Emory University School of Law

Emory University School of Law
Gambrell Hall
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Rita A. Sheffey, PhD, JD
Assistant Dean for Public Service
Emory University School of Law


Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator


Description of Programs

Students are encouraged to undertake pro bono projects. Emory Law’s Center for Public Service coordinates special programs exclusive to Emory Law students with local public service law organizations, and students may also find pro bono opportunities through Symplicity or initiate their own opportunities as either student groups or individuals. Students who accrue 25 hours of approved pro bono work over the year are recognized at a pro bono dinner each spring and receive a certificate. Students who undertake 75 hours of pro bono work throughout their three years (50 hours for LLM students) are recognized at graduation with the Pro Bono Publico medal. Students submit their hours through the Symplicity system.


Location of Programs

The program is coordinated by Rita A. Sheffey, the Assistant Dean of Public Service



Assistant Dean Rita Sheffey oversees the program with assistance from her program coordinator.



Law school budget


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) is a student-led organization that coordinates a wide variety of public interest, community service, and pro bono activities.

The Emory Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans (VCV) is a non-academic credit clinic that assists veterans and their families with disability benefit claims before the Veterans Administration and in subsequent appellate proceedings, as well as with wills, advance directives, and discharge upgrades. Students may work under the supervision of the VCV staff attorney or with local pro bono attorneys.

The Emory Law chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) provides legal representation to refugees seeking resettlement. Law students work under the supervision of pro bono attorneys to prepare visa applications, submit appeals, and empower clients to successfully navigate the resettlement process.

Emory Immigrant Legal Assistance (EILA) is a is a collaboration between Emory Law and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the "LDS Church") to provide brief legal advice and referrals to metro-Atlanta Immigrants through monthly clinics.

Emory LGBTQ+ Legal Services (ELLS) is a student-led organization that currently works to support the Atlanta Legal Aid Society Name Change Project.

Know Your Rights provides at-risk youth in the Metro-Atlanta area with information about their rights during encounters with law enforcement or during involvement in the juvenile justice system.


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

There is not a formal faculty pro bono policy, but faculty engage in in a diverse range of pro bono work addressing issues related to the environment, children's rights, housing and assistance to veterans. For a complete listing of our faculty bios, please visit



Pro Bono: We hold an annual recognition ceremony for students who complete 25 hours of pro bono service within an academic year and medals for graduating students who meet the 75-hour pro bono requirement (JDs) or the 50-hour pro bono requirement (LL.Ms) during their tenure at Emory Law.

Public Service: The Dean’s Public Service Awards recognize up to ten students at graduation who have distinguished themselves through activities undertaken on behalf of the pubic interest either at the law school or in the wider community.

The Mark and Rebekah Wasserman Award is presented to a third-year student who exemplifies the greatest commitment to public interest law through their work at Emory Law. The recipient is nominated by faculty, staff and other third-year law students.  

Community Service

The Student Bar Association annually sponsors the collection of holiday gifts for area homeless children.

The Barton Clinic Staff annual coordinates a holiday toy drive to benefit their clients and their families.

The Legal Association for Women Students sponsors an annual fundraiser to benefit those in need.

Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) sponsors numerous community service events throughout the year.

Emory Law participates in the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy benefiting Atlanta community food banks.


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Rita A. Sheffey, PhD, JD
Assistant Dean for Public Service
Emory University School of Law


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

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


Public Interest Centers

The Center for Public Service supports EPIC, oversees the Pro Bono Program as well as the nonacademic volunteer clinics, administers Emory Law’s Loan Repayment Assistance program, offers career services for students interested in public service and government careers, provides public interest programming, and provides support for public interest initiatives throughout the law school.


Public Interest Clinics

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center includes the Public Policy and Legislative Advocacy Clinic, Juvenile Defender Clinic, and Appeal for Youth Clinic.

