April 26, 2018

Public Interest Law Community

Dues for Public Interest Lawyers

<br>Lawyers working in government or legal/public service not-for-profit organizations engaged primarily in legal- or policy-based advocacy for low income persons qualify for reduced dues.

Policy and Advocacy

Discover ABA policy and advocacy efforts surrounding public interest law.


Discover ABA publications related to public interest law.


Upcoming public interest law programs and events plus past program podcasts, materials, and videos.

ABA Free Career Advice Series

A free monthly webinar series that offers practical tips on selected topics — some for seasoned lawyers and others for new lawyers or law students.

Public Interest Law Profiles

The Division for Public Services is pleased to honor the accomplishments of ABA lawyers associated with our Division committees and commissions. These lawyers are dedicating their time and energy to the public interest, and we hope that their stories will inspire you.

Networking Opportunities: Audio Podcast
Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section

Holiday Networking Tips [mp3]
Business Law Section

ABA work in the field of Public Interest Law, sorted alphabetically:

National Security

Non-Profit Organizations



Pro Bono

Public Education


Young Lawyers

Nominations Open for Legal Services Award
Nominations are being accepted for the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award. The award honors lawyers and legal organizations that improve or deliver volunteer legal services to the poor. Applications are due March 2.

Nominations Sought for Diversity Awards

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 CLEO EDGE Awards. The awards honor individuals, law schools, and legal organizations that have contributed to education, diversity, and greater equality in the legal profession. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, CLEO will recognize and honor a total of 150 individuals in these three areas. Applications are due by March 16.

Nominations Sought for Professionalism Awards
Nominations are open for the 2018 E. Smythe Gambrell Awards, honoring excellence and innovation in professionalism programs. Applications are due March 31.

Nominations Sought for Tweed Award
The ABA is accepting nominations for the 2018 Harrison Tweed Award, which recognizes bar association projects and programs that increase legal services access for the poor. The application deadline is April 2.

Nominations Sought for Senior Lawyer Award

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. The award honors career-long service by a senior lawyer or judge to the legal profession and the community. Applications are due February 28.

Nominations Open for Criminal Justice Section Awards
Nominations are being accepted for the ABA Criminal Justice Section Awards, which recognize outstanding criminal and juvenile justice practitioners. Applications are due March 23.

Nominations Open for Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Nominations are being accepted for the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund for the 2018-2019 academic year. The fund provides racial and ethnic minority students up to $15,000 toward law school tuition. Applications are due April 6.

Nominations Open for Public Lawyer Awards
The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division is accepting nominations for its 2018 National Awards. The awards recognize extraordinary achievements of public lawyers and law offices. Applications are due April 9.

Child Advocacy

ABA YLD Child Advocacy Award
Each year in conjunction with the Center on Children and the Law, the ABA Young Lawyers Division honors one young lawyer and one non-young lawyer for dedicated service on behalf of children.

Disability Rights

Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights
Presented for exemplary service in furthering the rights, dignity, and access to justice for people with disabilities.


ABA Partnership Awards
Salutes bar association projects directed at increasing the participation and advancement of lawyers of color as well as other underrepresented constituents: attorneys with disabilities, women attorneys and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Stonewall Award
Achieving greater diversity in the legal profession depends upon recognition of the contributions of individuals from many different backgrounds, including those people of varying sexual orientations and gender identities. The purpose of the Award is to recognize those lawyers, members of the judiciary and legal academia who have effected real change to remove barriers on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in the legal profession and the world, nation, state and/or locale, and to recognize those who have championed diversity for the LGBT community, both within the legal profession and impacting the greater human universe.

Domestic Violence

Sharon Corbitt Award
The ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence created the Sharon Corbitt Award in 2008 to recognize exceptional service and leadership to improving the legal response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking by a lawyer from any area of practice, including non-profit, private firm, government, corporate counsel, and the judiciary, in the spirit of Sharon L. Corbitt.

Environmental Law

The Environment, Energy, and Resources Dedication to Diversity and Justice Award
Recognizes and honors the accomplishments of a person, entities, or organizations that have made significant accomplishments or demonstrated recognized leadership in the areas of environmental justice and/or a commitment to gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in the environment, energy, and natural resources legal area. 

The Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award
Recognizes exceptional achievement by federal, state, tribal, or local government attorneys who have worked or are working in the field of environment, energy, or natural resources and are esteemed by their peers and viewed as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way.

Award for Excellence in Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship
Recognizes and honors the accomplishments of a person, organization, or group that has distinguished itself in environmental, energy, and resources stewardship. 

Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy
Recognizes individuals or organizations who have distinguished themselves in environmental law and policy, contributing significant leadership in improving the substance, process or understanding of environmental protection and sustainable development.

