of other civil problems including debtor-creditor, wills, contracts, torts, and civil rights issues. LAMP Clinic on the Web

Grading: Letter graded

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Categories: Experiential

Subject Areas: Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Child and Family Law, Public Interest Law

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Clinic: Community Development (9100)

Students in the Community Development Clinic tackle unstructured problems, work collaboratively in a multi-discipline arena, and learn how to identify and address legal issues embedded in a problem or project - necessary skills in the problem-solving profession. This clinic is designed for students with a curiosity about a wide variety of subjects and who are interested in transactional work, although client needs dictate the legal skills required. The work may be transactional, legislative or policy work, litigation, educational, or any combination of these. Students may be part of a long-term project (learning strategic thinking and planning) or a short-term project (handling a problem from beginning to end). Students work with individuals, non-profits or community groups, and rarely know in advance the legal issues they may encounter when the client or community asks for legal help. The Community Development Clinic addresses the challenging issues of neighborhood revitalization, equitable development, and community economic development using legal skills, reflective thinking, and creative problem-solving. In the past, students have worked on a range of Central Corridor LRT projects (such as small business assistance, the Community Summit, the Affordable Housing Partners Task Force) and community projects such as affordable business space, community gardens and the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods. Clinic students have created brochures and given presentations on topics including business preparation for major construction, restorative justice, zoning and land use, property taxation and community benefits agreements. During the course of their work, students may work with area attorneys, state and local government officials and employees, and a variety of interest groups.

Grading: Letter graded.

Credits: variable

Offered: Fall/Spring

Subject Areas: Public Interest Law

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