List of Responding Schools
ALS Students can focus their field of study on particular areas of interest including: Civil and Constitutional Rights, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Family and Elder Law, and Governmental Administration and Regulation. The concentrations include required courses, elective courses, field placements, moot court competitions and clinical projects.
American University Washington College of Law has a host of public interest focused academic programs and degree offerings that focus on emerging issues in various public interest sectors.
Boston College Law School does not offer formal certificate programs. However, law students are eligible to receive certificates from other sponsoring institutions within Boston College, such as:
1) The Certificate in Land Use and Environmental Law is awarded annually to graduating students who have fulfilled concentration and service requirements in this curricular area by the Law School's active Environmental Law Society. The certificate has proved useful to students in past years as formal affirmation of their professional curricular concentration. For more information, visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/services/academic/programs/environmentallaw
2) The Certificate Program of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice is open to graduate students enrolled in affiliated academic departments in all of the university's graduate schools, including Masters, J.D., L.L.M., Ed.D. and Ph.D students. The Certificate certifies that the student has: 1) followed a curriculum within his or her graduate studies that emphasized human rights and international justice issues; 2) widened his or her interdisciplinary understanding of these issues by completing one or more courses designated by the Center in other academic departments; 3) completed the Center's own Seminar in Human Rights; and, 4) written a research paper under the Center's auspices or completed a practicum supervised by the Center. For more information, visit: www.bc.edu/centers/humanrights
Brooklyn Law School does not have a public interest certificate program but its curriculum includes many classes and clinics of interest to public interest students. These classes and clinics provide students with the legal and advocacy skills to ensure access to the courts for vulnerable individuals and populations. See http://www.brooklaw.edu/centers/sparer/curriculum.php for more information.
California Western School of Law does not offer a public interest certificate or a specific public interest concentration, though there are many curricular offerings including Aging, Law & Public Policy; Child Abuse & Neglect: Interdisciplinary Overview; Children and the Law; Domestic Violence Law; Health Law Survey; Human Rights Law; Law of Armed Conflict and Peacekeeping; Gender, Property and the Law; Labor Law; First Amendment Law Seminar; Indian Law; Constitutional Law Survey: Sexual Orientation Law; Environmental Law; Mental Health Law; and Women and the Law.
JD/MSSA (Social Work)
JD/MNO (Nonprofit Management)
JD/CNM (Certificate of Nonprofit Management)
JD/MPH (Public Health)
Public and Regulatory Institutions Concentration
Individual Rights and Social Reform Concentration
The Law and Public Policy Program is a certificate program that offers academic enrichment and professional development for students interested in public interest law, government and politics. About fifteen students are admitted to the program from each class. To complete the certificate, each student must complete a series of seminars and clinical or externship experiences. The LPP program offers a cohesive subcommunity for some of the most idealistic and service-oriented students at the law school. Many LPP students have experience in the Peace Corps, Americorps, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or other significant prior service experience. Their interests are diverse, but the program produces a regular stream of legal services lawyers, public defenders, prosecutors, child advocates, and others who focus on homelessness, education law, or human rights. Information about the program is available on the law school website.
The entire curriculum at the CUNY School of Law is designed by a faculty of public interest lawyers and scholars to serve students who plan to do public interest practice. Public interest is infused throughout the Law School's curriculum. The mission of the CUNY School of law is to educate students for the practice of law with special emphasis on public service and public interest law.
Columbia encourages every student to create the curricular program that best satisfies their individual needs and interests. Information and encouragment to explore public interest courses begins when students arrive - public interest faculty and students speak at a plenary event during Orientation. There are many opportunities to learn more after that. Only a few are mentioned here. As part of CLS's spring "Moving Forward" program, a panel of faculty and students gives advice about course choices. The clinics and the the Pro Bono Program offer informational panels each semester. Individual counseling is provided by faculty members, the Center for Public Interest, Social Justice Initiatives and Student Services.
Third-year students may concentrate in a particular field of law. To encourage such focus, the school grants certificates to students who complete the requirements of one of four concentrations. Two of these concentrations are public interest in nature: Advocacy and Public Law. Each concentration program requires the completion, before graduation, of 14 credit hours, including a writing course in the designated area.
DePaul offers a Public Interest Law Certificate. The program entails required and elective coursework and an experiential and service component. Please visit http://www.law.depaul.edu/centers_institutes/public_interest/certificate_program.asp for detailed information.
The Law School provides education about, opportunities for and recognition of student participation in pro bono activities through a variety of programs, including the Public Service Scholarship Program, Summer Public Service Internships, IOLTA Summer Poverty Law Internships, Public Service Speakers, Public Service Volunteer Opportunities, the Public Service Certificate, the Spring Break Volunteer Trip, and the Drake Legal Clinic. In addition, student organizations at the Law School, sometimes with faculty assistance, provide students with additional opportunities to engage in public service activities, both law and non-law related.
Public Service Scholarship Program
Since 1995, the Law School's Public Service Scholarship Program has been a very successful program under the leadership of former Associate Dean and Professor Russell Lovell. The November 2008 issue of THE NATIONAL JURIST ranked Drake University Law School forty-sixth of Best Law Schools for Public Interest Law. Throughout most of the fifteen years, and every year since 2004, the Law School has annually allocated six full-tuition and four three-quarter tuition scholarships to students with strong academic credentials and a demonstrable public service background and commitment. Two full-tuition awards are made to entering students (for all three years of law school) and three-quarter tuition awards are made to two students upon completion of the 1L year (for the final two years of law school).
Each of the Public Service Scholars (and numerous other law students interested in public service and summer internship opportunities) are mentored by Professor Lovell and assisted in their search for employment.
