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Desire to Serve Ramsey County Attorney John Choi ’95

A Message from the Dean

Dear Alumni, Welcome to our second edition of Mitchell Hamline Law! As you receive this, we will be finishing up what has been a really exciting semester. This fall, we welcomed a very impressive class. Entering students hailed from 42 states and represented an incredible range of professional and life experiences. This is a far more diverse entering class (in terms of racial and ethnic identification) with higher LSAT scores than we were able to attract last year. You will see in the articles that follow additional information about our entering class and many of the exciting innovations under way at the school. I think it is fair to say that Mitchell Hamline truly is the leading innovator in legal education today. Some people read that sentence and think it means we are abandoning what has made us so successful in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we are doing innovation right: devising new approaches and taking advantage of new opportunities to fulfill our longstanding mission of providing an excellent and rigorous practice-based legal education to students from many different backgrounds. One of my favorite features in this magazine makes that point well by showing the similarities in backgrounds among current students and alumni from our various programs. Yes, we have created a Hybrid J.D. program that blends online and in-class learning; and we have created an Executive J.D. enrollment option that is also a blended offering. But both of these programs enable us to reach even more effectively the same kinds of students who have traditionally been attracted to our legacy institutions: students who want to earn a J.D. while also continuing to work and participate in their communities. These new programs are becoming the evening and weekend programs of the 21st century. They are incredibly rigorous, but they combine academic rigor with more flexible scheduling. In the same way, many of our curricular innovations (allowing students to spend a full semester in “residence” at a law firm, corporation, nonprofit, or government office; expanding the reach of our clinics through the Mobile Law Network; creating practice-intensive courses that simulate work experience, etc.) take the concepts at the heart of our traditional J.D. program and apply them in new ways to reflect today’s legal market.

As you read through these articles, I hope you will see pulsing through all the incredible innovations under way by our faculty the same heart and spirit that made both HUSL and WMCL such trendsetters. I also hope you will see the same commitment to hands-on training and being a voice for justice. Speaking of being a voice for justice, earlier this semester we announced the creation of the Zero Abuse Project at Mitchell Hamline School of Law—thanks to a $2 million gift by Jeff Anderson & Associates. This will enable us to expand dramatically the great work we have been doing in our Child Protection Program (founded through the visionary leadership of Helen Meyer, former Minnesota Supreme Court justice and current chair of Mitchell Hamline’s board of trustees). Through the Zero Abuse Project, Mitchell Hamline will become even more of a national leader in this field as we train, teach, and work to prevent child abuse. There is much more under way at Mitchell Hamline than we could fit into this issue, so I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to remain connected to us in other ways. There are lots of ways alumni can be engaged at Mitchell Hamline, and we always highlight special opportunities on our website, in our alumni eNewsletter, and in my monthly e-mail update to alumni. As always, I welcome your suggestions at, and please visit us on campus if you have not already done so. Sincerely,

Mark C. Gordon President and Dean

MITCHELL HAMLINE LAW VOLUME 1, No. 2 Published by Mitchell Hamline School of Law 875 Summit Avenue St. Paul, Minn. 55105 651-227-9171 President and Dean Mark C. Gordon Executive Editor Doug Belden Art Director and Designer Karl Peters Designer John Diebel

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi ’95 (HUSL) has established a reputation in Minnesota and beyond as a bold prosecutor. He was a partner in a Minneapolis law firm 12 years ago when he got an offer to become a prosecutor, as city attorney in St. Paul. A conversation with his parents, both South Korean immigrants, convinced him to take the leap. “They were just so honored that their son could be city attorney—and I realized this is a pretty big deal and I should do it. So I took the job, and I left my practice.” Story, Page 20.

Writers Maja Beckstrom Doug Belden Nancy Crotti Dick Dahl Kari McMartin Alison Morris Tim Post Photographers Tim Post Brady Willette Rebecca Zenefski


‘Zero Abuse Project’ Launches Jeff Anderson ’75 (WMCL) and his firm


fund child-abuse prevention initiative at


Mitchell Hamline still lets working people fit a J.D. into their lives—but in new ways

A Perfect Blend

‘Blended learning’ combines the best


of distance learning and on-campus instruction

The Sports Connection This fall’s entering class features three students with current or former ties to professional sports

Vice Chair David M. Sparby ’80 (WMCL) Secretary Steven J. Kirsch ’76 (HUSL)

Mitchell Hamline

Part-time Law School: Then and Now

Chair Former Justice Helen M. Meyer ’83 (WMCL)


Treasurer Nicole James Gilchrist ’03 (WMCL) Gregory L. Buck ’87 (WMCL) Christine Chalstrom ’91 (WMCL) Jeanne M. Forneris Judge Donovan W. Frank ’77 (HUSL) Lisa A. Gray ’86 (WMCL) Clifford M. Greene Judge Sara Grewing ’03 (WMCL) Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks ’85 (WMCL) Mark A. Hallberg ’79 (WMCL) Dr. Linda N. Hanson Frank V. Harris ’75 (HUSL) Jean F. Holloway James J. Hoolihan ’79 (WMCL) Charles H. Johnson ’75 (HUSL) Christine Kucera Kalla ’94 (WMCL) Jennifer Lauermann ’10 (HUSL) Richard L. Mack ’93 (HUSL) Former Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson ’76 (WMCL) Dr. Fayneese Miller Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau ’83 (WMCL) Judge Denise D. Reilly ’83 (WMCL) Susan C. Rhode ’85 (HUSL) Ellen G. Sampson ’84 (WMCL) Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson ’95 (WMCL) Wendy K. Watson ’97 (HUSL)

Julie Le, a 2L, spoke at an event honoring donors Nov. 2, 2017.

A heartfelt thank-you to our generous donors Here are highlights of what you helped us achieve from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.

$1,709,431.70 1,385 $778

Average gift


6% $.02

$100,000 2


of alums donating

Smallest gift

Largest gift




Top 3 donating classes by participation %







These gifts have big impact

98 Percent of students receiving tuition assistance 23 Percent of students receiving donor-funded tuition assistance 201 Donors who supported scholarship endowments 13 Donor-supported faculty positions Wait, there’s more!

1950 2016

Oldest class year to give

Youngest class year to give

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

154 Donors who put Mitchell Hamline in their estate plan 37 States (and Guam) from which gifts were received 102 Different funds for which gifts were received MITCHELL HAMLINE LAW



Alums part of milestone for Minnesota female chief judges For the first time in Minnesota history, half of the state’s 10 district courts are overseen by female chief judges. Four of those five are alumni:

Michelle Dietrich ’94 (HUSL) – 5th District Kathryn Messerich ’87 (WMCL) – 1st District Sally L. Tarnowski ’96 (WMCL) – 6th District Jodi Williamson ’83 (HUSL) – 3rd District Another three chief judges are also alumni, bringing alumni representation among chief district court judges in Minnesota to 70 percent.

Jay D. Carlson ’79 (HUSL) – 7th District John H. Guthmann ’80 (WMCL) – 2nd District Michael J. Thompson ’80 (WMCL) – 8th District

Across the state, 43 percent of the state’s almost 300 district court judges are women, and Mitchell Hamline alumni account for almost 50 percent of that number. Overall, just under half of Minnesota district court judges are alumni.

Strong Mitchell Hamline representation in Ramsey County Mitchell Hamline alumni have had a strong showing as chief judge in Ramsey County, having held the position 7 out of 8 times since Judge Joanne Smith became the first woman elected chief judge of a judicial district in Minnesota in 1989.

Joanne M. Smith ’77 (HUSL) 1989-1992

Gregg E. Johnson ’83 (HUSL) 2004-2008

Kenneth J. Fitzpatrick ’62 (WMCL) 1992-1995

Kathleen R. Gearin ’75 (WMCL) 2008-2012

Gordon W. Schumaker ’71 (WMCL) 1995-1997

Teresa (Tracy) R. Warner ’86 (WMCL) 2012-2016

J. Thomas Mott ’76 (WMCL) 2002-2004

John H. Guthmann ’80 (WMCL) 2016-2018

Alum Rick Petry leads effort to increase residency opportunities for students The goal at Mitchell Hamline is for every student to be able to spend a semester in law school working full time at a firm, business, courthouse, or other legal setting. Rick Petry is leading the effort to make that happen. Petry, a 1998 graduate of Hamline University School of Law, was hired this summer as assistant director of career and professional development. He said Mitchell Hamline offers more than 30 residency placements at the moment but that he’d like to get that number to about 150 by 2019. Students participate in residencies in one of the 4


last three semesters of law school. They earn credit, and in some cases are paid. They spend all week at their work site except for a few hours of class, and they are supervised by faculty as well as the attorneys at their site. Residencies are a key part of Mitchell Hamline’s effort to help students make the transition to practice. Petry comes to Mitchell Hamline after nearly 20 years as an attorney and consultant. He encourages alums who may have a residency opportunity to contact him at or 651-695-7633.


Jeff Anderson, left, with President and Dean Mark C. Gordon and Gordon’s wife, Anne Zweibel.

Mitchell Hamline, Jeff Anderson & Associates launch

Mitchell Hamline School of Law and Jeff Anderson & Associates announced a new initiative in September aimed at preventing child abuse through education and litigation. Funded with a $2 million gift from Anderson’s St. Paul firm, the Zero Abuse Project (ZAP) at Mitchell Hamline will build on the work of the school’s Child Protection Program, founded in 2013 by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Helen Meyer ’83 (WMCL)— chair of the Mitchell Hamline Board of Trustees—and led by Associate Professor Joanna Woolman. ZAP will train professionals in trauma-informed care and help institutions prevent, recognize, and respond to child abuse. It will include a child advocacy clinic with experienced professionals who will be involved in research, developing and teaching courses, public policy change, and impact litigation.

President and Dean Mark C. Gordon praised the effort at a gala Sept. 23 in downtown St. Paul that was both a ZAP kickoff event and a celebration of the 70th birthday of Anderson, a 1975 William Mitchell grad. Anderson has not only identified flaws in the current child-protection system, he is also laying a foundation for a better one, Gordon said. “The Zero Abuse Project at Mitchell Hamline gives us an opportunity to involve students in impact litigation in the area of child abuse prevention. It enables us to educate professionals around the nation about how trauma-informed practices can improve outcomes for survivors and for victims. And it will support us as we work to attract undergraduate students from around the country who want to dedicate their own legal careers—and maybe, like Jeff Anderson, dedicate their lives—to preventing child abuse.”

“Jeff Anderson has always understood that institutions don’t protect children, programs don’t protect children, screening instruments don’t protect children. It is people who protect children, but they can only do so if they are highly trained,” said Victor Vieth ’87 (HUSL), director of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center. Anderson said the new project is inspired by, and dedicated to, survivors of sexual abuse, whom he has spent more than three decades representing. “You have taught us how to live a life of purpose,” he said to survivors, some of whom were in the room at the Sept. 23 event. “You give us strength. You give us hope. And it is with you and all those that stand with you and for you that we join in the Zero Abuse Project.”

For more information on the Zero Abuse Project, visit






By Dick Dahl

Entertainment lawyer Ken Abdo finds a new niche When baby boomers were young, many of them built their lives around the unholy trinity of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.” Now that the boomers have grown gray and begun to shuffle off this mortal coil, Minneapolis entertainment lawyer Ken Abdo ’82 (WMCL) suggests perhaps the old incantation deserves an update: “Occasional sex, prescription drugs, and what’s left of rock ‘n’ roll.” Abdo’s tongue-in-cheek assessment is not meant to disparage a musical form he has long loved. He has been devoting his law practice to musicians, mostly of the rock ‘n’ roll persuasion, for several decades, and that won’t be changing any day soon. What is changing, however, is the nature of his work on their behalf as they approach—and reach—the ends of their lives. “I’m fortunate enough to be old enough and young enough to work both sides of the fence—the legacy acts and young artists,” says Abdo. By “legacy acts,” he is referring to the recognized, older name-brand acts on his client roster—Kool and the Gang, Toto, Three Dog Night, the estates of Muddy Waters and Count Basie.

