chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Certificate & Curriculum Programs

A full definition of the term "Certificate & Curriculum Programs" as it is used in this Law School Public Interest and Pro Bono directory


Public Interest Certificates/Curriculum refers to a specific curriculum track for students who wish to concentrate in public interest law. Schools with public interest scholarship programs often design a public interest track for scholarship recipients. Some law schools grant a certificate in public interest law, upon completion of specific courses and/or a designated number of hours.

List of Responding Schools

Albany Law School

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

Summer Institutes: For over 20 years, American University Washington College of Law has been training upper-level students and practitioners in emerging legal fields. Participants can select from 50+ course offered by our nationally ranked programs and internationally recognized institutes. Students can choose course from the multiple practice areas listed below:

Summer Abroad Institutes: American University Washington College of Law offers world class summer programs that provide an interdisciplinary “crash course” of international and transnational issues and are open to students from any law school in the US. Current programs include:

Appalachian School of Law


Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Arizona Summit Law School

Ave Maria School of Law

Barry University School of Law

Baylor University Law School

Boston College Law School

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:

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:

Boston University School of Law

The Public Interest Concentration (the “Concentration”) expands faculty advising and support for students who plan to pursue public interest legal careers at Boston University School of Law (“BU Law”). BU Law has significantly expanded opportunities and advising around public interest in recent years.

Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School

Brooklyn Law School

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.

California Western School of Law

The California Western School of Law Public Service Program encourages students to provide 50 hours of service over two consecutive trimesters (exclusive of training) to various governmental agencies throughout the country. Students may participate after they have completed their first year of school. Each spring students completing the requisite number of hours are inducted into the Public Service Honors Society at a celebration where the Dean, distinguished members of the bench and bar, faculty, and other public interest organization representatives are present. In addition, the law school officially recognizes these students with a notation on their academic transcripts, along with Public Service Honors Society Award Certificates from the Dean.

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.

Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law

Capital University Law School

Case Western Reserve University Law School

JD/MSSA (Social Work)
JD/MD (Medicine)
JD/MPH (Public Health)
JD/MNO (Nonprofit Organizations)
Public Interest Law Concentration

Catholic University of America School of Law

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.

Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law


Charleston School of Law

City University of New York Law at Queens College

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.

Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Columbia University School of Law

Columbia encourages every student to create the curricular program that best satisfies their individual needs and interests. Information and encouragement to explore public interest courses and opportunities begins when students arrive their 1L year - public interest faculty and students speak during Orientation. There are many opportunities to learn more throughout students’ time at Columbia. Legal clinics and the Pro Bono Program offer informational panels each semester. Individual counseling is provided by faculty members, Social Justice Initiatives and Student Services.

Cornell Law School

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.

Creighton University School of Law


DePaul University College of Law

DePaul offers a Public Interest Law Certificate. The program entails required and elective coursework and an experiential and service component. Please visit for detailed information.

Drake University School of Law

Drake Law School offers a Public Service Certificate to students who perform 60 hours of legal or non-legal services without compensation or the award of academic credit.

Drake Law School awards up to two full-tuition Justice Chester Cole Public Service Scholarships each year to entering first-year law students. In addition, at the conclusion of the 1L year, up to two additional Drake Law students will be awarded a Justice Chester Cole Public Service Scholarship award equal to three-quarters tuition (renewable for the third year).

Public Service Scholars will be included in a program of activities designed to encourage them to explore the wide variety of public service career opportunities and to prepare them for a career of public service.

Drexel University Thomas R, Kline School of Law

Duke University School of Law

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

Duquesne University School of Law

Elon University School of Law

Preceptor Program through which experienced lawyers from a broad range of practice settings mentor law students.

Public Interest Concentration (optional)

Emory University School of Law

Suggested public interest curriculum provided to Emory Law students; for more information see

Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law

Florida A&M University College of Law

Florida Coastal School of Law

Florida Coastal offers five certificate programs including: Environmental Law, Sports Law, Family Law, International & Comparative Law, and Research, Writing & Drafting. See for a description of these programs.