Public Service Certificate
Drake University Law School recognizes the volunteerism of its students as a precursor to the pro bono obligations the profession expects lawyers to fulfill and for the inherent value of those services to the providers and the recipients. To promote public service volunteerism, the Law School has compiled a non-exclusive list of public service opportunities in which students can engage. The Law School recognizes, with a certificate, any student who completes sixty hours of public service during the student's law school career. Any student desiring recognition must submit his or her application to the Assistant Dean specifying the particulars of the public service for which recognition is sought with documentation sufficient to demonstrate the time commitment has been met.
In addition to curricular counseling through the Associate Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono, Duke offers online advice to students interested in specializing in public interest law at http://www.law.duke.edu/publicinterest/curriculum.html#advice.
Preceptor Program through which experienced lawyers from a broad range of practice settings mentor law students.
Public Interest Concentration (optional)
Suggested public interest curriculum provided to Emory law students; for more information see www.law.emory.edu/pi.
Florida Coastal offers five certificate programs including: Environmental Law, Sports Law, Family Law, International & Comparative Law, and Research, Writing & Drafting. See http://www.fcsl.edu/academics/certificate-programs for a description of these programs.
Student Pro Bono Program
Students are required to complete and report 20 hours of civil pro bono service during the second or third year of law school.
Stein Scholars Program in Public Interest Law & Ethics:
The Stein Scholars Program is a comprehensive three-year educational program for selected students who seek training and experience in the area of public interest law. The Stein Scholars are students with diverse backgrounds and interests, many of whom enter law school after having engaged in substantial activities in public interest settings and the government.
Through specialized academic coursework in public interest law and ethics, funded summer internships, interaction with practitioners and academics in roundtable and informal discussions, and opportunities to engage in community service, the Stein Scholars Program prepares future lawyers for the practice of law in public service.
Crowley Program in International Human Rights:
Six to eight students are selected at the end of each year to become Crowley Scholars. They participate in an intensive academic program in human rights in their second year, which includes a course in International Human Rights Law and a seminar to prepare them to participate in the annual fact-finding mission at the end of the spring semester. Following the mission, the scholars work with the faculty and other delegation members to publish a comprehensive report of the mission's findings and recommendations. They continue to work with the Crowley Program in their third year at the Law School disseminating the findings of the report and advocating for the adoption of its recommendations.
1. Students in the Public Interest Law Scholars Program must complete the upper-level course: Public Interest Advocacy and Professional Responsibility: Ethics in Public Interest Practice and fulfill the upper-level writing requirement by writing on a public interest topic. Website: http://law.georgetown.edu/admissions-financial-aid/pils/index.cfm
2. The Global Law Scholars Program offers 15-20 students per year the opportunity to focus on international law, with a specialized curricular track of seven courses to satisfy program requirements. Two of these courses have been created for, and are restricted to, GLS students: a first-year seminar designed to introduce participants to different career pathways through faculty and visitor presentations, and a second-year seminar focused on specialized skills sets (such as international legal research, comparative legal analysis, and international negotiations). As part of the latter, GLS students work on a major research, writing, and advocacy project on an international legal topic of their own choosing. Website: http://law.georgetown.edu/academics/academic-programs/transnational-programs/global-law-scholars/index.cfm
3. Students may earn a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies by completing the Refugee Law and Policy course and five additional courses that focus on at least one of the following topics: refugee and humanitarian emergencies/disaster relief, human rights, or conflict/post-conflict related issues. Website: http://isim.georgetown.edu/academics/refugees/
4. Students may earn a certificate in World Trade Organization Studies by completing a basic international law course and 12 additional credits in WTO-related courses. They also must maintain an overall B average, complete a seminar paper on a WTO law subject, and participate in extracurricular activities related to WTO subjects (attend a conference, congressional or court hearing, or equivalent event each semester).
5. The Public Interest Fellows program draws approximately 70 students per year, and requires a focused curricular track including 15 credits from the public interest curriculum cluster, an experiential learning course such as a clinic or practicum, an upperclass writing requirement on a public interest topic, and a course in regulatory or statutory interpretation. The program also offers and requires substantial co- and extra-curricular commitment to the public interest community. Website: http://law.georgetown.edu/careers/opics/opics-fellows-program.cfm
In addition to the above, Georgetown has multiple course offerings in many public interest subjects, allowing students to specialize if they so desire. The areas include environmental law, family law, human rights, criminal law and procedure, employment and labor law, international/national security law, and health law, policy & bioethics. Curricular advice for students interested in pursuing a public interest career can be found at http://apps.law.georgetown.edu/curriculum/tab_clusters.cfm?Status=Cluster&Detail=23.
The Center for Access to Justice’s Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate Program provides students with the training and legal knowledge necessary to serve traditionally underrepresented individuals, communities and interests and to facilitate the development of problem-solving skills relevant to working with and on behalf of public interest issues and underserved populations.
The program is designed to allow students to focus on a particular substantive area specific to their interests and career goals or to explore more broadly the kinds of issues that might arise in doing public interest or pro bono work. Students pursuing the certificate must satisfy the general J.D. requirements and satisfy the curricular elements detailed in the Certificate Information Packet
Golden Gate University School of Law
Public Interest Specialization Certificate: Golden Gate Law offers an extensive public interest law program and employs a full-time Assistant Director for Public Interest Programs. This certificate requires specialized coursework, supervised legal work in a public interest or government setting and community service. Graduating students are honored at the Annual Public Interest Graduation Reception.
Golden Gate also offers five other certificate programs in more specialized areas related to public interest:
Criminal Law Specialization Certificate:Golden Gate has a long and proud history of producing outstanding criminal lawyers and California's Public Defender and District Attorney's Offices are full of talented, dedicated Golden Gate alumni. In addition to the required Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I and Evidence courses, students must complete additional units in criminal law courses. Students learn the foundational aspects of criminal litigation in classes like Advanced Criminal Procedure or Wrongful Convictions. Through the Criminal Litigation Externship, students intern with state and federal prosecutors and defense attorneys. They also obtain valuable practical experience by working for judges in criminal court and interning in law offices specializing in criminal defense.