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

While most musicians have estate plans, Abdo says, some notable ones do not. Minneapolis musician Prince, for instance, died in 2016 at age 57 without a will, leaving much uncertainty about who gets what. Abdo represented three of Prince’s presumptive heirs. “I think Prince’s death was a reminder to those who do have assets that they better get to it and make a plan,” he says. Abdo says that for most of his legacy clients, estate-planning is not about the money. “Their concern is not so much about themselves anymore,” he says. “They’re really concerned about their heirs, but they’re also concerned about their legacy in the lexicon of rock ‘n’ roll. They don’t want to be forgotten. It’s about ‘How can we preserve the work that we’ve done?’” For instance, Abdo says, he works with the estate of Bill Haley (of Bill Haley & His Comets) and has discussed possible “artist branding” options— such as anthologies, books, or a movie—to help make up for declining revenue from recordings and to provide greater insight into Haley’s history. For many of these artists, the transition of the music business from product sales to monthly streaming

subscriptions has caused significant income reductions. Abdo says he loves broad access to music as much as anyone, but he believes efforts must be made—such as significantly increasing the cost of monthly streaming subscriptions—to put more money into artists’ pockets. His work at Fox Rothschild is essentially focused on doing precisely that. In January, he and five other lawyers from his previous firm, Lommen Abdo, transferred their entertainment law group to the 850-lawyer firm. Abdo had spent his entire career to that point in the firm his father created in 1936 and which his brother, Robert, also joined. “I’m very happy for the niche that I’ve been able to carve out,” he says. “Unless I’m missing something, there’s no other law practice in the Midwest that’s quite like ours.”

Dick Dahl is a freelance writer and editor in St. Paul.




Mark these spring alumni events on your calendar ALUMNI CLE SERIES Friday, Jan. 12 Wait...That Happened at Work?: When Inappropriate Workplace Conduct Becomes Actionable

Friday, Feb. 9 Pet Law: A New Practice Area Unfolds

Friday, March 9 Managing Career Transitions

Friday, April 13 Effective Negotiation, Persuasion, and Decision Making

Friday, May 11 Torts in the Courts Alumni CLEs are complimentary for alumni and run from noon to 1 pm on campus and via webcast. Some CLEs are later made available on an on-demand basis for a nominal fee. Visit and look for “Alumni CLE” in the “Upcoming CLEs” calendar to identify the CLEs in this series. If you’re interested in presenting an Alumni CLE, email

WANT TO SHARE A STORY FROM THE MAGAZINE? Find the online version at



June 18-22 NEW! Super CLE Week—Topics will include Evidence, Ethical Marketing, Global Trade, Immigration, and Working with Low- and Pro-bono Clients.



Email your thoughts about the magazine to

There are multiple ways to stay engaged with Mitchell Hamline. Check out volunteer opportunities and more at


Schwegman gift helps increase pool of patent-eligible students By Maja Beckstrom

When Professor R. Carl Moy heads to an undergraduate career fair at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, he brings his graphs. “Engineers love graphs,” explained Moy, associate director of Mitchell Hamline’s Intellectual Property Institute. First, he pops up a slide showing lifetime median earnings for graduates with science and engineering degrees. Next, he displays the significantly higher income trajectory for patent attorneys. “That really captures their attention,” he said. “Then we talk about how fun the job is—how patent attorneys are constantly on the cutting edge of technology and involved in big-picture conversations about research and development.” Moy’s outreach is part of a newly funded effort to increase the number of students at Mitchell Hamline who have the science and engineering backgrounds required to take the patent bar exam. Last year, the Minneapolis patent firm Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner gave the school a threeyear gift for targeted recruitment as well as annual scholarships for “patent-eligible” students.

“I’m still passionate about computer science,” said 1L Sheila Niaz. “But I’ll be able to use my science and computer Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Jodi Glaser called the gift a “four-way win” that clearly benefits the school and students but also responds directly to the needs of the firm and the field of intellectual property—by expanding a shrinking pipeline. Mitchell Hamline professor Kenneth Port has predicted that by 2018 new entrants to the patent bar will number half of what they were in 2008, leading to a “severe shortage.” The gift has allowed law school faculty and admissions officers to create webinars and marketing materials, travel to targeted regional universitites, and host events at the University of Minnesota campus pub where science undergrads mingle with Twin Cities patent attorneys. “We’ve already seen an immediate bump in patent-eligible students,” said Dean of Admissions Emily Dunsworth. This year’s entering class includes 28 students with degrees in mechanical, chemical or electrical engineering, chemistry, physics and other hard sciences most sought after by patent

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

background as a patent attorney. This is the perfect intersection of my interests.” firms. That’s double last year’s number. Among them is Sheila Niaz, who graduated in May from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in computer science. She already had a job as a software engineer at a civil engineering firm in the Twin Cities. After seeing Moy’s slides, she realized that she would earn more as a patent attorney, enough to cover law school debt, and that she’d truly enjoy the work. “I’m still passionate about computer science,” said Niaz. “But I’ll be able to use my science and computer background as a patent attorney. This is the perfect intersection of my interests.” Maja Beckstrom is a writer and journalist in St. Paul.



Fitting a law degree around




oth William Mitchell and Hamline Law made it possible for people to earn a law degree without giving up work or other commitments. Hamline created Minnesota’s first and only weekend enrollment option in 2001, while Mitchell was founded in 1900 as a night school and only started adding a full-time day schedule in the late 1970s. That tradition of access to a legal education continues under Mitchell Hamline, but with some pioneering updates. The Hybrid J.D. program—a partly online, partly on-campus option— launched in 2015, and the technological platform and pedagogy developed for it are being applied in new ways to provide additional flexibility to students in new enrollment options. The weekend program, for instance, is now partially online, so students travel to campus only every other weekend. And a new Executive J.D. option allows students to complete their degrees partially online with two intensive visits to campus per semester. The format, schedule, and classroom of today’s part-time programs might not look familiar to a Mitchell or Hamline student from earlier decades, but the rigor, the connections between students, and the appreciation for a law school option that fits around a student’s life are much the same today as they were then.

These six stories about part-time law students—three former students and three current—illustrate how the innovative part-time programs available today allow students to accomplish their goals just as the earlier part-time programs did in their day.



Julie Finch ’87 (WMCL): EVENING Julie Finch chose the night program at William Mitchell so she could find a law-related job during the day, and it turned out to be a fortunate decision. Finch ’87 landed a law clerk job in software licensing at Honeywell as a 2L because she did well in contracts and could work daytime hours. Finch also knew how software licensing worked because her husband and several friends were software engineers. “I knew the language and the concepts, even if I didn’t know the legalities of it,” Finch said. “It was a brand new area of law.” Finch was one of the early presidents of the Student Intellectual Property Law Association at William Mitchell. She had study groups at school and with other law clerks at Honeywell. “We really did feel free to call on the expertise of the lawyers who were in the department,” she added. “We had the opportunity to pick their brains and see things in real-life operation.” Finch went on to work in IP at Honeywell for 10 years, followed by stints at the state attorney general’s office and two law firms. Just before the second firm, Rider Bennett, dissolved in 2007, she started a branding, copy-right, social media, and start-up business law firm from her Apple Valley, Minn., home. Her clients range from IT companies to the fashion industry. “It has all really worked out well for me,” Finch said. “Every phase of practice has had its own challenges and its own great things. I am set up to do this for a very long time.”

Sarah Dannecker, 2L: EVENING Sarah Dannecker wanted to start law school right after graduating from Hamline University in 2004, but life got in the way. Dannecker became pregnant and had to work full-time to support herself and her son. She landed a paralegal job at a Minneapolis intellectual property law firm and then became the contracts manager at Ecolab in Eagan, Minn. Dannecker recently left that job and will begin a position as a summer associate with a general practice firm in May 2018. At 35, she is a part-time 2L at Mitchell Hamline, attending evening classes. Dannecker studies in the time between work and school and all weekend, except for Fridays, when she takes a break. The evening program accommodates her lifestyle and learning style. “I really need my butt in the seat with the professor in front of me,” Dannecker said. “I learn best being at the school.” She enjoys corporate law and property law, though she says she hasn’t settled on a career path yet. She also enjoys the camaraderie among the evening-school students, most of whom are in their 30s and 40s. “We’re all in the same boat together, we have the same stressors,” she said. Her son, now 14, is proud of her for attending law school, but her friends are another story. “The reaction most people give is, ‘Are you nuts?’” she said with a laugh. But Dannecker is grateful for the opportunities she’s had. “I didn’t have to quit my job in order to go to law school,” she said. “That for me was a really nice feature of Mitchell Hamline.”



Tamara Cabán-Ramirez ’04 (HUSL) : WEEKEND By the time she began law school at Hamline University in 2001, Tamara CabánRamirez ’04 was long accustomed to being among the youngest in her class. She began kindergarten in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, at age 4, and started at the University of Minnesota at 16. At age 24, Cabán-Ramirez enrolled in the first weekend program cohort at Hamline Law. At the time, she was working as a paralegal in the immigration department at Rider Bennett, and a colleague told her about a new program Hamline was launching that would let her earn a J.D. while continuing to work full-time. Most of her classmates were older, married, had children, and were pursuing second careers. She loved it. “It was an enriching experience because people had had experience in the workplace,” she said. “That is one of the things that I truly appreciated. People had been out there, they had jobs to do, they had families to take care of.” Her classmates had a different approach to learning and to classroom collaboration than she had encountered in previous school settings. There was little feeling of competition, and there were more interesting discussions. Cabán-Ramirez worked full-time at Rider Bennett during law school. She studied anytime she could, finishing in 3½ years. She now has her own immigration and criminal law practice, and her old law school study group still gets together, refers cases to one another, and works together.

Mike Wells, 1L: WEEKEND Mike Wells drives seven hours one way every other weekend to attend classes at Mitchell Hamline, camping or staying in military housing to save money on hotels. The rest of the time, he’s working online. At 51, Wells has dreamt of law school for half a lifetime. He was accepted to Creighton University School of Law in 1992, but only to the full-time program, and he had to work full-time to support his family. Wells went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. He’s still working fulltime, now as a school principal and superintendent in rural Hamburg, Iowa. He appreciates that the weekend program involves seven weekends on campus each semester, because he learns best in the classroom. Internet service at his home is spotty, so for big projects he’ll sometimes go into work. He says most nights he’s working on schoolwork till midnight or 1 a.m. Wells plans to retire in four years and volunteer his services as an attorney for people in need, including in criminal defense. “We want to do God’s work and help people,” he said of himself and his wife, “and that’s something that Mitchell Hamline is really good about. They are very good about giving back to the community, helping others. “Without Mitchell Hamline’s program, there’s no way I could have done this,” he added. “I really am grateful, and I appreciate the opportunity. Now I just have to pass everything.”

Still the go-to law school for working professionals Mitchell Hamline’s Hybrid J.D. program and Executive J.D. provide working professionals an opportunity to enhance their current career with a law degree or begin a new career, just as the part-time programs at William Mitchell and Hamline Law did for an earlier generation of students. The Hybrid J.D. and Executive J.D. student populations include professionals from a wide variety of fields, including doctors and other health care professionals, engineers, business owners, police officers, teachers, federal and state government officials, and current and former members of the armed forces.



Jake Crandall ’73 (WMCL): EVENING Jake Crandall ’73 planned to work in labor law, return home to Austin, Minn., and run for the state Legislature. Instead, he ended up retiring as president and CEO of the American Automobile Association of Minnesota in 2004 after 30 years of service—all because a professor took a personal interest in him. Crandall was working his way through law school, taking evening classes and loading trucks overnight at UPS when a professor suggested he put his legal education to better use. That professor, now retired Minnesota Court of Appeals judge and former state Sen. Jack Davies, sent young Crandall to apply for a job at the Capitol. Crandall managed the Senate index, and through that experience he learned the legislative process and met some of the state’s most influential people. Had he not attended night school at William Mitchell, Crandall doubts he would have had the chance to work at the Legislature or at AAA. Later, because of his experience in the Legislature and his role as general counsel to AAA’s Minnesota chapter, he was appointed by Gov. Wendell Anderson to help craft the state’s no-fault auto insurance bill. “The real strength of William Mitchell was that as a student I had real-life experience—with lawyers, legislators, and clients,” Crandall said. “Those experiences strengthened my law school education.”

