Public Interest Law

"Our clinics provide students with a wonderful opportunity to learn lawyering skills and at the same time offer high quality legal assistance to some of the community's most vulnerable children and families. Students learn to navigate complicated bureaucracies and to support clients who are often confused and intimidated by the legal process."

~ Professor Andrea Ramos

The Public Interest Summer Grant Program and Silbert Public Interest Law Fellowships provide funding for selected students who participate in public interest work during the summer. Southwestern students also volunteer with law-related education and diversity pipeline programs, such as the law school’s Hoover Elementary School Mock Trial, Teen Court and Small Claims Court programs. In addition, students engage in public service under the auspices of student organizations and nonprofit agencies through programs such as the Homelessness Prevention Law Project, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Justice Bus™ serving rural communities.

To see a list of Public Interest Law courses taught in the last three years, choose Public Interest/Civil Rights/Civil Liberties from the Filter by Area of Law drop-down list on the courses page or click here.

  • On-campus Clinics: Children's Rights, Immigration Law, Street Law, Youth Offender Parole Hearing
  • Externship Placements: Alliance for Children's Rights, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Disability Rights Legal Center, Natural Resources Defense Counsel, Public Counsel
  • Practicums: Amicus Project, Immigration Appeals
  • Year-long Externship Program with Children's Law Center of California
  • Public Interest Summer Law Grants
  • Silbert Public Interest Law Fellowships
  • Public Service Program
  • Public Interest Law Service Awards
  • Student Organizations and Activities: Homelessness Prevention Law Project, Hoover Elementary Mock Trial, Immigration Law Student Association, International Justice Mission, OneJustice and Justice Bus™, Public Interest Law Committee, Teen Court, Tax Law Society's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

In addition to courses, clinics, externships and practicums that involve public interest law, our students participate in public service through a rich selection of co-curricular activities and individual pursuits. Being in the heart of Los Angeles’ “Public Interest Corridor,” Southwestern provides students with opportunities to serve the community that few law schools can match.

Southwestern’s Public Service Policy is designed to encourage students to perform at least 25 hours of pro bono legal services each year. Those who serve at least 75 hours by graduation are formally recognized on their records, and Public Interest Law Service Awards are presented to graduating students in recognition of extraordinary dedication to public interest law. In support of this policy, Southwestern created a Public Service Program to develop volunteer opportunities in the community. Students and faculty serving on the Public Interest Law Committee coordinate public interest law awareness and fundraising programs throughout the year.