Sumner Pitt ’19 stands in front of the University of Iowa College of Law, where he’s gaining valuable hands-on experience this summer as a participant in St. Olaf’s Svoboda Legal Scholars Program. This summer, St. Olaf College student Sumner Pitt ’19 is getting an up-close look at what a career in immigration law entails.

Working at the University of Iowa College of Law Legal Clinic, he’s assisting clients, submitting information requests to local and federal agencies, and attending court as part of the defense team.

“It’s meaningful to me being part of a defense team representing undocumented people in an area of law that’s recently been receiving overdue national attention. I had been in a courtroom before this program, but the experience was more enriching and consequential seeing our client defended by law students and a professor on the defense team,” says Pitt, a sociology/anthropology major at St. Olaf. “I am strongly considering law school now that I have an idea of what clinical legal practice and the law school experience could be like.”

Pitt’s experience is part of St. Olaf’s Svoboda Legal Scholars Summer Program . The program — one of only two like it in the nation — offers St. Olaf students a unique opportunity to spend six to eight weeks doing meaningful legal work alongside faculty, students, and alumni at the law clinics of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, and the University of St. Thomas.

“There are no training wheels in this program, and I believe that’s what makes it special,” says Piper Center for Vocation and Career Associate Director Roberto Zayas. “St. Olaf students are expected to do high-quality legal research and writing. Plus they participate in trials, depositions, and other legal procedures — this is as good as it gets when it comes to vocational exploration. Needless to say, all legal scholars have immensely benefited from this program, even those who have chosen not to go to law school.” “St. Olaf students are expected to do high-quality legal research and writing. Plus they participate in trials, depositions, and other legal […]

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