Environmental Law Specialization Certificate:Golden Gate Law's Environmental Law Program features faculty who are actively involved in environmental justice and protection efforts, on-site and off-site clinics offering unparalleled opportunities to effect change and cutting-edge courses on current environmental law and policy issues. This certificate requires concentrated coursework, a research paper and clinical experience focused on environmental law.
Family Law Specialization Certificate:Students who earn the specialization certificate in Family Law complete a rigorous course of study aimed at familiarizing them with this dynamic field of law. Through traditional coursework and internship opportunities students study the nuances of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships; adoption and surrogacy; child abuse and abduction; and issues arising from the termination of a relationship such as divorce, annulment, alimony, and child custody and visitation.
International Law Specialization Certificate:The International Legal Studies Program offers in-depth coverage of specialized areas of public and private international law, as well as international trade and comparative law. Students interested in international legal studies at Golden Gate Law may go on to earn an LLM or SJD in international legal studies, programs that have graduated hundreds of students from more than 50 nations. Students specializing in international legal studies may participate in the law school's summer study abroad program in Paris, where American students study comparative law together with French students in courses taught by noted French and American scholars.
Labor & Employment Specialization Certificate:To obtain this certificate, students must complete two required courses, four units of elective courses, two units of clinical training and a comprehensive research paper. Through the on-site Women's Employment Rights Clinic, students can provide legal advice, counseling and representation to low-income workers in the San Francisco Bay Area. The clinic has achieved many successes over the years, particularly for Latina and Asian-American workers. Students can also gain valuable labor and employment law experience through Golden Gate Law's Civil Field Placement Clinic.
Litigation Specialization Certificate: Students must complete approved litigation courses, including the required Trial Advocacy and Mock Trial basic courses and either Civil Litigation: Pre-Trial Phase or Criminal Litigation. Clinical placements with significant litigation work are highly encouraged.
Gonzaga's Thomas More Scholars are required to take at least three public interest- or social justice-related courses. Students may satisfy this requirement with the following courses:
Comparative Women's Rights
Directed Research (with consent of Thomas More Director)
Employment Discrimination Seminar
Ethical Issues in Representing Children
Federal Indian Law
Health Care Organization and Finance Law
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights
Justice and Society
Labor Law I (Private Sector)
Law and Sexuality
Mental Disability Law
Public Lands Law
Race and the Law
Zoning and Land Use Regulation
While HLS does not have a public interest specialization, roughly 2/3 of students take clinical courses with placements working on public interest cases. Unlike some schools, HLS clinics are not selective and many students choose to do a clinic every semester.
Family Law Certificate Program
Certificate in Public Interest Law
Chicago-Kent's Public Interest Law Program provides students with a balanced understanding of public interest law by allowing students to customize their public interest academic path while requiring students to complete a specified number of volunteer hours and to participate in a career planning session. The Certificate in Public Interest Law allows students to earn a credential that demonstrates their dedication to public interest law, making them more prepared for the competitive public interest employment field.
Certificate in Public Interest Law The Certificate in Public Interest Law allows students with a passion for serving the public to focus their studies and gain the skills they need to pursue a public interest career. To receive the certificate, students must complete a selection of public interest courses, write a comprehensive research paper on a subject relating to public interest law, and complete 50 hours of student pro bono service. Students have the option to further focus their studies into a specific subject area and receive recognition of that focus on their certificate. Focus areas include: Health, Disability, & Aging, Labor & Employment, Consumer Law, International Law & Immigration, Family & Juvenile Law, Civil Rights, and Indian Law.
Other Certificates: in addition to the dedicated Public Interest Certificate, Lewis & Clark offers students a chance to focus on the following areas related to Public Interest Law:
Animal Law Certificate
Criminal Law and Procedure Certificate
Environmental and Natural Resources Certificate
International Law Certificate
LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law
LL.M. in Animal Law
There is a public interest curriculum
CIVITAS ChildLaw Fellows Program - Each year Loyola selects up to 10 ChildLaw Fellows from among students admitted to the entering full-time J.D. class. Fellows receive scholarship assistance, internship experience, and, in addition to the regular law school curriculum, pursue an interdisciplinary course of study that provides the knowledge and skills needed to advocate effectively for children's legal interests. Opportunities are provided for direct representation of children in a variety of legal proceedings. The program offers a symposia series in which national and local experts share research and discuss current issues affecting children and families. Students receive hands-on work experience and opportunities through Loyola's extensive externship program. They also participate in producing the Children's Legal Rights Journal - a national publication. Loyola's comprehensive curriculum includes courses such as: Children and the Law, ChildLaw Policy, Practice and Profession, ChildLaw Pretrial and Trial Practice, Legislative Advocacy for Children, Interdisciplinary Seminar, Adolescents and the Law, Family Law, Adoption Law Seminar, and International Children's Law.
Students must complete Poverty Law requirement for graduation by electing coursework in the Law Clinic, the Law & Poverty course, Law & Poverty Seminar, Street Law Course, or by completing 50 hrs. of pro bono service.
At this time, Marquette Law School does not offer a certificate program in Public Interest Law, but incorporates a commitment to service throughout its curriculum in accordance with its mission as a Jesuit institution of higher learning.
The commitment of the Marquette Law School community to service of the public interest is evident in its curriculum, co-curricular undertakings, and expansive volunteer opportunities. Among the goals of its program of legal education is that each graduate be able to embrace a professional life that advances the Jesuit mission of service to the poor, marginalized, and underrepresented in society. Support for this goal may be found in professional responsibility instruction and in a host of courses throughout the curriculum.