Martin Prego, 3L: HYBRID J.D. PROGRAM Growing up in Buenos Aires, 3L Hybrid J.D. program student Martin Prego knew he wanted to be a lawyer. He also wanted to live in the United States, so going to law school in Argentina didn’t make sense. Prego won a full scholarship in 1996 to the University of Miami for a master’s degree in international relations. He took a job with Merrill Lynch as a way to remain in the United States, and he put aside his dream of becoming a lawyer. Prego is now senior vice president and group chief compliance officer for a Miami bank and its subsidiaries and president of the bank’s wholly owned broker-dealer. When his daughter was born three years ago, he realized he couldn’t teach her to pursue her dreams if he didn’t pursue his own. He investigated part-time programs in the Miami area but needed more flexibility to accommodate his schedule. With the Hybrid J.D. program, Prego is able to study online after he puts his daughter to bed each night. “This is a fantastic program for many reasons for someone who wants to go to law school but also have a full-time life in terms of having a job and family,” he said. Prego’s classmates in the Hybrid J.D. program include a vast array of professionals, doctors, entrepreneurs, a former mayor, and business people. “I’m learning so much, not only from the faculty but also from each other,” he said. “Everyone has such an impressive resume.” And the exposure to new things has sparked a new interest for Prego. “I’ve been bitten by the litigation bug,” he said. “It was not expected, but I love it.” Nancy Crotti is a freelance writer, editor, and speechwriter in St. Paul.

These are a few of our students and their professions: • Brooke Baker, physician in Albuquerque, N.M. • Dawn Brantley, sheltering coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management • Stephen Griffith, emergency room doctor in Florida

• Brian Kennedy, CEO of the El Paso Sports Commission in Texas • Fred Knowles, professor of criminal justice and director of Native American Studies at Valdosta State University in Georgia • Aaron Rice, gospel singer from Tennessee



A Perfect Blend: Online and On Campus Mitchell Hamline’s ‘blended learning’ options combine the best of distance learning with the best of on-campus instruction By Doug Belden

It all started with the Hybrid J.D. program. Three years ago, Mitchell Hamline broke new ground in legal education with a program that allowed students anywhere in the world to get a law degree from an ABAapproved school by studying online for most of the semester and visiting campus for a week or two. More than 350 students have enrolled over those three years. A year ago, the ABA renewed the program’s variance for another four years. This December, the program will have its first graduates—11 students from the first cohort who are finishing early. Hybrid J.D. students are increasingly taking advantage of the same opportunities as on-campus students. They serve in student organizations like Law Review, do externships in the communities where they live, and participate in student competitions. Along the way, the program has been praised for innovation by the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, National Jurist, and other publications. Blended learning As the Hybrid J.D. program developed and more cohorts enrolled, professors became more experienced and confident in the new teaching format, and demand from prospective students increased. The Hybrid J.D. platform and teaching approach were extended into new offerings, creating a group of initiatives now known collectively as “blended learning.” Included in that group is a re-tooled weekend program that launched this fall with a new online component. Students come to campus every other weekend instead of every weekend, and they work the rest of the time online. Also new this fall is the Executive J.D. option, in which students come to campus twice a semester and spend the rest of the time working online. Executive J.D. and weekend students participate in a weekend workshop every semester in which they study a case by hearing firsthand from key participants. 14


And for working professionals not seeking a degree, Mitchell Hamline applied its online expertise to offer a suite of certificates through its Professional Legal Education program. These offer legal instruction in areas such as cybersecurity, privacy, and human resources compliance. The instructional designers Facilitating the growth of the Hybrid J.D. program and its progeny is a team of “instructional designers.” There were two when the Hybrid J.D. program debuted, but now the team at full strength is four. Their main task is to work with professors to transfer what traditionally has been done face-to-face into an online format that maintains not just the rigor but also the interactivity. The online and on-campus portions work together. Students in Advocacy, for instance, do depositions as well as direct and cross examination over Skype or FaceTime and then do a full mock trial when they get to campus. “We try to make sure that there’s a good balance between the online format and the in-person simulations,” said Meghan Fitzgerald, senior instructional designer. “From the first semester, students are engaging in interactive practical exercises, both online and in person, that mimic real-life situations.” Students in blended learning courses are getting feedback constantly, not just at midterm and final exam time. “They can track their progress and see where they need to improve before they get to the final exam,” Fitzgerald said. And there are multiple ways for students to connect with one another and with professors. Students are assigned to discussion groups, randomized for every course so each student will hopefully have substantial online interaction with every other student in the cohort over the course of their law school career. “We have students engaging and interacting with each other as much as possible because that’s the part of law school that we don’t want to take away,” Fitzgerald said.

Executive J.D. weekend workshops give students firsthand look at real cases By Professor Mike Steenson

Building on the success of our Hybrid Program, Mitchell Hamline added an Executive J.D. enrollment option this year that is differentiated from the Hybrid Program by, among other items, the addition of an in-residency weekend workshop each semester. The workshops are based on real-world problems that students explore in the context of criminal and civil litigation, dispute resolution, and the administrative and legislative processes. The intent is to emphasize skills lawyers use in the creative resolution of a variety of legal problems and to provide students with the opportunity to learn the role of the lawyer through the firsthand experiences of participants in those settings. I was fortunate to be part of the first of these workshops in August. It was a fascinating experience for the students and the professors (Kate Kruse, Morgan Holcomb, and I) who worked with the students. The workshop involved a civil suit, Odebrecht v. Bad Latitude LLC, a wrongful death action brought by the family of Adam McCloud, who died in Regions Hospital a week after being injured in a fight with Eric Richard at Smalley’s Bar in Stillwater. The workshop began with a videotape from the bar that showed the fight. The other professors and I then guided the students through a discussion of the basic theories of tort and criminal responsibility and then moved to a more specific consideration of the criminal and civil law issues in the case. Students studied the complaint, answer, jury instructions, and special verdict form and reviewed the sentencing transcript and applicable sentencing guidelines.

The workshop included appearances by the plaintiff’s attorney, the trial judge, and a panel with Eric Richard, his public defender, the lawyers who represented him at trial— including his then-student attorney along with Resident Adjunct Professor Brad Colbert from Mitchell Hamline’s Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners Clinic—and the insurance company lawyer who defended the bar. The interlocking stories of the panel members along with the insights provided by the plaintiff’s attorney and trial judge provided the students with an in-depth look at the civil and criminal justice systems. It provided them with a unique foundation to begin their study of law. Michael K. Steenson holds the Larry and Christine Bell Distinguished Professorship at Mitchell Hamline and has been on the faculty since 1972.

See a video feature about the weekend workshop at

Capstone Week: ‘An exhausting experience but also really fabulous’ By Maja Beckstrom Toward the end of each semester, Claire Fuller leaves the family ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and flies to St. Paul, where she checks into a hotel and packs 56 hours of law class into seven days. “I liken Capstone Week to being in trial,” said Fuller, a student in the inaugural class of Mitchell Hamline’s Hybrid J.D. program. “You show up and you live and breathe law. It’s an exhausting experience but also really fabulous.” Hybrid J.D. program students spend eight Capstone Weeks, and two Prep Weeks, on campus during their four years in the program. The rest of the time they’re studying online from wherever they live. Capstone Week’s long days of discussions, lectures, mock trials, and other simulations are closely tied to what students just finished studying online. For example, after taking second-semester online classes in lawyering skills, property, and contracts, Fuller arrived at Capstone Week and was assigned to represent a coffee shop tenant in a simulated

commercial lease dispute. Over several days, she researched the law, advised a “client” played by a professor, drafted recommendations, negotiated with students representing the landlord, and finally wrote new lease provisions. “Capstone makes you apply knowledge in an almostreal-world setting,” she said. With five Capstone Weeks under her belt, Fuller has created oral arguments in a constitutional powers case, walked St. Paul neighborhoods with a professor to see how zoning laws shape development, and—of particular interest—heard a guest presentation from attorneys who represented victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007. “They reminded me why I’m doing this,” said Fuller, a paralegal who hopes to practice personal injury law.

Maja Beckstrom is a writer and journalist in St. Paul.




Student wins national tax competition Third-year student Kristine Britven won the U.S. portion of Ernst & Young’s “Young Tax Professional of the Year” competition in New York City on Sept. 22, enabling her to advance to the global portion of the competition in Amsterdam at the end of November. Britven advanced to the national competition on the strength of her written analysis of four international tax planning problems. In New York, she presented her written analysis to 10 judges and worked on a team with other competitors to solve a tax issue. The competition was narrowed to two finalists, who were each given five minutes to prepare an oral argument. “I was shocked when they announced I won,” Britven said. Mitchell Hamline professors Allen Blair, Morgan Holcomb, and Denise Roy and security guard Dave Savard—an auditor for the Minnesota Department of Revenue—acted as Britven’s coaches.

Fall 2017 incoming class among the most diverse ever The fall 2017 incoming class at Mitchell Hamline comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, and is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse first-year classes in the school’s history. “Our students are a very impressive group,” said President and Dean Mark C. Gordon. “Ranging from students who just graduated from college to others who have been business people, sports executives, health care administrators, educators, and much more.” Applications were up 10 percent over last year, and, at 387 students, this fall’s incoming class is larger than last year’s. The greater number of applicants allowed the school to be more selective in picking the class, in turn raising LSAT indicators over last year’s incoming class. Twenty-eight percent of the incoming students are students of color. There was a significant increase in the number of African American, Hispanic, and American Indian students enrolled over previous years. Half of the incoming students are women. More than half of the incoming class comes 2017 entering class by from outside of Minnesota. This fall’s new enrollment option* students hail from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and 10 countries. Mitchell Hamline’s Full time 152 entire student body, now at about 1,100, represents Part-time day every state in the nation except one—Connecticut. and evening 23 More military veterans enrolled at Mitchell Hamline this fall than in previous years. That’s Weekend 29 due in part to a new program that enables more HYBRID J.D. student vets to take advantage of federal aid program 96 through the Yellow Ribbon program. This year’s entering class includes 27 veterans participating 87 Executive J.D. in the Yellow Ribbon program. Last year, TOTAL 387 there were 10 veterans in the entering class participating in the program. * As of Aug. 25, 2017

World champions: Hybrid J.D. program students win global competition Having made it through regionals last November and claiming first place at nationals in February, a team of Hybrid J.D. program students capped off a phenomenal year of achievement by winning an international negotiation contest this past summer in Oslo, Norway.

Brian Kennedy and Briana Al Taqatqa after winning a global negotiation contest in Oslo, Norway, on July 1, 2017.



Briana Al Taqatqa and Brian Kennedy outperformed teams from 25 countries at the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students. The competition played out over five days and featured daily simulated international negotiation sessions judged by a panel of legal experts from around the world. “We are absolutely delighted and thrilled that our team is now the world champion in negotiation,” said President and Dean Mark C. Gordon. “We could not be prouder of Briana and Brian for their tremendous accomplishment.” Al Taqatqa, from Bloomington, Minn., is an analyst for international education management company SABIS. Kennedy is CEO of the El Paso Sports Commission in El Paso, Texas. They are the first Hybrid J.D. program students to enter an outside competition, much less win an international title. Throughout their impressive run, the students credited good coaching, teamwork, and preparation for their success.


ents d u t s three s e r rts u o t p a s e f l a s ssion g clas e f n i o r r e p t es to l’s en i l t a t f s s a i Th t or p n e r r u with c STORIES BY TIM POST


By Tim Post he Twin Cities will be the center of the sports universe in February, when

Super Bowl LII is played in Minneapolis. And while Mitchell Hamline is not often associated with big-time sports,

three incoming students deepened our connection to that world this fall. One of our 1Ls is a former professional football player and star of a football reality show, another is a former top executive with the Seattle Seahawks and Supersonics as well as the Portland Trail Blazers, and one is a current Major League Baseball umpire. Each picked a different enrollment option—on-campus, Executive J.D., and Hybrid J.D. program—but their reasons for entering law school, and what they’d like to do after graduation, are all driven by their careers and experiences in sports.

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE


17 17


BOB WHITSITT The former team president and GM

Photo: Associated Press

With nearly three decades of professional sports management experience and more than a decade as a business consultant, Bob Whitsitt says he’s up for a “totally different kind of challenge.” Whitsitt’s career began with an internship with the Indiana Pacers in 1978. Within a few years, he was named vice president of marketing for the Kansas City Kings, overseeing the team’s 1984 move to Sacramento. In 1986, when he was just 30, Whitsitt was tapped to become president and general manager of the Seattle Supersonics, making him the youngest top executive in the NBA. At the time, the team had one of the worst records in basketball and was last in the league in terms of attendance. When he left eight years later, the Sonics were a winning team playing in front of sold-out crowds, a feat that earned

him the NBA’s 1994 Executive of the Year honor. Whitsitt had similar successes in top positions with the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks in the decade following. Since 2005, Whitsitt has served as the president of several companies and started a business consulting firm with his wife, Jan Sundberg Whitsitt. Whitsitt’s career left little time for something he always wanted to do—get his J.D. The 61-year old considered entering a part-time program at a law school in the Seattle area, but his travel schedule doesn’t allow for on-campus classes, even at night or on the weekends. Here’s what did work for Whitsitt: the new Executive J.D., an enrollment option that lets professionals go to law school without upending their lives. A significant amount of the coursework is done online with two intense, work-filled visits to campus each semester. Whitsitt comes to the program with plenty of business experience, something he hopes will come in handy. “I’ve probably negotiated over a thousand contracts with players, coaches, owners, and municipalities,” Whitsitt says. “I’ve been in court, I’ve sued people, I’ve been sued, and I’ve been a witness. I’ve got experience doing a lot of things that we’ll probably end up studying.” What’s next for Whitsitt once he earns his J.D. from Mitchell Hamline? He says he might use his decades of management experience to help a new generation of people in business. “I’m going to see where it takes me,” he says. “I’m interested in some pro-bono work and helping small companies that can’t afford lawyers.”

