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Dean's Blog - Learning Outcomes and Assessment

November 5, 2010


Available in both video and text format for your convenience

Hi there.  Today I speak briefly about the law school’s work in the area of learning outcomes and assessment.

Let me start with the overall mission of the law school:  that is, to provide our students with the strongest preparation for employment and professional growth in legal practice, public service, and a broad range of other law-related careers.

Well, how do we know that we are in fact achieving that mission?

One measure might be simply to look at our bar exam passage rate, but that does not tell us much about whether we are producing effective and ethical advocates and problem-solvers.

Your learning objectives should be broader than knowledge of the subjects tested on the bar exam.  They should include working knowledge of how the legal system actually operates; how to understand, communicate, and resolve client problems; and how to promote and improve the service of lawyers to the community.

The process of developing learning outcomes, and a program to assess whether we are meeting those objectives, is simply a way for framing a conversation in which we should always be engaged.  We should routinely ask ourselves whether our J.D. program is working as intended.

So, in May 2009, the law faculty adopted a three-year assessment plan.   It has several components.

At the outset, when students know what we are trying to teach them, they are more likely to learn.  So the first step is to communicate our learning objectives.  We actually started in October 2007 to state explicitly what Hamline law graduates should be able to achieve in terms of substantive legal knowledge, practice and problem-solving skills, and professional attributes like ethics and civility.

Next, we have devoted increased attention to our classroom teaching.  Our faculty established a Committee on Teaching and Learning.  That committee is charged with educating our faculty on “best practices” in teaching that increase student engagement and improve the classroom experience.

Third, we are beginning conversations among the faculty about the objectives of our individual law courses.  This dialogue will initially focus on the first-year courses and include discussion about our grading policies and other assessment standards.

Fourth, we’ve adopted the long-term goal of developing tools to measure whether the J.D. program as a whole is meeting its broader objectives of effectively preparing students as professionals.  That is what we call program-level assessment.  For example, it’s one thing to determine whether a first-year student has passed the Legal Research and Writing course.  It is quite another task to measure whether that student’s writing has improved in the next two years before graduation.

Our work on learning outcomes could not be more timely.  The American Bar Association, which accredits all American law schools, is now considering revised standards that would put a greater emphasis on student learning outcomes.  The proposed standards would require each law school (1) to define and communicate learning outcomes; (2) to design its curriculum to ensure that graduates achieve those outcomes; (3) to employ a variety of assessment methods to provide meaningful feedback to students; and (4) to measure the law school’s institutional effectiveness in delivering its learning outcomes.

The proposed ABA standards mirror the plan Hamline embarked on three years ago.  We are proud to be on the leading edge of a movement to ensure that law schools actually deliver the rigorous education program essential to preparing students to succeed professionally.

Thanks for listening today.  We’ll see you next time.


Dean's Blog - Business Law Institue

October 14, 2010


Available in both video and text format for your convenience

 Hi there.

You have heard me speak before about the success of the law school’s two centers of excellence.  Our Dispute Resolution Institute is ranked second in the nation by U.S. News.  And our Health Law Institute, after just four years, is ranked within the top twenty.

But I haven’t yet spoken in my blog about the launch of our third center, the Business Law Institute.  I thought I’d take a couple moments today to give you some background on BLI and give you an update on its new director.

We decided to form a Business Law Institute first and foremost because we aspire to excellence in legal education.  As with DRI and HLI, we enhance our reputation as a law school by concentrating on fields of study where we can distinguish ourselves in teaching, scholarship and service.

We picked Business Law because of the growing number of professionals who want to gain the critical thinking, counseling and negotiation skills that come with a law degree, and who want to apply them in the world of business transactions.  You’ve heard me say before that a law degree is the best extension of a liberal arts education, and that its value transcends the traditional practice of law.

That is particularly true in business, where clients seek more than just legal opinions but sound business judgment and advice.  Yes, they want to know if a draft contract has state of the art indemnification language.  But clients also want to know if they’re going to make money on the deal.

An effective business lawyer adds value to a business transaction by understanding and achieving the client’s business goals.  The BLI’s enhanced business curriculum will better equip Hamline students with basic skills in business-planning, management and finance that will enable them to provide value-added lawyering as they guide transactions and resolve commercial disputes.

Finally, Hamline is uniquely positioned to have a thriving business law center.  We already have a solid core of corporate and commercial law offerings.  But we also part of a university that has recently reorganized its School of Business and has a strong, growing MBA program with classes in the western suburbs.  The BLI will also take advantage of inter-connections with our existing institutes and offer unique business offerings related to dispute resolution and health care.  There will be a lot of opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration in academic programming, and for professional networking that is useful in pursuit of employment.

A critical first step, of course, was finding leadership for the new institute.  We are thrilled that Professor Ann Graham from Texas Tech University will leave Lubbock to join the Hamline law faculty full-time as the BLI director.  Professor Graham is a nationally-recognized banking law expert who brings to Hamline both extensive teaching and practice experience.  For almost thirty years, she represented banks and their regulators, including service with the FDIC and  the Texas Bankers Association.  That experience has shaped her scholarship, which focuses on the expansion of federal and state regulation of financial institutions.  Her arrival at Hamline could not be more timely, given the increased federal scrutiny and regulation of the financial services industry.

Even before her arrival this coming January, Professor Graham has visited the Hamline law campus to discuss her plans for expanding the law school’s business curriculum and developing a set of “concentrations” with recommended course progressions.  She has also met with alumni to cultivate relationships with the local business community.

As we approach the new year and Professor Graham’s arrival, we’ll have more news about inaugural events and programming for the BLI.  So stay tuned.

See ya’ next time.


Dean's Blog - Faculty Scholarship & Research

October 4, 2010


Available in both video and text format for your convenience

 Greetings.  My subject today is the research and published scholarship of our Hamline law faculty.

When I arrived at Hamline in 2008 after three decades as a practicing attorney, I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with the world of academic research and publishing.  If you're listening today and you're a student or prospective student, faculty scholarship may not even be on your screen either.

But I quickly discovered that Hamline had a law faculty dedicated to a culture of research and scholarship, and their productivity had increased markedly during the last decade.  That work has appeared in a wide variety of media and formats: law review articles, books and book chapters, professional association and bar magazines, web-based instructional materials, you name it.  In the first eight months of 2010 alone, the Hamline law faculty produced nearly 50 publications.  

Hamline also encourages scholarly engagement: not just writing and publishing, but actively presenting the research results in public settings ranging from a lecture for local attorneys downtown to an international symposium attracting lawyers and scholars across the globe.

Now, I can't list all that activity in a three-minute blogcast, but let me describe a few highlights during the past year:

Highlight No. 1: Celebrating the Uniform Trade Secret Act
Last April, the Hamline Law Review hosted a symposium celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.  That event brought trade secret scholars from around the country to the Hamline law campus to reflect on the history of the Act and its past and future impact on trade secret issues in the United States and internationally.
Highlight No. 2: Judicial Clerkships: A Practical Guide
Three Hamline legal writing instructors published Judicial Clerkships: A Practical Guide.  I congratulate the authors (Mary Dunnewold, Beth Honetschlager, and Brenda Tofte) for this unique book that explains everything a person needs to know about clerking for judges.  It is a law student's or a new clerk's one-stop-shop for information about these enriching jobs and their essential role in the American judicial system.

Highlight No. 3: Rethinking Negotiation Teaching: Vol. 2
Venturing Beyond the Classroom was published last month by DRI Press, an arm of Hamline's Dispute Resolution Institute, which is ranked second in the nation in alternative dispute resolution.  This book is the second publication to emerge from a multi-year, international project designed to critique contemporary negotiation pedagogy and develop a "second generation" negotiation training design.  

Highlight No. 4. Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Cindy Jesson is Director of our-nationally ranked Health Law Institute, and she has co-authored a book entitled Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Law with Stacey Tovino, a law professor at UNLV and a senior fellow at Hamline.  This text introduces students to the myriad of laws that govern the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, part of a growing and increasingly complicated subject of public health policy and regulation.

Highlight No. 5: Religion and the Global Economic Crisis
Hamline is the home of The Journal of Law and Religion, and last October the Journal explored the relationship between religion and the depressed economy during a symposium entitled "The Global Economic Crisis, Law and the Religious Traditions." It included a keynote by award-winning Italian economics professor Luigino Bruni and a debate on the legal and social responses of the various religious traditions to the economic crisis, to the regulating markets, and to economically vulnerable people.

These five highlights are just a glimpse at the high productivity of our legal scholars at Hamline.

Finally, a short word about why legal scholarship is important.  Obviously, it contributes to academic discourse and the understanding of the law, and helps shape legislation and policy.  But I believe that there is also a significant relationship between scholarly research and effective teaching.  Simply put, scholarship helps make law professors better teachers.  My colleagues understand that scholarship makes you a stronger expert, engages you with external communities, enhances reputation, builds self-confidence, fosters reflection and self-critique, and most importantly generates enthusiasm in your work—which shows in the classroom.

And that's why a vibrant culture of scholarship thrives at Hamline's law school.

That's all; see ya' next time.

Dean's Blog - P3

September 10, 2010

Available in both video and text format for your convenience

 Hi there.  Today I want to celebrate the inauguration of our new first year course: Practice, Problem Solving and Professionalism or “P3” for short.