This joint program is offered by Michigan State University College of Law and the MSU Graduate School of Social Work. The certificate program can be completed concurrently with the social work and law degree requirements, and students completing the program gain hands-on practice and advocacy experience through: Externships (law and social work students working together in the same agency) An integrated seminar and specialized academic courses. Website: www.chanceatchildhood.msu.edu
Indigenous Law Certificate Program
The distinctive mission of the Indigenous Law Certificate Program is to prepare students for practicing indigenous law upon graduation by providing rigorous and comprehensive training in indigenous law, policy and practice. The program is designed to ensure that selected law students are equipped with a specialized expertise - having the knowledge and skills to effectively identify and address indigenous law issues, represent Indian nations and appreciate these nations' unique legal and governance systems. The MSU Indigenous Law Certificate Program is one of just five formal certificate programs nationwide.
The Indigenous Law Certificate Program consists of three main components: 13 credits of required (7 crs.) and elective (6 crs.) coursework, an advanced research paper in indigenous law and a three-credit experiential learning requirement. Upon successfully completing the requirements for the certificate program, students will receive a certificate.
The Law School has ten academic centers, six of which offer the opportunity to specialize in various aspects of public interest law www.nyls.edu :
Justice Action Center
Institute for Information Law and Policy
International Law Center
Center for Professional Values and Practice
Center for New York City Law, www.citylaw.org
Diane Abbey Center for Children and Families
Global Public Service Law Project This is a groundbreaking program of curricular and extracurricular initiatives designed to create a world-wide network of public service lawyers committed to democracy, human rights, access to justice, the rule of law and social change.
We offer the student pursuing public interest law a wide range of courses that focus on societal issues. In the upper level, we offer many specialized courses that focus on public interest issues, such as Welfare Law, Public Health Law, a wide selection of courses in labor/employment law and civil rights, and the structure and taxation of nonprofit organizations.
Certificate in Public Interest Law - for information go to: http://law.niu.edu/law/academic/public_interest_law_certificate.shtml
Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Northwestern offers a unique Law and Social Policy concentration that provides students with an opportunity to study a wide range of law and social policy topics and recognizes students for these efforts. The concentration focuses on law as it consciously shapes society, as distinguished from its role in adjudicating disputes and making arrangements between private parties. This approach to the study of law is informed by the knowledge and techniques of the social sciences.
Because of its broad scope, this concentration has two "tracks" --policy analysis and public interest. The two-track approach reflects the fact that the interest leading students to this concentration as well as their career path may be quite diverse. Students may meet the requirements of either or both of these tracks, which will then be indicated accordingly on their transcript.
The policy analysis track is designed for students with a strong intellectual and practical interest in policy analysis. Students may be interested in working in policy-related positions in government, think tanks, other non-profit policy-related organizations, or academic research positions. The public interest track is designed for students with strong intellectual and practical interests in public interest law. Students may be interested in working in government enforcement agencies, non-profit advocacy or service organizations, or clinical academic positions.
Legal Aid Clinic Award
This award is given to the student who demonstrates the highest level of performance and commitment to serving the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic.
Public Interest Programs
GALILEE Program (Group Alternative Live-in Legal Education Experience)
This program provides students with the opportunity to live for a few days in the inner city to learn the legal needs of the urban poor.
J.D./M.A in Peace Studies Program
The peace studies curriculum offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of international peace and world order.
LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law
The program affords lawyers the opportunity to engage in specialized study and research in international human rights law.
J.S.D. Program in International Human Rights Law
This program is designed especially for persons who teach in the field of international human rights law.
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law offers two concentration programs that identify graduates as emerging experts in a specific field. The two concentrations offered are in Health Law and in International Legal Practice. In order to earn one of these concentrations, students must complete specific course credit, writing, and service requirements. The service component specifically requires students to complete 20 hours through a variety of public interest engagement opportunities.
Certificate in Dispute Resolution - The purpose of the Certificate in Dispute Resolution is to provide our graduates expertise in the dispute resolution field. Demand for lawyers with dispute resolution expertise has grown steadily over the last decade. The use of dispute resolution processes increasingly is part of the practice of law. For information see, http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/programs/adr/
Certificate in Children Studies at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law- The Moritz College of Law is the only top-fifty law school in the country to offer a specialized certificate in children studies. For information see, http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/jfc/
As the relationship between law and public policy becomes more complex and the role of attorneys in government agencies increases, there is a great need for attorneys with both an excellent grounding in the theory of law and political science and a well-rounded exposure to the doctrines of public law in diverse areas such as Environmental Law, Securities Regulation and Federal Criminal Law. The Certificate in Public Law enables students, through a well-planned series of courses, extensive writing, and opportunities to do an externship in the field, to acquire excellent training in public law that will make them attractive not only to government employers, but to any employer who deals with public law issues.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
A student shall receive a Certification in Client Representation in Alternative Dispute Resolution upon completion of all requirements for the Juris Doctor degree and successful completion of the following courses:(1) The Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution;(2) Client Representation in Arbitration;(3) Client Representation in Mediation; and(4) Client Representation in Negotiation.
Students who perform at least sixty hours of public interest work during their law school careers are formally recognized as Miller Center Public Interest Advocates upon graduation.
For further information see: http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/student_life/docs/ppmanual.pdf
Roger Williams University: School of Law
The Law School does not have a public interest certificate program but students can choose to focus their studies on a public interest pathway.
Information on the Concentrations in Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense Litigation, and Urban Development and Land Use can be found on the school web site
Mediator Practice – LAW 805 – This course is designed to give mediation experience to enrolled students. Students participating in the course receive hands on mediation training and assist the Mediation Center in providing free mediations to the community. At the end of the course, students will have completed enough hours of training to be certified by the state bar, pending completion of the state's required number of actual cases mediated.
