As a part of Mizzou Law’s commitment to the Missouri Method, which features experiential hands-on learning, the school hosts clinics for students interested in veterans law, entrepreneurship, and the recently announced reopening of the family violence clinic.
However, due to the high demand for those limited-capacity clinics as well as an existing student interest in public sector law, not all students could enroll in the existing clinics.
To fill that gap, Mizzou Law launched a new practicum course last spring with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office (AGO). The practicum connects law students with a variety of professional interests with a learning experience that combines classroom learning and hands-on experience.
While this program is new, it can be viewed as an extension of the already close relationship between the law school and the AGO, Associate Dean Ben Trachtenberg said.
“For years and years, we have had our students working there over the summer and during the year,” Trachtenberg said. “The folks at the Attorney General’s office came to us and wanted to formalize the partnership.”
To serve this purpose, Mizzou Law faculty and representatives from the AGO decided to create a practicum. Unlike a clinic, which is conducted entirely within the law school, the practicum allows students to be supervised by lawyers at the AGO and taught by assistant attorneys general with adjunct faculty appointments at Mizzou Law.
Last spring, eight students interested in various fields of law enrolled in the practicum.
Kate Albers, a rising 3L, said her experience gave her useful hands-on experience as she prepares to transition into the workforce.
“My interest in the AGO practicum was to gain an inside look at what life would be like to work in the AGO office,” Albers said. “Interacting with the broad spectrum of attorneys in the different sections of the office and learning about their jobs was immensely helpful to me as I consider life and employment post-law-school.”
Jason Lewis, a lawyer in the Attorney General’s Office and adjunct associate professor at Mizzou, said that the program was a win for students and attorneys alike.
“Students are able to perform real legal work that benefits the citizens of Missouri while giving them an unparalleled view into life as a government attorney,” Lewis said. “The AGO also benefits, as we are able to mentor the next generation of public servants and benefit from fresh ideas and the hard work ethic of Mizzou Law students.”
Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Mizzou Law alumnus, said he enjoyed welcoming students to the practicum and looks forward to the skills that they will bring to the field.
“I wanted to create a practicum that would recruit the best and brightest to serve the state of Missouri while training up a new generation of public service-minded attorneys,” said Attorney General Andrew Bailey. “This program is one of a kind, and I’m excited to see all that it yields for the future of our great state.”
Mizzou Law plans to offer the practicum again in fall 2023 and spring 2024, and it anticipates launching more practicum opportunities soon through other agencies in the public sector, such as the Department of Transportation.