Two years ago, a task force of our law faculty concluded that we needed to provide our entering law students with a clearer understanding of how they might use their instruction in legal theory and doctrine in practice.   Our first-year students study a lot of court of appeals opinions, and this provides a very important foundation for critical thinking skills.  But the vast majority of disputes—well over 90 percent—are settled without any trial, much less an appeal.  

The practice of law really takes place outside the courtroom, with lawyers working not only as advocates, but as problem solvers for individuals, for business entities and government agencies.
So our faculty designed and approved a new first-year course with four objectives:

   1. To put legal education in the context of actual practice

   2. To reinforce basic skills of legal analysis taught elsewhere in the curriculum 

   3. To introduce our students to basic dispute resolution and problem solving

       4. To inspire students about their future role as lawyers in society.

    An additional goal to see if we could accomplish these objectives with a course that was used varied teaching methods, used different assessment tools, and presented a fun learning experience in the first year.

    The result was P3, and the new course is now underway for our 1Ls.

    I invite you to take a look at the multi-faceted program described in the detailed syllabus, but today I simply want to highlight three intriguing features of the course:

    The first is the use of "adventure learning."  This is something more than role-playing.  Outside of class, groups of three or four students will negotiate a transaction or a dispute.  When they reach a deal, they will discuss it within the group and reflect on it in writing.

    That segues into the second interesting feature: the requirement that students maintain a written journal throughout the class, which accounts for 60 percent of their final grade.   For example, in one assignment, students will select a case from one of their doctrinal courses, indentify the interests of the parties involved, and discuss how the dispute might have been resolved through another process.  This journal promotes continuous evaluation, reflection and self-critique—all essential habits for any successful professional.  The journal is also a refreshing new way to assess student performance.

    The third feature is the involvement of our law alumni.  Three Hamline alums are assisting our law faculty as adjunct instructors in the course: Ken Morris '92, Cary-Miller-Dolan '95(correct year) and Lateesa Ward '91.  And, of course, I am grateful for their willingness to contribute their time and efforts to this new course.  There are numerous other alumni who will volunteer to be interviewed by P3 students as part of another assignment in the class.  That's how our law students gain perspective and get connected within the profession.

    I want to congratulate and thank the three Hamline law professors who are responsible for designing and teaching the course.  Professor Bobbi McAdoo took the lead in pulling the course together, working with Professors Jim Coben and Sharon Press.  All three are teaching sections of P3.  It is no accident that each has at one time directed Hamline's preeminent Dispute Resolution Institute, now ranked second in the nation by U.S. News.  Professor Press is the current DRI director.

    To close let me quote Professor McAdoo's promise for P3:
    "We're giving our students the tools to
    be leaders, advocates and problem-solvers
    with a broad grasp of the practice of law
    and an understanding of the breadth of
    opportunities that awaits them."

    Thanks for listening.  See ya' next time.


    Dean's Blog - Best Value Law School

    August 25, 2010


    Dean Donald Lewis

    Welcome Back!


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Greetings, everyone.  It’s the beginning of a new school year, and I look forward to speaking with you throughout what will be a transforming year at Hamline’s law school. 

    Like most journeys, it starts at the front door.  And our virtual front door is our webpage.  It’s where we meet prospective students; It’s where our current students find information about their classes and extracurricular activities; It’s where our faculty members promote their teaching and research; It’s where our alumni keep current on events at the law school and the career progress of their classmates.

    If you’re visiting for the first time, we obviously want to make a good impression.  More importantly, we want to make sure that you have easy and comprehensive access to the information about the extraordinary legal education community that is Hamline University School of Law. 

    So that’s why we’ve refreshed our web page:  We want the design to be bright, open and inviting. 

    We’ve worked to make its navigation easier, so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for: whether it’s a calendar of upcoming events, alumni news or the latest publications by our faculty. We expanded our capacity to present audio and video features of our activities.  We will have ready links to social network sites. 

    And it’s compatible with the design and features of the University’s website, so that you’re comfortable moving to and from other Hamline webpages. 

    So please visit the law school often through this gateway.  I’d appreciate your comments on its look and functionality, and any ideas that you have on keeping its content fresh and provocative.  

    Today, I want to highlight Hamline selection as one of America’s “Best Value Law Schools.” 

    This designation a couple weeks ago from PreLaw Magazine (the sister publication to The National Jurist).  The magazine based its rankings on four criteria: 

    *Bar passage rate that is better than state average 

    *Average student indebtedness that is below $100,000 

    *Employment rate nine months after graduation that is greater than 85 percent 

    *Tuition that is less than $35,000 for in-state residents 

    There are only 11 private law schools included in the list of 60 “best values,” and Hamline was the only private law school in Minnesota listed. 

    This ranking is a big honor to Hamline because it is based upon the metrics the students care about.  In any marketplace, a “best value” is a purchase that presents the best combination of quality, service, price and other benefits that meets the buyer’s needs; the complete package.  And being considered a “best value” is a significant virtue at a time of slow economic growth. 

    I believe that a law degree is the best extension of a liberal arts education.  I also believe that it’s the best investment you can make in many professional fields beyond legal practice.  Business, human resources, health care, community service, you name it.  The critical thinking skills and on-the-ground experience offered at Hamline will continue to be a “best buy.”  

    See ya next time.


    Dean's Blog - Choosing Hamline

    April 30, 2010




    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Earlier this week, our admissions office received an e-mail from an applicant admitted for this fall's entering class, but who had not yet made his decision whether to send in his deposit and enroll.  In the e-mail, he asked how, despite the success of Hamline's programs, can the school still be a U.S. News fourth tier school?

    I was reminded that I had not spoken to our law students about the 2010 rankings released two weeks ago.  My e-mail response to this admitted applicant sums up my judgment about our law school and its place in the rankings, so I thought I would share it with you.  So here's what I wrote, and pardon me if I read to you today:

    The short answer to your question is that, although the U.S. News scores put us in its fourth tier, I don't consider Hamline to be a fourth-tier law school.  Nor should you.

    At the outset, we're proud that our Dispute Resolution Institute is ranked No. 2 among dispute resolution programs in the nation.  Our Health Law Institute is ranked no. 18 in the country.  We're the only Minnesota law school (and among the elite law schools in the country) to have two nationally-ranked specialty programs.

    Yes, U.S. News ranked our overall law school program at No. 145, at the top of the fourth tier.  The last ranked third tier school was no. 144.  I should note that Hamline has been ranked in the third tier as recently as 2008. 

    As you consider your decision, I suggest that you examine the data behind the rankings.  Please compare Hamline to the other schools that you are looking at.  I suspect that we compare favorably, and perhaps better, on such criteria as UGPA (3.16 - 3.66), LSAT (150 - 158), selectivity (49%), lower student/faculty ratio (14.8), job placement after nine months (89%), high Minnesota bar passage rate (92.8%) and strong overall bar passage rate (91%).  It appears that our shift this year into the fourth tier can be attributed to weaker scores in the external reputation rankings, which is dependent on the strength of the school's marketing efforts within its jurisdiction.

    The rankings are nowhere close to a true measure of our progress and achievements as a law school.  Our published scholarship continues to raise Hamline's national and international profile.  It's also unfortunate that U.S. News does not evaluate or rank what matters most: our teaching and curriculum.  We still excel in providing practice-focused legal training in a student-centered educational environment within a well-respected university.  We are passionate about our teaching, writing and service.  Personally, if we did a better job at promoting what we do, we would gain improved rankings in the reputation categories.  That is a major priority for me as dean.

    I will offer one final observation.  Unless you're considering an elite law school within the top 20, your success as a student and professional will not depend on the "pedigree" of your law diploma.  It will depend on your ambition and achievement at whatever law school you attend.  My advice is that you choose the school that provides the learning environment and support (financial and otherwise) that best enhances the prospects for your success.  I strongly believe that Hamline will give you the platform from which you will prosper.

    *          *          *

    That was my response.  I hope it will get him to "yes."  If you're asked the same question by your colleagues and friends, feel free to share those same observations.

    Thanks for listening today. 


    Dean's Blog - Chowhounds

    March 23, 2010




    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hi there.

    I apologize that it's been so long since I've visited with you on this blog page.  It's been a very busy semester for me, in large part because I am also teaching.  I'm happy to be back in the classroom and I hope that my White Collar Crime students feel the same way.  Anyway, I'll try to kick up my routine and communicate a bit more frequently before you take off for the summer.

    I'm speaking to you today from the Nilan Johnson Lewis law offices in downtown Minneapolis.  This is an appropriate backdrop today for my message regarding Hamline's Chowhound program and the importance of networking.

    As many of you know, the Chowhounds are those of you who have signed up for opportunities to attend dinners, receptions and other gatherings sponsored by non-profit, often charitable organizations, and most often underwritten and attended by attorneys in law firms and corporate law offices.  The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for our law students to network in the company of practicing lawyers.

    Chowhounds get a chance to practice their social skills in real-life professional settings.  They also place themselves in a position of learning about job opportunities.  Remember: two-thirds of all job opportunities are secured through informal referrals and networking.

    Now, the Chowhounds are on my mind today for a couple reasons.

    First, spring is Chowhound season.  You will see notices throughout the spring regarding a number of events sponsored by our friends in the legal community.

    Also, two weeks ago I attended the Winter Celebration for Minnesota Women Lawyers at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here in downtown Minneapolis.

    There were easily 500 or more lawyers in the room to hear civil rights lawyer and Harvard Law Professor Lani Guiner speak on the subject of women and legal education.

