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Q: Public Interest Law Programs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Public Interest Law Programs
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: lawmuse-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 16 Jun 2002 09:23 PDT
Expires: 23 Jun 2002 09:23 PDT
Question ID: 27495
I am a senior undergraduate trying to research public interest law
programs.  USNEWS is no help.  They do not rate law schools on this
basis.  The closest they come to public interest is environmental law.
 I wish to study several areas within public interest.  Please help.
Subject: Re: Public Interest Law Programs
Answered By: weisstho-ga on 16 Jun 2002 11:13 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear lawmuse:

Congratulations on dedicating your focus on this critically important
and socially necessary are of law.

The good news is that there are opportunities to study Public Interest
Law at practically any law school. The University of Maryland, for
example, published the following example of courses that are available
that pertain to various issues of Public Interest Law:

Administrative Law 
Business Associations
Children, Parents and the Law Seminar 
Civil Rights of Persons with Disabilities Seminar 
Clinical Law Program
Clinic II
Consumer Protection
Constitutional Law Seminar
Criminal Law Problems Seminar: The Death Penalty
Economic Development Initiatives Seminar
Economic, Housing and Community Development Clinic
Education Law Seminar 
Environmental Law
First Amendment Seminar and/or Course
Housing Discrimination Law and Policy Seminar 
Income Tax
Jurisprudence Seminar: Emerging Trends in Equality Jurisprudence
Land Use Control
Law and the Homeless Clinical Workshop 
Law and the Homeless Seminar 
Law Practice Management
Legal Problems of the Elderly Seminar 
Legal Theory and Practice
Local Government Law 
Not for Profit Corporations
Racial Discrimination and the Law 
Tax Policy Seminar 
Voting Rights Seminar
Women and the Law Seminar

As you can see, many of these courses are not totally unique to public
interest law, but overlap with many areas of law; constitutional law
is a prime example – it is a common denominator in all areas, and an
excellent understanding of ConLaw will assist a lawyer in whatever his
or her area of specialization is.

But, too, there are courses that are unique: Law of the Homeless,
Housing Discrimination, just to name a few.

As I am sure you know at this point in your research, law schools
generally have a highly proscribed curriculum; there are few electives
– some programs more than others – but every law school endeavors to
provide a broad based legal education. The importance of the core
areas are evident: Contracts, ConLaw, Criminal Law and Procedure,
Evidence, Property, and Torts form the foundation of all legal

There are electives available, although preparation for the inevitable
Bar Exam will eat up some of those electives.

Where many students actually “specialize” is in their activities in
Moot Court, Clinics, and/or Journals (e.g. law review).  Arguably more
important than the course offerings, these three areas provide an
ability to focus one’s education.  Moot Court competitions, besides
sharpening your advocacy/brief writing skills, permits you to take an
in-depth view over most of an academic year in the topic. There are
always public interest law competitions going on. The question is
whether the Moot Court program at that particular law school will be
fielding a team and participating. If they traditionally participate,
what is their track record.

Clinics are wonderful to get “real world” experience. Actually meeting
clients and solving their problems speaks for itself.  Many of the
programs offer such programs, and the court rules of most of the
states permit law students to appear before the court on behalf of
those clients.

Finally, there are a number of journals specializing in Public
Interest Law. See SUNY Buffalo 
and University of Connecticut as two examples.


Here is a list of Public Interest Law organizations that represent
employment opportunities:

Here are a smattering of the many programs out there:

Harvard’s Public Interest Law initiatives are discussed:

Columbia University’s, a top-ranked school on anyone’s list, has a
Public Interest Law Initiative:

Seattle University School of Law addresses Public Interest Law:

The University of Maryland provides a list of courses that teach
various components of Public Interest Law:

Vanderbilt University’s Legal Aid Society is interesting:

The ABA listings of law schools, if you haven’t seen it, is excellent:
The list of ABA approved programs:

The American Bar Association publishes a wonderful list of post-JD
programs, by area of interest.  The list is here:

If I may proffer a bit of advice:  Get into the best law school you
can. Look objectively at your GPA and LSAT. If your are fortunate
enough to get into a (U.S. News) first tier school- go for it. If you
are limited by necessity to a second, third, or fourth tier, focus on
the area of the country that you want to live in, as the recruitment
possibilities and your attractiveness as a lawyer candidate may be
limited to the geographic region in which that school is located. THEN
look at Moot Court, Clinics, and Journals. The area of Public Interest
Law is well enough established that no matter where you go, you will
be able to shape some kind of training that will permit you to enhance
the lives of the more unfortunate.

Again, congrats to you for looking so seriously at this important


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lawmuse-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
This answer was very helpful and well worth the money.  Thank you very
much.  I will be sure to use this service again in the future.

There are no comments at this time.

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