International Humanitarian Law Clinic

Turner Environmental Clinic

We also have a number of volunteer clinics. Please see the section on “Student Run Pro Bono Groups and Specialized Law Education Projects.” To learn more about all of our clinics, visit



Second- and third-year students in the externship program are placed with public interest organizations such as the ACLU of Georgia, Atlanta Legal Aid, Georgia Legal Services Program, the Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, and the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. Third-year students may be placed with a district attorney, a public defender, or with the U.S. attorney's office and may try cases under supervision pursuant to local, state, or federal rules. All of these externships receive 3 credits. These externships are carefully selected, monitored, and evaluated by the administrative professor for externships in order to provide practical lawyering experiences with the supervision of highly qualified and experienced attorneys. Students also attend a weekly class tailored to their practice area in which they receive additional support and supervision by faculty with practice experience in the practice area. Students thus integrate substantive learning with the practice of law and develop their legal skills through exposure to different kinds of law practice, directly, or through the experiences of other students in their externship class.


Classes with a Public Service Component

Access to Justice Practicum
Administrative Law
Asylum Law
Catalyzing Social Impacts
Child Welfare Law & Policy
Children's Rights
Climate Change
Constitutional Criminal Procedure
Constitutional Litigation
Counterterrorism Law
Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
Criminal Procedure: Investigation
Criminal Procedure Investigation Skills Workshop
Disability Law
Education Law
Election Law
Employment Discrimination Law
Energy Law
Environmental Advocacy
Environmental Law
Federal Courts
First Amendment
Food and Drug Law
Gender and the Law
Global Public Health Law
Health Law
Immigration Law
International Law
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights Law
Juvenile Law
Kids in Conflict with the Law
Labor Law
Land Use
Pro Bono in Practice Practicum
Public Health Law
Regulation of Intimate Relationships
Religion and State
State and Local Government
Transnational Criminal Practice
Vulnerability & Justice
White Collar Crimes


Public Interest Journals

For a complete list, visit:


PI Career Support Center

The Center for Public Service also provides individualized career advising for students interested in public interest, public service or government careers including state and federal clerkships and provides additional programs aimed at informing students of public sector career paths, postgraduate funding programs, networking in the public sector and more. The Center for Public Service closely coordinates with the Center for Career Strategy and Development to ensure career counselors are knowledgeable about public sector career opportunities and both departments collaborate to provide career strategy programming that is relevant and targeted towards public interest students.

The Center for Public Service provides staff support to the student organization – Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC), and advises several other student organizations

Georgia Law School Consortium Public Sector Career Fair -- This career fair is geared specifically towards students searching for public interest jobs. It is co-sponsored by four other Georgia law schools. The career fair generally takes place in February.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

For a complete description of the program, please click here


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center offers a post-graduate public interest fellowship to a law school graduate one-three years out of law school.

The Aaron L. Buchsbaum Fellowship offers a 1-year fellowship to either a graduating 3L or a recent graduate of Emory Law to work with Georgia Legal Service Program in their Savannah office. The fellowship is awarded biannually.

The Emory Law Fellowship offers stipends to Emory Law’s juris doctor graduates who continue to seek permanent employment. Participants receive $1,500 per month from Emory Law to work at least 140 hours per month with a public sector employer.


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center offers the Robin Nash Fellowship, a post-graduate public interest fellowship, to a law school graduate one-three years out of law school.


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:



Graduate Student Funded:



Other Funding Sources:

The primary source of funding summer public internships comes from efforts of the Emory Public Interest Committee and Center for Public Service Staff. EPIC hosts an annual Inspiration Awards event each February.

Several summer grants are provided through endowments. The majority of summer grants are provided through annual fundraising efforts. See for additional information.

The Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program places students from law and other graduate programs in child advocacy internships across Georgia. This program is funded entirely through the state's award from the federal Children's Justice Act grant.


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Emory Public Interest Committee and The Center for Public Service both sponsor a variety of public interest events each semester.

The EPIC Conference is an annual public interest conference held each October that features panels of speakers on a public interest topic chosen by the EPIC executive board each year. Other student groups present public interest conferences on a variety of topics, including trauma-informed legal service, immigration, and more.

Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) Annual Conference: There is a one-day public interest conference in the fall with panels of speakers on a particular public interest topic.


Student Public Interest Groups

Emory Public Interest Committee

If/When/How: Emory Law Chapter

International Refugee Assistance Program – Emory Chapter

Emory Law School Supreme Court Advocacy Project (ELSSCAP)

Civil Rights Law Practice Society

Criminal Law Practice Society

Environmental Law & Conservation Society (ELCS)

Immigration Law Society