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Constance L. Bakken Fellowship Program

The Constance L. Bakken Fellowship program at Hamline University School of Law offers outstanding students a $3,000 stipend during both their second and third years of law school (for a total of $6,000) and the opportunity to perform scholarly research with a member of Hamline's distinguished faculty. Bakken Fellows may provide research support for faculty, pursue their own self-directed research, or consider a combination of these two approaches.

During the first year of law school, Fellows will be invited to meet with faculty and current Fellows to explore interest areas. First-year Fellows will also be invited to special networking opportunities to meet alumni and other members of the legal community.

In their second year, most Fellows develop their research and writing skills and hone substantive interests by assisting with faculty scholarship projects. In the final program year, fellows can continue supporting faculty-driven writings or opt to develop their own project by researching and producing a piece worthy of publication. Through all phases, the fellows work closely with faculty experts in substantive areas of mutual interest, and the associate dean assures appropriate progress toward fellowship goals.

How Fellows benefit

Bakken Fellows enjoy a head start in professional networking by developing positive one-on-one relationships with their law faculty. This interaction, when coupled with the production of meaningful legal research and scholarship, can open doors to worthwhile opportunities. The valuable Bakken Fellow status frequently serves as a helpful introduction to law firms, corporations, and non-legal professionals. Since the fellowship program was founded in 1998, participants have distinguished themselves in many contexts. Such was the case with fellow Michael Maza, JD '07, whose article "Arbitrator Selection and Neutrality Under the Railway Labor Act: An Airline Employee's Perspective" was published in the Journal of American Arbitration. He also presented the paper at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law Symposium on Neutrality and Impartiality in Alternative Justice during his second year at Hamline. Likewise, Bakken Fellow Chelsea Griffin, JD '11, co-authored the law review article, “It’s Time to Get It Right: Problem-Solving in the First-Year Curriculum,” with Hamline Law Professors Bobbi McAdoo and Sharon Press; it was published in the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy.

Becoming a Bakken Fellow

Hamline University School of Law offers Bakken Fellowships to admitted applicants who have been awarded a Presidential Scholarship. Once awarded, fellowships are contingent upon fellows achieving a 2.000 or better after their first year of study and maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.000 at the end of each spring semester.  Selected fellows are not committed to a particular research topic, as the law school experience often induces a change in research direction and Hamline encourages its fellows to follow accordingly. Past fellows have participated in scholarly projects in such diverse areas as business/commercial law, child advocacy, civil dispute resolution, criminal law, education law, government and regulatory affairs, health law, human rights, intellectual property, international law, and labor and employment law.  

Topics recently explored by Bakken Fellows:

  • Arbitrator selection and neutrality under the Railway Labor Act
  • The moral and legal parameters of biotechnology
  • SEC proposals on executive compensation
  • Issues related to homelessness, such as criminalization/decriminalization of homelessness and mental illness within the homeless population
  • Labor relations and Native American casinos
  • Waiving the English language requirement for elderly Hmong immigrants
  • The sociological implications of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Minnesota election law
  • How courts view children
  • Legislative history of the U.S. Civil Rights Act
  • Legal implications of defining Latinos as an ethnicity rather than a race