JEREMIAH ALLISON The NFL prospect Jeremiah Allison endured a rigorous schedule as a linebacker for the Washington State Cougars. At 6 am he lifted weights. At 9 am he started classes. His afternoons were filled with team practice. His evenings were spent studying. As a full-time, on-campus student, Allison still starts each day by lifting weights. After that, law school fills his day. “Basically, I took my football work ethic and applied it to my law school work ethic,” Allison says. Allison’s road from college football to Mitchell Hamline wasn’t a straight line. After graduating in 2016 with degrees in political science and criminal justice, he was thought by many sports watchers to be NFL-bound. Allison didn’t end up being drafted, an experience that was



CLINT FAGAN The man behind the plate If there’s a job that perfectly prepares someone for law school and a legal career, it might be being a Major League Baseball umpire. Just ask Clint Fagan, an ump with 13 years of experience in more than 500 major league and 2,500 minor league games. “One thing this profession prepares you for is how to keep yourself calm when everything else is going crazy,” Fagan says. “You’re the one person who has to remain steady when everything else is mayhem.” YouTube is full of examples of Fagan keeping his cool in crazy situations—whether that’s standing nose-to-nose with a screaming player, trying to intervene in a bench-clearing brawl, or taking a deflected pitch straight to the facemask. A student in the Hybrid J.D. program, Fagan sees similarities between umping and the work lawyers and judges do. “Like how to handle people when they’re dealing with a lot of emotion, a lot of intensity, and how to defuse a situation,” Fagan says. “At the same time how to think on your feet to resolve the problem.”

Fagan, 35, lives with his wife, Samantha, and their children, Addison and Hudson, in the Houston suburb of Tomball, Texas. He’s an insurance agent during the baseball off-season. He calls the online and on-campus Hybrid J.D. program a “perfect fit” for his career, one that’s filled with travel to ballparks around the nation, often on short notice. “The baseball season starts with spring training, and I’m not done until October,” Fagan says. “I couldn’t go to a traditional brick-and-mortar school.” While Fagan hasn’t decided what he’ll do when he earns his J.D., he’s considering working toward—what else—a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Mitchell Hamline’s nationally ranked Dispute Resolution Institute. “I’ve looked at the Dispute Resolution Institute,” Fagan says. “It really interests me because I think that’s one of my strengths.” Fagan is also looking at a future in sports labor negotiations. He’s held leadership positions with the minor league umpires’ union, where he’s helped negotiate contracts and resolve disputes. But he’s also considering real estate law. He’s learned a lot about that field from one of his mentors, Dan Bellino, who Fagan says is the only major league umpire who is also a practicing attorney. At least until Fagan graduates in four years.

chronicled in the NFL Network reality show “Undrafted.” Allison took it in stride, saying the NFL stands for “not for long.” Law school was always the end game. After a stint as a legislative intern at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Allison signed on to play one season with the Milano Rhinos, an American-style professional football team in Italy. After returning to the United States, Allison attended the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Pre-Law Summer Institute at Mitchell Hamline. The goal of the month-long institute, held every year at a different law school, is to give a diverse group of students a rigorous preview of law school. It aims to diversify the pool of potential law students in the United States and ultimately the legal world as well.

Soon after, Allison accepted an offer to attend Mitchell Hamline. “You get a great feel here,” he says. Born in Minneapolis—where his dad still lives—Allison says going to law school in St. Paul feels like a homecoming. And he has wanted to study the law since he was 10. “I always wanted to go to law school. I always wanted to have those two letters, J.D., behind my name.” After graduation, Allison hopes to continue his work in the sports world as an attorney for professional athletes. Don’t expect him to limit himself to just one path though. “Linebackers have to watch the run and call the plays,” he says. “That’s what a versatile player does. I want to incorporate what I learned on the football field to this life I’m transitioning into.”



A Desire to Serve Ramsey County Attorney John Choi left private practice a dozen years ago and has made a name for himself as a courageous, innovative prosecutor







Ramsey County Attorney John Choi ’95 (HUSL) left private practice a dozen years ago and has made a name for himself as a courageous, innovative prosecutor.


ate in 2005, John Choi was pursuing a secure career as a 35-year-old partner in the firm of Kennedy & Graven in Minneapolis when he received a phone call that would dramatically change the course of his life. The caller was Chris Coleman, who had just been elected to his first term as mayor of St. Paul. Coleman invited Choi to have lunch with him, an offer that Choi accepted with a bit of puzzlement—after all, he had supported Coleman’s opponent, Rafael Ortega. The two men met a couple of days later, and it wasn’t until halfway through their lunch that Choi realized what Coleman’s agenda was. He wanted Choi to serve as his city attorney. “I’d never really thought about that, and it put a heavy thought into my head,” Choi recalls. “I’d worked so hard to get where I was in private practice, and this would be a pay cut.” Nevertheless, the offer was alluring. Choi had fond memories of community service—during his undergraduate days at Marquette University, he organized an effective student/community mentoring program for youth in poor neighborhoods—and also enjoyed working for a St. Paul city councilman during law school. In weighing the pros and cons, Choi sat down with his parents, who had immigrated to the United States and St. Paul from South Korea in 1973, when John was three years old, to talk about the offer. His father, Peter, had worked in a CocaCola plant. His mother, Barbara, worked as an assembler at Sperry Univac and then became a nurse. His discussion with his parents turned out to be the clincher. “They were just so honored that their son could be city attorney—and I realized this is a pretty big deal and I should do it. So I took the job, and I left my practice.” Today, Choi is the Ramsey County attorney and is known— even outside Minnesota—as a prosecutor who is not afraid to make bold moves. In late 2016, he announced that he had chosen not to convene a grand jury to hear charges against a police officer who shot and killed African-American motorist Philando Castile and instead would bring the charges himself. It was the first time in anyone’s memory that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged in a fatal shooting. While that effort was unsuccessful—a Ramsey Country District Court jury found officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of manslaughter—Choi’s decision has been hailed as a courageous prosecutorial move to bring greater accountability to the procedures under which police officers’ use of deadly force is assessed. Photographs by BRADY WILLETTE

Love for public service Choi describes his transformation from law-firm partner to high-profile prosecutor as almost a natural evolution born of his love for public service and his St. Paul roots. The Choi family’s first home in St. Paul was the 24-floor low-income apartment building called Skyline Towers near I-94 and Hamline Avenue. A few years later, when John was in first grade, the family moved to Eagan, where he attended Rahn Elementary School before attending and graduating from St. Thomas Academy High School. Choi then attended Marquette, in Milwaukee, where he got his first taste of public service in creating Students Enhancing Education, a program that provided university student mentors for neighborhood children who needed to improve their reading skills. “I still think that’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life,” he says. Choi received a B.A. degree in psychology in 1992, and he became captivated by national politics for the first time that year as he tracked Bill Clinton’s successful run for the presidency. He began to think about political involvement in some capacity as he enrolled that fall at Marquette’s law school, but after a year he felt the urge to move back to Minnesota. He enrolled at Hamline Law and immediately began working on the mayoral campaign of St. Paul City Councilman Bob Long. When Long’s bid ended at the endorsement convention, he found a job for Choi as a legislative intern in his city council office.



Choi has good memories of his time in the classroom at Hamline. “I really loved my professors. I was a big fan of Mary Jane Morrison. I really enjoyed my classes with Bill Martin. But there were a number of professors there who I thought were really good.” Among the friends Choi made in law school was Dan Lew, now the chief public defender for northeastern Minnesota, who remembers Choi as a very serious, hard-working student. “He was always the most civic-minded guy,” Lew recalls. “I remember he invited me to volunteer for a group called Songs of Hope—mentoring kids who were struggling in disadvantaged communities.” After receiving his J.D. in 1995, Choi was hired as an associate attorney at Hessian, McKasy and Soderberg in downtown Minneapolis. Three years later, he joined Kennedy & Graven. Following his fateful meeting with mayor-elect Coleman, Choi entered his new job as St. Paul city attorney needing to learn on the job. “I came in with a fresh perspective,” he says. “I wasn’t so much shackled with having been in the system, and I think that the process of getting up to speed on things is where I fell in love with criminal justice issues.” He collaborated with others to develop and implement a program called Blueprint for Safety, which linked the city’s criminal justice agencies together into a domestic violence intervention network. He also developed a driver diversion program, in which people whose driver’s licenses had been suspended for failure to pay speeding tickets could get their licenses back by setting up payment plans for their fines. A ‘first’ as county attorney Choi developed a reputation for his work as city attorney, and “a lot of people,” he says, were encouraging him to run in 2010 for the Ramsey County attorney seat that was being vacated by Susan Gaertner due to her bid for the governorship. Choi won 54 percent of the vote to become the first elected Asian American county attorney in Minnesota and the first elected Korean American chief prosecutor in the United States. Choi had identified sex trafficking of people under the age of 18 as an issue that he wanted to address immediately after taking office. He did so by making a policy change that anyone under the age of 18 who is found to be engaging in prostitution henceforth be treated as a child in need of protection and not charged with a crime. That policy change ultimately led to legislative enactment of the Safe Harbor Law in Minnesota. “We’ve dramatically increased prosecution of traffickers across the state,” Choi says. “There’s been a total sea change.” Caroline Palmer, legal and public affairs director at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault and an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline, worked with Choi and his office in developing the protocols for what became the Safe Harbor Law. “John was the first county attorney to call upon other county attorneys in the state to look for ways to provide services for youth instead of putting them into the criminal justice system,” she says. “He’s really provided excellent leadership on this issue.” 22


In another matter involving sex abuse, Choi negotiated an agreement with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2016 over long-standing allegations involving priests. He dropped charges, amending a 2015 civil settlement, thus requiring the church to admit its role in covering up the cases. Castile verdict a disappointment After the jury returned its verdict acquitting officer Yanez on June 16, Choi stood before the news cameras to address the public. “As hard as this is for some members of our community, we have to accept this verdict,” he said. “I understand that this verdict brings a lot of hurt and pain and deep-seated frustration for a lot of people in this community.”

Don Lewis looks on as John Choi announces criminal charges in the killing of Philando Castile. Photo: David Joles, Copyright 2016, Star Tribune

Former Hamline Law Dean Don Lewis, who served as a special prosecutor in the case, later expressed his pride for how Choi handled himself throughout the case. “He brought me in as a special prosecutor, but it was in the role of advising his office and not making decisions for him,” Lewis says. “He held the ultimate responsibility of making that prosecution decision because he understood that he was accountable to the people of Ramsey County. He wasn’t going to delegate it to a special counsel, and he wasn’t going to delegate it to a grand jury.” Lewis used the term “extraordinary” to describe Choi’s decision to not convene a grand jury. “And I say that because there are a lot of prosecutors around the country who like to delegate those decisions elsewhere because they want to avoid the accountability.” For Choi, the verdict was a disappointment. But he says he’s never doubted the decision he made 12 years ago to leave the relative peacefulness of life in a law firm for the oftentimes stressful job of a prosecutor. “I’ve never looked back,” he says. “It was the right decision because it was born out of what was in my heart.” n Dick Dahl is a freelance writer and editor in St. Paul.

Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

WHAT’S POPULAR ON FACEBOOK? Following Mitchell Hamline on social media is a great way to keep up with the latest news on alums, students, and faculty. Here’s a look at Mitchell Hamline’s most popular recent Facebook posts.

May 29, 2017:

Sept. 14, 2017:



July 5, 2017:

June 7, 2017:



April 23, 2017:

May 12, 2017:

Mitchell Hamline alum Guled Ibrahim ’16 has accomplished much since arriving as a refugee in Minnesota more than a decade ago.

