Public Service

2015 Public Service landing

Recognizing that lawyers are in a strong position to effect positive institutional and social change, the University of St. Thomas School of Law expects and encourages all students to explore a variety of ways their interests, skills and talents can best serve the public‎‎.

As a requirement for graduation, all students must complete 50 hours of public service during law school. The Public Service Program exists for three reasons: 1) to ensure that law students remain members of the broader community with all of the accompanying responsibilities; 2) to foster students’ commitment to pro bono work throughout their legal careers; and 3) to fulfill the law school’s commitment to service as articulated in its Vision Statement.

Public Service Board Members

"The PSB will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Program. Its duties will include maintaining and distributing to students information about public service opportunities; overseeing the maintenance of the on-line public service reporting system; making determinations as to whether particular service constitutes “qualifying public service” within these Guidelines; and maintaining records of qualifying public service performed by law students. The adviser will certify satisfactory completion of the Program requirements by law students." Academic Policy Manual p. III-8.

Public Service Board Members

  • Meg Hennessy, President
  • Travis LaChance, Vice President
  • Lindsay Hewitt, Secretary
  • Jacob Behmer, Public Service Day Chair
  • Markie Theis-Pfipsen, Ongoing Public Service Chair
  • Jackie Leffner, Policy Chair
  • Melissa Bumanglang, Compliance Chair
  • Jenna Ambrosius, 3L Representative
  • Charlene Sundermann, 3L Representative

For more information, contact lawpsb@stthomas.edu.  

Public Service Opportunities

Central Minnesota Legal Services - Minneapolis

Project Title: Intake Clerk

Project Description: CMLS is looking for intake volunteers to assist with intakes to our Minneapolis office. The intake volunteer will be responsible for conducting phone interviews and occasional in person interviews with clients who are applying for legal services assistance with family law, housing or benefits legal issues.

Agency offers a $7 parking stipend each time the volunteer comes in.

Areas of Law: Family, Housing, Public Benefits

 

Skills: Client Intake & Interviewing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 5 hours per week

 

 

Housing Preservation Project

Project Title: HPP Volunteer Law Clerk

Project Description: The Housing Preservation Project (HPP), a public interest law firm dedicated to preserving and expanding the supply of affordable housing, is in need of a part-time volunteer law clerk. HPP engages in both policy work and litigation, providing law clerks with opportunities to do legal research and writing on cutting edge issues, investigate and conduct policy analysis, participate in strategy sessions and planning, and attend and report on community and public meetings.

Areas of Law: Housing

 

Skills: Fact Investigation, Legal Research and Writing, Legislative Advocacy

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: approx. 10 hours/week

 
   

Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Project Title: U Visa Intern

Project Description: A key area of ILCM's legal practice focuses on helping immigrants apply for U-visas, a form of immigration relief available for victims of domestic abuse and other violent crimes who cooperate with police investigations. ILCM partners with domestic violence advocates to receive referrals and prepares the legal cases for trained pro bono attorneys. The U-Visa Project Assistant aids the legal staff in preparing these cases. Assistants screen potential U-Visa applicants, establishing the beginning of the relationship between ILCM and the client and rigorously preparing the case for staff or pro bono attorneys. Must be able to read, write, and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Must possess cross-cultural communications skills and interpersonal sensitivity necessary to successfully work as an advocate. Applicants with previous experience in victim advocacy and support are preferred. Please submit cover letter and resume on initial contact.

Areas of Law: Criminal, Domestic Violence, Immigration

 

Skills: Client Intake & Interviewing, Fact Investigation, Legal Forms, Legal Research and Writing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 9-15 hours/week

 

 

National Lawyers Guild

Project Title: MN Transgender Know Your Rights Project

Project Description: Join a new project dedicated to improving resources and access to legal services for Minnesota transgender community members. The National Lawyers Guild continues to provide institutional support to this project. Volunteers will work independently on updating know-your-rights materials for transgender communities. Past areas of law have included: housing, employment, immigration, and criminal law. In 2013, we also created a pamphlet on basic transition law that we distributed at the Twin Cities Pride Festival and presented a workshop at the Minnesota Transgender Health & Wellness Conference. This spring we will resume creating updated materials specifically in immigration law, and, if resources allow, will also begin working on expanding our materials into new areas of law. Volunteers will update the contents of these materials for new law and MN state/local law. Volunteers should be comfortable using Westlaw, Lexis, general legal research and search engines. Assistance will be available from an attorney supervisor, but volunteers will primarily work independently. Volunteers may be invited to participate in additional projects, including CLEs and other presentations/outreach.

Training Details: TBA.

