Mitchell Hamline School of Law

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Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Established1900; 119 years ago (1900)
School typePrivate
LocationSaint Paul, Minnesota, United States

Mitchell Hamline School of Law (MHL) is a [1] private law school in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), and offers full- and part-time legal education for its Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. It has a current estimated alumni of over 19,000 lawyers.[2] The school offers more practical externships than any other school in the Upper Midwest.[3] It was the first American law school to offer an ABA-accredited hybrid J.D. program.


Mitchell Hamline was formed on December 9, 2015, by the combining of William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law.[4][5] Prior to becoming Mitchell Hamline, it was the product of several other law schools, all in the Twin Cities, which ultimately merged in 1956 as William Mitchell College of Law. The move in the 1950's was meant to open the doors of the legal profession to men and women working full-time to support themselves and their families. That tradition was taken one step further with the creation of the Hybrid J.D. and the Executive Hybrid J.D.

Profile and rankings[edit]

In Fall of 2017 Mitchell Hamline received 1,176 applications and enrolled 373 students.[6] The law school is committed to diversity and reports that of those students, 50% are female, and 28% are students of color. In total, the school has just over 1000 law students. 40% are full time, 30% are part time (weekend program or evening program), and 30% belong to one of the two hybrid programs (traditional hybrid or executive hybrid). To gain admission, prospective students will need to aim for a GPA over 3.21 and an LSAT score of over 150 (both medians).

The school is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top J.D. program in the country for Dispute Resolution (currently ranked #4 in the nation), and well as for Health Care Law (currently ranked #11). Students who choose the school for its Dispute Resolution program can also take advantage of ADR training overseas: both in Israel and in London. The National Jurist has consistently ranked the school's clinical program as one of the best.[7][8] PreLaw magazine called the new Hybrid Program one the "10 Most Promising Innovations in Legal Education."

Alumni of the law school report a 93% employment rate.[3]


All students, regardless of their program take the traditional 1L and 2L courses: criminal, torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, evidence, constitutional law, etc.

All 1Ls also participate in a comprehensive course called Lawyering (formerly WRAP, for Writing and Representation: Advice & Persuasion). It focuses on legal research, reasoning, and writing, while providing a broad overview of critical skills like client interviewing and counseling, contract negotiation and drafting, dispute mediation, and pretrial litigation. Generally all students follow the same curriculum and hypothetical cases, regardless of whether they are a traditional bricks-and-mortar (BAM) student, weekend student, evening student, hybrid student, or executive student. On some occasions, students from one learning model get the opportunity to interact with students of another.

As 2Ls (for BAM students) and 3Ls (for hybrid and executive students) must take "Advocacy," a course designed to teach basic litigation skills. Students are instructed in conducting discovery, examining witnesses, introducing exhibits, presenting opening and closing arguments, and presenting written and oral appellate arguments.

As a top-rated school in the subject matter, Mitchell Hamline has a very intentional focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Mediation. For example, students start their training in ADR during their very first semester. Hybrid students start conducting mediations in their very first week of law school. Mitchell Hamline has also rebranded its course in "Civil Procedure" as "Civil Dispute Resolution," which infuses the traditional curriculum of procedure with other methods such as mediation, arbitration, and tribal law procedure. It also sends a message to students right away that MHL plans to education lawyers well versed in alternative methods of civil dispute and procedures.

Dispute resolution institute[edit]

For students who want an even more in-depth focus on alternative forms of dispute resolution, Mitchell Hamline houses an institute dedicated to the process. The institute offers rigorous academic discourse, hands-on simulation experiences, and cross-disciplinary examination of conflict theory, advocacy, and problem solving. 2018 marks the institutes' 18th consecutive year to be ranked as one of the top five dispute resolution program in the United States.[9] The institute offers a mediation center, is highly connected to the mediation network within the twin cities, and offers four separate certificates – designed for both lawyers and non-lawyers. The institute also selects qualified students to study conflict resolution through two study abroad programs: (1) an international business perspective in England through a partnership with Queen Mary University of London, as well as a through a lens of religious conflict in Israel in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus. This focus is available to hybrid and executive J.D. students as well traditional BAM students. In 2017, two of MHL's hybrid student beat 32 teams from 25 countries, after traveling to Norway to compete in a five-day-long global ADR competition.[10]

Health Law Institute[edit]

Ranked as 11th in the nation, Mitchell Hamline's Health Law Institute offers specialized courses and experiential learning.[11] Students are exposed to real-life health law issues. The institute offers four certificates, some of which satisfy the requirements to sit for the Compliance Certification Board's (CCB) national exam. MHL students are able to build this education into their J.D. program, while non-law-students have other options available to them. This focus is available to hybrid and executive J.D. students as well traditional BAM students.

Indian Law Program[edit]

The Indian Law Program emphasizes practical legal education.[12] Students learn from professors who have spent their careers working with Indian tribes. These professors have worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, nonprofit corporations providing technical assistance to tribes, large law firms with Indian law practices, boutique firms focusing solely on Indian law, and Indian tribes themselves. This focus is available to hybrid and executive J.D. students as well. In recent years, MHL students have competed in the National Native American Law Student Association (NNALSA) Moot Court Competition, winning best team, best brief, and best oralist.[13]

Joint degree programs[edit]

Mitchell Hamline offers two types of joint degrees: The 3+3 and the Dual Degrees.

The 3+3 programs enable eligible students from select Minnesota universities to complete their bachelor's and J.D. degrees in only six years, rather than the more common seven. It currently has agreements with Hamline University, St. Cloud State University, and Bemidji State University.

Dual degree programs allow J.D. holders to combine their law degree with an additional graduate degree, and earn both in less time than normal. Most programs require four years to obtain both the J.D. and the master's degree. Though a partnership with Hamline University, students can also earn a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), a Master of Fine Arts in Writing (M.F.A.), a Master in Public Administration (M.P.A.), or a Master in Nonprofit Management (M.N.M.).

Hybrid and executive J.D. programs[edit]

In the early 2000's the American Bar Association's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education drafted a recommendation that law schools be permitted to experiment and innovate. At that time, Mitchell Hamline was still William Mitchell College of Law, its ship steered by then-president and dean, Eric Janus who helped pioneer the hybrid program. The school's first cohort of hybrid students included several accomplished professionals, most with graduate degrees. Of the 85 students in the first cohort, 14 already held M.B.A.s, 5 held M.D.s, and three held Ph.D.s.[14] The students ranged in age from 22 to 67, and represented 30 states and two countries. Since that time, the school has welcomed an even more diverse student body. Students fly in from Hawaii, London, Germany, Alaska, Japan, and India. Professions that have been represented include physicians, police officers, FBI agents, psychologists, school teachers, scientists, college professors, social workers, CEOs, and paralegals with sometimes decades of pre-existing legal experience. The law school even became home to a linebacker for the Washington State Cougars and a Major League Baseball umpire.[15]

Mitchell Hamline offers hybrid students two options. The traditional Hybrid J.D. Program allows students to sit for all bar exams across the country, with the exception of New York. Students in the traditional hybrid program come to the campus once at the end of each semester for four years, as well as two additional times – at the beginning of the semester – during 1L and 2L. For students who need to take the bar exam in New York, the Executive J.D. Program requires students to come to campus twice for all four years. This additional in-classroom-time satisfies the New York Bar requirement. The Executive J.D. Program spends this extra time going over intensive legal case studies related to a current complex dilemma facing the courts in multiple countries.

Students in the hybrid and executive programs are able to participate in the school's Student Bar Association, all of the school's interest groups, all of the study abroad programs, and most all of the clinics. Even the law school's workshops and trainings (e.g., diversity) are usually scheduled during times when the hybrid and executive students will be on campus.

Notable alumni[edit]

Mitchell Hamline's alumni reaches back through an impressive rich history. Its alumni are from William Mitchell College of Law, Hamline University, Minneapolis-Minnesota College of Law, all the way to the St. Paul College of Law from 1900. The law school estimates that is has more than 19,000 alumni, representing all fifty states and twenty foreign countries. Alumni are active in the private sector, with partners in all of Minnesota's—and some of the country's—largest law firms. Alumni also have a significant presence in the public sector.

The law school's most famous alumnus is Warren E. Burger, the fifteenth Chief Justice of the United States. The law library on campus is named in his honor.

Other notable graduates include:


  1. ^ "Mitchell Hamline School of Law". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Mitchell Hamline School of Law". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  3. ^ a b "Mitchell Hamline School of Law | the National Jurist". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  4. ^ Maura Lerner, "Hamline, William Mitchell law schools to merge", Star Tribune (February 13, 2015).
  5. ^ "Law Schools Officially Combine".
  6. ^ "Student Profile – Prospective Students". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  7. ^ William Mitchell legal clinic program ranked high in nationwide listing, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, April 2, 2004.
  8. ^ ""Best Practices" Schools" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  9. ^ "Dispute Resolution Institute". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  10. ^ "Mitchell Hamline a world champion in International Negotiation Competition – News and Events". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  11. ^ "Health Care Compliance Certificate – Health Law Institute". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  12. ^ "Indian Law Program". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  13. ^ "Students – Indian Law Program". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  14. ^ "Mitchell Hamline's HYBRID J.D. program – About Mitchell Hamline School of Law". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  15. ^ "Fall entering class features three students with ties to pro sports – News and Events". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present – Legislator Record – Mazorol, Pat". Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  18. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present – Legislator Record – Mondale, Ted A". Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  19. ^ "Minnesota State Law Library: Biographies of Judges and Justices of the Minnesota Appellate Courts". Retrieved 2011-01-24.
  20. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present – Legislator Record – Newman, Scott J". Retrieved 2011-01-24.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°56′31″N 93°8′17″W / 44.94194°N 93.13806°W / 44.94194; -93.13806