    We had about 10 Chowhounds at the event, which was a good showing.  They heard an inspiring speech.  They had an occasion to introduce themselves to practicing attorneys who they would not otherwise meet.  And they got a good, warm meal.  And their parking was free, since the law school reimburses students up to $10 a month for parking at networking events.

    The law school benefits too, because Chowhounds are great ambassadors for Hamline.  At the MWL event-during the Q&A following the speech-a Hamline law student was among the few people to question Professor Guiner.  I should also mention that Hamline was the only law school sponsor of the evening.

    Still, there were too many empty seats in the ballroom.  That means that I and our career services office will work harder to get more law firms and corporations to invite our Chowhounds.  It also means that you Chowhounds out there need to continue to step up and follow-through by attending these events.  It may be a bit harder for you as we approach the end of the semester and exams, but I cannot overemphasize the value of taking some time away from the books to be in the company of lawyers.  In the long-term, it pays off.

    And don't forget that there is a variety of other networking events outside of the Chowhounds list.  For example, many of you should attend the state bar association's Labor & Employment Section Reception for Law Students on this Thursday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Solera in downtown Minneapolis.  This is a command performance for anyone who wants to practice labor and employment law.  I'm sure they will take a late RSVP if you'd like to attend, so see the Connection for details.

    Likewise, if your interest is in intellectual property law, it would be no-brainer for you to attend the Hamline IP reception on Thursday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gray Plant law firm, again in downtown Minneapolis.  You can RSVP with Anne Markus ( in the alumni affairs office.

    That's all for today.  Enjoy your spring break.


    Dean's Blog - Curriculum Changes

    February 24, 2010



    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Today, I want to highlight some changes in our first-year curriculum that will continue to define the Hamline Difference for our incoming law students next fall.

    Let me begin by observing that there is nothing new about the need to bridge the gap between legal theory and practice.  Our focus on a practical skills-based curriculum-whether its through in-class instruction, legal clinics or practicuums-has been a feature of our law school for decades. 

    What is new is the unsettled economy and how it is changing the market for legal services.  Now more than ever, employers are looking for more value-in terms of practical skills and experience-from law graduates entering the profession.

    So Hamline is responding by reconfiguring its first-year curriculum, effective for the class entering this coming August 2010.  There are three features.

    The first is a new first-year course entitled "Practice, Problem-Solving and Professionalism."  Already, the faculty is referring to it as "P-cubed."  This course will introduce first-year students to the role of lawyers in society and provide practical context to the application of the legal theory 1Ls learn in the core doctrinal courses.  This course will not involve case analysis, but will use a combination of lectures and interactive exercises to describe how legal problems arise and can be solved.  It will also provide a tempting introduction to Hamline's nationally-ranked ADR curriculum.  Perhaps unlike most first-year courses, P-cubed will be designed to inspire and excite 1Ls about legal practice.

    The second feature is the new requirement that first-year students take a course in international and comparative law in their second semester.  The 21st Century lawyer operates in a global milieu, and it is important that our law students understand that most of the world regulates itself differently, and in some respects better, than the American legal system. The international law course will provide an excellent opportunity to introduce basic concepts such as natural law and territoriality.  It will also reinforce the law school's commitment to ensure that Hamline law students are culturally competent in an increasingly multicultural society.

    The third feature is the expansion of our legal writing program into a third semester in the fall of 2011.  The additional semester will enable us to reinforce good writing skills, which legal employers still tell us are in high demand and short supply.  A third semester will also allow us to focus more attention on such critical areas as motion practice, ADR and problem-solving, transaction work, and professionalism and ethics.  I firmly believe that our full-time legal research and writing faculty provides the best program in the Upper Midwest.  This expansion will make it even stronger.

    So, why are these changes so important?  Let me answer by quoting an e-mail I received from a recent Hamline law grad in response to my blog a month ago about associates in big city law firms.  This grad had recently been laid off from his government job in Arizona and decided to hang up his own shingle.  He is now representing an individual suing a big retailer, and explained in his e-mail why he was not intimidated by the big firm partner who was on the other side of the table.  This Hamline grad wrote (and I quote):

    I'm not scared at all.  Why?  Because between what I learned in research/writing & having professor Morrow for trial ad, I know I have what it takes to win.  Moreover, the skills that I developed in Mediation & Negotiation (Professor Fox) have come in extremely handy for the pre-trial issues.

    So yes, I graduated from a low tiered law school that no one out west has heard of.  I'm not making 6 figures working in a big firm.  The economy sucks and there are no jobs.  Sure, I'm learning lots of things by being thrown into the fire.  Truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Hamline gave me the tools and skills I need to be successful.  While my peers in BigLaw are spending 100 hours a week in a dank room looking over a 50 page brief for typos, I'm getting real experience.

    That is the spirit that underlies our new first-year curriculum.  Our goal always is to give you the skills to put wisdom and sound judgment to practice in the marketplace, and to do so with confidence.  That is the Hamline Difference.

    See ya' next time.


    Dean's blog - Angie McCaffrey

    February 3, 2010

    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Last week we lost Professor Angie McCaffrey to cancer.

    She was a member of the Hamline law faculty for 25 years, and since 1987 had directed our law clinics.

    Most lawyers do not appreciate their capacity to make a difference-to improve the lives of clients and others who they encounter in the practice of law. Angie's legacy is broad and deep.

    In my tribute today, I will simply relate two examples of the work that she did for clients. The first story was shared with me this weekend by Ann Juergens, the co-director of clinics at William Mitchell College of Law. Ann was Angie's closest friend, and I thank Ann for the following account.

    Angie's mother was a German refugee who fled when the Russian army occupied her homeland at the end of World War II. So Angie brought to her clinic work a special understanding for the loss and hopes of the displaced. Sometime in the mid-1990s, an elderly Hmong man came to Angie seeking her help to become a U.S. citizen. After the Vietnam war, many Hmong soldiers and their families came to Minnesota, worked, paid taxes, raised families, made their home here. However, they had difficulty becoming citizens. Because they came from a culture with no written language, learning English was much more difficult.

    Angie could have told this client "sorry, unless you learn English in your old age, I can't help you." Most lawyers would have done that. Instead, Angie and her clinic students proposed a change in the federal immigration law to waive the English requirement for elderly Hmong veterans. Angie organized and lobbied for five years. With the help of the late Congressman Vento and Senator Wellstone, the legislation passed and in 2000 President Clinton signed the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act.

    This trademark of persistence and passion for service to the displaced was also demonstrated in her work for another-this time a very young man-seeking American citizenship. Wes Alcenat is a native Haitian whose father was brutally murdered by Haitian soldiers when he was six years old. Wes dreamed of being reunited with his grandparents who had fled to Minnesota. While Wes witnessed the horrors of the military dictatorship in his homeland, he learned that "St. Angie" and the students in her General Practice clinic were working to make his dream come true. After almost ten years of effort, Wes was reunited with his grandparents and became an American citizen in 2005.

    Angie's work for these two clients remind me of Eleanor Roosevelt's statement in 1948 in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    "Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person, the neighborhood . . . the school or college . . . the factory, farm or office. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere."

    Angie did much of her public service in the small places close to home, but her legacy will live long and broadly across the globe.

    In Angie's name, we also want to expand our support of students who are dedicated to public service. We've established the Angela M. McCaffrey Public Law Scholarship, an endowed fund which will provide an annual scholarship for Hamline law students who demonstrate a commitment to practice in the public sector. We are honored that the Angie's family has accepted this fund for memorials to Angie.

    We will miss Angie deeply.

    Thank you. See you next week.


    Dean's Blog - Spring 2010

    January 27, 2010

    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Hi.  Welcome back.  By now, we are all well past the holiday season and are now "fired up and ready to go" into the spring semester.

    Did you see the article two Sunday's ago in the New York Times about the employment prospects in the big New York City law firms?  It was in the "Sunday Styles" section entitled "No Longer Their Golden Ticket."

    Its theme was that the value of a law degree was depreciating.

    Until just a few years ago lawyers entering the New York job market could face life of comfort, security and social esteem.  Those days are over, according to the New York Times.

    The Great Recession has squeezed the big client companies.  They don't want to pay the hourly rates of new associates.

    Business is drying up.  Associates are working longer hours to justify their six-figure salaries.

    Life in a big city corporate law firm has always been a grind.  But now young lawyers have lost job security, much less the lifestyle of they might have envisioned by watching TV episodes of "Boston Legal" or, more recently, "The Deep End."

    Now, I have worked with East Coast lawyers over my career and have been impressed with their level of legal practice.  They have first-tier clients and cases that challenge the best attorneys in the world.

    But they live in an alternative legal universe that centers on values that, I suspect, don't match with most of you who are studying law at Hamline.

    Yes, the economy has forced us to rethink our assumptions about to succeed in the legal profession.  We face a changing and uncertain job market.  

    But you shouldn't be dissuaded about your career choice, or discouraged about your employment prospects, by the picture painted in the New York Times.

    First, the market for our law graduates is very different.

    Of those Hamline graduates who go into private practice, only 6 percent of them join law firms with more than 100 lawyers.

    The super majority of Hamline graduates in private practice are in much smaller firms, with 2 to 10 attorneys.

    We focus on the "middle market" of smaller firms and companies where there are opportunities.  These employers are frankly more nimble and can better manage their operation in down economic cycles.