Florida International University College of Law

Florida State University College of Law

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.

Fordham University School of Law

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 significantly engaging in activities in public interest settings.

Through specialized academic coursework in public interest law and ethics, funded summer internships with public interest organizations, interaction with practitioners and academics in roundtable and informal discussions, and opportunities to engage in the work of public interest lawyers, the Stein Scholars Program prepares public interest leaders to work toward the advancement of social justice.

Crowley Program in International Human Rights

Unique among American law schools, the Crowley Program’s Annual Human Rights Fact-Finding Project provides Fordham Law School students with the opportunity to participate in an overseas human rights investigation and prepares them for a career in international human rights. At the end of their first year, a group of six to eight law students are selected to become Crowley Scholars. These Scholars enroll in an intensive academic program in human rights theory, practice, and advocacy during their second year, including a special seminar designed to prepare them for a two week fact-finding project.

George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

George Washington University Law School


Georgetown University Law Center


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:


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:


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:


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). Website:


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.

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.

Georgia State University College of Law

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 University School of Law

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:

Civil Rights
Comparative Women's Rights
Consumer Law
Criminal Procedure
Directed Research (with consent of Thomas More Director)
Education Law
Elder Law
Employment Discrimination Seminar
Ethical Issues in Representing Children
Family Law
Federal Indian Law
Health Care Organization and Finance Law
Immigration Law
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights
International Law
Justice and Society
Juvenile Law
Labor Law I (Private Sector)
Landlord/Tenant Law
Law and Sexuality
Mental Disability Law
Non-Profit Organizations
Public Lands Law
Race and the Law
Water Law
Workers' Compensation
Zoning and Land Use Regulation

Harvard University Law School

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.

Hofstra University School of Law

Howard University School of Law

Family Law Certificate Program

Illinois Institute of Technology: Chicago-Kent College of Law

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.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL)
The mission of the PIHRL is to further teaching, study and scholarship on international human rights law, to assist governmental, inter-governmental, and non-governmental organizations on projects related to human rights around the world, and to help students experience what it's like to be involved in International Human Rights work. Program features include:

  • Internship placements: More than 200 placements in 55 countries on six continents
  • Special Consultative Status with the United Nations
  • Extensive Shadow Report Program (to the United Nations)
  • Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.S. Military Commission Observation Project: The Pentagon’s Guantanamo Bay Convening Authority granted “NGO Observer Status” to the IU McKinney Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL).

Program on Law and State Government (PLSG)
The PLSG sponsors a wide variety of externship placements within the executive and legislative branches of Indiana’s state government and awards two fellowships annually.

Externships include the Office of the Governor, the Indiana Attorney General, the Indiana State Police, the Civil Rights Commission and over fifty others. These externships will introduce you to new vantage points on what it means to be a public lawyer, how the private regulated community engages with Indiana’s state government, and how federal and state tax dollars translate into programs for Hoosiers. The required one-credit classroom component of the course provides additional opportunities to learn about the law, process, and policies of Indiana’s and other state governments.

Civil and Human Rights Law Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in Civil and Human Rights helps IU McKinney students prepare to become leaders in the ongoing historic struggle to advance civil and human rights. As part of their coursework, students pursuing the Certificate directly participate in efforts to protect civil and human rights. Those students also conduct detailed study and analysis of existing law in this field, as well as policy proposals and campaigns to ensure enforcement of civil and human rights. The certificate prepares students for a variety of careers in the field, ranging from global human rights advocacy to local roles as civil legal services attorneys and advocates in the criminal justice arena.
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)/Master of Public Affairs (MPA)
This dual degree prepares you to understand and work within the legal and managerial frameworks of public service, nonprofit, and quasi-governmental institutions. In the final year of the degree, you’ll complete a research paper on a topic in both areas of study that will be supervised by faculty advisors from both schools.

Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)/Master of Social Work (MSW)
This dual degree provides you with unique knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of serving vulnerable populations and combating injustice.

