How to Find Strong Public Interest Law Programs
July 30, 2019
Law school hopefuls who dream of using their legal degree to not only help clients, but also benefit society should look for programs with an impressive track record of training accomplished public interest attorneys, experts say.
Mark R. Ustin, a health care regulatory lawyer and lobbyist with the Farrell Fritz law firm in New York, says that the definition of “public interest law” varies depending on whom you ask. He notes that it’s important for civic-minded aspiring lawyers to figure out whether their vision of a public interest law career aligns with the type of job for which their target schools would provide solid prep.
“It can mean anything from pro bono practices focused solely on services for poor or marginalized people, or representation of not-for-profit entities more generally, or government service, or even lobbying,” Ustin wrote in an email. He notes that there is diversity even within categories of lawyers that are commonly labeled as public interest attorneys, such as government lawyers. For instance, a government lawyer could be a criminal prosecutor, a regulatory lawyer or a transactional attorney, he says.
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