The Public Interest and Social Justice Law Certificate Program is available to all Santa Clara law students. Participating students receive individualized vocational counseling and job placement assistance with public interest employers. Students receive the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Certificate at a special ceremony, and they receive additional recognition at graduation. Students may enroll in the certificate program at any time during their law school careers. Students must complete public interest and social justice law certificate requirements in the following three categories:
- Academic course work of 15 units and a writing requirement. Academic courses must be selected from three categories of courses including core courses, public interest and social justice law identity related courses, and skills courses.
- Practicum which includes 150 hours of supervised legal work in a public interest/social justice organization
- Public Service of 50 hours during the student's law school career
Students can earn a general certificate or elect a special emphasis in 5 areas: consumer law, criminal justice, critical race jurisprudence, health law, and immigration and refugee law.
For certificate requirements visit http://law.scu.edu/socialjustice/certificate-and-curriculum.cfm and for the course list visit http://law.scu.edu/socialjustice/public-interest-and-social-justice-law-courses.cfm
Seattle University: Seattle University School of Law
The Inequality and Poverty Law Focus Area provides a range of courses dealing with the problems of low-income people in our society. It includes two foundational courses and a range of more specialized substantive and skills courses, and it culminates with a capstone seminar.
The Inequality and Poverty Law Focus Area is designed to provide students with a broad exposure to the range of legal issues that arise for poor people. The courses are arranged to allow students to attain a deeper understanding of the interlocking and complex problems of poverty in America. Skills component courses, which provide students with real experiences of the difficulties that poor people face in our legal system, are a crucial element of this focus. Ultimately, the focus leads to a capstone seminar course, which requires students to draw together and reflect on the various courses and experiences they have had throughout law school. Ultimately, we expect students to arrive at a more sophisticated understanding of the problems of poverty and the legal system.
Southwestern has developed a rich variety of opportunities for students looking to emphasize public interest law within their course choices and co-curricular experiences. Mentoring and counseling regarding public interest careers and courses are offered through Faculty Table Days by area of law, the Alumni Resource Network, Public Interest Career Fair, public interest law panel presentations, and on and off campus public service volunteer work.
While Stanford Law School does not offer a public interest certificate or a formal public interest curriculum track, students are actively encouraged and provided individualized advice and counsel about how to devise a law school plan that serves their public interest career goals.
Among its concentrations, UB Law School has curricular concentration programs in Affordable Housing and Community Economic Development Law and Law and Social Justice. Certificate programs in State and Local Government and Education Law may focus on public interest emphasis based on the student's interests. These concentrations and the certificate program, as well other concentrations not specifically designed as public interest (e.g. concentration in Family Law), provide opportunities for students to develop skills in areas of law amenable to public interest practice.
Disability Law & Policy Certificate Program
Family Law & Social Policy
National Security & Counterterrorism
Temple University: James E. Beasley School of Law
Temple's Public Interest Scholars Program
This Program requires that first year Scholars attend a seminar where they are exposed to different areas of Public Interest practice, are matched with a mentor who has expertise in the student's area of interest and that they work in a public interest organization during the summer. Second year Scholars are required to take a two credit course Introduction to Public Interest Law and participate in a second internship either during the course of their second year or over the summer. Third year scholars must spend at least one semester working directly with low income clients through the law school's clinical program and take a guided research course in a public interest area of their choice. Finally, they must work together to develop a culminating project that will benefit and strengthen the entire public interest community at Temple.
Temple offers a number of courses designed for the public interest-minded student, such as Introduction to Public Interest Law, Public Health in the Time of AIDS, Religious Rights Under the United States Constitution and Violence Against Women.
The Center for Law and Social Justice provides a program that leads to granting a Certificate in Law and Social Justice to those students interested in specializing in the area. Students must fulfill a number of requirements including: participating and documenting their attendance at the Center's events; rendering 10 hours of pro bono service to individuals or organizations of limited means; completing 12 elective units; and maintaining the Center's required GPA.
The Center's Certificate Program endeavers to educate students in the fundamental values of the American legal system to prepare them to counsel and represent clients in the full range of settings in which questions relating to the cause of social justice arise. Such settings may include, for example, allegations of employment discrimination, claims for equal treatment by gays, lesbians and intersexuals, conflicting assertions of privacy rights in disputes over frozen embryos, or objections to the location of an environmental hazard in a minority community.
Cooley Law School offers four concentration options including a concentration in public and international law. Students who wish to become public interest lawyers can take courses in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, anti-discrimination law, and advanced constitutional law. Students who elect the concentration are required to take certain core courses and then choose from selected electives in the area. Successful completion of the concentration results in a notation on the student's transcript.
Public Interest Law Perspective Requirement
Students may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing a clinic and doing 40 hours of pro bono.
Tulane offers both depth and breadth in the variety of course offerings that might be considered a part of a "public interest" curriculum. An example of such an offering is our certificate of specialization in environmental law. Examples of recent course offerings with a public interest emphasis include State Reform and Human Rights in Latin America, Inter-American System of Human Rights, and Gender, Law and Equality. See http://www.law.tulane.edu/uploadedFiles/PublicInterest_Brochure.pdf
University of Akron: C. Blake McDowell Law Center
The Certificate in Public Interest Law is awarded to graduates who have completed the Public Interest Lawyering and Poverty Law courses; completed at least 12 hours from a list of approved courses; completed a clinical course through the Law School Clinic; and participated in at least 50 hours of approved community service activities.
Although Arizona Law does not have a certificate designed specifically for public interest law, the following certificates and programs carry a strong, public interest focus:
- Bacon Immigration Law & Policy Program
- Environmental Law, Science & Policy Program Certificate
- Health Law Certificate
- Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program Certificate
- Program in Criminal Law and Policy Certificate
University of Arkansas at Little Rock: William H. Bowen School of Law
The School of Law awards a Dean's Certificate to graduating student who achieve 100 hours of service .