Brian Kennedy and Briana Al Taqatqa, students in Mitchell Hamline’s Hybrid J.D. program, win first place in the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students in Oslo, Norway.

Attorney at Law magazine profiles Karen Beckman, who pursued intellectual property law at Mitchell Hamline and secured a patent-law job with a Minneapolis firm.

242 likes More than 4,500 people follow Mitchell Hamline on Facebook; we have 17,000 followers on LinkedIn; and we have engaged and growing audiences on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s how to follow us:

Thanks to a $2 million gift from Jeff Anderson & Associates, Mitchell Hamline launches a new child abuse prevention and legal education project.

Student veterans who qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Yellow Ribbon Program will get their tuition and fees fully covered under a new effort at Mitchell Hamline.

Groundbreaking work by two alums results in the first-ever judgment in a civil case involving sex tourism.


Facebook: @MitchellHamlineSchoolofLaw Twitter: @MitchellHamline Instagram: @MitchellHamline LinkedIn: Mitchell Hamline School of Law



Teeing off at the Alumni Golf Tournament June 2017 T

‘Judge Devitt and Practical Justice,’ Justice Edward Devitt inaugural lecture in the new panel discussion Minnesota Legal Legends series September 2017

Assistant U.S. Teaching Sen. AlAl Franken Professor and Ana students Acosta, Senator Franken visits the second with from the left, “Wheels and students of Justice” with in the Wheels of Justice rollout. “Wheels Shakopee, of Justice” Minn., in Shakopee, September Minn. 2017 September 2017

1Ls Britta Torkelson (foreground) and Sam Gibson study in their hammocks, September 2017

See more photos of Mitchell Hamline on Instagram and at our Flickr page



Prof. Peter Knapp presents the Charge Spring Commencement, to the Class during Spring May 2017 Commencement, May 2017

Marking first year of LAUNCH, Launchthe of Dean Gordon’s an effort to connect 1Ls with Ice Cream Social program clients, April 2017

Director Sharon PressPress at the Professor Sharon Dispute Resolution Institute’s holds a press conference fall symposium, October 2017

Minnesota Rep. Rena Moran leads Child Protection a panel at the Child Protection Conference Symposium, October 2017

Minnesota’s Supreme Court Minnesota Supreme justices at Mitchell Hamline Court panel October 2017

Director Sharon Sandeen and students Students participate in pro celebrate the Intellectual Property Institute’s bono outreach program 10th anniversary, September 2017

‘Zero Abuse Project’ launch celebration Party for the launch of Jeff Anderson’s September 2017 Zero Tolerance organization




Professors in the


Mitchell Hamline faculty are sought after for comment on all kinds of issues in the news. Here’s a sampling from some recent interviews: “I don’t think shuttle diplomacy is the way to go here. They need to figure out how to work together, talk together, do the work of the people of Minnesota, and if they can’t figure that out, nothing changes.” SHARON PRESS on the use of a mediator in the legislative funding dispute between Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota lawmakers, 9/11/17, Star Tribune

“Given the emotion that’s been involved with this and the public protests, St. Anthony is probably saying ‘The most important thing to us is to wrap this up as quickly as we can.’“ DAVID LARSON on the separation payment paid to St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez after he was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile, 7/10/17, Associated Press

“The public should be asking who benefits from these kinds of regulatory reversals. Does public health benefit? Or is something else going on?” MEHMET KONAR-STEENBERG on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s delay in implementing new food-labeling rules after pushback from the nation’s food industry, 7/10/17, Star Tribune

“This could spell bad news for insurers in the individual market. If there is no longer an individual mandate, individuals who are healthier may simply say, ‘Look, it’s just not worth it to pay all this money for coverage.’” LAURA HERMER on the potential effects for MNsure after the U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act, 5/5/17, KSTP

“Immigration enforcement actions are typically done by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. State and local law enforcement run the risk of inadvertently committing some type of discrimination.” ANA POTTRATZ ACOSTA on a video showing a Minneapolis Metro Transit officer asking for the immigration status of a light-rail passenger, 5/20/17, Associated Press




Your recollections of professors who made an impact We asked you for stories about professors who shaped your life or career in important ways, and we received some wonderful responses. We’re including a few here. More are available at

Faculty emeriti engaged in a wide variety of activities Mitchell Hamline’s professors emeriti remain active in a variety of educational, legal, community, and other pursuits. Below is a glimpse of what some have been doing recently. For more, visit and click on the professor’s name.

Please continue to submit your recollections of faculty to

LARRY BAKKEN Teaching at the Law Faculty in Bergen, Norway New board member of Norway House in Minneapolis and chair of the Minnesota Peace Initiative

Hamline Law Professor Douglas McFarland taught a federal courts class for a small group of weekend students. We met in the library on Sunday mornings. There was no hiding in this course. Everyone had to be prepared

JOSEPH L. DALY ’69 (WMCL) Arbitrating cases for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Mediator, arbitrator, and partner with Value Solve ADR

and everyone participated. This was by far the best experience of my entire time in law school.

Brad Thiel ’06 (HUSL)

I cannot remember what class it was that William Mitchell Professor Bruce Burton was

CHRISTINA L. KUNZ Earning certification as a Master Water Steward Vice chair of the Computer Technology Law Section in the Minnesota State Bar Association

teaching, but it was the professor that made a lasting impression on me, not the content of the class. When Professor Burton waived a $10 bill and all but dared someone to respond to his question or challenge, my hand shot up in the air. The reward for me wasn’t just the $10. It was the relationship created between this professor and me (the Dean???—he was the Dean???—I didn’t realize

DOUGLAS McFARLAND Updating “Minnesota Civil Practice” semi-annually Serving as a golf rules official during summers in Minnesota and as a playing manager for a senior softball team during winters in Arizona

MARY JANE MORRISON Appointed assistant director of ombudsmen for the Minnesota Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves Recognized at the 40th anniversary of The Phoenix Residence Inc. as a “person who made a difference” in the lives of the disabled residents

MARILYNNE ROBERTS Honored with the Lion Pride Award by The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minn.

ALICE SILKEY ’86 (WMCL) Granted emeritus status by the Association of Legal Writing Directors in August 2017 Writing a book titled “Pathways to Humaneness in Legal Education,” which has been accepted for publication by Carolina Academic Press

CHRISTINE D. VER PLOEG Working with a humanitarian organization, Mano A Mano International Partners, she helped launch in 1994

that at the time). Bruce Burton gave me a confidence boost and would go on to play a pivotal role in my life and career.




Hermer, Konar-Steenberg awarded Faricy Professorship Professors Laura Hermer and Mehmet Konar-Steenberg have been chosen to receive the 2017-18 John H. Faricy Jr. Professorship for Empirical Research in the Law. The professorship is rotated annually among the school’s faculty members. It was created by John H. Faricy Jr. ’82 (WMCL), founder of Minneapolis-based Faricy Law Firm, to provide professors with resources to research and test theories and legal practices using empirical techniques. Hermer’s research will focus on measuring the perceived stress levels of patients who receive legal services through Mitchell Hamline’s Medical-Legal Partnership with United Family Medicine. Konar-Steenberg, the Briggs & Morgan/Xcel Energy Chair in Energy and Environmental Law at Mitchell Hamline, will use the professorship’s resources to analyze whether Minnesota state agencies are increasingly using state statutes to put regulations in place instead of using administrative rule-making. Joanna Woolman, director of Mitchell Hamline’s Child Protection Program and associate professor of law, was the first recipient of the Faricy Professorship, in 2016-17. She collected data on the experiences of parents in the child welfare system. Faricy is one of a long line of family members who graduated from Mitchell Hamline legacy schools. His grandfather Roland J. Faricy ’22 (St. Paul College of Law) co-founded a noted St. Paul law firm and hired future Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger ’31 (SPCL).

HLI brings football-safety investigator to campus The Health Law Institute is hosting a program on football concussions in January, shortly before Super Bowl LII kicks off Feb. 4 in Minneapolis. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Page, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is scheduled to give opening remarks. Jessica Roberts, director of the Health Law and Policy Institute and a George Butler Research Professor at University of Houston Law Center, will present a 2-credit CLE titled “Football Concussions: Medical Privacy and Public Health.” Roberts served as an investigator on Harvard Law School’s three-year Law and Ethics Initiative of the Football Players Health Study, which was completed in May 2017. The study was funded in part through an award from the National Football League Players Association.



Professor Knapp becomes associate dean for academic affairs After 28 years of teaching and serving as co-director of the Clinical Program, Peter Knapp was appointed this past July by Dean Mark Gordon to be associate dean for academic affairs.

“I want to help build this new institution,” Knapp said. “I hope to continue the good work being done by others across the school.” Knapp still plans to teach. This semester, he has been co-teaching an Evidence class as part of the Hybrid J.D. program and an Advocacy course in the traditional, on-campus program. In the associate dean role, Knapp replaces Kate Kruse, who has returned to full-time teaching and plans to assume the leadership of the Clinical Program next semester. Knapp joined the William Mitchell faculty and started co-leading the Clinical Program in 1989, after six years in private practice with Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly in St. Paul. A native of Nebraska, Knapp earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Harvard University.


Board adopts guiding principles, plan In June 2017, after a yearlong process involving faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the board of trustees approved a five-year strategic plan for Mitchell Hamline School of Law. The plan reflects the school’s commitment to innovation, academic rigor, practice-based education, and expanding access to legal education and knowledge. Below are the vision, mission, and values statements that support the plan.

VISION: Mitchell Hamline will be the nation’s leading innovator in legal education. We provide rigorous, practice-based training that equips students for the changing realities of the legal profession. We empower students to pursue careers of meaning. We use technologies in new ways to expand access to legal services and legal knowledge.


Mitchell Hamline makes list of “Most Innovative Law Schools” Mitchell Hamline was named one of the 20 “Most Innovative Law Schools” by National Jurist in a report published in the 2017 back-to-school edition of preLaw magazine. The schools—which also included Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, and Cornell— were selected based on “innovative curricula, programs and approaches to preparing students for the future.” Mitchell Hamline was singled out in

We live, study, and teach the law, working to make it just and accessible.

particular for the Hybrid J.D. program,

We are dedicated to:

Executive J.D. enrollment option, which

Serving as a gateway to opportunities that enable students to further causes about which they are passionate; Preparing students to compete successfully for jobs that exist today while positioning them to excel in jobs yet to be created; Expanding access to legal knowledge throughout society, among lawyers and non-lawyers alike;

Providing access to high-quality legal education for people from a wide variety of backgrounds; and

Advancing the rule of law and justice for all.

which began in 2015, as well as the debuted this fall. Both involve students completing their degree partly on campus and partly online. “When it comes to online legal education, Mitchell Hamline is leading the charge,” the report said.

VALUES: Courage and Independence: We imagine We take risks We are resilient

Inclusion and Integrity: We listen We depend on difference We foster transparency and trust

Commitment and Accountability: We speak up We create We deliver

Community and Collegiality: We serve together We celebrate together We connect locally, nationally, and globally




WARREN E. BURGER LIBRARY How are students using the vast and varied resources of Mitchell Hamline’s library? Here’s a look at numbers from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.



study rooms



Student circulation 186 of the 218 graduating on-campus students, or 85%, checked out at least one item from the library in their law school career. These students checked out a combined 9,360 items during their time at Mitchell Hamline. The average number of checkouts for these students was 50, and the median was 27. One graduating 3L had a total of 459 checkouts.

Exam and syllabus archive visits The exam and syllabus archives are collections of past exams and syllabi that faculty have given permission to make accessible online. Exam archive visits: 8,716 Syllabus archive visits: 3,586



Attorney circulation (alum and non-alum) Attorneys checked out 534 books

Checkouts of the most popular titles


The Bluebook


Synthesis: Legal Reading, Reasoning, and Writing Deborah A. Schmedemann, Christina L. Kunz


Fundamentals of Pretrial Litigation Roger S. Haydock, David F. Herr, Jeffrey W. Stempel


Evidence George Fisher


Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies Erwin Chemerinsky


Administrative Law: Examples & Explanations William F. Funk, Richard H. Seamon


Work of the Family Lawyer Robert E. Oliphant, Nancy Ver Steegh


Contracts: Examples & Explanations Brian A. Blum



Mitchell Hamline hosts ‘boot camp’ for minority, low-income students

Photo by Ryan Blegen

Mitchell Hamline hosted 40 students this past summer in an intense program meant to prepare participants from low-income and minority communities for success in law school. It was the sixth time in the past 17 years the school has hosted the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Pre-law Summer Institute. Mitchell Hamline has many graduates who were CLEO participants, and 11 from this summer’s group decided to enroll at Mitchell Hamline this fall. Sharon Van Leer, Mitchell Hamline’s manager for diversity and inclusion, calls the summer program a “boot camp” for students who desire to get a head start on law school and show a particular tenacity to succeed.

