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University of California Los Angeles

University of California Los Angeles School of Law
385 Charles E. Young Dr. E
Los Angeles, California 90095

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Brad Sears
Associate Dean of Public Interest Law
[email protected]
(310) 794-5279

Grace Meng
Director, Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program
[email protected]
(310) 794-0303

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program – hybrid of referral system with a coordinator and administrative support for student group projects

Description of Programs

The Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program supports a vibrant pro bono culture at UCLA School of Law.

The Schrader Pro Bono Program creates opportunities for students, starting as early as their first year of law school, to provide much-needed legal services to low-income communities, while developing critical real-life lawyering skills. UCLA Law has a rich history of student leadership in pro bono, and the program actively supports student initiatives. Students also respond to partners’ calls for assistance and participate in service learning trips, working in such issue areas as HIV/AIDS, housing and homelessness, education, immigration, juvenile justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, public health, reproductive rights, and workers’ rights.

For many UCLA Law students, participation in pro bono becomes a lifelong commitment to pro bono and access to justice. The Schrader Pro Bono Program encourages current students, alumni, and faculty to come together, such as through the Annual Public Service Challenge.

Location of Programs

UCLA School of Law
385 Charles E Young Dr. E.
Los Angeles, CA 90095


The Director of the Schrader Pro Bono Program administers the program with support from the Associate Dean of Public Interest Law. The Schrader Pro Bono Program also works closely with the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the Office of Public Interest Programs at UCLA Law.


The Schrader Pro Bono Program helps to fund student-led pro bono projects and service-learning trips.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

El Centro Legal and other student-led pro bono projects are the heart of the Schrader Pro Bono Program. El Centro Legal is a student-coordinated network of volunteer legal aid projects. Students in each El Centro project work with community legal organizations in Los Angeles to provide client service under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Partner organizations include the ACLU of Southern California, A New Way of Life, CARECEN, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek, and more.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty members participate in a broad range of pro bono activities, from representing immigrants in removal cases to submitting amicus briefs.


Students are encouraged to take the Pro Bono Pledge at the start of their time at UCLA Law. Students who complete 50 pro bono hours before graduation receive Pro Bono Distinction; students who complete 150 pro bono hours before graduation receive Pro Bono High Distinction. Pro Bono Highest Distinction is awarded to one to three students who log the most pro bono hours and play a leadership role in pro bono projects.

Students are also eligible to receive a U Serve LA award, given to students, alumni, faculty and staff who make significant contributions to pro bono and public interest. These awards are given at our annual U Serve LA celebration, where we celebrate our honorees and raise funds for pro bono and public interest programs at UCLA School of Law.

Community Service

UCLA Law community members are also encouraged to participate in non-legal community service. Our Annual Public Service Challenge encompasses the entire UCLA Law community, including students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and offers non-legal community service opportunities.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Brad Sears
Associate Dean of Public Interest Law
[email protected]
(310) 794-5279

Karin Wang
Executive Director, David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
[email protected]
(310) 825-9851

Andrew R. Whitcup
Assistant Director of the Office of Public Interest Programs
[email protected]
(310) 206-7299

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

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).

Public Interest Centers

Critical Race Studies Program

Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

The Williams Institute

The Promise Institute for Human Rights

Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy

Prison Law and Policy Program

Native Nations Law and Policy Center

Criminal Justice Program

Center for Immigration Law and Policy

Center for Reproductive Health Law and Policy

Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits

Public Interest Clinics

  • California Environmental Legislation and Policy Clinic
  • Community Economic Development Clinic
  • Community Lawyering in Education Clinic
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Documentary Film Clinic
  • First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic
  • Food Law and Policy Clinic
  • Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic
  • Human Rights Litigation Clinic
  • Immigrant Family Legal Clinic
  • Immigrants' Rights Policy Clinic
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Street Law
  • Supreme Court Clinic
  • Tribal Legal Development Clinic
  • Veterans Justice Clinic


UCLA School of Law’s Externship Program enables students to earn academic credit for unpaid work under the direct supervision of an attorney in a judicial, public interest, transactional, or criminal law setting. The Program works closely with a carefully curated collection of placements across Los Angeles and beyond to ensure that supervisors have the tools they need to deliver consistent and meaningful feedback, challenging work (on par with what would be assigned to an entry-level attorney), and meaningful integration into office culture.