    Second, as job opportunities have contracted, employers are looking for graduates who already have some experience and can hit the ground running.  Hamline produces those graduates.  That's why we have the clinics and practicums.  That's why we have a strongest Legal Research and Writing program in the Twin Cities.  When I visit with practicing lawyers in town, they always comment on Hamline graduates who outdistance others in their ability to adapt immediately to the demands of law practice and needs of clients.  Our skill-based teaching can give us a leg up in this job market.

    Finally, don't ever question your investment in a legal education.  Placement in an AmLaw 100 law firm is not the only path to professional happiness and prosperity.  Even the New York Times acknowledged that many law graduates suffering at the big time law firms really want to work somewhere else.  Many of our most successful graduates are in other fields: in business, in health care, in human resources, or in public service.

    The range of use for your law degree is as wide as your professional interests and dreams.  And our career services office is here to help you find your pathway to success, even if it is not as a partner at Latham Watkins or Skadden Arps.

    See ya' next week.


    Dean's Blog - Halleland Lewis

    November 25, 2009

    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    I'd thought take time today to brag a little bit about the law firm that bears my name.  That's why we're taping this post at the new offices of the Halleland Lewis law firm in downtown Minneapolis.

    While I serve as Hamline's law dean, I remain "of counsel" to Halleland Lewis, the law firm which I co-founded in 1996.  "Of counsel" means that I don't practice on a day-to-day basis, but consult and market with the firm on an as-needed basis.  That way we can keep my name on the door.

    When Halleland Lewis was formed, its office space got a lot of attention because it was designed to be client-focused and to foster a team approach to legal practice.  On November 2, our offices moved to One Financial Plaza.  The new space continues to reflect those core values of client service and collaboration.

    This building is unique in downtown Minneapolis because of its Modernist architecture: simple in design, without ornamentation, and with emphasis on form. The office features floor to ceiling windows, and we configured the space to be very open so that daylight is shared with all staff.  There are no corner offices for partners; my legal assistant has the same size office that I do.  The prime spaces along the windows are assigned to conference rooms used by our clients or for firm events.  We name each of our conference rooms after departed jazz or rock musicians-this is the John Coltrane Room-and each features a flat screen for state-of-the art presentations.

    More importantly, we are a "green" law firm.  We designed the space to achieve LEED certification: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  That means our design is efficient in the use of water, energy and materials.  For example, much of the décor was locally manufactured from recycled materials.  Shading devices on our windows manage changing sunlight levels.  And you won't find bottled water here; it is served hot or cold from filtered dispensers.

    The environmental focus of our new office was featured on the November 14 edition of Almanac on TPT.  Check it out online at  

    My continuing relationship with the Halleland Lewis firm is important to both me and the law school.  It enables me to remain in touch with the legal profession, particularly in this challenging economy.  I can pass on that information to our faculty, and more importantly to our students who are seeking to enter the legal job market.  Once in a while, lightning strikes from the contacts I make in the skyways of downtown Minneapolis-sometimes a job vacancy, sometimes a potential donor.  So, it's worth the time to drop into this new green space a couple hours a week.

    On another subject closer to campus, I want to congratulate the regional winners of the National Moot Court Competition.  They are: Samantha Harker, KrisAnn Norby-Jahner, and Noelle Volin.

    Both Hamline teams beat competitors from the University of Minnesota in the regional semifinals this past Saturday, which meant that two Hamline teams faced each other in the regional finals.  I was privileged to witness the final match in the William Mitchell auditorium.  Again congratulations to our finalists, and also to the runners up

    Ryan Flynn and Jenifer Kopischke, all of whom did outstanding jobs.

    Kudos also go to the coaches, Hamline alums Joshua Dorothy and Nadege Souvenir.

    Now on to the national competition this January in New York City!

    This is my last blog of the semester.  Happy Thanksgiving.  Good luck on your exams.  And best wishes for the Holidays!

    I'll see you again in January.


    Dean's Blog - DRI

    November 19, 2009

    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hello again.  Sorry I missed you during the past two weeks.  My producer and I took a break because of some out-of-town travel.

    Today, I want to talk a couple minutes about some landmark work of our Dispute Resolution Institute, and then close with some breaking news about our bar exam results.

    For Hamline or any enterprise, the path to greatness can be found at the intersection of what we are very good at, what we are passionate about, and what we can make money doing.

    And on that first point-what we are good at-I mean what we can do better than anyone anywhere in the world.

    At Hamline, among our many excellent pursuits, one stands out for which we can say we are among the best in the world.  And that is the work of our Dispute Resolution Institute.

    The best lawyers in the 21st century must be skilled problem solvers and settlers of disputes-in addition to being skilled advocates.  That is why alternative dispute resolution is at the center of our law school's curriculum, and why our DRI is ranked by U.S. News as No. 4 in nation in this specialty.  This year is shaping up as another exceptional year for the institute.

    First, DRI has a new director.  This July, Sharon Press joined the Hamline law faculty to succeed Jim Coben, who had led DRI to international prominence during the last ten years.  Professor Press served for 18 years as the director of the Florida Dispute Resolution Center, and she had previously taught here as an adjunct.  We welcome her and look forward to her leadership.

    Second, is the ambitious work undertaken by DRI in hosting a series of international academic conferences to rethink how negotiation is taught in the global context.  The starting premise for this project is that the models for teaching negotiation have not changed much in 30 years.  Moreover, they are primarily rooted in American culture.  The DRI conferences abroad are designed to help create a cutting-edge curriculum that is international and reflects the changes in the field during the past three decades.

    The project will span three years and three countries.  The initial event was held last year in Rome, where more than 50 internationally-renowned negotiation scholars gathered.  The second phase took place just last month in Istanbul, at the crossroads of the East and West.  Featured on the international team of trainers were own Professors Ken Fox and Bobbi McAdoo.  Among the topics: the scholars explored how standard negotiation theory worked in practice in the Turkish (and Islamic) tradition.

    A third stage of the project is planned for Beijing in May 2011.

    Finally, an outgrowth of DRI's international work is the creation of Hamline's new DRI Press, which will serve as the vehicle for disseminating the scholarship of the Institute and bring its important conflict resolution work to a broader audience.  The inaugural publication-entitled Rethinking Negotiation Training: Innovations for Context and Culture-was supported by a grant of the JAMS Foundation and is devoted to the papers that emerged from the initial Rome conference.  If you're interested, the book is available for purchase at DRI's weblink attached to the blog.

    To sum up: there is exciting new teaching and scholarship at DRI.  It has fresh leadership and is continuing Hamline's path to distinction on an international scale.

    To close out today, I have some breaking news.  Last week we received the results from the Minnesota state bar exam administered this July.  Hamline's pass rate again exceeded 90 percent.  We placed third among the four local law schools, and within a half percentage point of second place.  Here are the numbers: U of M 97.64 percent, St. Thomas 90.74 percent, Hamline 90.26 percent, and William Mitchell, 88.05 percent.  Good job, Hamline law grads!

    That is all for today.  See ya next week.


    Dean's Blog - Moot Court

    October 29, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Today, I am blogging from our Annette Levine Moot Court Room. Next Thursday, November 5, the seven justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court will sit at the bench behind me to hear the criminal case of State v. Swaney. I invite you to attend a brunch with the court followed by the oral argument. But first, let me tell you a little about the case.

    In May 2001, 20-year-old Carrie Nelson was bludgeoned to death during a robbery in a state park office where she worked near Luverne, MN. Fingerprints were found. There was also DNA evidence taken from a watch which appeared to be ripped from someone's arm at the scene. But otherwise, the evidence trail was cold.

    Six years later, BCA contacted law enforcement officers in other states and asked them to check their databases for possible matches with the DNA profiles taken from the watch found at the crime scene. BCA got a response from authorities in South Dakota who had found a possible DNA match with Randy Swaney. That information led BCA investigators to match a palm print and fingerprints found in the park office where Nelson was murdered. Later, BCA identified witnesses who could testify that Swaney smoked a brand of cigarettes found at the scene and owned a similar watch.

    In May 2007, Swaney was charged with the first-degree murder of Carrie Nelson. Before his trial, another prisoner named Anthony Flowers told others that he (Flowers) was responsible for the murder of a state park worker. But Flower's DNA and fingerprints did not match any evidence found at the scene. The trial judge allowed defendant Swaney to offer evidence that Flowers was the perpetrator, but did not allow the defendant to offer evidence that Flowers had kidnapped and released another women just three weeks before Carrie Nelson's murder.

    The trial judge also allowed an investigator to testify about his interrogation of Swaney's wife Dawn, even though she did not testify at trial. For example, over the defendant's hearsay objection, the jury heard that the investigator questioned the wife as to where Swaney had purchased the watch.

    In August 2008, after a four-week jury trial, Swaney was found guilty of first-degree murder of Carrie Nelson and was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Swaney appealed is conviction to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

    There are several trial errors presented by defendant Swaney to the court, but the two central issues appear to be:

    First: whether the trial court erred in not allowing the defendant to show that the alternative perpetrator Flowers had previously kidnapped another woman; and

    Second: whether the trial court erred in permitting the investigator to testify about his questioning of Swaney's wife when the questions implied hearsay answers that were not subject to cross examination.

    These are fascinating evidentiary issues that will be the subject of a lively argument in this moot court room next Thursday when the Minnesota Supreme Court visits the Hamline law campus.