Areas of Law: GLBT, Housing, Employment, Immigration, and Criminal Law

 

Skills: Legal Research and Writing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 5 hours per week

 

Volunteer Positions only open to 2Ls and 3Ls

 City of St Paul Human Rights Division

Project Title: Human Rights Specialist Intern

Project Description: Intern will follow up on intakes and write determinations of discrimination complaints; assist in pre-determination settlement agreements; research legal issues in discrimination law; conduct complaint intake and referrals; assist in case investigations; other special projects as needed. 10-15 hrs per week. Students should have some course work with Employment and/or discrimination law. Resume & Cover Letter required with initial contact email.

Areas of Law: Civil/Human Rights, Employment, Housing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: appx 10 per week

 

 

Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance

Project Title: Consumer Unit law clerk

Project Description: Legal Aid's Consumer Unit represents people who are low-income in Minneapolis, throughout Hennepin County and other counties in central Minnesota. The Consumer Unit includes debt collection defense, homeowners' rights, and tax. The student would work primarily on aspects of civil litigation in civil rights, consumer protection and real estate. Work includes contact with clients, case development, research, writing, litigation casework, and supervised court appearances as opportunities become available. Hours and assignments will be flexible. Spanish-speaking skills and strong interest in Legal Aid work are preferred.

Areas of Law: Civil/Human Rights, Consumer, Housing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 10 hours per week

 

 

NAACP St. Paul Branch

Project Title: Legal Redress Committee -- Law Clerk

Project Description: The Legal Redress Committee of the NAACP St. Paul Branch and the Center for Negotiation and Justice are seeking students for a multifaceted volunteer opportunity, to include researching education law and other topics; attending public hearings; and conducting intakes for internal affairs complaints regarding police misconduct. This is an excellent opportunity for students who are passionate about civil rights work.

Areas of Law: Civil/Human Rights, Criminal, Education Law

 

Skills: Client Intake & Interviewing, Courtroom Observation, Fact Investigation, Law-Related Education, Legal Research and Writing, Legislative Advocacy

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 50 hours for the semester

 

 

Public Defender - 10th District (Anoka)

Project Title: Law Clerk

Project Description: Seeking students who have just completed their first year. Assist Public Defender's office and work alongside PD's on adult and juvenile caseloads. Must commit to a minimum of two mornings per week, from 8:30am to approximately 12 noon.

Areas of Law: Criminal, Juvenile

 

Skills: Client Intake & Interviewing, Courtroom Representation

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 6-8 hours/week

 

 

Public Defender - 1st District (Hastings)

Project Title: Law Clerk, Certified Student Attorney

Project Description: Law Clerk appears in court and interviews clients before 1st appearances and bail hearings for defendants charged with all levels of criminal offenses.

Training Details: 2 hour orientation

Areas of Law: Criminal, Juvenile

 

Skills: Client Intake & Interviewing, Courtroom Observation, Courtroom Representation, Legal Research and Writing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 6-8 hours/week

 

 

Public Defender - Federal Office

Project Title: Law Clerk

Project Description: The Office of the Federal Defender represents indigent persons throughout the state charged with serious federal crimes. Law clerks help with legal research and writing, as well as review of discovery and trial preparation. We also try to ensure that our clerks frequently attend and observe court. Resume, cover letter required; writing sample may be requested.

Areas of Law: Criminal

 

Skills: Legal Research and Writing

 

Volunteer Hours Needed: 12-16 hours per week

 

 

Service Opportunities

MENTORS FOR SUCCESS

Mentors for Success is a pilot program run through the Hennepin County Juvenile Probation Volunteer Services where we seek to link college students with youth on probation. With an emphasis on education, we believe that college students can provide the encouragement our youth need to move away from deviant behaviors and focus on their education.

* Mentors are reimbursed for mileage, parking and bus/train fare.

 To learn more about this public service opportunity, call La'Vonne Clarke at (612) 596-1687 or go here

TREEHOUSE

Mission (quoted from their website): "TreeHouse is a faith-based organization offering hope, guidance, and unconditional love to at-risk teens dealing with tough issues such as depression/suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, truancy, self-injury and sexual activity. Our balanced programs meet the social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual needs of at-risk teens. TreeHouse provides a safe environment and mentorship for teens to receive support, guidance and practical skills in making better choices today to live as healthy adults tomorrow."

for LuAnn 9 6 2013

Opportunities:

Support Group Volunteer: "Support Group meets on Tuesday evenings year-round. Volunteers serve as group facilitators or co-facilitators and focus on developing connections with the youth that attend."

 Going Deeper Volunteer: "Going Deeper meets on Thursday evenings year-round and is very similar to a youth group program. Volunteers focus on developing connections with the youth that attend, as well as assist with program components such as games, small groups, etc."