“It gives them a preview of what law school is like,” Van Leer says. “The intensity, the rigorous courses, the format, the study habits—it just really prepares them for initiation into law school.” The students spent four weeks at Mitchell Hamline in June and July taking courses on contracts, torts, legal writing, and other topics. They were a mix of recent college graduates and working professionals. CLEO grew out of an effort in the 1960s by Harvard Law School to encourage black students to study law. Those who complete the CLEO program have a better chance of being accepted to law school. The legal profession is growing more diverse, but it’s still overwhelmingly white. By some accounts, only 12 percent of lawyers in the United States are people of color.

In addition to hosting the CLEO Prelaw Summer Institute, Mitchell Hamline is also one of four partner schools in the CLEO Legally Inspired Cohort (CLIC) program, which aims to help traditionally under-represented groups gain access to law school. “The need for increased diversity and the inclusion of all people is particularly important at this time in American history,” Van Leer says. “The CLEO program helps us support people of color who have a strong desire to join forces with other Americans and lead us, as one united nation, into the next chapter of the 21st century.”




Alumni are well-represented on Super Lawyers list

1965 ROBERT S. BURK (WMCL) received the annual Leonard Lindquist Distinguished Practice Award from the Labor & Employment Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.


ROBERT J. ZALLAR (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer.



Kathleen Flynn Peterson ’81

Susan Rhode ’85

More than 40 percent of the Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2017 are alumni, as were 24 of the Top 50 Women Minnesota Super Lawyers. Mitchell Hamline was represented more than any other law school on both lists. Two alumni, Kathleen Flynn Peterson ’81 (WMCL), former board of trustees chair, and current board member Susan Rhode ’85 (HUSL) also made the Top 10 list in Minnesota. Super Lawyers describes itself as “a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a highdegree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” Lawyers are selected in all 50 states through a process involving “independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.”

RONALD E. ERICKSON (WMCL) completed his book “Judges, Jags and Jokesters: Judicial War Stories from the Workers Judge.” Erickson spent 26 years as a workers compensation judge.

SCOTT M. BORENE (WMCL) was selected as 2016 Minnesota Lawyer of the Year in Immigration Law by Best Lawyers in America.


KEITH A. LOVELAND (WMCL) recently became one of two inaugural recipients of the University of Minnesota-Duluth College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Alumni award.

JOHN W. CAREY (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer.


JOSEPH L. DALY (WMCL), an emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline, taught a two-day U.S. law seminar at the University of Lapland Law School in Rovaniemi, Finland.

1979 KELLY P. CALLAHAN (HUSL) is Freeborn County recorder and registrar of titles.

of Appeals. NICHOLAS OSTAPENKO (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer.

of Appeals. JOSEPH J. ROBY (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer.

of Appeals.

of Appeals. DOUGLAS L. RICHARDS (WMCL) retired as district judge in Faribault County on Nov. 1, 2017, after 22 years on the bench.

of Appeals.


STEPHEN L. HOPKINS (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer.

1981 of Appeals. JEROME B. ABRAMS (WMCL) has been elected for a second term on the board of directors for the National Center for State Courts.


JEFFREY P. CAIRNS (WMCL), partner at Stinson Leonard Street, was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel in the 2016 class. He was recently named 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Employee Benefits Law in Minneapolis by Best Lawyers in America. BRAD H. LEHRMAN (WMCL) has been selected to AARP Minnesota and Pollen’s “50 Over 50” list.

1982 of Appeals.

AMY J. EISENSTADT (HUSL) has retired after 34 years as a tax professional, the last 21 of those as state tax counsel at GE. BARRIE SCHUMACK (HUSL) is president of the Street Legal motorcycle club, comprised of people who ride motorcycles and work in the legal profession. Alumni who ride are welcome to join.

BARBARA L. KALLUSKY (WMCL) is director of the law library at Mitchell Hamline.

WMCL: William Mitchell College of Law HUSL: Hamline University School of Law




1983 PEG J. BIRK (WMCL) has been selected to AARP Minnesota and Pollen’s “50 Over 50” list.

1984 of Appeals.

CHARLES W. BATES (WMCL) authored an article for the May-June 2017 issue of The Northwest Lawyer, the official publication of the Washington State Bar Association. “The Clear, Crisp Day Defense” was the lead article for the Mother’s Day Tributes, in which bar members shared their stories of how their mothers or mother figures have influenced their legal careers. Bates also coauthored a chapter in a textbook in the field of youth development. JOHN R. CRAWFORD (WMCL) has successfully achieved recertification as a civil trial advocate. He has been a National Board of Trial Advocacy member in good standing since April 1997.

BRADLEY C. LUNDEEN (WMCL) was recognized through the Value Champions program of the Association of Corporate Counsel for combining technology, staffing, and fee solutions for better outcomes at lower costs.


STUART C. BEAR (WMCL) has been elected president of the law firm of Chestnut Cambronne. Bear has been in practice as an attorney with the firm since 1988. His practice focuses on estate planning and elder law.

JAMES L. FORMAN (WMCL) became a member of the St. Paul Academy & Summit School Alumni/ae Council. He is a 1977 graduate of the school. He has also been named a life trustee of Lewis & Clark College by the board of trustees of the school, located in Portland, Ore.


1987 of Appea

of Appeals.

PATRICIA E. KUDERER (WMCL) was elected to the Washington State Senate in November 2017. She had been appointed to the Senate in January 2017. She won her first race for the Washington House of Representatives last year. She was first appointed to the House in 2015. Kuderer is the first female state senator from the 48th Legislative District, which covers portions of the Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland communities near Seattle. CLARK D. OPDAHL (WMCL) was reelected to serve as managing partner of Henson Efron for another threeyear term, effective January 1. He has been serving in this capacity since 2008. Opdahl has also been selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list. LEATHA G. WOLTER (WMCL) has been elected to Meagher & Geer’s management committee to serve a five-year term. Wolter is also the lead partner of Meagher & Geer’s anti-fraud counseling & litigation practice group.

JAMES P. CAREY (WMCL), managing partner and president of SiebenCarey, was appointed to the board of directors of the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. He was also selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

ARTHUR C. KOSIERADZKI (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list. WENDI Z. ROSENSTEIN (WMCL) released a book on the Lincoln Del bakery and deli titled “The Lincoln Del Cookbook.”

1990 of Appeals.

BETH E. BERTELSON (WMCL) has been recognized as a Distinguished Professional by the Expert Network, an invitation-only service for professionals.

1988 of Appeals.

TIMOTHY L. ALDRICH (HUSL) was appointed to Division I of the Sixth Judicial District Court in New Mexico.

of Appeals.

SUSAN M. HOLDEN (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

FREDRICK R. KRIETZMAN (WMCL), a shareholder at Felhaber Larson, is chair of the firm’s real estate section.

of Appeals.

RESA M. GILATS (WMCL) is the intellectual property specialist–patent administrator for the University of Minnesota, Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC).

of Appeals.

ROBERT S. REPISCHAK (HUSL) was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to a seat on the 2nd Judicial District of Wisconsin. Prior to the appointment, he served as an assistant district attorney in Racine County for nearly 20 years. He is chambered in Racine County.

JOHN E. SWANBERG (HUSL) finished his tour at the Pentagon as reserve component plans officer in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He started a new assignment last summer as staff judge advocate at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, where he assumed duties as the primary legal officer on the installation. KURT L. TOURDOT (HUSL) and his wife, Rachel, welcomed their son Benjamin on May 5th to their family, joining his older brothers, Judah and Jeremiah, and sister Alyssa. The family resides in the Raleigh, N.C., area. Tourdot works on legal contracting projects and continues to operate a vintage sports card business. SCOTT D. MILLER (HUSL) had an article titled “Combatting Wage Theft: Administering and Enforcing the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA)” published in the ABA’s law journal “The Urban Lawyer.” Miller is legal counsel at AFSCME Council 31 in Chicago. He is also an adjunct lecturer in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.






of Appeals.

of Appeals.

ROBERT T. BRABBIT (WMCL) has joined Sieben Carey in the company’s Minneapolis office. He was also selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

PAUL K. DOWNES (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list. Downes is state certified as a civil trial law specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

of Appeals.

BARRY A. O’NEIL (WMCL) has been added to the 2018 list of Best Lawyers in Litigation (real estate).

of Appeals.

PAULA D. VRAA (WMCL) has been named to the bench in the 1st Judicial District. She will be chambered in Shakopee in Scott County. ADRIENNE K. WILSON (WMCL) is working in the city attorney’s office in Scottsdale, Ariz., after practicing at the city of Phoenix for 15 years.

LISA GROVES (HUSL) has founded and is president of I’ve Been Meaning to Write, a boutique publishing and marketing firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

JODY WINTERS (HUSL) was appointed as a district court judge in Minnesota’s 1st Judicial District. Winters will be chambered in Glencoe in McLeod County.

1993 of Appeals.

MICHAEL J. GABELMAN (HUSL) has announced he won’t run for a second 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

of Appeals. of Appeals. ELIZABETH K. MOORE (HUSL) opened her own firm, Moore Legal Services, in Elk River, Minn., focusing on family law and mediation services.

SARI K. LAITINEN (HUSL) taught a twoday U.S. law seminar at the University of Lapland Law School in Rovaniemi, Finland. Laitinen lives in Finland and represents Finnish companies expanding their business to the U.S.

of Appeals. PRITI R. PATEL (HUSL) is vice president, chief transmission officer, at Great River Energy.

of Appeals.

SUSAN H. STEPHAN (HUSL) was named associate dean for graduate and online programs at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

of Appeals.

SHANNON M. KOS (WMCL) has been named to the list of Best Lawyers in America for 2018.



SAM E. KAUFMAN (HUSL) was elected to a two-year term as county board supervisor representing District 7 on the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors. Kaufman is a partner in the law firm of Vande Zande & Kaufman, with offices in Fond du Lac and Waupun, Wis.

CHRISTINA J. CHING (HUSL) started her mediation and conflict management business, Innovative Conflict Solutions, in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she mediates divorce and family law disputes and helps manage workplace conflict.

KENNETH SWIFT (HUSL) has accepted a position as clinical associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Swift was previously a legal writing instructor and professor of legal writing at Hamline University School of Law for more than 18 years.


of Appeals. of Appeals.

DAMON E. SCHRAMM (WMCL) was recently named chief legal and administrative officer for Bite Squad, a restaurant delivery service operating in 16 states and headquartered in Minneapolis.

JEFFREY L. COTTER (WMCL) was appointed senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at the Tennant Company, a leading cleaning solutions provider.

of Appeals. of Appeals.

ANNA MARIE M. THATCHER (HUSL) and her husband, Graham, jointly received the 2017 South Dakota Governor’s Award in the Arts for Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Individual. Through their company, Periaktos Productions, they merge law and the arts to provide CLE content using theater as a teaching tool for programs on ethics in the practice of law.

ROBERT J. LIGHTFOOT (HUSL) was named to the list of Best Lawyers in America.

CONNIE A. LAHN (WMCL) has been named office managing partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Minneapolis.

of Appeals. MICHAEL F. SCULLY (HUSL) has been selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and has been included in the Best Lawyers in America.

STEVEN L. SCHLEICHER (WMCL) was honored with the 2017 Julius E. Gernes Prosecutor Award by the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Public Law Section during its annual awards ceremony and luncheon.

WMCL: William Mitchell College of Law HUSL: Hamline University School of Law




1997 DONALD J. HEDERVARE (HUSL) has opened his own law firm, Hedervare Law Office, in Little Canada, Minn. He will limit his practice to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and student loan debt services.

of Appeals.

JODI L. JOHNSON (WMCL) has joined Moss & Barnett in the firm’s business law, employment law, and real estate teams.

of Appeals.

DANIEL J. McGARRY (WMCL) is a partner in Husch Blackwell’s Madison, Wis., office after its combination with his old firm, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek. The combined firm has more than 700 attorneys in 19 offices across the U.S. and London.


