Svoboda Legal Scholars Summer Program

St. Olaf College’s Svoboda Legal Scholars Program offers an opportunity for a select group of undergraduate students to perform intensive legal research and serve in a legal support role to social impact oriented clinics at the University of Minnesota, Mitchell Hamline, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of St. Thomas, University of Notre Dame, and Northwestern University schools of law. Selected students will have the opportunity to contribute to the work of the clinic under the direction of the clinic director/law school faculty member. Through involvement in this program, students will become more knowledgeable about the field of law and legal services while providing valuable contributions to legal clinics serving diverse, under-resourced populations. This program is supported by the generosity of Paul Svoboda ’81.

Program Description

  • Dates: ten weeks during the summer
  • A summer undergraduate research opportunity through the one of the following institutions: University of Minnesota, Mitchell Hamline, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of St. Thomas, the University of Notre Dame, and Northwestern University schools of law. Additional institutions and organizations may be added in the future.
  • Gain clinical experience and training
  • Scholarship of $4,500 for all participants
  • Information Sessions: Wednesday, February 7, 2023 3-4 p.m. OR Thursday, February 9, 2023 11:30-12:30 p.m. (community time). Session 1 will be held in TOH200; session 2 will be in TOH100. Interested students should RSVP in Handshake at the preceding links for their desired session.

Past Interns

Clinical Experiences

Students’ clinical experiences may include: civil practice, criminal law, child advocacy, juvenile law, community justice, community development, immigration law, elder law, legal assistance for prisoners/re-entry work, exoneration justice, and/or academic research assistant work.


Students who successfully complete the program will receive a $4,500 scholarship in recognition for their endeavors in the summer program; funds will be deposited in their student account.  Students must cover their own housing and transportation expenses.


Selected students will be expected to meet before the end of the spring semester to receive training in legal terminology, research and writing; 1-2 additional cohort meetings throughout the experience will be required.  Upon return to campus in the fall, students will share the activities and outcomes of their project with a wider audience, which typically includes a final capstone reflection video.

How to Apply


  • Sophomores (rising juniors) and juniors (rising seniors) from any academic background
  • Strong academic record
  • Ability to extend one’s knowledge base to the topic at hand and to conceptualize and frame relevant questions
  • Previous experience in research preferred but not required
  • Evidence of effectiveness of working independently and as part of a team
  • Understanding and respect for confidentiality
  • Willingness to commit time and energy to the project

Application Materials

due Sunday, February 19th, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. via Handshake job posting

  • Resume/CV*
  • Unofficial transcript* – Log in to the SIS go to grades -> select all years/terms -> export as a PDF file (one way to do this is by going to a print screen and clicking on “view as PDF”, or “view in preview”)
  • Personal statement that addresses the following:*
    Your personal statement, which doubles as a writing sample, should provide insight into your abilities, motivation and/or experiences in order to provide a sense of who you are as a person and a potential future law student. Additionally, your personal statement should explain why you wish to participate in the Svoboda Legal Scholars Program. (2 pages, maximum double spaced)
  • One Svoboda-Faculty-Recommendation-Form completed by a faculty member who can best speak to your abilities to participate in this program

Application Process

Resume, unofficial transcript & personal statement should be uploaded to Handshake.

  1. Login to Handshake via the directions next to the login fields (St. Olaf as the employer, Svoboda Legal Scholars Program as the position)
  2. Save all three documents to a common location.
  3. Upload your resume “under resume”, your transcript under “unofficial transcript”, your personal statement and optional exoneration justice paragraph under “writing sample” (all under the “Documents” tab on the blue menu bar).
  4. Apply for the opportunity by searching for St. Olaf College as the “employer”. Once you select the employer, click on the “Available Positions” tab. Select Svoboda Legal Scholars Program as the “position”.
  5. On the right-hand panel, select your resume, transcript & personal statement – click “Submit”.
  6. Faculty should complete their evaluations online. Please send them this link for the online evaluation form.