Student Org Handbook

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Hamline Law Student Organizations Handbook

I. Introduction

Hamline University School of Law encourages and supports active student organizations in order to promote a dynamic and enriching law school experience. Hamline Law is committed to providing a supportive and nurturing environment to all its students. An integral part of the student experience is involvement in the various student organizations available at the law school. Visit Hamline Law Student Organizations for a complete list of the student organizations, including a description of each organization. The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance for students who are creating a new student organization and for those who are assuming the leadership of an existing student organization.


II. Established Organizations

The assistant dean for student and multicultural affairs serves as the liaison between the student organizations and the law school administration. If you are assuming the leadership of an already existing student organization you should contact the assistant dean and provide your contact information, including the names and emails for all officers and the name of your faculty/staff advisor. (Ext. 2966) The assistant dean will send periodic email communications to the leadership of the student organizations and will hold two meetings per year with the student organization leadership. In addition, you should:

1. Contact the leadership of the Student Bar Association (SBA) in order to renew your recognition and request funding for the school year. For contact information for the SBA, visit the Student Bar Association website.

2. Submit updated information about the leadership of your organization and the activities you are planning to the law school programs administrator (Ext. 2122) so that your webpage can be updated accordingly.

3. Meet with your bank representative at the beginning of the school year to make sure that your new leadership has access to any funds. You may need a verification letter from the assistant dean to the bank in order to obtain access to your organization's funds. Please allow at least 24 hours for the assistant dean to provide the letter to you.

4. Contact members of your student organization who will be available to participate in orientation for incoming first-year students, including table days, so that you can recruit new students to your organization. Contact the program administrator (Ext. 2122) to arrange to participate in orientation and table days.

5. Consider co-sponsoring some kind of social event, guest speaker or other activity in the fall to increase interest in your organization.


III. Creating a New Student Organization

If you are initiating a new student organization there are a number of steps you should follow in order to become a recognized Hamline Law student organization. First arrange a meeting with the assistant dean for student and multicultural affairs to propose your idea for a student organization. Membership must be open to all students and your proposed organization must have by-laws and a constitution that reflect the law school's commitment to diversity and do not exclude any individual from participating based upon a discriminatory reason. Also, provide the assistant dean with any relevant contact information. After you have met with the assistant dean and identified a faculty advisor you will be ready to seek SBA recognition and funding.

In order to seek Student Bar Association (SBA) recognition and request funding you must:

1. Identify a faculty advisor

2. Create initial by-laws

3. Establish a checking account

4. Explain your organization's relationship with its national organization, if applicable

5. Contact the SBA president for instructions about making funding requests or visit the SBA website.

6. Plan to participate in table days during orientation so incoming students get information about your organization. To receive more information about table days, contact the program administrator (Ext. 2122).

7. Contact the Office of the Registrar about renting a locker for your organization. For more information please refer to Section XVI of the Policy Manual through the Office of the Registrar.


IV. Managing Your Student Organization

Managing your student organization can be both rewarding and challenging. It is important that you share the responsibilities with the other members of your organization in order to balance your academic and personal commitments with managing your student organization. Decide on a manageable amount of programming at the beginning of the school year or in the previous spring and delegate responsibility for these events among the members of your organization. Stay connected to the SBA and maintain your organization's SBA recognition. In addition, your faculty advisor, the assistant dean for student and multicultural affairs, and the program administrator are important resources to help you resolve conflicts and identify resources at the law school.

At the beginning of each school year, review the by-laws and constitution for your organization and consider any relevant changes or updates. Before you assume the role as a new leader you should connect with the prior administration of your organization to evaluate the upcoming year. There may be suggested changes to the by-laws by your predecessors or special events that had been contemplated. Also, review the by-laws from any national organization to which your group may be connected. In some cases the national by-laws can be helpful, but in other situations you may decide not to remain connected to the national organization because of language in the national by-laws or constitution. Some student organizations also may have a strong connection to a local bar association, so it may be helpful to make contact with the lawyers in the community who are interested in your organization. These individuals can also be an important resource when you are planning events.


V. Planning an Event

You will find that there is a great deal of wonderful programming here at the law school. In order to assure the success of your program, there are certain necessary steps you should follow:

1. Complete an Event Approval Form, a copy of which can be found in the Office of the Registrar, indicating the time, date and substance of your proposed event. Submit the completed form to the program administrator for approval. If there is a conflict with the date and time of your event or otherwise the program administrator will contact you to try and resolve it. You can access the Event Approval Form on the Student Organization webpage.

