Gaining "Practice Ready" Experience While in Law School
The "practice-ready" approach to the legal education at UND Law is supported by many experiential learning opportunities. Experiential programs allow our students to gain hands-on, practical experience inside and outside the classroom to help develop a skill set to be "practice-ready" when they graduate.
At UND Law, each student completes six credits of experiential coursework through externships/field placements, simulation courses, the Clinical Education Program, or other programs, such as the North Dakota Legislative Internship program.
Externship/Field Placement Program
The UND School of Law Externship/Field Placement program provides students an opportunity to gain academic credit for participating in an off-campus work experience in a legal setting. Field placements are filled by UND Law students in public offices in North Dakota and across the country, non-profit organizations, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, U.S. District Courts, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Experiential Learning and Simulation Courses
Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in developing practical skills through simulation courses. UND Law students can gain skills related to litigation as well as other areas of law practice. Simulation courses include Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Business Planning, Corporate Drafting, Estate Planning, International Human Rights Advocacy, Pretrial Practice, Transactional Drafting, and Tribal Clerkship & Codification.
North Dakota Legislative Internship
During each North Dakota Legislative Session, 11 UND Law students spend a semester in Bismarck, North Dakota working full-time at the North Dakota State Capitol with the experienced attorneys at the North Dakota Legislative Council and the North Dakota Attorney General’s office.
Student Skills Competitions
UND Law students compete in moot court and trial competitions, both at the School of Law and across the country. Each year, the North Dakota Supreme Court judges the final round of the law school’s Moot Court Competition, and local judges and attorneys participate in the law school’s internal trial competition, the Carrigan Cup. Recent national and regional competitions include the National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition, the UCLA Cyber Crimes Moot Court Competition, the National Civil Rights Competition, the UNLV Gaming Law Moot Court Competition, the National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition, and the National Trial Competition sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Legal Services of North Dakota
Legal Services of North Dakota recently opened a new Grand Forks office located in the lower level of the UND School of Law. Six externship opportunities are available for law students to serve live clients.
Clinical Education Program
In our program, UND law students develop fundamental lawyering skills and values by engaging in legal advocacy on behalf of persons who otherwise would be unable to obtain legal representation. These experiences lead to marketable skills that can assist students in their post-law school job search. Note: the program is currently on a temporary hiatus for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
UND Law Professor Steven Morrison has partnered with Innocence Project Minnesota to bring the project to North Dakota. Four students have an opportunity to work with the project to gain valuable experience while working on cases of people wrongfully convicted of crimes. The focus in on cases in the state of North Dakota.
Summer Scholarship and Grant Awards
UND Law, the State Bar Association of North Dakota, and the North Dakota court system continued to promote the Rural Justice program to support summer law-related positions in rural areas throughout the state to address the critical unmet need for attorneys to serve the citizens of North Dakota in rural areas. Summer scholarship and grant awards to work in legal positions are available to students. In the summer of 2017, UND Law offered:
- School of Law Larson Foundation Summer Law Rural Justice Practice Scholarships totaling $48,000
- School of Law Public Interest Summer Work Grants totaling $16,000
- School of Law Rural Justice Judicial Clerkships totaling $12,000