Paralegal Students Marry Education and Divorce Training

Posted by on November 14, 2012

Students in the paralegal degree program at Minnesota School of Business-Rochester frequently have opportunities in their Ethics in the Law Office class to gain real-world experience.

Applied learning, which is integrated into program curriculum for dozens of courses every quarter, is designed to provide students the chance to apply skills learned in the class towards helping local businesses and organizations.

This month, paralegal students will use their knowledge by volunteering with a Pro Se Divorce Clinic sponsored by Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS). The event assists qualified individuals with completing paperwork to file their divorce.

Students will partner with volunteer attorneys and help clients complete their divorce paperwork under attorney supervision. The class will learn how to keep client information confidential, remember they cannot provide legal advice, and also learn how to work under the instruction of an attorney.

The mission of SMRLS is “to provide a full range of high quality legal services to low income persons.” Mary Stoos, volunteer attorney program coordinator at SMRLS, works cooperatively with Minnesota School of Business-Rochester and volunteer attorneys for bringing both parties together for completing these work experiences.

The event will take place on November 15, 2012, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the United Way building in Rochester, Minnesota.

Studying ethical topics, such as the unauthorized practice of law, confidentiality and privileged information, conflicts of interest, and advertising and solicitation are incorporated into curriculum to prepare students for the applied learning experience. Further assisting students in their preparation efforts includes practicing professionals giving their time and expertise to properly prepare paralegal students for not only the event but their eventual profession.

Ann Hennebeck, current paralegal student in the bachelor’s degree program, enthusiastically notes, “I am really excited to help at the SMRLS Pro Se Divorce Clinic. I think it will be a great learning experience and will help me gain a better understanding of the divorce process. While this is my first time volunteering with a legal organization, I am hoping it isn’t my last!”

By pairing MSB paralegal students with legal professionals, volunteerism in practice is strongly encouraged, which, with students experiencing the value of giving back to the community, promotes a sustainable model that supports SMRLS and the work they do for years to come.

For more information about the applied learning work completed at MSB-Rochester, please contact Megan Krenzer at or 507-535-8044.  

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