Member School Highlight – Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Location: St Paul, MN
Founded: 2015
Joined AALS: 1982
Dean: Anthony Niedwiecki

Formed in 2015, when William Mitchell College of Law, founded in 1956, and Hamline University School of Law, founded in 1972, combined into Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Mitchell Hamline is a forward-thinking private law school with over 100 years of continuously shaping the legal education community by providing a legal education grounded in legal theory through practical legal training. Mitchell Hamline is committed to making legal education more accessible and offers many enrollment options. Mitchell Hamline is committed to making legal education more accessible and offers many enrollment options. Mitchell Hamline graduates are prepared to put their degrees into practice or use their legal training in the profession of their choice.

Mitchell Hamline is a national leader in delivering robust online legal education and innovative learning in the classroom.

Professor Hetal Dalal is conducting a Blended-Learning course for Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

In January 2015, Mitchell Hamline became the first ABA-approved law school to offer students the chance to earn a law degree through a hybrid of online and on-campus instruction. Since then, hundreds have graduated, and blended-learning alums from Mitchell Hamline have passed the bar and worked as licensed attorneys nationwide.

Mitchell Hamline’s commitment to blending-learning has allowed the institution to build on its technological platform and continuously improve its instructional techniques. Mitchell Hamline extended the Hybrid JD program format to an Executive and a Weekend option, including a popular case-study workshop component in which students learn first-hand from lawyers and participants in actual cases.

When COVID forced all law schools to go online, many institutions contacted Mitchell Hamline for tips and advice on transitioning. Even during the pandemic, Mitchell Hamline continued to innovate, creating a HyFlex model that allows students to attend synchronous classes online or in person. Also, the institution saw record first-year enrollment during the first two years of the pandemic due to the HyFlex model.

Their innovation continues as they’ve worked to expand clinical education opportunities to their online or blended-learning students in recent years. This includes a new economic inclusion clinic that gives students experience representing clients working for historically disenfranchised communities.

In 2022, Mitchell Hamline made history again by accepting the first currently incarcerated students ever to attend law school. Mitchell Hamline found a way to allow synchronous learning with in-person students and their incarcerated students who join remotely from separate prisons.

“Our school has more than a century of working on expanding access to legal education,” said Mitchell Hamline President and Dean Anthony Niedwiecki. “This started by offering night classes in the early 1900s to part-time students (mostly men) with jobs during the day. We later created a day program that increased the ranks of women in our law school, and our blended learning (partially online) enrollment options allow people to attend regardless of whether they live in a geographic location with no law schools. And when they’re here, our students are forever learning skills and gaining real world legal experience – through our clinics and other programs – that let them do actual legal work for clients that will make them ready to be a practicing attorney the day they graduate.”

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