Instilling public service values is at the core of the UC Irvine School of Law's mission. All students will be taught about and have direct exposure to the gaps in our justice system. In the first year legal writing program, every student is required to conduct an intake with a real client at a public interest or government organization. Additionally, all UCI Law students are required to participate in a core legal clinic. Additional elective clinics are also offered. Experiential learning opportunities are also provided through pro bono projects and externships.
The offerings and required courses at UCI Law allow students to address gaps in our justice system and assist those with the greatest need in our community. All experiential opportunities are under the close supervision of faculty or practicing attorneys.
King Hall Pro Bono Program
The King Hall Pro Bono Program encourages students who have completed at least one semester of law school to contribute a minimum of 50 hours of law related service in a year. This work must be performed under the supervision of an attorney or a member of the Law School faculty. The Career Services Office keeps listings of pro bono opportunities, handles inquiries and certifies hours to the Law School Registrar. Students wishing to participate in the program are encouraged to check with the Career Services Office regarding placements. Upon approval, students can initiate their own placements. Upon submitting verification of 50 hours of legal or law related service, students receive a Certificate of Appreciation, signed by the Dean, and a notation on their transcript. Students are encouraged to renew their King Hall Pro Bono Program commitment each year, and may thereby earn further certificates and transcript notations.
Public Interest Law Program (PILP)
The Public Interest Law Program is administered, in cooperation with the School of Law, by the Public Interest Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that provides support for legal services programs in California and Nevada. PILP offers students individualized academic and career counseling and the "Public Interest Advocate," a monthly newsletter that includes a calendar of events and job announcements. The Public Interest Law Program is an academic certificate and pro bono program. Students are required to fulfill 15 units of coursework, 150 hours of supervised legal work in public interest or qualifying government organization, and 50 hours of legal or non-legal volunteer service on behalf of community service or public interest organizations. A special graduation ceremony is held each year to honor the participants who successfully fulfill the program requirements. At the ceremony, students receive a certificate acknowledging them as a Public Interest Law Scholar.
Berkeley Law offers a rich array of courses that address social justice issues. In addition to standard law school classes, Berkeley Law offers theory courses that examine the legal history and rights of traditionally disadvantaged groups, a range of public interest law and social justice classes, and clinical courses and skills classes. In addition, Berkeley Law's Honorable Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice offers a Social Justice Thursday seminar series for first year students that views the first year curriculum in particular and legal education in general through a social justice lens. Facilitated by social justice faculty, this seminar complements the public interest/social justice discussions in those core courses that include such analyses and fills the gap for those core course faculty members who do not incorporate such focus in their teaching.
The Social Justice Lawyering Concentration is designed to enable students interested in social-justice lawyering to prepare for public service careers (or pro bono work) by immersing themselves in the theory and practice of social-change lawyering. Reflecting the faculty's deep commitment to social justice, the concentration's rich array of more than 75 qualifying classes are taught by over thirty full-time UC Hastings faculty members and adjunct faculty drawn from many of the Bay Area's (and the U.S') preeminent public interest lawyers.
The minimum number of credit hours required to qualify for Social Justice Lawyering Concentration is 25. The qualifying courses are set forth in the Course Catalog on the UC Hastings website. In addition, with the permission of the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration Advisor and if consistent with the Academic Regulations, students may receive credit toward fulfillment of the concentration for relevant classes taken at another law school or as part of an approved joint degree program. Moreover, with the approval of the faculty advisor, students may receive credit toward fulfillment of the concentration requirement for relevant independent studies, law journal writing, and interscholastic competitions sponsored by the College.
The cornerstone of the concentration is its year-long seminar that enables students in their second year to prepare for a career in social-justice lawyering. The seminar deepens students' understanding of public interest practice and forges supportive ties with peers and faculty who affirm and share a passionate commitment to social-change lawyering.
In addition to the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration, students interested in public interest work may also choose to concentrate in Criminal or Government law. The Criminal Concentration speaks to many students planning to work in criminal prosecution or criminal defense. The Criminal Law and Theory Concentration Seminar introduces students to cutting edge issues facing today's criminal lawyers.
The Government Law Concentration prepares students interested in a career with governmental agencies to understand the unique role and ethical obligations of government lawyers as well as the processes and procedures unique to these areas of practice. Concentrators complete a significant clinical or supervised work experience (externship) representing a branch or agency of the federal, state or local government.
The American Indian Law Program provides students with comprehensive opportunities to acquire specialized knowledge in American Indian law--through curriculum, Clinic, Certificate Program, National Tribal Court Law Clerks Program, externships, Students Association, conferences and events, and more.
The Juvenile and Family Law Program provides students with opportunities to acquire specialized knowledge in juvenile and family law, engage in interdisciplinary work in the study and practice of juvenile and family law, and network and collaborate with students, academics, and practitioners.
The Law School offers a great variety of coursework and clinical opportunities dealing with public interest and public service. There is no formalized certificate program, nor required curriculum. Students may, however, structure a study program focused on public interest law under the guidance of faculty academic advisors. The curriculum includes more than enough offerings to facilitate such a program through a combination of clinical-based and advanced study courses, including by way of example: Advanced Civil Procedure (Class Actions), Advanced Constitutional Law, American Indian Law, Civil and Political Rights, Comparative Constitutional Law, Structural Limitations in Constitutional Law, Due Process Clauses, Federal Courts, Family Law, Problems in Family Law, First Amendment Law Freedom of Religion, Housing and Civil Rights, Advanced Individual Income Tax Law, International Conception of Rights, Church and State, Poverty Law, Social Welfare Law, and The Supreme Court. In addition to our many clinics offered, the Law School often offers a Poverty Law Clinic that involves direct student representation of indigent clients and an explicit focus on the needs of the poor.