Inter American University of Puerto Rico: Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law

John Marshall Law School

John Marshall Law School – Atlanta

Lewis & Clark Law School

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

Liberty University School of Law


Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Loyola Law School: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

There is a public interest curriculum

Loyola University Chicago: Loyola University Chicago School of Law

  • ChildLaw Certificate
  • Health Law Certificate
  • Public Interest and Social Justice Certificate

Loyola University New Orleans: Loyola University New Orleans School of 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.

Marquette University Law School

At this time, Marquette Law School does not offer a certificate program in Public Interest Law. It incorporates a commitment to service throughout its curriculum in accordance with its mission as a Jesuit institution of higher learning.

Mercer University School of Law

Michigan State University College of Law

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

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.

Mississippi College: Mississippi College School of Law

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

We do not have a certificate or curriculum program focused on public interest.

New England School of Law: New England School of Law

The school recognizes a number of Certificates and Concentrations where students may earn recognition, including a Public Interest Law Concentration. (

New York Law School: New York Law School

The Law School has ten academic centers, six of which offer the opportunity to specialize in various aspects of public interest law :

Justice Action Center

Institute for Information Law and Policy

International Law Center

Center for Professional Values and Practice

Center for New York City Law,

Diane Abbey Center for Children and Families

New York University: New York University School of Law

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.

North Carolina Central University School of Law

Northeastern University: Northeastern University School of Law

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.

Northern Illinois University: Northern Illinois University College of Law

Certificate in Public Interest Law - for information go to:

Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Northwestern University: Northwestern Pritzker University School 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.

Notre Dame: Notre Dame Law School

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 Law Center

Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law offers three concentration programs that identify graduates as emerging experts in a specific field. The three concentrations offered are in Health Law, in International Legal Practice, and Intellectual Property, Technology and Cybersecurity Law. 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.

Ohio Northern Claude W. Pettit College of Law

Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law

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,

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.

Oklahoma City University: Oklahoma City University School of Law


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.


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.

Pace University School of Law

JD candidates at Haub Law and practicing attorneys have the opportunity to earn certificates in environmental law, health law & policy or international law.

Through Pace's joint degree programs, a student may earn a JD while working on a second advanced degree. By enrolling in a joint degree program, a full-time student may complete both degrees within four years, instead of the five years of study required when each degree is pursued separately. Part-time students can complete a joint degree program in as few as six years. JD/LLM in Environmental Law JD/Master of Environmental Management (With Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies) JD/MS in Environmental Policy with Bard Center for Environmental Policy

Haub Law also offers several less formal Paths to Practice (formerly known as Concentrations) - these start with required foundational courses in a given area, build on those courses with intermediate doctrinal electives and related courses, and culminate with a practical skills-based capstone experience.

Penn State Law

Concentration in Public Interest Law - Students may earn Concentration recognition in Public Interest Law using courses from approved selected courses. J.D. students must earn a minimum of 12 credits and LL.M. students a minimum of 9 credits.

Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law

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.

Pepperdine University: Rick J. Caruso School of Law


Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Regent University: School of Law

For further information see:

Roger Williams University: School of Law

Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Center for Law and Justice (Newark)

Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey School of Law, Camden

Saint John's 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.

Saint Louis University: Saint Louis University School of Law

Information on the Concentrations in Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense Litigation, and Urban Development and Land Use can be found on the school web site at

Saint Mary's University of San Antonio: St. Mary’s University of San Antonio School of Law

Saint Thomas University: St. Thomas University College of Law (FL)


Samford University: Cumberland School of Law

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.

Santa Clara University: Santa Clara University School of Law

The Public Interest and Social Justice Law Certificate Program is available to all Santa Clara law students. Students must complete 15 units of academic coursework in social justice topics, complete 150 hours of supervised practicum work in a public service setting, and provide 50 hours of pro bono work. Student are recognized for their successful achievement of the certificates at an annual Social Justice Graduation ceremony. Students may earn a general certificate or a certificate with an emphasis in one of five areas: consumer law, criminal justice, critical race jurisprudence, health law, or immigration and refugee law.

