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New York University School of Law

New York University School of Law
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Letizia La Rosa
Programs Manager
Public Interest Law Center
245 Sullivan Street, Room 430
New York, NY 10012
[email protected]

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Student Group Projects

Description of Programs

NYU, a "private university in the public service," is committed to serving the public through a variety of programs. In furtherance of this mission, in the fall of 2010 the Law School launched the Pro Bono Service Award program to encourage all NYU law students to do 50 or more hours of law-related service during law school. Beginning with the class of 2013, students who complete 50 or more hours will receive the Pro Bono Service Award Certificate.

The goal of the Pro Bono Service Award is to encourage all of NYU Law students to embrace public service as a professional responsibility and an opportunity for great satisfaction and learning throughout their careers. Cognizant of the huge unmet need for legal services in our society, the program has been designed to encourage and recognize both: 1) students who intend to devote their careers to public service; and 2) students who intend to do pro bono work in the private sector.

Location of Programs

Public Interest Law Center (PILC) and numerous student groups.


Five full-time employees of the Public Interest Law Center and student interns.


Student pro bono group projects are funded by law schools grants to student groups and, in some cases, outside funding as well.

Faculty pro bono is supported through usual administrative and secretarial support and funds on a case by case basis.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The list below is a sampling of the law school's student organizations working directly to provide free legal services to the public. For a full listing, please see

Alternative Winter/Spring Break
Alternative Break trips are run during Winter Break and Spring Break to such locations as New Orleans, Arizona, Newark, NJ, and Charlotte, NC, and expenses are subsidized by the Public Interest Law Center and Law Students for Human Rights.

Debtors' Rights Project
The Debtors' Rights Project provides vital volunteer support to the free legal clinic in the Bronx, which serves pro se defendants facing debt collection lawsuits filed in Bronx Civil Court.

Domestic Violence Advocacy Project
The Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP) works in various ways to help victims of domestic violence, as well as to raise awareness and support on domestic violence issues in the NYU Law community. The two main advocacy programs of DVAP, Courtroom Advocacy Project (CAP) and the Uncontested Divorce Project (UDP) are run with Sanctuary for Families, a New York organization that assists victims of domestic violence.

High School Law Institute/Legal Outreach
The High School Law Institute (H.S.L.I.) is a free, yearlong program serving high school students from under-resourced schools throughout New York City. High school students enrolled in the program come to NYU on Saturday mornings throughout the year. Students participate in hour-long classes on criminal law, constitutional law, and mock trial, taught by teams of N.Y.U. law and undergraduate students. Teachers are provided with a detailed curriculum, created by H.S.L.I.'s board members and targeted towards high school students in New York City.

HIV Law Society
HIV Law Society provides direct legal services to low income individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. Our primary pro bono activity is conducting intake for the Housing Works Legal Clinic.

Law Students for Human Rights
Law Students for Human Rights (LSHR) is a highly active student organization focused on global human rights. There are several ways to get involved with LSHR throughout the year. Approximately 120 LSHR members actively promote the advancement of human rights and gain practical legal experience each semester through LSHR's partnerships with NGOs and other human rights organizations. LSHR also organizes and leads the Alternate Winter Break and Alternative Spring Break programs.

NYU Mediation Organization
The NYU Mediation Organization is dedicated to spreading and implementing mediation as an effective tool of conflict resolution, both within New York University School of Law and the broader legal and general community. The NYU Mediation Organization is designed to offer students a hands on experience by mediating real disputes arising between real parties, while at the same time relieving the heavy load on overburdened courthouses.

The Prisoners' Rights and Education Project
The Prisoners' Rights and Education Project (PREP) is a student organization devoted to teaching inmates in New York state prisons legal research skills. Each semester we conduct a seven week course on site at prison classrooms and libraries. PREP instruction largely mirrors what students learn in Lawyering, making it the perfect activity for a 1L.