While the College of Law does not presently have a public interest certificate program, it does embrace public interest law as one of the areas of emphasis for students to pursue. It has certificate programs in Constitutional Rights and Remedies, Workplace Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and International and Comparative Law. Within each of these programs, public sector related classes are offered and relevant programming is provided.
The UGA School of Law offers a cluster of courses for those interested in public service.
The School of Law offers joint degrees and concurrent enrollment with other colleges/units on campus. Those relating to public service include a Master of Historic Preservation and a Master of Public Administration for joint degree programs, and sample concurrent enrollment fields are Social Work and International Affairs.
The College of Law provides students interested in public interest law with information about course selection. This information is intended to guide public interest students in choosing courses that will advance their understanding of, and their ability to eventually practice, public interest law. Our faculty – which is quite interested in, and supportive of, public interest law – makes itself available for course and career counseling in the public interest area.
While there is no specific public interest curriculum or certificate program, the College of Law offers a variety of courses that focus on legal areas and skills of use and interest to the public interest minded student. In addition, there are many individual courses on issues applicable to public interest practice. The College of Law also recommends providing at least 60 hours of pro bono service during three years of law school.
Elder Law Certificate Program - This Certificate Program includes courses in Poverty Law, Administrative Law, and Elder Law, including a live client clinic requirement. The Tribal Law Certificate Program includes courses in tribal law and process and an internship with a tribal legal department or a private or public interest law firm specializing in Indian Law.
Media, Law and Policy Certificate Program - This Certificate Program includes courses in First Amendment Freedoms, Administrative Law and Public Policy Clinics (Media, Public Policy, Legislative).
JD/MSW Joint Degree Program - This Program allows students with an undergraduate degree in social work to earn a law degree and an MSW in a combined program. Similar joint degree programs are available in the areas of Philosophy, Urban Planning, Health Policy and Management, and Public Administration.
The Law School has several different public interest opportunities, such as our clinics and externships, for students to receive academic credit.
The School of Law offers numerous courses for students seeking to focus on public interest advocacy. Our Litigation Skills Program, clinics and courses provide a wide array of opportunities for students with a commitment to public interest.
Students may receive academic credit for their public interest work through clinics, externships, and independent research opportunities. They may also choose to concentrate in the public interest related fields of health law and bioethics, human rights, and labor and employment.
In order to be recognized as having completed a Tax Concentration, students must engage in at least 20 hours of supervised pro bono activities related to tax law over the course of their law school career with either the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) or the Non-Profit Project (assisting organizations on campus obtain tax-exempt status).
Students who want to pursue a public interest area of study may work with a faculty member to develop a program of concentrated study in public interest law and receive a certificate of concentrated study at graduation.
Masters of Law in International Criminal Law & Justice (LLM-ICL)
Designed to prepare the next generation of lawyers and policy-makers, the International Criminal Law & Justice Program equips students with the skills necessary to confront and challenge global issues relating to criminal law and justice. The program integrates academic coursework with externships in governmental agencies. This LLM program enrolls law graduates (JD or LLB) pursuing a career in international criminal law research and foreign policy development. UNH law students interested in pursuing a career in social justice—specifically, international criminal law—are encouraged to jointly pursue their J.D. and L.L.M-ICL.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a Non-Profit Management Certificate Program. This Certificate requires student to take five classes with a focus on non-profit management, including two law school classes (Law of Nonprofit Organizations and one nonprofit-related elective). See http://uncnonprofit.web.unc.edu/ for more information.
Law students may earn a Public Interest and Public Service Law (PIPS) Certificate upon graduation by performing 100 hours of public service, 40 of which must be legal pro bono, attending six hours of public service seminars and taking a cluster of public service classes, including a clinic. For information, see www.law.uoregon.edu/org/pips/ , or contact Professor Tom Lininger, at 541 346-3662, firstname.lastname@example.org. Other specialty certificates can be earned in various fields, including Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Ocean and Coastal Law and Criminal Law. Statements of Completion require successful completion ("C" grade or better) of a number of designated courses in each specialty field. Statements of Completion generally require successful completion of an academic research paper of high professional quality concerning the specialty subject matter. Information on Statements of Completion can be located at http://www.law.uoregon.edu/academics/centers.php.
Environmental Law, Science & Policy Certificate
Health Law Certificate
Joint Degree Programs with the School of Social Work, Graduate School of Public Health and Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
Certificate of Concentration in Family Law
The National Center for Family Law offers law students at the University of Richmond the opportunity to earn a Certificate of Concentration in Family Law to be awarded at graduation along with the J.D. diploma. Transcripts will also reflect completion of the concentration program.
Earning the Certificate of Concentration in Family Law is similar to completing a major as an undergraduate. A student must take a basic Family Law course and a certain number of credits from other Family Law-related courses. Students seeking the Certificate of Concentration in Family Law will meet their upper-level writing requirement by writing on a family law-related subject.
Certificates will be awarded only to those who achieve a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all family law concentration classes taken. Students whose GPA is 3.5 or higher in concentration courses will earn the certificate "with distinction."
While UST does not have a concentration in public interest or social justice, the registrar provides information to students about the array of courses most appropriate for students interested in pursuing a public interest or social justice emphasis. UST Law offers a variety of courses preparing students to work in careers directly serving the common good or providing representation to the disadvantaged. These courses cover public-interest-related subjects in both the criminal and civil contexts.
Public Interest Law Certificate Program
A commitment to public service is one of the essential elements of the law school's mission. True to our mission, we support students and graduates in their pursuit of careers in public service. Students may earn a Public Interest Law Certificate through a combination of course work, practical experience, and community service.
To receive the Public Interest Law Certificate, students must complete all of the certificate requirements and all of the requirements for the JD degree.