For certificate requirements, visit:

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.

Seton Hall University: Seton Hall University School of Law

South Texas College: South Texas College of Law Houston

Southern Illinois University School of Law

Specialization in Public Interest Law

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Southern University Law Center

Southwestern Law School

In registering for the law school’s Public Interest Law Concentration, students receive individualized academic counseling and advice on curricular emphases, course choices, and recommended chronology for course sequencing. The Public Interest Law Concentration also mandates a 75-hour minimum of pro bono or service hours by the April deadline in a student’s graduating year.

Stanford Law School

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.

Stetson University: Stetson University College of Law

Stetson has a Social Justice Advocacy Certificate of Concentration program.

Suffolk University Law School

SUNY Buffalo Law School

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.

Syracuse University: College of Law

Disability Law & Policy Certificate Program

Family Law & Social Policy

National Security & Counterterrorism

For more information about the Certificate Programs:

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.

Texas A & M University School of Law

Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Texas Tech University School of Law

Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School offers nine concentration options including a concentration in public interest 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. Students receive a certificate of completion on successful completion of the concentration requirements.

Touro College: Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Public Interest Law Perspective Requirement

Students may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing a clinic and doing 40 hours of pro bono.

Tulane University: Tulane University School of Law

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

University of Akron: C. Blake McDowell Law Center


University of Alabama: University of Alabama School of Law

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.

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

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 .

University of Arkansas School of Law -Fayetteville

Criminal Practice Certificate

University of Baltimore School of Law

University of California - Irvine School of Law

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.

University of California - Los Angeles School of Law

The David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy is one of the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs and a unique specialization among peer law schools. Offering an innovative and rigorous approach, the program enables students to refine their own career goals while educating and training them to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally underserved individuals, communities and interests.

Faculty of the Epstein Program have an unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge and experience representing a wide cross-section of topics in social justice. They work with program administrators to counsel, guide and support students and alumni as they pursue impactful public interest careers. Through its speaker series and other colloquia and symposia, interdisciplinary collaborations and active engagement in the community, the program helps advance sustainable solutions to some of our society’s most pressing challenges.

In addition, many public interest-focused students also choose one of UCLA Law’s other specializations, especially: Critical Race Studies; Environmental Law; International and Comparative Law; and Law & Sexuality (LL.M. only).

University of California at Davis: University of California at Davis School of Law

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.

University of California, Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

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.

University of California-Hastings College of the Law

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 100 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 17. 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 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.

University of Chicago: University of Chicago Law School


University of Cincinnati: University of Cincinnati College of Law


University of Colorado: School of Law

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.

University of Connecticut: University of Connecticut School of Law

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.

University of Dayton: University of Dayton School of Law


University of Denver: Sturm College of Law

The Public Good Distinction is an honor that Denver Law awards graduating students based on their demonstrated commitment to public interest law throughout their legal education. The Distinction was developed by a group of Denver Law students and Director of Public Interest Initiatives and is administered by the director. Students must apply to earn the Distinction. Students must complete at least 16 public good credits, and a minimum of 4 credits of these must be designated as experiential by Denver Law. There is no specific list of courses –students can chart their own path and make choices that fit for their career interests. These students also participate in 2-4 sessions their 3L year that focus on topics like financial planning, maintaining passion, the job search, and managing stress.

We also offer certificates 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.

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

University of Florida: Fredric G. Levin College of Law


University of Georgia School of Law

The UGA School of Law offers a cluster of courses for those interested in public service. Please visit the law school's website for the classes comprising the public interest law cluster./p>

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.

University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law

University of Houston Law Center

University of Idaho: College of Law

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.

University of Illinois College of Law

While there is no specific public interest curriculum or certificate programs, 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, including doctrinal courses, journals, clinics, and experiential/field placements. The joint-degree options also provide a cluster of academic options relating to public interest fields.

