Georgetown University Law Center

Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Jennifer Tschirch
Assistant Director of Pro Bono Programs
Office of Public Interest & Community Service Georgetown Law
600 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Office: 202.661.6641
Fax: 202.662.9656

Category Type

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

Description of Programs

Georgetown Law challenges all incoming J.D. law students to pledge to complete at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work and community service before they graduate. Second year J.D. transfer students are asked to pledge 35 hours and LL.M. candidates 20 hours. Students who meet their Pro Bono Pledge goals receive a certificate from the Dean and recognition at commencement.

All students are encouraged to perform pro bono work above and beyond the amount pledged. J.D. students receive special or exceptional recognition after completing 100 or 200 hours, respectively (with slightly lower requirements for transfer and LLM students).

The Georgetown Pro Bono Pledge is voluntary, and students who sign up for the pledge and don't find the time to complete their goal aren't penalized or shamed in any way. Pro Bono and community service hours are tracked via Symplicity.

In addition to the Pro Bono Pledge, Georgetown Law runs several programs to help students get involved in pro bono and community service. Through the  Georgetown Pro Bono Project, participating students are matched with placements at area non-profits and service providers to engage in pro bono work. Georgetown also circulates a pro bono newsletter,  Georgetown Law Gives Back , which advertises ongoing pro bono opportunities to students of all levels. Through both local and out-of-state  Alternative Spring Break initiatives, Georgetown students assist in the provision of legal services. Finally, Georgetown Law's  Pro Bono Advisory Board serves as a liaison to support students and student organizations seeking to engage in pro bono or community service work, and to expand pro bono and community service opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

Location of Programs

The Pro Bono Program is administered by the Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS). OPICS provides career counseling to students pursuing public interest and government employment options, and encourages and facilitates pro bono and community service by all members of the Georgetown Law community.


The Pro Bono Coordinator position, created in 1996, is a full-time, professional-level administrative position.


The pro bono program is funded entirely with Georgetown Law funds. The budget is part of the overall public interest budget and is not separately calculable. The Pro Bono Coordinator and the Office of Public Interest and Community Service provide administrative support for pro bono group projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

There are many student organizations at Georgetown Law that incorporate service into their annual activities. Georgetown Law also has a student Pro Bono Advisory Board, which serves as a liaison between OPICS and students or student orgs seeking to engage in pro bono and community service work.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

The Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS) hosts an annual reception to recognize the public interest and pro bono accomplishments of students and student groups. At the reception, students who have performed exemplary public interest or pro bono service are identified through nominations from students, staff, and faculty and highlighted.

Additionally, students who complete the Pro Bono Pledge receive a certificate signed by the Dean and special recognition at graduation. 


The Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS) hosts an annual reception to recognize the public interest and pro bono accomplishments of students and student groups. At the reception, students who have performed exemplary public interest or pro bono service are identified through nominations from students, staff, and faculty and highlighted.

Additionally, students who complete the Pro Bono Pledge receive a certificate signed by the Dean and special recognition at graduation. 

Community Service

Beginning with an  Orientation Service Project  before school even begins, Georgetown Law affords law students many opportunities to engage in community service throughout their tenure here. 

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Barbara Moulton
Assistant Dean 202-662-9654
Office of Public Interest & Community Service

Lauren Dubin
Director, Government and Public Interest Careers
(202) 662-9308
Office of Public Interest and Community Service

Nicole Vikan
Associate Director, Government and Public Interest Careers
Katie Dilks
Assistant Director, Public Interest Programs

Morgan Lynn-Alesker
Assistant Director, Government and Public Interest Careers

Ruby Sheikh, Assistant Director, Public Interest Employer & Alumni Outreach

Robert Kaylor, Manager, Public Sector Recruitment Outreach

Certificate/Curriculum Programs


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. Website:

In addition to the above, Georgetown has multiple course offerings in many public interest subjects, allowing students to specialize if they so desire. The areas include environmental law, family law, human rights, criminal law and procedure, employment and labor law, international/national security law, and health law, policy & bioethics. Curricular advice for students interested in pursuing a public interest career can be found at

Public Interest Centers

Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas

Center for Congressional Studies

Center for the Constitution

Center on National Security and the Law

Center on Privacy & Technology

Georgetown Climate Center

Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Program

Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance

Harrison Institute for Public Law

Human Rights Institute

Institute for the Study of International Migration

Institute for Technology Law and Policy

Office of Public Interest and Community Service

O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality

Voting Rights Institute

Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program

IMBR Initiative

Public Interest Clinics

Affordable Housing Transactions Clinic (Harrison Institute)

Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic

Appellate Litigation Clinic

Center for Applied Legal Studies

Community Justice Project

Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic

Criminal Justice Clinic

DC Law Students in Court

DC Street Law Program

Domestic Violence Clinic

Federal Legislation Clinic

Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance

Institute for Public Representation

International Women’s Human Rights Clinic

Juvenile Justice Clinic

The Policy Clinic: Climate, Health & Food, Human Rights, and Trade (Harrison Institute)

The Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic


Field placements may be obtained in any non-profit, government or judicial setting in the District of Columbia metropolitan area. Students must participate in a multi-part seminar in support of their externship experience. They also must turn in a paper describing what they learned in their externship at the end of the semester.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Georgetown offers a host of practicum courses, which combine a practical learning experience either in the field or classroom with a traditional seminar model.