    Before the oral argument, there will be a brunch at Klas Center in the Kay Fredericks Room, at 9:30 a.m.  

    You are all invited to the brunch and to the oral argument. Now, your attendance at this important event should be a no-brainer. Think about it. Even after you graduate from law school, how many chances will you have to observe a Supreme Court argument? And how many times will you be able to converse and shake the hands with a justice? Do you get my point here?

    So please RSVP right away with Deb Lange at and join us next Thursday, November 5.  

    One other tip: please dress up. This is after all a court appearance.

    See ya next week.


    Dean's Blog - Study Abroad

    October 22, 2009


     Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hi there. Registration is coming up next week and it's never too early to think about what you're going to do after the holidays during the two-week J-Term. This is especially true when there are opportunities to escape the Minnesota winter to study abroad.

    One option is our program in Jerusalem.  We all know that Israel is at the center of long-standing political and religious conflicts.  Our J-Term program there studies how law and religion interact, and how both are employed to resolve conflict.  There is no better city in the world to study the interaction of law and religion than Jerusalem, where Islam, Judaism and Christianity meet.

    Inside two weeks, you can learn how the values of these three religious traditions have shaped their dispute resolution methods; explore how these methods have been adapted to resolve modern day conflicts; and visit with people actually involved in the peacemaking process in the Middle East.

    You have to go to class, complete reading assignments, and take an exam.  For an extra credit you can write a paper. Professor David Cobin leads this program.  We work with the Rothberg International School of Hebrew University, and the classes meet on its campus from Jan. 4 - Jan. 14. Learn more at  

    If Jerusalem is too far away, how about Puerto Rico? Professor Larry Bakken leads a program in the civil code during J-Term, from Jan. 2 -  Jan. 9. This study abroad program offers a fascinating opportunity in comparative law.  You can get an understanding of how the civil law differs from common law in fundamental areas like property, torts, contracts and family law.


    You also get to visit courts there, and learn about the history of Puerto Rico and its unique relationship with the United States. In addition to our own Professor Bakken, the Puerto Rico program also features a number of well-regarded faculty from the University of Puerto Rico. See  

    And finally, what if you simply want to stay in town?  


    Our two institutes in dispute resolution and health law offer J-Term courses, which are open to second-, third-, and fourth-year law students. You can register for up to three credits during J-Term, and there is no registration priority based on class standing or certificate program.

    DRI will offer a half-dozen courses in negotiation, mediation, theories of conflict, and an interesting one-credit course by Professor Mary Trevor on writing to persuade. See the web at  

    The health law institute will offer two courses: one on the HIPAA health information privacy regulations, and a fascinating one-credit course on health in literature by Professor Cindy Jesson.  

    These classes are good opportunities to learn with non-law graduate students, practicing lawyers and other professionals who have lives outside of the law school.  And we try to keep the courses small, so you can get to know each other and the professor.  You need to register sooner than later.  Check out the institute web pages for further information on registration and deposit requirements.

    So think ahead about how you can avoid that post-holiday lethargy and plan to join us during J-Term, either here or abroad.

    See ya' next week.


    Dean's Blog - Innocence Project

    October 15, 2009


     Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hi there.  I have three items of interest today. Item No. 1 is the Innocence Project of Minnesota, a non-profit, volunteer organization that provides pro bono investigative and legal assistance to prisoners trying to prove their innocence.  The Innocence Project in Minnesota investigates potential claims of wrongful conviction from prisoners convicted of crimes in this state, and some cases in North and South Dakota.

    The Project not only takes on cases of convicted but innocent people; it also educates attorneys and criminal justice professionals on DNA and other forensic practices, and works to reform criminal procedures, for example, its advocacy on the use of audio and videotaping of interrogations.

    Due to the efforts of the Innocence Project nationwide, more than 200 innocent people have been released from prison after serving an average of 12 years for crimes they did not commit. Most of those exonerations have come as a result of DNA-testing. But the Minnesota Innocence Project does not limit itself to DNA cases, and will work on any case in this state where there is clear evidence of innocence.  It also reaches out to community groups to increase public understanding of innocence-related issues.

    Here in Minnesota, the Innocence Project is led by Executive Director and Managing Attorney .  The Project has a special relationship with Hamline's law school and the College of Liberal Arts.  One of our law school clinics is based with the Project.  The University also provides the Project with office space, administrative support, forensic science experts and, of course, faculty and students interested in its work. 

    I spoke a couple weeks ago on this blog about the importance of pro bono service, and the Innocence Project is one such opportunity.  So check it out.  I should also mention that the Project is holding its annual Benefit for Innocence on Saturday, November 14.  Senator Al Franken will be the featured speaker. (Prices are $65 for students; register to attend online at

    Item No. 2 is a Hamline law student achievement that is national in scope. Micah Ludeke, one of our 2Ls, will be in Seattle this weekend to attend the National Lawyers Guild annual convention.   There he will receive the C.B. King Law Student Organizer of the Year Award. ]

    As you may know, the National Lawyers Guild is a long-standing association of lawyers dedicated to the need for progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system.  You may not know that C.B. King was a prominent African American lawyer in Georgia known for his courage, courtroom eloquence, and legal skills in the face of fierce and even violent opposition during the civil rights struggle in southwest Georgia.

    In C.B. King's honor, the Guild recognizes a law student for organizing and activism in its progressive tradition.  Micah is receiving this national award because of his advocacy on behalf of arrestees and detainees during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul; his leadership and community service last year as a 1L of the Hamline Law and Minnesota chapters of the Guild; his internship with at the Minnesota Civil Justice Center during the school year; and his prison advocacy work as an intern this past summer in San Francisco.

    It is an extraordinary honor for a Hamline Law Student to be recognized in this way by a national legal organization, so please join me in congratulating Micah for this achievement.

    Item No. 3 is a networking opportunity outside the law school. This coming Monday, October 19, the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association will hold a joint reception at St. Thomas Law School in downtown Minneapolis.  Featured guests will include our own Hamline alum Leo Brisbois, who is president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

    This would be a good occasion for you to meet judges, attorneys and other leaders in the local legal community, and to learn something about Native lawyers and Indian law.

    You will hear me preach often about the importance of putting yourself in the company

    of practicing lawyers, so here is an opportunity to do just that.  Again, the reception is next Monday at 5 p.m. in the atrium of St. Thomas Law School.  It would be helpful if you sent an RSVP at  


    And for those of you particularly interested in Indian law, check out the speech by Robert (Tim) Coulter, founder and executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center, who spoke at our law school last April.

    Thanks for logging in and see ya' again soon.


    Dean's Blog - Health Care

    October 5, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Hello again.  Today, I want to talk about health care, and an important program this week hosted by our Health Law Institute.

    Minnesota has long been a progressive state when it comes to health care.  It is a leader because Minnesota employers provide health insurance at a rate 10 percent above the national average.  It is a leader because Minnesota is home to nationally-renowned health care providers like the Mayo Clinic, and to pioneers in the medical device industry.  Long ago, Minnesota led the way with HMOs, and health care in this state is still provided largely by non-profit clinics and hospitals.  And over the decades, bipartisan efforts in Minnesota have led to insurance reform and broad coverage for working families.

    So it should be no surprise that our national Congress has looked to Minnesota's experience as it struggles with health care reform.  A now famous article in The New Yorker magazine by surgeon Atul Gawande documented the out-of-control health care costs in McAllen, Texas, but praised the work of the Mayo Clinic as "among the highest-quality, lowest-cost health care systems in the country."  President Obama shared copies of that article with his cabinet.  By the way, I recommend that New Yorkerarticle-and others written by Gawande-to anyone interested in finding out what's broken with our current system.  A link is on this webpage.

    Even opponents to pending health care reform proposals find leadership in Minnesota.  Just last week, The New York Times highlighted efforts in the Minnesota state legislature to amend our state constitution to outlaw any requirement that individuals buy health insurance.  And Governor Pawlenty has publicly voiced federal constitutional concerns in opposition to mandatory individual coverage.

    This is all a long way of explaining why Hamline's law school three years ago established a Health Law Institute.  In that short time, the HLI-under the leadership of Associate Professor Cindy Jesson-has become the hub for the health care policy community in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest, and is now ranked among the top 20 health law programs in the nation.  We employ both law professors and practitioners in the field to present real world learning experiences to our students.  We offer an award-winning corporate compliance program.  And we invite national speakers, and conduct professional development workshops, that address not only existing health law, but engage policy issues that are at the center of the national debate on health care reform.

    One of those policy forums will take place this week.  I invite all of you to join us at the Community Conversation on Health Reform this Wednesday, October 7 at 4:30 p.m. at Klas Center.  Our program features experts from a variety of health care perspectives: from the physicians, health plans, quality improvement, consumers, and hospitals.  The first part of the program features an update on the current proposals before Congress.  It will then move to a panel discussion of questions from the audience.   Professor Jesson will moderate.  So please attend so that you can question, learn, and form your own opinion about the best approach to reform our health care system. 

    I will also alert you to two upcoming programs on health care in November.

    First, on Thursday, November 12, we will host a conversation on the lessons learned from the H1N1 pandemic. Our featured guest will be Dr. Michael Osterholm, the nationally-known public health scientist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

    Second, TPT MN, the regional public television station, will broadcast Cogito, a new forum here at Hamline on law and public policy.  The subject was "The Economics and Ethics of Health Care," and the discussion was led by U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum.  The forum took place on campus last month and was taped for later broadcast on Sundays, November 22 and November 29.