2. If you are planning an event off campus, you must inform the program administrator so that your event can be put on the law school calendar and so that the law school administration is aware of your event.

3. If you are bringing a speaker to the law school please notify the program administrator about your plans as soon as possible. If the speaker is someone who should be introduced to the dean of the law school, you should discuss this with the program administrator and make sure that the dean is available. Likewise, if you would like the dean to make an introduction at your event, please contact his assistant about his schedule (Ext. 2968). Finally, we want to help your event to be successful. If outside speakers come to the law school, it is important that their value is maximized through good attendance and appropriate recognition.

4. If you are bringing speakers to the law school, make sure that you communicate with them about the visitor parking on campus. Also, remember to give invited speakers a gift and/or a thank-you note.

5. If you are planning to serve alcohol at your event please review the University Alcohol Policy. You must obtain an alcohol permit and may need to pay for a police officer's presence at your event. You may contact the University Safety and Security Office regarding the alcohol permit and for assistance in hiring a police officer (Ext. 2100). Please factor this cost, which is $180 at a minimum, into the budget for your event. For events with more than 100 attendees you will have to pay for a professional bartender as well. Requests for alcohol permits must be approved by the assistant dean for student and multicultural affairs for the law school and the vice president for student and academic affairs for the university. Finally, please refer to the alcohol policy with regard to the locations on campus where alcohol can be served. For any events held outside, e.g. the law school patio, the policy requires that barriers be placed around the area where alcohol will be served.

6. If you plan to order food from the University Catering Service please contact the catering manager at least two weeks prior to your event (Ext. 2410). You may coordinate payment through the program administrator at the law school (Ext. 2122).

7. In addition to the law school calendar, please refer to the SBA calendar to make sure that you are not conflicting with another student event. Also, you may find that you would benefit from co-sponsoring your event with another student organization.

8. Consider collaborating with the Career Services Office (Ext. 2470) and the Programs Office (2122). These offices may be able to assist your organization with logistics, invitations and financial support.


VI. Advertising and Communications

Once you have completed the initial planning stages for your event, as outlined above in Section V, you should develop a communications/publicity plan for your event. The promotion of your event is critical to its success. Some programs are smaller and geared only towards students at Hamline Law. However, if you are planning a larger event, to which people outside of the law school will attend, there are a broad range of promotional opportunities. Use the law school resources wisely. Again, the program administrator can direct you to the appropriate resources. Once you have all your details in place, contact the program administrator (Ext. 2122), who will make sure your event is advertised in the appropriate places (web calendar, law school monitors, Inside Hamline, and external sources if applicable).


VII. Attending Conferences/Travel

If a representative from your student organization would like to attend a related conference or meeting, the law school may be able to assist with funding. Please make a request to the assistant dean for student and multicultural affairs for a one time reimbursement of $250 per person. When you make your request please provide the assistant dean with specific information about the conference, including a description of the program and costs. You must present an original receipt in order to receive the reimbursement. Each student organization is limited to a $500 reimbursement per year. The total amount available for these reimbursements is limited. Therefore, it may not be possible to honor every request for reimbursements over the course of the school year. If you would like assistance in fundraising for these kinds of programs, please contact the program administrator. If there is a career or employment component to the conference, you may request funding from the Career Services Office (CSO) in the amount of $100. Contact the CSO coordinator for details (Ext. 2734). Finally, the SBA also has funding available to assist student participation in conferences or other events out of town. Please refer to the SBA website for an explanation of the process for requesting such funds.


VIII. Transitioning Your Student Organization

It will benefit your organization to make certain efforts to ensure a smooth transition from one year to the next. The assistant sean for student and multicultural affairs will schedule a second meeting with student organization leadership that will include a discussion about transitioning new leadership in the late spring. The following steps can be helpful in this process: 

1. Hold elections for new officers in the spring, but sufficiently in advance of spring final exams.

2. Provide the program administrator with contact information for new officers as soon as possible.

3. Maintain good records regarding event planning and financial concerns. Consider keeping a notebook containing vital information that you can pass on each year.

4. Keep your faculty advisor apprised of plans and information about the following school year.


IX. Compliance with University and School of Law Policies

In addition to the University Alcohol Policy referenced above, your student organization must comply with all School of Law and Hamline University policies and procedures. Please refer to the Office of the Registrar for law school policies and also review the university-wide policies.