Distinguished Environmental Advocates Award
Recognizes lawyers under the age of 36 or in practice fewer than 5 years whose accomplishments and contributions to the development of law, policy, and programs in the areas of energy and the environment are above and beyond those of their peers.

Government Attorney of the Year Award
Recognizes exceptional achievement by government attorneys in the field of environment, energy, or natural resources.

Law Student Environment, Energy, and Resources Program of the Year Award
Recognizes the best student organized educational program or public service project of the year focusing on issues in the field of environmental, energy, or natural resources law.

The State or Local Bar Environment, Energy, and Resources Program of the Year Award
Recognizes the best CLE program or public service project of the year focused on issues in the field of environmental, energy, or natural resources law.

Human and Civil Rights

International Human Rights Award
The International Human Rights Award is intended to honor and give public recognition to an individual who has made a special contribution in the area of human rights in a foreign jurisdiction.

Thurgood Marshall Award
The award is named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall whose life work epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. The award recognizes similar long-term contributions by other members of the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.

Legal Education

Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts
The American Bar Association annually presents the Silver Gavel Awards to recognize work in media and the arts published or presented during the preceding year that have been exemplary in helping to foster the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

Military and Veterans

LAMP Distinguished Service Award
Spotlights exceptional service supporting military legal assistance efforts.


National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Recognizes an ABA young lawyer in good standing who exhibits: professional excellence; service to the profession and the bar; service to the community; and/or a reputation for or the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Rosner & Rosner Young Lawyers Professionalism Award
The award recognizes and encourages young lawyers who are dedicated to lawyer professionalism.

Public Interest and Pro Bono

Dorsey Award
Honors an outstanding public defender or legal aid lawyer.

Frances Perkins Public Service Award
Recognizes the individuals or organizations that demonstrate a significant commitment to providing pro bono legal services, primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, to people of limited means or to the nonprofit, governmental, civic, community or religious organizations that are engaged in addressing the needs of individuals with limited means.

Harrison Tweed Award
The Harrison Tweed Award was created in 1956 to recognize the extraordinary achievements of state and local bar associations that develop or significantly expand projects or programs to increase access to civil legal services for poor persons or criminal defense services for indigents.

Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award
Recognize one or more individuals or law firms for outstanding and sustained achievements in pro bono activities in tax law.

John H. Pickering Award
The award nominees must be lawyers or judges, though not necessarily members of the American Bar Association, who demonstrate outstanding legal ability; and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.

John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award
Recipients of the Wisdom Awards have made outstanding contributions to the quality of justice in their communities, ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all.

Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award 
This award recognizes law students and law schools who have made outstanding contributions to underrepresented groups or public interest causes outside the law school and/or in public service at the law school. 

Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award
The Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award is named in honor of Michael Franck, late director of the State Bar of Michigan and long-time champion of improvements in lawyer regulation in the public interest.

National Public Service Award
Recognizes significant pro bono legal services that demonstrate a commitment to providing services to the poor in a business context, and recognizes the achievements resulting from the public service work for the clients and the client groups represented. 

ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon
The ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards are presented each year by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to honor individual lawyers, law firms, law schools, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor. 

Section of Taxation Pro Bono Award
Recognizes one or more individuals or law firms that have provided meritorious pro bono representation to individuals and/or organizations.

If you are a member of a webinar sponsoring group, including one of the Division for Public Services committees or commissions, you are eligible for special sponsor pricing for the following webinars and any available post-program products such as CD-ROMs and audio downloads.

SSD Hearings: Proving Mental Impairment
April 10, 2018, 1:00-2:30 PM ET, 1.50 General CLE Credit Hours
List price $195, ABA Member $150, ABA Sponsor Member $95

Misleading Food Labeling and Advertising under the Lanham Act and the FDCA
April 11, 2018, 1:00-2:30 PM ET, 1.5 General CEL Credit Hours
List Price $195, ABA Members $150, Sponsor Members $95

New Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence: Reducing Stigma and Promoting Evidence-Based Policies
May 17, 2018, 1:00-2:30 PM ET, 1.5 General CLE Credit Hours
List Price $75, ABA Members $50, Sponsor Members $30

Managing FMLA in the Workplace
May 31, 2018, 1:00-2:30 PM ET, 1.5 General CLE Credit Hours
List Price $195, ABA Members $150, Sponsor Members $95


For a listing of past webinars click here

Loan Forgiveness is in danger. Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program in 2007. Under PSLF, those who make 120 monthly payments (10 years) on their federal graduate student loans while employed full-time in qualified public service jobs are eligible to have their remaining balance forgiven. Congress is on the verge of eliminating the program. It only takes a few minutes to Save #Loan4Giveness. Visit http://ambar.org/loan4giveness to learn more about what you can do to help.