Research, Education & Advocacy to Combat Homelessness
Research, Education & Advocacy to Combat Homelessness (REACH) is the law school's primary student organization dedicated to directly serving the local homeless community and raising the profile of poverty law issues within the law school. REACH operates 2 weekly clinics in soup kitchens near NYU, where law students provide advice and referrals on a wide range of issues including housing, public benefits, and health-related matters. REACH also publishes a comprehensive manual and organizes speakers and panels on issues relevant to poverty law.

Suspension Representation Project
The Suspension Representation Project (SRP) is an advocacy group that trains law students to represent public school students in superintendent's suspension hearings and help safeguard their right to education. SRP pairs new law student advocates with experienced law student advocates in its attempt to provide excellent training for law students and excellent advocacy for clients. SRP enables law students to develop valuable legal skills including interviewing clients, conducting direct and cross examinations, and delivering closing arguments. SRP routinely helps to shorten the length of the suspension or eliminate the suspension, helping kids stay in school. SRP also participates in coalitions in NYC to try to improve the ways that schools respond to students' behavior.

Unemployment Action Center
The Unemployment Action Center (UAC) represents claimants at the New York Department of Labor (DoL) who are seeking to obtain unemployment benefits and whose claim has been contested by either their former employer or by the DoL. We provide free representation for these claimants. Students are free to sign up for clients as they become available through our call center, enabling them to choose hearing times that fit their schedule. We meet the claimants, conduct legal and factual research, file any necessary motions and provide representation at the hearing itself, raising objections, taking testimony, and performing cross-examination. When necessary, we also write appeals to the Appellate Board, either asking the Board for reconsideration or to deny an appeal from an employer.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

There is not a formal faculty pro bono policy, but faculty are noted for engaging in a diverse range of pro bono work, from environmental land use to death penalty representation in Alabama to employment rights. For a complete listing of our faculty's bios, please see


Pro Bono Service Award - Graduating students performing at least 50 hours of pro bono work will receive a Pro Bono Service Award Certificate from the Dean. Students may also list the Pro Bono Service Award as an honor on their resume with the description "for completion of 50 or more hours of public service."

Community Service

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Public Interest Law Center
245 Sullivan Street, Room 430
New York, NY 10012
[email protected]

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

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.

Public Interest Centers

Public Interest Law Center (PILC) - In 1992, NYU School of Law founded the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) as the focal point for public service activities at the Law School. Now a national model for the promotion of public service, the Center has become a critical component of public interest education for students. The Center's attorney-counselors offer expert individual guidance on summer and term-time internships, fellowship opportunities, and the post-graduate job search. PILC staff also assists students in navigating the many pro bono opportunities available, so that even first-year students can use their legal education to help others. PILC hosts many educational events throughout the year, such as the Leaders in Public Interest Series, to expand student awareness of public interest law and expose students to the numerous opportunities available to them during and after law school.

PILC administers several programs, including the:

  • Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship Program
  • Public Interest Legal Career Fair, attended by students from 21 law schools and 200 employers
  • Public Interest Summer Funding Program, providing funding for approximately 300 students each summer for internships
  • PILC Student Advisors Program

PILC is staffed with an Assistant Dean (who also directs the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship program), two Associate Directors, and two administrative assistants. The Assistant Dean and both Associate Directors are available to students for career counseling. For more information, see

For further information on other Centers and Institutes see

Public Interest Clinics

NYU Law's extensive clinical programs function as public interest law firms, supervised by clinical faculty and in some cases, lawyers in government or private organizations.

Please see for more a complete list of NYU's clinics.


Because of its extensive clinics, NYU does not offer academic credit for externships. However, many students take advantage of New York City's plethora of opportunities and work at public interest organizations during term-time, either as volunteers or for wages.

Classes with a Public Service Component

In addition to our extensive clinics,, many NYU Law courses focus on public interest issues, allowing students to concentrate on the study of the various facets of public interest law. While courses vary from year to year, please see for a sampling of courses offered in the past few years that would be relevant to students concerned with public interest law.