To earn a Public Interest Law Certificate, a student must: (1) complete at least 15 units of course work selected from the list of approved Public Interest Law Certificate courses, (2) complete a minimum of 150 hours of supervised legal work in a public interest or qualifying government organization, (3) complete a minimum of 50 hours of non-legal volunteer service on behalf of on-campus or community service organizations (work with student organizations and participation in activities through the Law In Motion Service Program may be applied to satisfy this requirement), and (4) complete a substantial research paper analyzing an issue relevant to public interest law. The paper must demonstrate the ability to identify, describe, and analyze the subject matter, and, if possible, propose a resolution.
Although the Law School does not award a separate certificate, the Law School's academic counseling manual, which provides advice on curricular emphases, course choices, and recommended chronology for course sequencing, includes a "public interest" section.
The Law School does not maintain a public interest curriculum. However, a number of courses and curricular activities are available for public interest-minded students, and the Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Committee consistently works to design better ways to help such students find courses and course sequences that will help them prepare for careers in the public interest.
Additionally, the first year legal research and writing curriculum has recently introduced a public interest capstone project that allows students to engage in researching, and addressing in a legal memorandum, legal issues of interest to legal service providers, which memoranda are then provided to the service providers for use in fulfilling their missions.
The Law School does not offer specializations. The Law School participates in a university-wide interdisciplinary Graduate Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies, as well as a Graduate Portfolio Program in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
All students are required to complete two 7-credit clinics.
The Capital Certificate in Public Law and Policy: The Capital Certificate program gives students the opportunity to work with judges, legislators, and public interest lawyers in California's capital. Through the program, aspiring lawyers gain both the insight and the practical skills needed to ensure that the political process fairly represents the needs of all Californians. At the same time, the skills students develop prepare them to thoughtfully approach issues of good governance from in a variety of elements, from California city councils to international organizations and foreign governments. Faculty and students working within the Center's Institutes and with its Initiatives produce relevant scholarship and analysis to enhance government functioning and the administration of justice, and provide needed legal and public service to government and community, from local schools to other nations and global governance entities. For more information, see: http://www.mcgeorge.edu/x640.xml
University of Toledo: College of Law
The University of Toledo College of Law offers certificate programs in criminal law, environmental law, health law, intellectual property law, international law, and labor & employment law.
See http://law.utoledo.edu/students/concentrations.htm for full details.
University of Tulsa: College of Law
The College of Law offers a public policy certificate program with a pro bono service requirement.
Students in their second and third years may elect to pursue a concentration track; one of the several concentration tracks available is a Public Service Law Concentration Track. Students who demonstrate to the director of the Academic Services Office that they have met the requirements of a track by the time of their graduation will have a notation to that effect on their transcripts. The Public Service Law Concentration Track includes one required course, an advanced writing project, a public service externship or clinic, volunteer hours with a student organization or other public interest legal setting, and fifteen credits chosen from a variety of electives. http://www.law.washington.edu/Students/Academics/Concentration/PublicService.aspx
University of Wisconsin: Law School
Wisconsin's Curriculum Guide to Public Interest Law: http://law.wisc.edu/academics/curriculum-guides/public.html
University of Wyoming School of Law
Graduates who complete 40 or more Pro Bono hours in their third year receive a Pro Bono Commendation on their law school transcript.
Villanova University School of Law encourages students to pursue careers in public interest law. To facilitate such careers, VLS created the Public Interest Scholars Program. Each year, several students are offered a 50% tuition-waiver scholarship based on their past academic achievement, leadership, public interest work and commitment to contribute to public interest endeavors as future public interest practitioners. Villanova Law Public Interest Scholars must participate in at least one clinical course, and then either a second clinical course or a public service externship. They must also complete 100 hours of public service. Scholars receive specialized advising from a faculty member with public service experience, as well as a Mentor from the public interest community, to assist with curricular choices and to provide mentoring throughout the three years of law school.
In addition, to assist law students in selecting courses, the Villanova faculty have prepared course guides which identify those courses relevant to specific practice fields, including Public Interest Law, Environmental Law, Family Law or Criminal Law.
Family Law Certificates
Natural Resources Law Certificate
Curricular Tracks in Civil/Human Rights and Public Interest Law
The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability
Criminal Law Certificate includes public interest externships.
The Law School sponsors a Center for Children's Rights certificate program that provides students the opportunity to train as child advocates. Program fellows participate in a variety of public interest programs to achieve their certificate, including community externship placements.
Although no formal certificate is offered, a sequence of courses is recommended for students interested in public interest law. These courses include: Disability Law; Employment Discrimination; Equal Protection Law; HIV, AIDS & the Law; and Immigration and Naturalization.
Although no formal certificate is offered, a sequence of courses are recommended for students interested in public interest law. These courses include: Disability Law; Employment Discrimination; Equal Protection Law; HIV, AIDS & the Law; and Immigration and Naturalization.
Willamette's five specialty certificate programs emphasize the unique and comprehensive training that participants complete in these areas.
William and Mary Law School
We do not have a public interest-specific curriculum track or academic certificate program.
Each year, a small group of competitively selected students are admitted to Cardozo as Public Service Scholars. During the admissions process, the law school identifies and provides three-year scholarships for up to twenty in-coming students per year who demonstrate a commitment to public service and a high level of academic achievement. The Public Service Scholars Program provides a unique opportunity for committed students to share and explore their interest in public service law throughout their three years of law school. They are offered a range of programs to stimulate intellectual discussions on public service and to expand their social and professional networks in the public sector.
Through a mixture of benefits, including tuition assistance, a mentoring program, specialized academic and social events and help with securing summer internships, Public Service Scholars are given the opportunity to learn the practical and academic aspects of public service law along with a cohesive group of fellow colleagues throughout their studies in law school.
Updated on: 7/18/2018