HCBA 1L Minority Clerkship Program

Program Overview

The HCBA 1L Minority Clerkship Program first began in the fall of 2005 under the direction of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The program places first-year minority law students with Minnesota legal employers for a summer associate experience. Ultimately, the program hopes to find its participants becoming future partners and leaders in Minnesota’s legal community.

The 2020 summer was the program’s fouteenth year, and more than 50 students applied and 14 students were placed. Hundreds of law students from underrepresented backgrounds have been served by the program since its inception.

How It Works

Each 1L law student, who provides a complete application and who self-identifies as a minority, will be interviewed by members of the HCBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee and other volunteer attorneys during the second week of  January. A limited number of students (based on the number of participating employers) will be chosen for a second round of interviews in early February. Those students chosen for the second round of interviews are guaranteed summer employment; however, they will still need to interview with all the participating employers during a day-long interview process. The employers and students will then rank their choices from first to last. HCBA 1L Minority Clerkship Subcommittee will then generate a blind match of employer and students, which will determine the employment matches for the clerkship program.

What You'll Be Doing

While the clerkship program is organized through the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the HCBA, it is the individual employers who hire the students. As such, the students are afforded the same level of respect and professionalism as any other person hired by the organization. Each participating employer will hire one or more law students at their organization’s normal salary for a first-year summer clerk position and provide the clerk with legal work, mentoring, frequent performance feedback, and exit interviews. In addition, most employers consider their 1L clerkship student(s) for an offer to return to work in the future (e.g., school year clerk, 2L summer associate, post-graduation, etc.). In turn, each participating student is asked to work for the selected employer for an eight to twelve week period during the summer following their first year of law school. During that time, they will conduct legal work including, but not limited to research, writing, analyzing, and engaging in thoughtful analysis in an effort to serve the employer and the employer’s clients.


Dec. 15, 2020: Applications submitted by 11:59 PM.

Jan. 3, 2021: Legal Writing Sample due to HCBAClerkship@mnbars.org by 11:59 PM.

Jan. 4 - Jan. 8, 2021: First-Round Interviews. Select your interview time on the online calendar.

Feb. 8 - 12, 2021: Matching Interviews.

Feb. 19, 2021: Matching Preferences due by 4:00 PM.

March 1, 2021: Employer/Student Matches announced.

Apr. 9, 2021: 1L Summer Clerkship Orientation.

How to Apply:

The HCBA will begin accepting applications on Nov. 3, 2020 at https://mnbar.wufoo.com/forms/1l-minority-clerkship-program/. The deadline for the applications is Nov. 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Applications received after that time will not be considered.

On the application page, applicants should upload a single pdf in the "upload field" that includes the following items in order:

1. Resume

2. Personal Statement: A one page, 12-point Times New Roman font, single spaced, with one-inch margin essay explaining: 1) how your identity, background, culture, or life experience makes you unique; 2) how your unique perspective will add value to the legal community; and 3) what motivates you to stay and practice law in Minnesota.

3. Undergraduate Transcript with GPA (unofficial transcripts are acceptable).

Consider contacting your law school's career services office if you have difficulty preparing your application materials.

Additional Requirements:

After submitting an application, students must also select a first-round interview slot. The link to schedule interview slots will be available on the application page. All interviews will be conducted virtually. If you need to change your interview time or make alternative interview arrangements, contact HCBAClerkship@mnbars.org.

Students must submit a legal writing sample to HCBAClerkship@mnbars.org by 11:59 p.m. on January 3, 2021. The writing sample should be eight to twelve pages in length and demonstrate your legal reasoning skills.

2020 Summer Employers

  • 4th Judicial District Court 
  • Bowman & Brooke
  • Brown & Carlson P.A.
  • Chestnut Cambronne
  • Felhaber Larson
  • General Mills/Littler
  • Hennepin County Attorney's Office
  • Hennepin County Public Defender's Office
  • Messerli Kramer
  • MN Attorney General's Office
  • MN Department of Commerce
  • MN Department of Transportation
  • Schaefer Halleen

For any additional information, please contact HCBAClerkship@mnbars.org.

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