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Insight Alma Mater: Mitchell Hamline

My decision to attend Mitchell Hamline School of Law (MH) in Saint Paul, Minnesota started out as just a marriage of convenience. When I applied, all I knew as a Bay Area native was that Minnesota was home to Jesse Ventura, who had made his way from working as a pro wrestler to being the governorAnd I knew nothing about MH; I believe I first received contact from the school among others after taking the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) 


Sorting through acceptances, I ultimately chose the one which made me the most generous offer, which happened to come from MH. They had offered me a full-tuition scholarship for all three years of law school and also awarded me funding for a position as a research assistant for a professor. I could not resist such a lure. Decision made, I packed my bags for a place I had never visited and did not know much about. It would change my life! 


Fall Color Insight Alma Mater Meilin

From the start, the faculty was very willing to share their wealth of knowledge when I would drop by during office hoursSometimes you gain the most valuable insights by simply being in the presence of others who are wise. This sort of mentoring by osmosis is valuable beyond measure. Being able to observe a master of a craft was actually one of the biggest perks of working as a research assistant. Not only did I have the pleasure of seeing how a professor prepared for publication (and I saw my name in print within a footnote for the research I did, whoo-hoo!!!) this professor shared personal advice and anecdotes which have resonated throughout my life 


By the way, law school involves infinite bouts of reading. As in, reading more than you might have ever imagined a human doing. And, as you may or may not know, law school classes are indeed conducted in the Socratic method; you sit in a classroom assembled around a podium as your professors alternately lecture and ask you questions about cases – you must answer based on your careful reading and analysis beforehand – to draw out your critical thinking. After the first year, I also had the opportunity to take courses which were smaller and more intimate.  

Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin shares her experience in Law School


Active as a leader for several clubs, I also had the benefit of relying on faculty as club advisors. My club advisors were generous enough act as sounding boards and even make introductions for me so that I could recruit attorneys for events and projectsI very much appreciate not only their academic roles as professors but being able to spend time to get to know them, one by one. Due to the positive reputation of the law school, when I made partnerships beyond campus, it was very easy to build connections to ultimately provide wonderful opportunities to my club members and the law school population as a whole, since my clubs’ activities and events attracted students and faculty. 


My fellow classmates were an energetic, lively bunch! Most of them were from the Midwest but there were plenty of students from the coasts also. Law school students occupied graduate school housing, which was right next to campus, and very close to the law school. This might not matter much if you are in a temperature climate, but, in the middle of cold, cold winters and torrential rains, every step matters. 


Law school is an explicitly professional training ground. I believe MH gave me excellent preparation to work in the legal profession. The law school offered practicums and clinics. As a student attorney, I represented the interests of children in the foster system, whose parents were facing the termination of parental rights. In my practicum, I worked as an intern in local government which ultimately led to a job offer upon graduation. 


Personally speaking, have made use of my MH education in my work life and as a volunteer for various good causes. MH gave me the opportunity to directly immerse myself into a new professional universe. For that, I am forever grateful.  


P.S. Disclaimer: meeting famous people is not a sufficient reason to attend law school but…eventually, I shook Jesse Ventura’s hand at campus event!  


Written by Meilin Obinata

This article is written by Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin Obinata.

Meilin Obinata is a Senior College Counselor who enjoys learning from her students. She believes education is a creative endeavor and creates a space that allows students to explore new ideas. As a Bay Area native who grew up in Santa Cruz, she is familiar with the local schools. Read her full bio here.

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