Defining Public Interest Practice

Serving the public is an outstanding way to integrate the mission of UST law into your legal career.  There are many options for the public interest lawyer, such as: 

  • Direct legal services offices provide civil legal representation in housing, family, consumer, government benefits, immigration, labor, employment, or education, among other areas. 
  • Law reform/policy organizations focus on influencing systemic changes in particular areas (e.g., environmental, healthcare, or housing) or for particular groups of people (e.g., the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Children’s Defense Fund or Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy).  Some of these organizations focus on legislative advocacy and others on litigation as their primary strategy. 
  • Not for profit organizations with many different missions also employ lawyers.
  • The government (federal, state, county or city offices) employ lawyers to practice in many areas of civil or administrative law.  The work can be litigation, policy work, advising governmental bodies or even negotiating contracts. 
  • Criminal law opportunities include working for a U.S. Attorney Office, a State Attorney General Office or at the county or city level as a prosecutor.  You can also work as a public defender at the federal, state or county level. 
  • International public service for the federal government, an NGO, or a nonprofit in the U.S. or abroad. 

NEXT: If any of these areas of practice interest you, check out ways to build your public interest career!