Illinois College of Law also offers a Pro Bono Notation program for pro bono work completed by students. After a student has completed 60 hours of pro bono service, Illinois College of Law awards a Pro Bono Notation to the student. The notation appears on the official and unofficial transcripts of qualified students. It also appears on the students’ grade report for the semester in which the Pro Bono Notation is earned. Earned Pro Bono Notations are also listed for each qualified student, as one of the limited student awards listed in the Graduation Program


University of Iowa College of Law

University of Kansas: School of Law

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.

University of Kentucky College of Law

University of Louisville: Brandeis School of Law


University of Maine School of Law

Environmental and Oceans Law Certificate - The Certificate in Environmental and Oceans Law is designed to prepare students for careers in important fields like environmental law and policy, energy law, global warming and renewable energy, oceans and coastal law, and many other related areas.

University of Maryland: University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The Law School has several different public interest opportunities, such as our clinics and externships, for students to receive academic credit.

University of Miami School of Law

The Social Justice & Public Interest (SJPI) Concentration and Area of Focus are ideal for students interested in societal inequality and power differentials, particularly as these relate to class and economics, identity and civil rights, and the political process. The SJPI Concentration and Area of Focus are also intended to fortify our social justice community at Miami Law, offering opportunities for students and faculty who are committed to social justice, racial justice, gender justice, environmental justice, economic justice/anti-poverty work, civil and human rights, and other public interest law areas to unify, reaffirm our common values, and push for an increased commitment to social justice from actors across society—including our own institution. Curriculum Programs: The Litigation Skills Program, Clinics and Externships provide a wide array of opportunities for students to engage in public service and receive academic credit.

University of Michigan: University of Michigan Law School


University of Minnesota: University of Minnesota Law School

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.

University of Mississippi School of Law

University of Missouri - Columbia: School of Law

Dispute Resolution Certificate

Clients and society today need and expect much more than traditional advocacy from their lawyers. Modern lawyers need to be able to address legal problems in ways that accommodate a variety of needs, goals and values, in addition to vindicating legal rights. As a result, today’s lawyer must have the knowledge, skills and perspectives not only to advocate in the courtroom but to participate in such processes as client counseling, negotiation, mediation, arbitration and creative problem-solving.

Tax Law Concentration

The Tax Law concentration is designed to provide each student in the concentration basic education in both general skills and subject-matter specific knowledge and provide each student with an opportunity to bring the entire skill set to bear in a capstone experience designed to teach integrated legal problem-solving. Completion of a concentration should improve the overall preparedness of graduates by conferring entry-level competence to begin practicing law with appropriate supervision in the concentration’s subject matter area or practice setting.


At Mizzou Law, you can customize your law school experience by selecting a curriculum “pathway” that focuses on an area of law that interests you personally. Doing so can provide you with deeper knowledge of the area and a broader set of relevant skills, as well as relationships with faculty knowledgeable in the field, who may serve as mentors along the way.

The faculty at Mizzou Law has created sixteen pathways for your consideration. Choosing a pathway is not mandatory (and will not be reflected in your transcript). But, these pathways are here to help you shape your law school experience.

We offer these pathways:

For each pathway, the faculty have listed both foundational courses and recommended courses. The recommended courses may include clinics, practicums, study abroad programs, or participation in one of the school’s specialized law journals.

University of Missouri Kansas City University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law

University of Montana: University of Montana School of Law


University of Nebraska: University of Nebraska College of Law

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.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: William S. Boyd School of Law


University of New Hampshire School of Law

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.

University of New Mexico School of Law

University of North Carolina: University of North Carolina School of Law

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 for more information.

University of North Dakota School of Law

University of Oklahoma College of Law



University of Oregon: University of Oregon School of Law

Law students may earn a Public Interest Law Concentration. To earn this Concentration, students complete a cluster of relevant coursework, participate in a clinic or externship with a public interest focus, and complete a research paper related to the practice of public interest law.

Oregon Law also offers other concentrations that are relevant for students who wish to pursue public interest law. These concentrations include Child Advocacy Law, Dispute Resolution, Environmental & Natural Resources Law, Law & Public Policy, and Ocean & Coastal Law.

