Finding a public cause or two – on campus or off – and devoting energy and passion to it can keep your legal education empirically rooted and normatively fired up.  This is important, because you need a sense of injustice in order to have a sense of justice.

In keeping with the School of Law’s public service mission, the Office of Public Interest Programs encourages all students to become involved in public interest activities on campus or in the community.  The Office is the place where students can learn – from their first week in law school – how best to devote their passion, interests and skills to making a difference.  

Supporting Student-Coordinated Pro Bono Efforts

Students themselves play a critical role in the School’s public interest life.  Through a variety of student organizations, students coordinate an array of pro bono initiatives in partnership with local public interest organizations.  These dynamic, student-run efforts are engaged in a broad range of advocacy, assistance and education directly addressing issues of criminal justice and reentry, homelessness, juvenile justice, economic justice and workers’ rights, domestic violence, human rights, immigration, and housing. 

The longstanding student organization of volunteer clinics, El Centro Legal, is the largest student organization at the School – engaging as volunteers nearly two-thirds of each first-year class.  El Centro Legal currently encompasses sixteen distinct clinics through which students, under the supervision of attorneys from local public interest organizations, provide critically needed legal services to a number of diverse and vulnerable communities throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

The Office provides support to this ever-growing number of public interest-oriented student organizations, enabling the organizations to carry out their important missions.  The Office also supports students who are interested in establishing new organizations or developing new initiatives that would serve a need in the community and provide pro bono opportunities for students.

Sponsoring Pro Bono Efforts

The Office itself has also worked together with local public interest organizations and private law firms to develop and implement additional pro bono initiatives.  All students have the opportunity to participate in these Office-sponsored initiatives.

Pro Bono Partner Organizations

Students also have the opportunity to establish their own pro bono relationships with the array of local public interest organizations.  Many of these organizations participate in the School’s annual Fall Semester Public Interest Information Fair, which affords students an opportunity to learn more about the available pro bono opportunities in the community.  Our 2012-13 Fall Semester Public Interest Information Fair was attended by the following public interest organizations:

  • A New Way of Life
  • ACLU of Southern California
  • Alliance for Children's Rights
  • Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center
  • Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • Cancer Legal Resource Center
  • Center for Civic Mediation
  • Children's Law Center of Los Angeles
  • Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights of Los Angeles
  • Community Legal Services
  • Compassion Over Killing
  • Consumer Watchdog
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Disability Rights Legal Center
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
  • Found Animals Foundation
  • Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
  • LACBA AIDS Legal Services Project
  • Housing Rights Center
  • Immigrant Center for Women & Children
  • Inner City Law Center
  • KIND [Kids in Need of Defense]
  • Learning Rights Law Center
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
  • Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers
  • Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
  • Los Angeles Waterkeeper
  • Mental Health Advocacy Services
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Immigration Law Center
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • National Senior Citizens Law Center
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
  • Public Counsel Law Center
  • South Asian Network
  • UCLA Labor Center
  • Wage Justice Center
  • Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles