The Law School Public Service Program (LSPSP)
The Law School Public Service Program (LSPSP) is a collaborative effort of MJF, the Minnesota law schools, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), and legal service providers throughout Minnesota, to promote an ethic of public service in Minnesota law students and to increase the availability of legal services to Minnesota’s low-income populations.
Pro Bono Service
All Minnesota law schools encourage their students to perform at least fifty hours of pro bono legal work during law school. To facilitate this pro bono work, MJF matches interested law students with volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities metro area and in Greater Minnesota. Volunteer opportunities are available with varying time commitments in a wide variety of legal subject areas, and there are in-person and remote (or hybrid) opportunities to get involved.
Also, for students enrolled in Mitchell Hamline’s blended learning program, MJF can connect you with remote volunteer opportunities in Minnesota or assist you in finding a legal service provider in your state to contact about volunteering locally in your area.
What does the Program offer to students?
Volunteering through MJF introduces students to the real practice of law and gives them valuable experience and knowledge that helps them to become better lawyers. As students search for employment during law school, actual legal experience sets them apart from other applicants. Additionally, volunteering allows students to explore different areas of law and find what they are passionate about in order to better understand and navigate their post-graduation career path.
- A Network of Professional Contacts
Volunteering introduces students to practitioners in their fields of interest who can provide references, advice, and career guidance.
- Personal Fulfillment
Many low-income Minnesotans face legal problems without access to legal assistance. Students’ volunteer efforts may prevent a client from being wrongfully evicted, or help an asylum applicant secure protection against return to torture. Many attorneys cite pro bono cases as their most fulfilling work, and many students find their volunteer work to be a highlight of their law school experience.
Law students may participate in the LSPSP by finding available volunteer opportunities on MJF’s website or by creating their own volunteer opportunity that meets MJF’s eligibility criteria. As always, please explore volunteer opportunities to see what is currently available on the website, and ask your school’s MJF Staff Attorney if you have questions about what volunteer work can count for LSPSP hours. Please note, participation in MJF’s Street Law program also counts for volunteer hours under LSPSP.