Mitchell Hamline welcomes five new faculty members – News and Events
The Mitchell Hamline School of Law is pleased to welcome five new faculty members.
Jason Marisam, Associate Professor of Law. Marisam has served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Solicitor General Division of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office since 2016, where he represents and defends the State of Minnesota and its agencies in constitutional, administrative, employment, and tort matters. .
Marisam says her most meaningful work was representing Minnesota’s secretary of state in several court cases about how the 2020 election was administered during the pandemic. “Through this litigation, we were able to put measures in place to help ensure people can vote safely in 2020,” he said.
Marisam is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law, where he served as editor of the legal journal. Before joining the Attorney General’s office, he worked at a law firm in Boston, taught at Hamline University School of Law, and clerked for U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen.
Kim Vu-Dinh, Associate Professor of Law. Vu-Dinh is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Business Innovations Clinic at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the CUNY School of Law.
Vu-Dinh’s academic work has focused on finding more inclusive ways to foster economic development in underrepresented and underbanked communities. “There is so much important work that law professors can do in the community to help people and share with students the opportunity to do the same,” she said. “Mitchell Hamline has those opportunities in abundance.”
Vu-Dinh worked in the years following Hurricane Katrina with several New Orleans organizations to develop affordable housing and community business projects. She created an incubator called Innov-Eat Café, where a clinic she designed provides legal assistance and invites food companies to sell their products on campus.
Jared Mollenkof, Assistant Professor of Law. Mollenkof joins Mitchell Hamline from Hennepin County, where he has served as an assistant public defender since 2019. Prior to that, he was a public defender in Nashville for seven years handling major crime cases, most recently with the Complex Litigation Team.
Mollenkof is a graduate of Georgetown Law, where he led the Black Law Students Association; written and edited for the Weekly entitlement student newspaper; and was involved in the Juvenile Justice Clinic.
In 2019, Mollenkof was named Mentor-in-Residence at Yale Law, where he advised students interested in careers in public defense, and he held leadership positions for the ACLU, No Exceptions Prison Collective, Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Mollenkof played 15 seasons in a gay kickball league and is currently captain of his team.
Forrest Tahdooahnippah, Assistant Professor of Law. Currently a partner at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, Tahdooahnippah (pronounced tad-uh-nip-uh) attended Stanford University and the University of Minnesota Law School. He worked for US District Judge Ann Montgomery before joining Dorsey.
A member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, Tahdooahnippah has worked on issues related to Native American law, intellectual property, and religious liberty, and hopes to expand his knowledge in these areas at Mitchell Hamline. “There are many places where Native American law intersects with intellectual property and religious freedom laws. There are important deliberations that need to take place on things like the cultural traditions that existed in Native communities long before the creation of the American legal system.
As part of his work at Dorsey, Tahdooahnippah served as the elected tribal advocate for the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.
Octavia Carson, Visiting Assistant Professor. A U.S. Navy veteran with a background in journalism, Carson graduated top of his class from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego; was editor of the school’s law journal; and interned for two federal judges.
After law school, they were selected as honorary attorneys for the US Department of Justice and clerks for the Board of Immigration Appeals. Carson also founded a non-profit which has raised over $200,000 to support black bar exam candidates. They are engaged in national efforts to reform the bar exam and increase diversity in the legal profession.
Carson taught English as a second and foreign language; speaks basic Spanish and Chinese; and plays semi-pro football for the Washington Prodigy of the Women’s National Football Conference.