 Contact: Complete an application online or call the main phone number, (952) 238-1010.

 This organization has many volunteer opportunities online in addition to the two above.

HELLO NEIGHBOR

Volunteers will visit homes of recent immigrants, offering handshakes and gift bags filled with prepaid calling cards, coupons, a refillable water bottle and information about city services.

To become a volunteer greeter, contact Ahmed Muhumud in the city’s neighborhood and community relations office at 612-673-2162 or Ahmed.Muhumud@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

 

Ongoing Relationship Opportunities

Multicultural Learning Center Tutor

Help close the achievement gap and increase the number of students of color in high-level courses  by volunteering to assist students in their academics.  This could range from study skills to math to writing, etc.  "I would LOVE and WELCOME any and all help.  The students are fabulous and just need some extra care."
Where: St. Louis Park High School
When: Anywhere ranging from once a day to once every 6 weeks
Contact for more info: Arika Malek at arikamalek@hotmail.com 

HOMEline Volunteer Tenant Advocate

HOMEline is a tenant rights nonprofit affiliated with MJF and several agencies that help prevent homelessness, provide legal advice, provide assistance to people in low income situations, and more. HOMEline seeks Volunteer Tenant Advocates to help run their tenant rights hotline and tell MN renters their rights and responsibilities. VTA's need no previous experience - a staff of attorneys and advocates will train them and work closely with them to answer questions.
Where: South Minneapolis
Contact: Alexandra Hussey at (612) 728-5770 ext. 105

Habitat for Humanity Youth Leaders

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has been awarded a State Farm Youth United Urban Grant for the 2009–2010 school year. Youth United (YU) is a program of Habitat for Humanity International run by youth and for youth ages 5 to 25. It brings young people together from all walks of life to play active roles in transforming their communities. Youth United mobilizes young people to sponsor and build a house with their local Habitat affiliate.This fall, we are recruiting youth from the Twin Cities Metro area to fill the leadership roles on our YU Steering Committee. We are looking for young leaders who are motivated to help us shape and build our new program. 
For more information, please visit 
http://www.tchabitat.org//youthunited.
Contact the Individual Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@tchabitat.org or 612-305-7114 to get involved.

Carondelet Elementary History Class Helper

Carondelet School is looking for a volunteer to help 8th graders with History Day. Tasks include guiding research, assisting with online searches, topic selection, organizing and citing sources, help with note-taking, primary and secondary sources, and interviewing skills. 
Frequency: Weekly, Thursdays (2:30--4) & Fridays (11:30-1:50)
Duration: November - March
Teacher: Josh Nutter
Contact:  Laure at 
lokeeffe@carondelet-mpls.org or (612) 927-0005, ext. 16
Location: South Minneapolis
Websitehttp://www.carondeletcatholicschool.com

Carondelet Elementary Spanish Tutor

Carondelet School is looking for students who know Spanish on a level 2 high school or higher proficiency to tutor, help in small groups, and speak about how Spanish could be useful in a legal career.
When: Tuesdays &/or Thursdays
Teacher: Katy Eiden
Contact: Laure at lokeeffe@carondelet-mpls.org
 or (612) 927-0005, ext. 16
Location: South Minneapolis
Website: http://www.carondeletcatholicschool.com

St. Peter Claver Tutors & Debate Coaches

Coordinated with CILCE. More details to come.
Location: Minneapolis
Contact for more details: UST Law student Ryan Else at else6050@stthomas.edu
 

Catholic Tutor Corps


Tutor students in grades 4 - 8 once a week in math and reading at various twin cities schools.
When: Morning and Afternoon slots available
Where: Peter Claver Catholic SchoolSan Miguel Middle School or Pope John Paul II
For more information, contact Tom Gehrz at (651) 894-2008 or 
tagehrz@stthomas.edu

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities

Volunteer mentors provide friendship, emotional support and hope to young people at one of 35 participating schools
When: Once a week
Where: Twin Cities Metro Area
For more information, call (651) 789-2400 or visit 
www.bigstwincities.org

Meals on Wheels

Deliver hot, nutritious meals to elderly, homebound and disabled individuals
When: Monday - Friday over the lunch hour

Where: Twin Cities Metro Area
For more information, contact Molly Kennedy at 612-623-3363 

The Arc of MN

A private, non-profit, statewide voluntary organization that provides support and advocates for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families as they choose how they live, learn, work and play. The Arc serves people of all ages with many kinds of developmental disabilities. Their vision is to create a world where people with developmental disabilities are more self-reliant, empowered, and able to make choices in their lives.
For more information, please contact Monica Saby 
at 651-523-0823 ext109

Register Your Organization

Please visit community.stthomas.edu to register your organization and post volunteer opportunities.