Public Interest Journals

For a complete list of NYU's journals, see

Environmental Law Journal-

Journal of International Law and Politics -

Journal of Legislation and Public Policy -

Law Review -

Review of Law and Social Change -

PI Career Support Center

The staff of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) gives personal guidance to students and alumni focused on public interest or governmental employment, as well as to those seeking to incorporate pro bono work into a career in the private sector. PILC is staffed by full-time lawyers and administrators who assist students in exploring and making career choices and in obtaining summer, school-term, and full-time positions. PILC's counselors are public interest lawyers with impressive resumes who work closely with students to create career strategies to accomplish students' individual goals.

PILC publishes Career Handbooks for each class as well as a Fellowship/Honors Program Handbook, a Public Defender Handbook, a Prosecutor Handbook, and a U.S. Government Handbook. PILC also hosts career workshops throughout the academic year.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

NYU Law established one of the first and most generous Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP) in the country to assist students who pursue low-paying law-related careers, including academia. The program may pay the full annual debt service for JD graduates for up to ten years following graduation. For further information, please visit

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

  • A Better Balance, New York, NY – one award
  • ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, New York, NY – one award
  • Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowship, New York, NY – one award
  • Brennan Center for Justice, Katz Fellowship, New York, NY– two awards
  • Equal Justice Initiative Fellowship, Montgomery, AL – two awards
  • International Court of Justice Clerkship, The Hague, Netherlands – one award
  • Kirkland & Ellis Fellowship, New York, NY – one award
  • NYU School of Law Human Rights Watch Fellowship, New York, NY– one award
  • NYU School of Law Tax Policy Fellowship, Washington, D.C. – two awards
  • NYU/NYPD Law Graduate Fellowship, New York, NY– one award
  • Outten & Golden Employment Law Fellowship, New York, NY– one award
  • Reproductive Justice and Women's Rights Fellowship, Any City, USA – one award
  • Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship at Human Rights in China, New York, NY – one award
  • Sinsheimer Children's Rights Fellowship at Partnership for Children's Rights, New York, NY – one award

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

InMotion- Each semester InMotion, which provides free legal services to low-income women throughout New York City, primarily in the areas of matrimonial, family and immigration law, hires an NYU Law Student to serve as the New York Women' s Bar Association Foundation (NYWBAF) Fellow. The position requires 10-20 hours per week and is paid $1,800 for the semester.

Graduate Student Funded

Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Student Grants – 10 awards at $1,000 each

Other Funding Sources:

Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship
Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program
Guarini Government Scholars Program
BLAPA Public Service Scholarship

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Since 2003, through the Public Interest Summer Program, NYU has provided funding for all first-year and second-year students who work in public interest and government positions; over 300 students participate in this program each summer. Within this Program are two specialized opportunities. The first is the Center for Environmental and Land Use Law, which supports students interested in environmental law through summer internships, mentoring by the Schools' environmental and land use faculty, and exposure to leading practitioners in the field. The second, the International Law and Human Rights Student Fellows Program, places students in about a dozen high-profile international organizations, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Tanzania; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in Switzerland and Thailand; and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Cambodia.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs


  • Leaders in Public Interest Series
  • PILC Student Advisors Lunch Series
  • Numerous public interest lunches and career panels throughout the year
  • Numerous public interest lectures and symposia such as the Bell Lecture on Race in American Society, the Korematsu Lecture on Asian Americans and the Law, Labor and Employment Law Workshops

Student Public Interest Groups

In addition to the Student-Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects described in detail above, the following student groups are active in public interest issues. Please see for a complete list of student groups.

  • American Constitution Society
  • Coalition for Legal Recruitment
  • Cuba Legal Studies Group
  • Dean's Cup
  • Education Law and Policy Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Health Law Society
  • International Law Society
  • Law Students Against the Death Penalty
  • Law Student Drug Policy Forum
  • Law Students for Economic Justice
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Mental Health Law Association
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • OUTLaw
  • Project on Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
  • Public Interest Law Foundation (PILC)
  • Public Service Auction
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Bar Association
  • Youth and Criminal Justice Society