CHARLES W. HOLLENHORST (WMCL) has joined the firm of Henningson & Snoxell in Maple Grove, Minn., as a member of the commerical and business department practicing corporate and commercial real estate law. LINDA K. HOPKINS (WMCL) was recently promoted to legal editor at Thomson Reuters, responsible for the development of the legal research tool PracticeLaw for Data Privacy. She is also co-founding the Churchill Club, which will focus on world leadership, the role of the individual in history, and the fostering of ideals personified by Winston Churchill among the young people of today.

of Appeals.

JEFFREY M. MONTPETIT (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and has been included in The Best Lawyers in America 2018. KEVIN D. OLSON (WMCL) is the new city attorney in Solon, Iowa.

of Appeals.

CORY P. WHALEN (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

1999 GARY L. HANSEN (WMCL) is serving his third term on the Eagan, Minn., City Council and was elected president of Metro Cities at the lobbying organization’s annual meeting in St. Paul. MICHAEL T. O’ROURKE (WMCL) was certified as a civil trial law specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

of Appeals.

MATTHEW M. QUINN (WMCL) was appointed as a district court judge in Minnesota’s 7th Judicial District. Quinn will be chambered at Milaca in Mille Lacs County.

2000 of Appeals.

MATTHEW M. MORGAN (WMCL) was certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a civil trial law specialist.

2001 of Appeals.

DARIN L. MIX (WMCL) has joined the firm of McCullough & Associates as a trial attorney. His practice is focused primarily in the areas of personal injury, estate planning, and family law.

of Appeals.

ANDREW R. PETERSON (WMCL) was selected as a 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyer. In addition, the Minnesota State Bar Association recognized Peterson as a North Star Lawyer for providing 50 hours or more of pro bono legal services in the 2016 calendar year.

of Appeals.

JEFFREY S. SIEBEN (WMCL) has successfully achieved board certification as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He was also selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

of Appeals.

of Appeals.

LISA T. SPENCER (WMCL) was named to serve as co-vice chair of the 4th Judicial District Ethics Committee by the Hennepin County Bar Association. Spencer is a multiyear honoree on the Super Lawyers Top 100 attorney and Top 50 Women lists and was named to the Best Lawyers in America 2018.

JOHN D. KLOSSNER (HUSL) has been named to the 10th Judicial District Court bench and will be chambered in Isanti County.

STEPHEN WENTZELL (WMCL) was appointed as 8th Judicial District judge and will be chambered in the Kandiyohi County Courthouse.

2003 of Appeals.

G. TONY ATWAL (HUSL) was appointed district court judge in Minnesota’s 2nd Judicial District and will be chambered at Saint Paul in Ramsey County.

of Appeals.

2002 of Appeals.

JAYNE J. BEEHLER (WMCL) has authored a second book, “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup,” in a series of books about hockey for children that also includes lessons on sportsmanship and fair play.

of Appeals.

JOHN M. KAVANAGH (WMCL) has been promoted to managing director for public and regulatory affairs for Minnesota Public Radio. Kavanagh will oversee MPR’s government relations and regulatory compliance efforts.

DANIELLE B. BOCCIO (HUSL) was recently featured in the BE magazine, an online magazine for women. Her career as a prosecutor, as well as her experience as a children’s book author, was highlighted.

of Appeals.

JILL K. ESCH (WMCL) was named the 2017 Member of the Year at the National Indian Child Welfare Association.




of Appeals.

CAMERON R. KELLY (WMCL), an estate-planning and corporate attorney, joined Lommen Abdo. SCOTT PRYOR (HUSL) was selected to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators for 2017.

of Appeals.

MARGARET R. RYAN (WMCL), a partner at Meagher and Geer, has been designated as a board certified labor and employment law specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

of Appeals.

ANNE E. SCHMIEGE (HUSL) has opened Schmiege Law Office in New Richmond, Wis.

2004 of Appeals.

CREIG L. ANDREASEN (WMCL) has joined Bernick Lifson as of counsel in the areas of real estate and banking.

of Appeals.

NICHOLAS J. KASTER (WMCL) has joined Moss & Barnett’s wealth preservation and estate planning and business law teams.

of Appeals.

ALYSSA M. NGUYEN (WMCL) has been recognized as among the top in her industry by the Expert Network, an invitationonly service for distinguished professionals.

of Appeals.

DEJA L. WEBER (HUSL) joined the firm of Melchert Hubert Sjodin.

of Appeals.

RYAN R. WOOD (HUSL) was sworn in as an immigration judge by the Executive Office for Immigration Review.


ADAM C. KIBORT (WMCL), who practices family law in Chicago, has been recognized as a Forty Under 40 by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. KRISTIN L. KINGSBURY (WMCL) has joined the firm of Henningson & Snoxell.


NATHAN J. GARLAND (WMCL), formerly assistant district attorney in Cayuga County, N.Y., is now assistant corporation counsel for the city of Auburn, N.Y.

of Appeals.

DEANNE M. KOLL (WMCL) has been elected to chair the board of governors of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

2007 of Appeals.

ELENA K. ATEVA (HUSL) became the maternal and newborn health policy and advocacy adviser of the White Ribbon Alliance, an international nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.

of Appeals. SHANNON C. CAREY (WMCL) was selected for the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list.

LINDSAY J. BRICE (HUSL) has joined Standpoint (formerly the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project) as a staff attorney.

of Appeals.

BRENDAN J. DOLAN (WMCL) is currently employed as senior associate in the areas of private business, sports and entertainment, and corporate finance at Stinson Leonard Street.

2009 of Appeals. MICHELE L. MILLER (WMCL) was named a 2017 Rising Star. CRYSTA PARKIN (HUSL) is now an assistant Dodge County Attorney handling all the civil matters for the county.

of Appeals.

MELISSA WEINER (WMCL) was named an equity partner in the Minneapolisbased employment, whistleblower, and class-action firm Halunen Law.

2008 of Appeals.

J.D. BURTON (WMCL) was recently named chief government relations officer for the University of Minnesota. Burton oversees the university’s federal, state, and community relations efforts, as well as advocacy campaigns, across all system campuses.

of Appeals.

of Appeals.

CHARLES R. ALDEN (WMCL) and Matthew J. Gilbert ’10 (WMCL) have formed the law firm Gilbert Alden. The firm’s practice areas include family law, employment law, and business law. JASON J. MELO (WMCL) joined Reading (Mass.) Cooperative Bank as the new information security analyst.

of Appeals. DANIEL QUAM (WMCL) has joined the Business Services group at Messerli & Kramer in Minneapolis.

TARA L. SMITH RUESGA (WMCL) joined Thompson Tarasek LeeO’Halloran as office manager.

2010 of Appeals.

of Appeals. TRACEY J. COATES (HUSL) was elected principal of the firm Paley Rothman.

Submit and Read Class Notes Online @ 36

of Appeals.


SUSAN R. CLEVELAND (WMCL) was recently promoted to manager in global strategic alliances at Thomson Reuters Elite.

of Appeals. ROCHELLE L. HAUSER (WMCL) was named a 2017 Rising Star.

WMCL: William Mitchell College of Law HUSL: Hamline University School of Law

HEATHER J. KAISER (WMCL) joined Associated Bank as HR consultant.

MATTHEW GILBERT (WMCL) and Charles R. Alden ‘09 (WMCL) have formed the law firm Gilbert Alden. The firm’s practice areas include family law, employment law, and business law.


of Appeals.


of Appeals.

of Appeals. DRAKE D. METZGER (WMCL) and Sonja Nyberg (HUSL) have partnered to open the law firm of Metzger & Nyberg in Minneapolis.

ALICIA E. LEGRED (WMCL) has joined the firm of Anderson, Skubitz, and Coryell as an associate attorney. She will continue to focus her practice on family law.

of Appeals.

NATHAN J. SWANSON (WMCL) began a new job as a compliance and legal services manager at Select Comfort Corporation.

SONJA M. NYBERG (HUSL) and Drake Metzger (WMCL) have partnered to open the law firm of Metzger & Nyberg in Minneapolis.

DAVID J. HOLT (WMCL) has cofounded miVoyce to educate and empower individuals on how to navigate their healthcare.


RACHEL KOHLER (HUSL) has joined Standpoint (formerly the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project) as a staff attorney with an immigration focus.

of Appeals.

of Appeals.

of Appeals.

JONATHAN L. FELT (HUSL) was named Young Lawyer of the Year by the Utah Bar Pro Bono Publico Awards. LUKE N. LAMPRECHT (HUSL) announces the birth of daughter Emily Noelle Lamprecht on April 20, 2017, in Marshall, Minn. She joins sister Allison.

of Appeals.

BENJAMIN G. STABENOW (HUSL) has joined Berens, Rodenberg & O’Connor in New Ulm, Minn., as an associate attorney.

of Appeals.

JOSEPH A. CAMILLI (HUSL) has joined Neider & Boucher. He focuses his practice on health care regulations, employee benefits, and employment and labor law.

RACHEL T. SCHROMEN (WMCL) was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award by Winona State University.

of Appeals. AMANDA L. SWANBERG (WMCL) has joined Martin Law as a family law attorney. She had a solo family law practice for many years before joining the firm.

2011 ANJALECK M. FLOWERS (HUSL) was promoted to assistant general counsel of Minneapolis Public Schools.


LACY E. SCHUMACHER of Appeals. (HUSL) joined the city of St. Cloud attorney’s office LAURA I. as a prosecutor. BERNSTEIN She prosecutes (WMCL) has misdemeanor joined Cummins crimes and & Cummins and is ordinance violations handling labor & for the cities of St. employment, civil Cloud, Sartell, and St. rights, and consumer Joseph. protection matters. KATE M. SPEER STEVEN M. (HUSL) has joined FOERTSCH (WMCL) Roe Law Group has joined Bruno as an associate Law as an associate attorney focusing attorney. He will be on employment handling all criminal counseling and defense matters, litigation. both state and federal.

LORI L. NELSON (HUSL) has joined The Sayer Law Group in Waterloo, Iowa.

THERESA R. PAULSON (WMCL) is now a law clerk to Judge Diane R. Alshouse ‘84 (HUSL) in Ramsey County.


CHELSY M. JANTSCH (WMCL) has joined Rinke Noonan as an associate attorney. Jantsch is experienced in real estate, estate planning, and business law.

ANDREW G. JACKSON (HUSL) has joined Faegre Baker Daniels as an associate in the product liability and environmental group at the firm’s Minneapolis office.

REBECCA A. DODSON (MHSL) is a staff attorney at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. She focuses on short-term service or adviceonly cases regarding critical civil legal needs for lowincome and senior communities in southern Minnesota.

of Appeals. ADAM E. SZYMANSKI (WMCL) has joined the intellectual property law firm Patterson Thuente IP. He also recently married Kindra Seifert ’16 (MHSL). NICHOLOS P. ZINOS (HUSL) had an academic paper titled “Fundamental Rights in Early American Case Law: 1789-1859” accepted for publication by the British Journal of American Legal Studies for its spring 2018 issue. The paper was written while he was a student at Hamline Law with financial help provided by the Bakken Fellowship. Zinos’ faculty adviser was Professor Emeritus Douglas McFarland.


PAULA N. KANNE (MHSL) has been named honorary consul for Brazil in the state of Minnesota by the Brazilian General Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

KINDRA M. SEIFERT SZYMANSKI (MHSL) recently married Adam Szymanski ’15 (WMCL) in Saint Paul.

of Appeals.

GRACE R. POQUETTE (MHSL) joined Roe Law Group as an associate attorney focusing on employment law and corporate advice.

of Appeals.

KEITH R. CZECHOWICZ (MHSL) joined Brownson Norby as a workers’ compensation defense attorney.





WARREN H. PUELSTON (MMCL), 96, died Aug. 28, 2017. Survived by nieces and nephews Sharon (Alan) Kittel, Bob (Linda) Puelston, Nancy (Andy) Anderson, and Dave (Faye) Puelston; grandnieces and nephews Jenni MacNaughton (Krista Frechette), Jeff (Lisa) Kittel, Laura (Tyler) Thorne, Andrew Kittel, and Daniel (Amanda) Puelston; greatgrandnieces and nephews Katie, Zach, and Addie Brenk, and Jake Thorne.


