The Jackson Fellowship has enabled me to work this summer at the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Minnesota. The office is composed of 18 attorneys whose job it is to provide legal services to the University. The scope of their work is vast: from helping a department comply with employment law during a new professor’s hire, to athletic compliance within its NCAA Division I athletics program, to patent law with the great amount of research and discovery on campus, to litigating on behalf of the institution–the range is truly remarkable. Personally, I am working as an undergraduate law clerk aiding the attorneys by doing research, writing memoranda, proof-reading, organizing material, and attending hearings.
The University of Minnesota plays an integral role in producing educated citizens who will benefit our state economically. In order to provide the best education it can, it is important that the University is legally protected–a goal which the Office of the General Counsel strives to fulfill. Although I only play a small role in the protection of the University, I still feel that I am contributing to the common good by helping the office ensure higher education in Minnesota is outstanding.
The fellowship has definitely given me confidence in my goal to earn my JD/PhD and work in higher education. When you finally find something that energizes you in the way higher education does for me, it is impossible to let go. Throughout my work, I have come to realize how important higher education is to our state and I am excited to complete my education and make a difference in our state.
I have learned an incredible amount over the course of the internship. Of course, the learning potential in a legal field for those who have never gone to law school is high, so I am learning a considerable amount of law and how it applies to the business of universities. Working at a public institution, I am also learning a great amount dealing with the relationship of the University and the state of Minnesota. The University has an obligation to its taxpayers to provide outstanding education; at the same time, the state government also has a responsibility to dedicate enough funds to higher education.