Public Interest Journals

American Criminal Law Review

Annual Review of Criminal Procedure

Georgetown Environmental Law Review

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law

The Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives

Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy

Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy

Georgetown Law Journal

Journal of National Security Law & Policy

PI Career Support Center

In addition to coordinating many of Georgetown Law's public interest programs, OPICS is the primary career office for students interested in exploring public interest and government legal opportunities. Through our myriad services and activities, OPICS seeks to foster in all law students a commitment to service that will continue through their legal careers.

OPICS' five professional career advisors meet with hundreds of students and a growing number of alumni each year. The advisors assist with overall public interest career planning, provide information on summer and academic year opportunities and post-graduate employment, review resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, and assist with post-graduate fellowship and government honor applications.

The office's recruiting initiatives include three major job fairs each year: the  Government Interview Program, held annually in September, the Spotlight on Government Networking Fair, held annually in October and the  Public Sector Recruiting Program, conducted jointly with George Washington University Law School and held each year in late January/early February. In addition, we coordinate ongoing public sector resume collections and administer an extensive public sector jobs database.

Our career-related educational programming includes a variety of workshops, information sessions and alumni and employer panels. Each year, we host a series of programs on public interest internships, ongoing public interest panels featuring alumni and local attorney speakers, and a range of topical programs on subjects as diverse as interview preparation, fellowship, and summer funding workshops, and debt management and loan repayment information sessions. 

One of our signature programs for incoming students is the Public Interest Fellows Program, which provides a comprehensive support system for public interest-minded students from the first day of law school until graduation.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Georgetown's Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) assists J.D. graduates in pursuing public interest careers.  Graduates who qualify for LRAP benefits receive assistance with monthly student loan payments in the form of interest-free loans from Georgetown Law.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

The Georgetown Law clinical graduate teaching fellowship program places fellows with clinics, offering the opportunity to combine study with practice in the fields of clinical legal education and public interest advocacy. While the fellowships vary considerably in purpose, requirements and duties, they all share a common goal: to provide highly motivated new and experienced lawyers alike the opportunity to develop skills as teachers and public interest advocates within an exciting and supportive educational environment.

The Georgetown Law Partner Fellowship Program provides one-year fellowships for recent Georgetown Law graduates at host non-profit organizations or government agencies that provide matching funding. Fellows are invited to participate in the Delaney Post-Graduate Residency Program, a training and mentoring program for graduates participating in year-long fellowships in the public sector.

Georgetown Law, Arent Fox LLP and DLA Piper LLP (US) co-run the D.C. Affordable Law Firm (DCALF), a nonprofit low bono law firm in the District of Columbia. DCALF provides affordable, high quality legal services to D.C. residents who do not qualify for free legal aid and to small businesses and nonprofits in the District.  Georgetown Law graduates serve in 15-month fellowships at DCALF, with Arent Fox and DLA Piper lawyers serving as mentors.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

1. Georgetown/Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) Fellowship in Asylum & Refugee Law: two-year fellowship awarded annually to a graduating Georgetown law student; fellows represent non-citizen adults and unaccompanied minors seeking political asylum and other immigration relief in Immigration Court removal proceedings. Fellows are placed in one of CLINIC's offices across the country.
2. Barker Foundation Fellowship in Animal Law: a one year fellowship awarded annually to a graduating Georgetown law student to work at the Humane Society of the United States.
3. Stabile Fellowship in Consumer Protection: a one-year fellowship awarded annually to a graduating Georgetown student to engage in consumer protection work at the Environmental Working Group.
4. Bazelon Fellowship in Mental Health Law: a two-year fellowship awarded biannually to a graduating Georgetown student to work at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
5. University Legal Services Disability Rights Fellowship: a one-year fellowship awarded most years to a graduating Georgetown student to work on disability rights issues at University Legal Services.
6. Young Invincibles/Georgetown Legal Fellow: a one-year fellowship awarded most years to a graduating Georgetown student to work on federal and state policy in the areas of health care, higher education, and labor/employment.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Georgetown Law's Public Interest Law Scholars Program (PILS) is designed for law students who want to dedicate most or all of their careers to public service. PILS offers up to full tuition scholarships along with enriched educational opportunities to a select group of students each year. For more information,

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Georgetown offers guaranteed summer funding for students engaged in public service summer activities.

Graduate Student Funded:

Summer funding is supported at Georgetown by the Equal Justice Foundation, a student group dedicated to fundraising to support students engaged in public interest and government work.

Other Funding Sources:

Through a combination of these sources, Georgetown was able to fund 121 students during summer 2005. Our student-run fellowship program is one of the largest in the country, and routinely raises more than $150,000 annually. The student fundraising is complemented by a substantial law school contribution, as well as federal work-study money.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Dozens of career-related workshops and substantive programs are conducted each year. These include a brown bag series featuring alumni in specific public interest careers (such as public defender and legal services, issue-specific symposia and conferences, an international human rights law week, and a speaker series. Multiple public interest programs are conducted virtually every week.

Student Public Interest Groups

There are a host of student public interest groups on campus that seek opportunities to engage their membership in pro bono and community service work.