LOUIS L. HOFFMAN (WMCL), 90, died May 22, 2017. Survived by wife Jean; sons John ’82 (WMCL) (Brenda), Tom (Krista), Bill (Rebecca), and Jeff. DAVID W. ROBINSON (WMCL), 88, died June 20, 2017. Survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean; children Ann (Kenneth) Hanna, Carrie (Thomas Green) Robinson, and Sarah (Calvin) Greening; six grandchildren; four great grandchildren; sister Cecelia Kothe; and cousin Paul (Bette) Vandersteen.



ALFRED N. FELDMAN (WMCL), 91, died Sept. 22, 2017. Survived by wife Myrna; children Janet Feldman and Steve (Mary) Feldman; grandchildren Rebecca Feldman (Lauren Silverstein), Jacob Feldman, Josh (Susan) Feldman, and Abby Feldman; and great-grandchildren Penelope and Ezekiel Feldman.

KENNETH G. ZIEBARTH (WMCL), 85, died Sept. 20, 2017. Survived by wife Maxine, sister Donna, eight children, a step-daughter, 17 grandchildren, and eight greatgrandchildren. Preceded in death by two children.



MICHAEL R. GALLAGHER (WMCL), 87, died June 1, 2017. Survived by brother Judge Daniel Gallagher (Grace); nephews Mark Gaddis (Pook Grathwol), Bill Gaddis (Gloria),and Michael Gallagher; nieces Kathy Wilson (Clark), Patrice Knudson, Mary Gallagher (Jon Eversoll), and Ann Gallagher; great-nieces and nephews Lynne Gonsor, Anne Briese, David Wilson, Ben Gaddis, Alex Gaddis, Joey Knudson, Glen Knudson, Chris Knudson, Billy Knudson, Soren Eversoll, and Solvej Eversoll; and dear friend Cynthia Bertheau.

DENNIS L. EHLERS (WMCL), 75, died March 1, 2017. Survived by wife Mary; son Michael (Jennifer) Ehlers and their children, Tad and Katherine; daughter Kristen Patton and her son, Michael Patton; brother Fred (Grace) Ehlers, their children and grandchildren; sister Karen Funk, her children and grandchildren; sisterin-law Cathy Hart Price (Joe), their son and grandchildren; Donald R. Hart Jr. (Sue Goff).

Student remembered as joyful, inspirational classmate Jessica Southard’s classmates remember her joyous laugh filling the classroom and draw inspiration from her dedication to social justice. Southard died June 20, 2017, in a house fire in Algona, Iowa. She was 29. The fire also took the life of Southard’s aunt Karen Lierley ’87 (WMCL), age 69, who died June 23 from injuries sustained in the blaze. Southard’s family joined Mitchell Hamline students, faculty, and staff to celebrate her life and mourn her passing during a memorial service on campus Sept. 29. A scholarship in Southard’s honor will be awarded next fall to an entering student who exemplifies Southard’s commitment to social justice. A bench on the north end of campus has also been dedicated in her memory. 38


A rising 2L, Southard had a passion for helping those she saw as marginalized in society. While at Grinnell College, she led groups for residents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women. After graduation, she worked at the Iowa Juvenile Home and with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During her first year as a Mitchell Hamline student, Southard taught constitutional law to at-risk students as part of the Minnesota Justice Foundation’s Street Law program. Southard is survived by her parents, a sister, and her paternal grandfather.








TIMOTHY W. DUNN (WMCL), 71, died May 25, 2017. Survived by wife Michele; sons Brendan (Jill) and Michael (Charity); grandchildren Kieran, Fiona, and Neve; sisters and brothers Kathy (Rob) Shish, Colleen Lamberton, Larry (Dianne) Dunn, and Shawn Dunn; and nephews and nieces.

KAREN LIERLEY (WMCL), 69, died June 23, 2017. Survived by sister Patrice (Tom) Southard; brother Michael (Julie) Lierley; brother-inlaw Bob (Nancy) Eppler; niece Emily Southard; nephews Connor and Evan Lierley, P.J. (Michelle) Eppler, and Tim (Julie) Eppler; great-nieces Madison and Mabel; and great-nephew Aaron.

TIMOTHY P. McCARTHY (WMCL), 54, died Aug. 8, 2017. Survived by wife Deveny and their children Patrick, Catherine, Maggie, and Kelly; mother Margaret McCarthy; siblings Colleen Hannigan (Kieran), Michael (Martha Benda), Megan, and Kathleen; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and in-laws.

TIMOTHY T. NIPPER (HUSL), 60, died Sept. 29, 2017. Survived by son Nathan Nipper; mother Victoria E. Nipper; brothers Jeffrey H.J. Nipper, Randall T. Nipper (Susan), and Robert Drew Nipper (Tammy); brother-inlaw Brian Dunn; aunt and uncle Louise and Edward Rodzen; and many nieces and nephews.

NIKKI J. SOMMERS (HUSL), 33, died Aug. 4, 2017. Survived by her parents, Dale and Susan; brother Corde; sister Angie; maternal grandparents Clarence and Mary (Kryzer) Mueller; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

LESLIE A. SAPORITO (HUSL), 49, died Aug. 18, 2017. Survived by husband John; children Matthew, Steven, and Alicia; parents Adrian ’65 (WMCL) and Barbara Herbst; brothers David, Paul (Liz), and Jon Herbst; and nieces and nephews Cole, Avery, Alec, and Adrian.

1980 NEUT L. STRANDEMO (WMCL), 71, died Feb. 15, 2017. Survived by wife Pat Sutherland ‘80 (WMCL).

MMCL: Minneapolis-Minnesota College of Law WMCL: William Mitchell College of Law HUSL: Hamline University School of Law

Retired judge known for fairness, integrity

RICHARD UNGER (HUSL), 70, died Nov. 3, 2017. Survived by his children, Michael Joseph Unger and Christine Lee Unger.

1985 ANNE MOHAUPT (WMCL), 65, died Nov. 1, 2017. Survived by husband Craig Riedl; son Che Riedl (Jamie); brothers Jeff and Mark Mohaupt; grandchildren Dylan and Aryanna; aunt Loretta Johnson; uncle Dan Doran; nieces Rhen and Kelly; nephews Jason, Joe, and Matthew; and many cousins.

SPCL: St. Paul College of Law

Warren Saetre and his wife, Marjorie Sorenson.

Growing up among the lakes, woods, and prairies near his hometown of Henning, Minn., Judge Warren Saetre had a love of the outdoors that lasted his entire life. Saetre died Sept. 26, 2017, due to injuries suffered in a traffic accident. He was 94. His wife, Marjorie Sorenson, also died in the accident. Born August 22, 1923, Saetre enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and was a fighter pilot during World War II. Following the war, he flew with the Minnesota Air National Guard. He married Margaret Strunk in 1950,

graduated from Mitchell Hamline predecessor St. Paul College of Law in 1951, and opened a solo practice in Warren, Minn. He served as Marshall County Attorney from 1953 to 1968 and was appointed to the 9th Judicial District bench in 1968, where he served until his retirement in 1988. His brothers Gaylord ’42 (SPCL) and Homer also served as district court judges in Minnesota. After the death of Margaret, Saetre married Marjorie Sorenson in 2010. Steven Saetre said of his father, “He was wellregarded for his fair-mindedness and integrity by many in the legal profession and judges statewide.” Saetre is survived by brothers Homer and Roland; daughters Anne, Nancy, and Linda; sons David, William, and Steven; stepson Scott; and numerous grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

Photo: Jim Muchlinski, Copyright 2017, Marshall Independent MITCHELL HAMLINE LAW


Practicing immigration law as an act of patriotism By Salima Khakoo


rida, an 18-year-old Mexican national, built of a small frame but with a louder than expected voice, came into my office and asked if I was a lawyer. After I said yes, she looked at me with big brown eyes and said, “I need help to sue my parents for bringing me here.” I cleared my throat and asked for some information, to which she relayed a painful story of a childhood robbed. She explained that her parents were undocumented and worked long hours at low pay to support the family of three children. When she was not in school, she was the day care provider for her siblings. She also spent her time translating for her family. Frida had angry tears in her eyes as she described the feeling of isolation, hopelessness, and despondency that she felt when, in her teens, she was told that she was actually born south of the border and her family lacked the proper paperwork for any meaningful progress in this country. The look of despair in her face is something I recognize and see much too often in the youngest amongst us. In my career, for better or worse, I have seen that despair in the eyes of highly successful students who learned that, due to their undocumented status, college was no longer an option. I’ve seen it in the eyes of young women who have escaped abusive marriages and taken the risk of long journeys with babies in tow to seek the protection of our nation, only to be told to go back to their certain death. I’ve seen that same despair in the swollen eyes of young men working multiple full-time jobs in dark places for little pay, which they cannot leave, just to be able to send some of the money home. Those eyes are sometimes hard to bear, but they are a mainstay of the work I do in immigration law. I do this work because I find my daily work to be a form of patriotism—a way to give allegiance to this great nation that accepted me as a young immigrant and now has given me the tools to ensure that the engine of this nation continues to be fueled with the energy of the immigrant spirit. After 15 years, immigration law continues to baffle, excite, and anger me all at the same time. It is like a continuous loop of learning, applying, and learning some more. Most importantly, our field requires a high amount of emotional intelligence and awareness of how our own trauma affects our ability to serve others, and this personal development to become a better human being is part of the work.

SHARE YOUR STORY This space is for alumni to share reflections about their personal experiences with the profession of law. If you have a story you’d like to submit for “A Life in the Law,” please send about 650 words to 40



Life in the Law

For Frida, things changed for the better on June 15, 2012, when an executive order called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” allowed her and almost a million other children who had been brought here before the age of 16, and who were under 31 at the time, to apply for an employment card and get a reprieve from deportation. But then, on September 5, 2017, the executive order was rescinded and young women like Frida were unable to renew their employment cards. This meant losing her job that allowed her family to have a living wage, giving up on college, and returning to the dark shadows of American life. Her fear was palpable, and those sad brown eyes looked at me, and I almost broke down in tears. It is unclear what the future holds for these promising young people. I have met many “Dreamers,” as they are known. They are working in Fortune 500 companies, studying to be physicians, lawyers, bankers, computer scientists, and entrepreneurs. They are valedictorians and salutatorians of their classes. The promise of America, the shining city on the hill, is deeply and profoundly embedded in their dreams as they seek only one thing: to be part of the American fabric and make our nation a better place. Every day, in my vocation, there is an opportunity to give voice to the American Dream and to ensure its promise for our posterity with small acts like securing employment cards, permanent residence, and citizenship for immigrants. For this, I am forever grateful.

Salima Oines Khakoo ’02 (HUSL) is CEO and managing attorney of American Dream Law and works with community organizations to ensure the provision of immigration-law services to working-class families. Born in Tanzania and raised in New York City, she teaches at Mitchell Hamline and lives in St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood with her husband, Eric, and their children. Photograph by BRADY WILLETTE

ANNUAL FUND: A Cornerstone Couple Michele Greer ’81 and Jim Ventura ’83 are part of a very select group. The William Mitchell grads have given to the Annual Fund every year for 27 straight years. The couple, both natives of the Twin Cities, met as undergrads at the University of Minnesota. They were in the same class, but Greer finished up and headed off to William Mitchell first. “I was on the misspent-youth party plan,” Ventura joked. He started law school two years after she did.

They married after Greer graduated from William Mitchell in 1981. They now live in Plymouth, Minn. After law school, Greer worked briefly for the state of Minnesota and then opened a solo practice, developing a specialty in debt collection for hospitals and clinics. Ventura graduated in 1983. He worked for two firms before starting his own practice in 1991, specializing in criminal defense. That was around the time the couple started giving to the Annual Fund. They say they began giving—and have continued for nearly three decades—as a way of expressing thanks for the opportunity they received and the quality and usefulness of what they learned. “For me, it’s been a gratitude that I got to go,” said Ventura. “Even when we didn’t have much, we gave.” Greer said supporting the Annual Fund is a way to recognize “a quality education, and a quality experience.” Going to William Mitchell allowed the couple to attend class in the evenings, work during the day, get practical experience in clinics, learn from leading practitioners in the field, and connect with a varied and talented mix of students. “The things that I learned at William Mitchell have been truly helpful,” said Ventura. To make a gift online, please visit If you have any questions about the Annual Fund, please contact our Annual Fund Officer, Allison Burke, at 651-695-7608 or

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alums who choose to support the law school year after year. That commitment to supporting the Annual Fund is one way our alums express their gratitude for the education they received in law school, and the difference it has made in their lives. We are proud to have that kind of support. If you can say that law school changed your life for the

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Detail from a relief sculpture at St. Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse. 01615 2017-11

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