The Legal Scholarship for Equal Justice Program
In addition to engaging in practical application of new legal skills through work with LSPSP and the Summer Clerkship Program, students may also develop their academic skills through enrolling in the Legal Scholarship for Equal Justice (LSEJ) program, a course that addresses systemic problem areas facing legal services clients.
LSEJ is a collaborative project designed to address broad legal issues of current importance to poverty lawyers and their clients. Students in the LSEJ course research systemic legal problems that impact legal services organizations’ clients.
If you are an attorney with suggestions for research topics, please fill out and submit our LSEJ Research Topic Request Form.
As part of LSEJ, sixteen students, four from each of the Minnesota law schools, working singly or in small groups, produce research papers addressing legal issues chosen from a list of issues submitted by local poverty law practitioners. Topics vary from semester to semester and may include both civil and criminal law issues that have a significant impact on low-income people. Past topics include Hmong Marriage Legislation, Criminalization of the Mentally Ill, The Connection between Traffic Fines and Poverty, Housing Problems for Evicted Tenants, Mixed Use of Brownfield Reclamation, Using Law and Medicine to Reduce Asthma, Tenant Blacklisting, and Racism in the Child Protection System.
Classroom sessions focus on the development of the project topics, research skills needed for poverty law questions, problem solving, working collaboratively, and additional topics of interest to the seminar participants. Class members are linked with the individual poverty lawyer whose legal issue generates the project. These lawyers serve as “field instructors,” helping to supervise the legal research and writing that the student is doing. In addition, students spend approximately twenty hours in the field (either with their field instructor or elsewhere) gaining an understanding of poverty law practice in general and the context for the legal issues involved in the individual project.
This seminar is not an internship, but rather a three-credit course. For more information, contact MJF.