    In the meantime, stay healthy.  We'll see you next week.


    Dean's Blog - Pro Bono Service

    September 24, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Today, I want to talk about the importance of pro bono service, the law school's new pro bono graduation requirement, and an upcoming training opportunity.

    Lawyers enjoy a privileged and influential place in American society.   With the honor of a law license comes the responsibility to give back in the form of legal services without compensation for those who cannot afford to pay.  This long-standing commitment to pro bono service has been adopted by the ABA and state bar associations.  Many law firm and corporate employers long ago adopted expectations that their lawyers contribute 50 to 100 pro bono hours every year.

    Hamline also has a strong tradition of serving underserved communities.  The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) and other similar agencies have afforded many opportunities for our students to counsel and represent pro bono clients as part of the student's legal training.

    Accordingly, beginning with the law school class that entered Hamline this fall, each student will be required to perform 24 hours of pro bono service in order to earn his or her J.D. degree. The completion of this requirement will be noted on the student's transcript.

    This new requirement can be fulfilled at any time during the three or four years here.  It can be satisfied in a single project, by a few hours each month, or in any other combination of service.  Most Hamline students will fulfill these hours through MJF, which provides a variety of projects and clients from which students can choose.  I encourage you to visit the MJF office on the lower level and talk to Sara Schwebs, the Hamline law coordinator for MJF.  She has regular office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays.  You can send her an e-mail or visit the MJF website at  

    In fact, MJF is offering training next week for students looking at public interest opportunities.  The training is designed to introduce public interest work to students who are thinking about volunteering for a project now or in the future.  I particularly recommend the training program to first-year students as a way to remove some of the fear and mystery from pro bono work, and also as a chance to pick up a couple hours toward the pro bono requirement.  The training will be offered in two sessions: first on Thursday, October 1, and then on Tuesday, October 13.  Check the Connection for further details.

    I should also mention that, as a "warm-up" on the night before, Wednesday, September 30, the student chapter of MJF is holding a Public Interest Career Panel in Room 103 followed by a reception in the law school atrium.

    Now, pro bono is broader than public interest alone, and you don't have to work through MJF.  You can design your own project to meet the pro bono requirement, subject to approval by Assistant Dean Davis.  You'll need a supervisor at the work site who can review your work and certify your hours.  More information and forms are available at the Registrar's Office.

    Finally, I want to emphasize the educational benefits of pro bono service.  At some point, you need to get away from the casebooks and see the law operate at ground level.  You need to learn how to be a well-prepared lawyer in addition to being a student of the law.  Pro bono opportunities give you that chance to meet and work with real clients, solve their most critical life problems, and occasionally represent them in court.  The substantive experience that you gain will be with you for a lifetime, along with a passion to continue service as a responsible and giving citizen-lawyer.


    Dean's Blog - H1N1

    September 16, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    I have a couple of items for you today.  I begin with an advisory on the H1N1 flu virus.  We had our first report of a law student diagnosed with H1N1, so I want to make sure that you are doing all you can to stay healthy, and help keep your classmates healthy.

    The most important thing to remember is to go home and stay home if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms.  Go home, call your doctor, and take his or her advice about whether to come in for testing.   Also, call Counseling and Health Services at ext 2204 to report the illness, so we can keep track of its spread on campus.  And stay away from the law school until your symptoms pass.

    Now, if you catch the flu, don’t worry about missing a few classes; just concentrate on getting well.  The law faculty will excuse and accommodate flu-related illness, but will expect you to make up the missed classes or missed work in some manner.  By the way, if you’re not sick, it would be a good idea that you regularly attend classes.  That way, in the event that you do get sick later in the semester, you will have some excused absences “in the bank” so to speak and won’t run afoul of your professor’s attendance expectations.

    If a faculty member gets sick, we will notify you of the absence, the status of your class, and how it will be made-up.  

    Finally, if you’re not sick, do things to stay healthy.  Most viruses are passed by hand, so keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap or an alcohol-based hand cleanser.  Within the next few days, we’ll be placing cleansers and hand wipes at locations around the law school for your use.

    There is plenty of information out there about H1N1; all you need to do is go to the University’s homepage and review the H1N1 update.  

    Next, I want to show you this fine award that the law school recently received from the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics.  It was presented to our Health Law Institute in recognition for its contributions to the compliance and business ethics profession.  Professor Cindy Jesson, the director of our Health Law Institute, accepted the award this past weekend in Las Vegas.

    In case you didn’t know, our Health Care Compliance Program is one of only four accredited programs in the country that trains and certifies compliance professionals.  This award is another tribute to the fine work of Professor Jesson and her colleagues in building a leading health law center that is now nationally-ranked.  Congratulations Professor Jesson.  And I want to thank the Academy, I mean, the SCCE for this award.  Thank you.


    Dean's Blog - Senator Edward Kennedy

    September 9, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hi.  I thought I’d devote my blog today to lessons from a lawyer who made history.
    Recently, Senator Edward Kennedy died at the age of 77.  He served 46 years in the U.S. Senate.  He was once a law student.

    I assume that most of you-as did I-watched some of the media coverage of his death: the personal tributes and the celebration of his extraordinary political career.  I wondered how much a difference law school made in his life.

    Ted Kennedy was a 1959 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School.  His older brother Robert was also a UVA graduate, class of 1951.  Years earlier, Ted Kennedy had been expelled from Harvard College for cheating.  But he managed to get into UVA Law.  Ted Kennedy was after all a Kennedy, and although UVA was an institution steeped in tradition and honor, it was also steeped in the culture of privilege.
    I do find it very ironic that the two Kennedy brothers attended UVA.  It is a very fine law school.  But Virginia during the Jim Crow era was not a place known for leadership in civil rights or religious tolerance.  How could UVA produce two icons of liberal political thought, leaders of the fight for racial equality and economic justice?

    At UVA, Kennedy was known as "Cadillac Eddie," and he lived more the life of a Virginia country gentleman than a typical law student.  On paper academically, Kennedy was an average law student with one notable exception: he was the best oralist in the UVA moot court competition.  His moot court partner was his friend and roommate John Tunney, who himself was elected to the U.S. Senator from California in the 1970s. 

    The moot court competition at UVA involved 50 teams.  The panel for the final round included the lord chancellor of England, Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed, and a federal appeals court judge named Clement Haynesworth, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Nixon 10 years later was rejected by the Senate, with Ted Kennedy voting against him.

    At the final argument, most of the Kennedy family sat in the hall.  As described by a Kennedy biographer, "Teddy’s voice soared above the words and logic of all the others, and he and Tunney won the competition."

    Kennedy’s time at UVA was busy in other respects.  He was president of the Student Legal Forum and brought prominent legal figures-including his brothers-to speak on campus.  In 1958, his brother John was running for reelection to the Senate from Massachusetts, and Ted was his campaign manager.  And Ted Kennedy also married his first wife Joan later that year.

    I offer three observations inspired by Ted Kennedy, the law student.

    1.  First, lawyers have been, and continue to be at the core of American government and political discourse.  At the time of his death, the clear majority of U.S. senators are lawyers.  Ted Kennedy’s life reminds us that lawyers bear a tremendous responsibility to sustain our political life.

    2.  One of the frequent criticisms of legal education is that it reinforces "conservative" values of individual property rights and entitlement.  Kennedy himself is the poster child of property and privilege, but over time he transcended his background to become one of the most eloquent and outspoken advocates for the disadvantaged. 

    3.  Finally, Kennedy is a wonderful example of someone who re-invented himself throughout his career.  His life is replete with episodes of self-indulgence, recklessness and moral lapses-and, of course, enormous family tragedy.  But his game got better over time, and he will be remembered as one of America’s greatest legislators.  And part of his re-invention began in law school.

    So, that’s the lesson for this week.  I’ll see ya’ again soon.


    Dean's Blog - Fall 2009

    August 27, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Welcome to our first-year law students and welcome back to our 2Ls, 3Ls and 4Ls.

    This is my first blog for the 2009-2010 school year.  Cindy Bielke, who is our communication manager, and I conceived of this blog last year, which was my first year as dean. We felt this was the best vehicle to stay in touch with you.

    For those of you who have not visited the blog before, it is a weekly opportunity for me, as dean, to highlight important events, to acknowledge contributions and achievements of our students, staff and faculty, to address issues of concern that affect the law school community, to give advice and counsel to you on your study and career plans, and to otherwise reach out and connect with you on the web.

    So I hope you continue to check us out every week throughout the year.

    I am thrilled to see our entering class of 1Ls this August.  Let me give you a quick profile of that class. We have a total of 208 students in the 1L class; 140 full-time weekday, and in the Founder’s and weekend program, 61 part time students–53% of the entering class are women–54% from the state of Minnesota.  Our diversity is steady–about 10% of the underclass are students of color—we can always do better. And on our traditional measures of quality, our median LSAT scores and GPAs are creeping upwards a few points every year and that is a very good thing. 

    But I continue to be amazed at the backgrounds and non-traditional achievements of our students.  Let me give you a few examples.

    We have a student who is a rising star in the Latino community. He played a pivotal role in the re-branding and re-launching of a magazine known as Vice-Versa, a magazine that serves Minnesota’s Latino community. 

    We have a 3/3 student; that is a student who has completed her undergraduate studies here at Hamline in three years she could start her law school studies a year early.  She also happened to star on the Hamline cross country track team. 

