By: Rachna M. Talwar, Esq.
Paralegal Program Chair, Minnesota School of Business – Richfield campus
The Minnesota School of Business Paralegal Program from the Richfield campus had an exciting week with field trips for two classes. On Wednesday November 14th the students from Real Estate Law (LA170) headed to the Hennepin County Government Center to observe Housing Court. The students got to the courthouse bright and early and braved security to attend court on the third floor that handles eviction disputes between landlords and tenants. The students were there before the Judge took the bench and were able to observe the parties fervently attempting to settle the cases before the scheduled hearing time. The vast majority of the cases were settled in this fashion. However, the class did get to observe a few contested matters and saw the Judge help facilitate hearings for two parties that were in conflict. After our observations, we sat as a class and discussed what we saw and how the terms discussed in class were utilized in a real courtroom situation.
In a similar manner, on Thursday November 15th the students from Legal Terminology (LA100) also headed to the Hennepin County Government Center with a different purpose. The class focuses on a broad overview of the justice system and issues ranging from Criminal Law to Civil Procedure. Our first stop was to the Criminal Court were we observed settlements being reached in routine DUI (Driving under the Influence) cases. Our second stop was to a civil trial, where we were in time to see the Defendant’s attorney deliver an impassioned closing statement. The case dealt with a contract dispute with some major players including the well-known grocer, Whole Foods. Our last stop was likely the most memorable; we observed a felony assault hearing that included emotional pleas from the defendant. After that matter was resolved, the Judge allowed us to come to the bench and took time to answer student questions. Judge Marilyn J. Kaman has been on the bench more than 20 years and was kind enough to share anecdotes and answer students’ specific questions. Afterwards, when we reflected on the experience this was clearly the most memorable for the students. It was a wonderful opportunity that provided some real world applications to the content being learned in our classes.