University of Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Law School

University of Pittsburgh: School of Law

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

University of Puerto Rico School of Law

University of Richmond T. C. Williams School of Law

University of Saint Thomas: School of Law (MN)

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.

University of San Diego School of Law

University of San Francisco School of Law

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.

University of South Carolina: University of South Carolina School of Law


University of South Dakota School of Law

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

USC Gould students may earn a certificate in Public Interest Law in addition to their JD degree, giving them extensive preparation for a career in a wide range of organizations, including legal aid providers, public defenders, social justice agencies, nonprofits and foundations, government agencies, international human rights entities, public interest law firms and firms performing pro bono services.

Building upon USC Gould's longstanding tradition of legal service in public interest, our Public Interest Scholars program honors the commitment of our students who are dedicated to serving the public interest. In addition to a merit-based scholarship awarded after admission, the benefits of selection as a Public Interest Scholar include:

  • access to the Public Interest Law certificate and mentorship opportunities
  • assistance from faculty and career services to secure employment in public interest legal work for the 1L summer. Previous scholars have secured placements in California, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
  • a guaranteed stipend to support unpaid 1L summer employment
  • eligibility to secure a stipend during 2L summer employment if working in qualifying public interest employment
  • a one-time travel stipend during the second or third year to support attendance at a professional development conference or opportunity focused on public interest law
  • future opportunities to engage the public interest community and mentor subsequent groups of Public Interest Scholars

Scholars are selected on the basis of merit and demonstrated commitment to public interest work. Selection criteria include strong academic indicators and significant achievements in the fields of public interest work or government service. The committee will give priority to applicants with a history of full-time nonprofit or public interest focused work.

University of Tennessee College of Law

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.

University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Texas Law does not offer specializations but participates in university-wide interdisciplinary graduate portfolio programs in dispute resolution and nonprofit studies.

University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law

All students are required to complete two 7-credit clinics.

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

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:

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 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.

University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law

University of Virginia School of Law

University of Washington: University of Washington School of Law


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.


University of Wisconsin: Law School

Wisconsin's Curriculum Guide to Public Interest Law:

University of Wyoming School of Law

Vanderbilt University Law School

Vermont Law School

Villanova University: Charles Widger School of Law

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law encourages students to pursue careers in public interest law. To facilitate such careers, the law school created the Public Interest Scholars Program. Each year, several students are offered a full 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 200 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, and a dedicated career advisor, to assist with curricular and career 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. As part of the law school's three-year, credit bearing Professional Development curriculum, students have the opportunity to attend programs relating to public interest practice.

Wake Forest University School of Law


Washburn University School of Law

Family Law Certificates

Natural Resources Law Certificate


Curricular Tracks in Civil/Human Rights and Public Interest Law

Washington and Lee University: School of Law

The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability

Washington University: Washington University School of Law


Wayne State University Law School

Wayne Law’s robust public interest curriculum offerings allow students to immerse themselves in the Detroit community. While there is not a certificate program, the curriculum contains a variety of options to prepare students for roles in public interest law advocating on behalf of marginalized or underserved individuals, communities, and causes. Located in the heart of Detroit, Wayne Law students have opportunities to select courses, seminars, clinics, and externships focused on the local, regional, national, or international populations and issues that matter most to them.

West Virginia University College of Law

Western New England University: School of Law

The School of Law offers a curricular concentrations in Public Interest Law. For more information about the concentration, please visit

Western State University College of Law

Criminal Law Certificate includes public interest externships.

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

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.

Widener University Delaware Law School

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; Immigration and Naturalization, Crime & Punishment in the United States; Dignity Law; Federal Civil Rights Litigation; Domestic Violence Seminar; and Education Law.

Willamette University: Willamette University College of Law

Willamette's five specialty certificate programs emphasize the unique and comprehensive training that participants complete in these areas.

William and Mary Law School

J.D. students may earn academic concentrations, including one in Public Interest and Social Justice.

Yale University: Yale Law School

Yeshiva University: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

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.