    We have a brother and sister (although they are not twins) pair in the first-year class from Mississippi.  We also have a Honduras native who speaks fluent Spanish, French, German and basic Mandarin and who worked as a foreign language expert at an institute in China. 

    And last, but certainly not least, we have the star of the hottest, hottest video on YouTube this summer.  He is the groom in the legendary JK wedding dance (he’s the K of the JK) and is a 1L.  If you haven’t seen this video, you must check it out.  The link is

    As for events, today I want to feature our Academic Success Program which is led by Alice Silkey, one of our faculty members.  The program will conduct four workshops this fall devoted to building skills important to your success in mastering the J.D. program. The first workshop is this week; the subject matter will be “Putting it Altogether: Case synthesis and Note Taking” presented by Professor Carol Swanson.  She will provide some practical tips on how to survive and thrive as a first year law student.  There are going to be two sessions–one of them is Thursday, August 27 and if you missed that one, another is this coming Saturday, August 29, both starting at 11:–30 a.m. in room 101.

    So that’s it for today.  Again, welcome back and we’ll see you next week. 


    Dean's Blog - Top 10 Tips

    May 14, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Hello again.  It's May.  Graduation is approaching.  This is my last blogcast of the school year.  What would you expect me to do other than to congratulate those of you who will receive your JDs next week, and to offer some sage advice?  So here are my top 10 tips:

    1.  Be flexible in your job search.  I've said this many times before- you will find your dream job during your professional journey, but not necessarily at the beginning.  Your interest, your opportunities will change over time.  I left law school wanting to be a government lawyer; look where I am today.

    2.  Understand that you are a problem-solver.  Almost all clients detest the stress and cost of litigation.  They want to solve a dispute or make money in a deal.  That is something different than winning a lawsuit.  Help your clients achieve their objective, not your own.

    3.  Remember that it's about client service.  Clients deserve and expect lawyers who are responsive, return their phone calls, provide candid advice, and who report bad news immediately.  Most often, it's the level of service that's more important than the outcome.

    4.  Learn the business of law.  If you go into private practice, it's imperative that you know and understand early the financial side, and how it will impact important decisions about who you represent and on what terms.  You will have to learn to say "no" to some potential clients.  Even in government or legal service work, you must be efficient in your use of limited resources.

    5.  Explore the law outside of your comfort zone.  Part of being a life-long learner is dabbling in new areas.  I spent a few years litigating asbestos and lead paint claims.  I didn't particularly enjoy the substantive area, but I loved meeting and working with new lawyers I met along the way.

    6.  Stay connected with your classmates.  They will be a ready source of ideas and perhaps a client or two.

    7.  Treat everyone you encounter fairly and with respect.  It's the right thing to do.  The people you encounter may someday be clients.  I once supervised a paralegal who left our law firm to go to law school, and then later became an in-house corporate lawyer and client.  So as someone once said "Be careful about the feet you step on today, they may be connected to the buttocks you have to kiss tomorrow!"

    8.  Be global.  Any business person would tell you that the marketplace is global.  But beyond international transactions, it's important to simply understand that America is no longer the exclusive center of world power, and that most people around the world do things differently, some perhaps better than we do.  So travel abroad, and if you have the time and energy, learn another language.

    9.  Be a lawyer leader outside of the law.  This is not about being active in the organized bar, but about being a leader in other non-profit areas in which you have a passion.  It could be in the arts, or theater, or in health care, or prison outreach.  Be a leader in a boardroom where you are the only lawyer present.

    10.  Bring your kids to work.  If you are fortunate to have children, bring them to work or on a business trip.  Let them see how hard you work, and open their eyes to a future as a professional.

    To the class of 2009, congratulations, good luck on the bar exam, and best wishes on the journey ahead.  


    Dean's Blog - Congratulations

    May 7, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Hello again.  I know you all are working very hard in preparation for exams, but thanks for taking a moment to check out my blog post this week.  Let me start by extending some year-end congratulations to people who have worked very hard during the year in some of our student competitions and journals.

    We just finished our final Honor Round for the Legal Research and Writing Program, and the Best Oralist in that final round was Nikola Datzov, so congratulations for that recognition and to all of the other finalists in the honor round, which included Matthew Thompson, Micah Ludeke, Kathryn Fodness, Irene Kao, Andrew Irlbeck, and Noelle Volin.  It's recognition well-deserved by your hard work.

    We had two winners this year, two 3Ls, of the Larry Bakken Leadership Award: Amy Schwarz and Celeste Hollerud.  That's an award that's supported by a gift from Professor Larry Bakken that honors participation and leadership in the Journal of Public Law and Policy. Congratulations to Amy and Celeste.

    Sara Bongers, a 3L, has been awarded the Outstanding Clinical Student Award by the Clinical Legal Education Association. That award recognizes outstanding participation in clinical programs at Hamline School of Law.  So that's a wonderful honor to receive.

    And finally, congratulations to Andrew Hodny, Nekoal Phoenix, and Alison Whitney who have been selected to attend the Jönköping University in Sweden as part of our student exchange program with that university.  They'll be in Sweden for the 2009-2010 school year.  This is a program that's arranged and supervised by Professor Larry Bakken.

    Last week I gave you a preview of the Dean's Summer Fellowship Program, the program that awards ten $1,500 stipends for students to participate by volunteering for judges during the summer.  That program was formally announced by the Career Services Office this week, and we've selected the ten participating judges.  I was a bit disappointed to find out that we haven't had many applications for the program yet, but that must be because you're simply working too hard on exams and waiting until the last moment to apply.  So I hope you'll keep in mind that the deadline for that application is Monday, May 11th- this coming Monday- so please file your application right away through Symplicity.  

    As we approach graduation, we have a couple of graduation recognition events to honor those who will be getting their J.D. degrees this year.  The first is the Graduate Recognition Banquet on Wednesday, May 20th that takes place at Klas Center in the Kay Fredericks Room at 5:30pm.  If you're interested in attending please contact Deb Lange (523-2122 or in the Programs Office. 

    The annual Patio Party this year for the Class of 2009 will take place on the law school patio right outside this office on Thursday, May 21st at 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions about that feel free to contact Anne Markus in the Alumni Relations Office (523-2943 or  And, of course, all of this leads up to the grand event, Commencement, on the grounds of Old Main on Saturday, May 23rd.

    Let me finally mention a couple of very important networking events.  This past Tuesday we had a wonderful turnout at the IP Reception at the Gray Plant Mooty law firm.  We are going to have a similar event-- the Law Alumni Reception at Larkin Hoffman law firm in Bloomington-next week.  It's going to take place this coming Thursday, May 14th at 5:30pm.  So if you're anywhere near the south metro on May 14th, please attend that reception.  It's going to be a wonderful opportunity at the end of the year to mingle with alums and practicing lawyers in that area of town.  (RSVP to Anne Markus for this event).  

    And let me also mention the 13th Annual Alumni Golf Tournament that's going to take place Tuesday, June 2.  Tee time is 1 pm at the Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury.  Now, we have a special rate for students: it is $65 and that not only covers your greens fees and your cart, but also includes a dinner after the golfing.  And if you just want to attend the dinner, that's just $25. So if you're a golfer, or maybe a wannabe golfer like me, think about participating. Exams will be over so this would be a good opportunity to get outside with alums and other lawyers. (RSVP to Anne Markus for this event)

    Next week will be my final blog post for this academic year.  I'll have a few final announcements and some reflections on this year, my first as dean. So until then, I'll see you later!


    Dean's Blog - Opportunities

    April 30, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Hello.  The job market and networking are on my mind today.  If you don't have a job already lined up this summer, consider volunteer opportunities that give you comparable legal training.  Let me announce one such opportunity today: the Dean's Fellowship Program.   

    This summer, we're going to offer one-time fellowships for working judges' chambers.  We're going to do this first, to help students obtain summer placements and get some experience in this difficult job market, but also, secondly, to provide support to the already financially-strapped judiciary, which is currently under a hiring freeze and, therefore, in desperate need of additional volunteer assistance. 

    We're going to provide ten $1,500 stipends from dedicated scholarship funds to defray some costs associated with volunteering--such as parking, commuting, lunch-- and otherwise make volunteering more feasible by providing some modest financial support.  Ten students will each receive one fellowship grant to volunteer for a judge between May 15th and August 15th of this year

    During that time each student will volunteer for about 150 hours with a specific schedule, determined by that student and the judge.  Now the job duties might include things like observing court proceedings, note taking, researching, writing, or other duties that are determined by the judge. 

    I have asked Judge and Professor Jim Morrow to identify ten judges who are located here in the metropolitan area, and maybe some out of state, who may be willing to participate in this fellowship program.

    This opportunity will soon be posted in Symplicity.  If you are a non-graduating student you'll be eligible to apply if you are in good standing.  These applications will be submitted through Symplicity and we're going to ask you to also include a resume and a writing sample.  There will be a committee that will review applications, and the judges may want to interview candidates as well, but by mid-May we will select and match these ten fellows.  If you are interested in this program, or have any questions, feel free to contact Nancy Lochner in Career Services.

    Now on a second related topic, there are two networking events coming up that you should consider attending.  The first of them is happening this Tuesday, May 5th from 5:30 pm-7:30pm at the Gray Plant Mooty law firm in downtown Minneapolis in the IDS Center.  Alumni and other lawyers who practice in the Intellectual Property area are going to gather.  So if that's an area that's been a focus of your studies, or an area in which you'd like to practice, I would encourage you to attend this IP Reception at Gray Plant in the coming week. 