Part-time externships are open to all 2L, 3L and LLM students, and full-time externships are available for JD candidates in their final 3 semesters of law school. Externship students complete field placement units at their placement and must participate in a corresponding seminar or faculty tutorial (depending on the type of externship) that guides students through critical reflection about their professional values and identities, legal ethics, their experiences in the workplace, and the impact of their placement’s legal work.

Among the externship experiences offered by UCLA Law is the UCDC law program, a full-semester externship program in Washington, D.C. that combines a weekly seminar style course with a full-time field placement to offer students an opportunity to learn how federal statutes, regulations and policies are made, challenged and replaced in the capital city. Students will learn alongside law students from across the UC system, and also engage in structured networking throughout the semester.   

At UCLA Law, student internships take place during the rising 2L and 3L summers, when law students do legal or policy work for nonprofit, government, and some private public interest employers. Unpaid summer public interest internships have typically been eligible for UCLA Law’s generous summer public interest stipends. (See Summer Fellowships section.)

Classes with a Public Service Component

Public Interest Journals

UCLA Law is home to not just the UCLA Law Review but more than a dozen other student-edited journals that often or solely focus on public interest issues, including:

  • Asian Pacific American Law Journal
  • Chicanx-Latinx Law Review
  • Criminal Justice Law Review
  • Disability Law Review
  • Dukeminier Awards Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law
  • The Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of law, Culture & Resistance
  • Journal of Environmental Law and Policy
  • Journal of Gender and Law
  • Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs
  • Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law
  • National Black Law Journal

More information here:

PI Career Support Center

The Office of Public Interest Programs (OPIP) strives to enhance UCLA Law’s commitment to public service by offering an array of services to students and alumni. The office’s principal goal is to encourage students and alumni to embrace a career that incorporates an ongoing commitment to public service. OPIP counselors provide extensive individualized counseling services and support for developing a public interest career, including applying to post-graduate public interest fellowships, government honors programs, and private public interest law firms. Throughout the year, OPIP presents public interest and public sector-oriented career programming targeted to each class year, sponsoring events that bring a wide range of public interest and government employers to the law school and teach students fundamental public interest and government job search skills. OPIP also co-hosts the Southern California Public Interest Career Day, which allows students from eleven area law programs to meet and interview with public interest employers nationwide. OPIP maintains a list of public interest/sector alumni contacts, as well as helping to administer UCLA Law's Post-Graduate Public Service Fellowships, which fund recent UCLA Law graduates in public interest placements, allowing them to build practice skills and gain experience during the year following graduation. For more information, please contact the Office of Public Interest Programs at [email protected].

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

UCLA Law offers a robust and very competitive Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) that can provide financial support for recent J.D. graduates employed in public interest or public service settings, where salaries are significantly lower than in the private sector. Graduates may participate in the Program for up to 10 years. More details here:

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

The UCLA Law Public Service Fellowship Program supports new UCLA Law JD graduates who are committed to pursuing careers in public service, but who have been unable to secure employment as of graduation.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Each year, UCLA Law students apply for and receive prestigious post-graduate public interest fellowships. These include project-based fellowships like those awarded by the Skadden Foundation, Equal Justice Works, Justice Catalyst, and Immigrant Justice Corps, as well as internal fellowships offered by public interest organizations, private public interest law firms, and government agencies. To support students applying for these highly competitive opportunities, UCLA Law’s Office of Public Interest Programs coordinates an active network of faculty and alumni fellows who assist fellowship applicants, offer application review and mock interview opportunities, and stay updated on developments and trends in public interest fellowship funding.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

UCLA Law funds summer stipends for students who work in unpaid law clerk positions for public interest (nonprofit or government) employers, federal judges, or state supreme court judges. These include special fellowships supported by donors such as the Justice John Paul Stevens Foundation. In recent years, UCLA Law has funded more than 200 rising 2Ls and 3Ls each summer. More details:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

In addition to UCLA Law’s summer stipends, UCLA Law students are encouraged to seek external fellowships offered by bar associations, foundations, and others that support summer public interest work, and the Financial Aid office maintains an ongoing list of opportunities.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Student Public Interest Groups

Student groups may change from year to year but current student organizations focused on public interest law issues include: