Public Interest Law allows an attorney to make a contribution to our society. Many “for-profit” attorneys are involved in pro bono cases (work without compensation done for the good of the public) throughout their careers. However, an attorney can choose to devote all of his/her time and talents to public interest cases through a career in public interest law.
Public Interest Law Practice Settings include: Non-Profit Public Interest Organizations, Legal Services Offices, Public Defenders, Prosecuting Attorneys, Federal, State and Local Government Offices, Courts, and Public Interest-Oriented Law Firms.
Characteristics important to public interest lawyers include: passion for public service, strong interpersonal communication skills, oral advocacy skills, patience, tenacity, foreign language skills, ability to cope with crisis, organizational skills, excellent time management skills and resourcefulness. (From The Official Guide to Legal Specialties, Lisa L. Abrams). If you would like assistance preparing your resume for a public interest job search, please contact our office.
Public Service Funding Sources
Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs
Public Interest & Government Resources & Job Postings
Law schools pay annual dues to allow their students access to this comprehensive listing of public interest legal jobs. No password needed to access the information, just choose your school! You may search for public interest positions, volunteer opportunities, paid summer positions and post-graduate positions and fellowships by type of work and geographic region.
Government Honors and Internship Handbook
This website lists summer and post-graduate legal positions with almost every federal agency, and many state agencies as well. This website is password protected. Please see LCS for username and password.
Equal Justice Works
This site contains information on public interest jobs, fellowships and resources for law school graduates. It is searchable by state. Additionally, EJW sponsors an annual job fair in October, held in Washington DC. Look for registration and sign-up information from Office of Professional Development.
National Legal Aid and Defender Association
Opportunities for law school graduates in civil legal services organizations, defender organizations and other public interest organizations are listed. This site is searchable by state.
Action Without Borders
This website has a database of jobs and volunteer opportunities both law-related and other types. It covers over 20,000 non-profit organizations and over 140 countries. It is searchable by subject matter, country, type of position and other categories.
Roll Call Jobs
This site features jobs in government affairs, lobbying and other repositions with organizations that do lobbying and other work with the federal government.
This is the primary recruitment mechanism for federal employment. There are many legal and non-legal opportunities listed on this website.