    Then on Thursday, May 14th, from 5:30pm-7:30pm, there will be an Alumni Reception at the Larkin Hoffman firm in Bloomington.  That is an opportunity for that firm and its Hamline alums, to host not only alumni, but other lawyers in the south metro area.  And if that's an area of town where you live or would like to practice, or if you otherwise just simply want to meet alums and Larkin Hoffman lawyers, I would encourage you to attend that reception as well.  If either of these receptions interest you, please RSVP.  Let Susan Stephan or Anne Markus in the Alumni and Development Office know of your interest in attending.  

    With the end of the semester and exams approaching I know it's difficult to step away from the books, but time with practicing lawyers is very valuable and can lead to opportunities.  So if you can break away, take advantage of one of these two events.  Remember, it's in these types of settings that lightening may strike.

    I'll see you next week.


    Dean's Blog - Rankings

    April 23, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    I have some tough news and some good news to share with you this morning; the US News rankings were released today.  The bad news is that Hamline, once again, is in the Fourth Tier, William Mitchell has moved up to the Third Tier, St. Thomas is there also, and the University of Minnesota has moved up a couple of notches to number 20 nation-wide.  We don't have access yet to all of the backroom data, including some of the financial information that factored into the formula, but I want to invite you to look closely at the published report and also look at some of the data that has been published online because in some important categories in the published data, Hamline has improved from last year and has scored better than our competitor schools.  Let me give you a couple of examples: in the Peer Assessment Scores (these are the judgments of deans around the country and judgments of selected faculty) Hamline scored a 2.0 compared to William Mitchell's 1.9 and St. Thomas's 1.9.  Similarly, in the judgment of selected judges and lawyers from around the country, Hamline's score was 2.4 compared to Mitchell's 2.3.  In the criteria of Selectivity of Admissions, Hamline scored 48% compared to Mitchell's 57% acceptance rate.  And in the all-important Student:Teacher Ratio category (number of students per single faculty member) Hamline was at 15.4 compared to Mitchell's 21.9 and St. Thomas's 17.6, again confirming our student-centered learning environment here at Hamline.

    Now the very good news- we continue to congratulate the Dispute Resolution Institute for its excellent number for ranking nation-wide.  And the other good news is that the Health Law Institute is now nationally ranked within the top 20 Health Law Programs.  This is a fantastic achievement after only 3 years of existence- to be just a couple of notches below Harvard and ahead of even Stanford.

    Where do we lag behind?  Well in the Admissions indicators, Mitchell had stronger GPAs and LSAT scores for its entering class.  In the Job Placement area, Mitchell boasted a 96.5% employment after 9 months after graduation versus our very strong 91.6% for Hamline.  Mitchell also ranked significantly higher in US News first ranking of part-time programs.  Now there may be other criteria influencing rankings that weren't published today, one example might be Expenditures Per Student.  That's data that will become available to us later.

    Now we often quarrel with the US News rankings and question their methodology.  For today, let's acknowledge that we were pleased last year when we were up in the Third Tier and that we were disappointed today to find ourselves in the Fourth Tier.  And acknowledge that, after all, the rankings provide a useful, although incomplete and imperfect yard stick for some, and it might influence applicants unduly.  But the usefulness is very limited; I practiced law for 30 years, 20 in private practice in large law firms in Minneapolis.  I didn't even know about the US News rankings until I became involved with the law school community 2 or 3 years ago.  Of course I had always had my own judgments about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Twin Cities law schools, but I never judged a job applicant simply by what US News told me.

    So tomorrow let's get over it and move forward.  The rankings are nowhere close to a measure of our success and progress as a law school.  Our published scholarship continues to raise Hamline's national and international profile.  We still excel in providing a practice-focused legal training in a student-centered culture within a well-respected university.  Our faculty continue to remain passionate about their teaching, about their writing, about their service.  Perhaps we should market and brag about it a little bit more, but if we continue to focus on the good work that we were doing, improved rankings will follow.  And that's the key message I want to leave with you today.


    Dean's Blog - Deans Forum

    April 16, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience

    Hello!  Let me first promote my Dean's Forum that's coming up this Thursday, April 23rd at 11:00am in Room 105.  This is the second forum I've held this semester with the law students; one last time for you to visit with me before finals about anything that's on your mind.  I'm sure we're going to talk about economic conditions affecting the law school and how it affects planning and budgeting.  We have new faculty coming on board this fall, rolling out a new course schedule.  Perhaps you're interested in developments in career services.  I'm going to be there to answer any questions that you have, so please attend my forum this coming Thursday.

    Throughout my first months as Dean, as long as we're talking about career services, I've emphasized the importance of networking as a path to legal employment.  You're going to have an opportunity to practice those networking skills at the Six Minute Social event, which is sponsored by the Alumni Relations Office, in conjunction with the Law Alumni Association Board, at Gabe's Roadhouse on Thursday, April 30th.  You'll have six-minute opportunities to meet and strike up a conversation with various law alums.  I've never witnessed this myself but people describe it as a form of speed dating.  It's an excellent setting for you to promote yourself and network with practicing lawyers.  So I cannot overemphasize the importance of networking skills and attending events like this; you never know when lightening might strike.

    We have had some very significant student successes in Moot Court and Arbitration competitions this year.  Last time I spoke to you about our final four appearance in Hong Kong; we also had a strong showing earlier this month in Vienna.  Out of more than 200 law school teams, the Hamline Arbitration team survived to get into the first round of the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Competition in Vienna.  Our 3Ls, John Thiede and Ann Johnson, competed in the big dance, if you will.  These events allow not only our law students to hone crucial legal skills, but they make global connections and get very positive attention to Hamline and its reputation in far away places.  So congratulations to John and Ann, to student coaches Jared Kemper and Neda Shahghasemi, and faculty coach and advisor Joe Daly for this success.

    I've always felt that our Legal Research and Writing Program is the best among all of the law schools in this state.  The judges and lawyers that I talk to frequently comment that Hamline law grads hit the ground running and are strong writers.  So please take some time to come and view the best of the best at the Legal Writing Honor Round on April 23rd in the afternoon in the Moot Court Room.  You're going to have a chance to see ten of law school's best oralists competing before a distinguished panel of judges on April 23rd.

    There are many more future events, more than I can talk about in this brief post.  I've never been busier in my first year as Dean than in April and May as we approach year end, and commencement appears to be even busier.  I will highlight some of these key events in future blog posts, but be sure to continue to connect with The Connection, and also with the events link on the law school's home page.  I'll see you next week.

    Dean's Blog - Connecting

    April 9, 2009


    Dean Donald Lewis


    Available in both video and text format for your convenience


    Juris-Fiesta Hello.  As Dean I'm always looking for more and better ways to communicate with you about what's happening in the law school and the broader community. I also want to address issues that might be of a concern to you or issues that are being discussed among the faculty and staff. 

    You already know to consult the website, The Connection, Symplicity, the hall monitors, Facebook, and Twitter for information about what's going on, so please continue to do so.  But I believe in paving the trail where people walk, so if you travel in the blogosphere, feel free to connect with me here and, where appropriate, I'll send a response back.

    I wanted to spend a couple of minutes today congratulating law students who have done some exceptional things in the community.  Nkechi Eccles-James was one of three students in the entire university to be honored with the John Wesley Leadership and Service Award that will be awarded at the commencement dinner next month. 

    Many of you watched basketball last weekend, but you should also know there was a Final Four a couple weeks ago, this one in Hong Kong; the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Competition.  Hamline's team placed ahead of 60 teams from around the country to emerge as part of the final four in that competition.  I want to congratulate the two students on the team, 3L Doug Edelstein and 2L John Edison, and their coaches, Neda Shahghasemi and Professor Joe Daly, for their hard and excellent work in that competition.

    Earlier this month, the Journal of Public Law & Policy helped Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) celebrate its 100th anniversary with an excellent and well-attended symposium; more than 300 people attended.  It examined barriers to legal, political, economic, and educational opportunity inequality that face citizens of low income in this region.  Congratulations to editor in chief Amy Schwarz and the symposium editor Amber Mulder for their hard work in making that event a success.

    I personally enjoyed the Jurist Fiesta on March 14th and was inspired by the story of Cruz Reynoso, the keynote speaker.  The famed California civil rights lawyer who became the first Latino Justice of California's Supreme Court and is a Presidential Medal of Honor winner.  You can listen to his moving address as a podcast on our website.  Congratulations to the Latino Law Students Association for putting that event on, particularly to Dulce Mendoza, who is this year's winner of the organization's annual scholarship.

    The Student Culture and Diversity Committee put on a very successful Culture and Diversity Style Show on March 9th, raising more than $1,300 for Project Homeless Connect in Minneapolis.

    And then finally, congratulations to Hamline Law Hockey, which defeated William Mitchell for the Res Ipsa Cup; we're going to display it in the Admissions Office.  Most notably, that victory also raised $700 for the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation.  So congratulations to Captain Joe Van Thomme and his team.  You can read about all of this, all of these victories, on the Hamline news page on the website.

    Reaching out beyond the campus and into the broader community in the public service has always been a core value of this law school; it is central to the Hamline brand and I am proud of these individuals and all of you who are answering that call.  So thanks for listening today and hopefully I'll see you next week.