Public Interest Career Advising & Guides

The Office of Public Interest Programs (OPIP) provides a variety of career services to students exploring or pursuing public interest. Our services include individualized counseling and planning for students interested in fellowships and careers in public interest and government; facilitating mock interviews, providing networking opportunities, and hosting a variety of job-search related information sessions and events. OPIP also publishes public interest career guides for students beginning or augmenting their public interest career research. OPIP services are available to all UCLA Law students.

Taking into consideration an individual's immediate interests and long-term career goals, OPIP partners with students to plan, create and implement educational and pro bono opportunities and summer placements. Our goal is to assist students in creating effective portfolios of public interest experiences tailored to their own developing definitions of success in public interest and public service. In addition, we offer a private, nonjudgmental space for discussion and encouragement. OPIP resources are also available to alumni interested in discussing and creating strategies for their continuing path in public interest and public service.

OPIP can be reached at publicinterestoffice@law.ucla.edu.

Our counseling team includes the faculty and executive leadership of the Epstein Public Interest Law Program: Assistant Dean Brad Sears, the founding director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy; Epstein Program Executive Director Karin Wang, a former leader of Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Andrew Whitcup, Assistant Director of the Office of Public Interest Programs; and, Faculty Director Sherod Thaxton, who has a wealth of teaching, publishing, and practice experience. Each can be reached by appointment at publicinterestoffice@law.ucla.edu.

Jamie Libonate is the Manager of Operations and Events. She provides generalized advice about program requirements and other areas important to students' progress at UCLA Law. She can be reached at libonate@law.ucla.edu.

If you are a representative of an organization or employer that would like to have OPIP disseminate information about your summer, pro bono, fellowship and career opportunities to UCLA Law students, please send information to publicinterestoffice@law.ucla.edu.

Career Guides

The Office of Public Interest Programs (OPIP) has created the following guides to provide in-depth information on how to prepare your public interest resume and begin your job search in different public interest and government sectors. Additional career guides will be added to this page, including guides on careers in Criminal Justice Reform and Food Law. For more information or would like to meet with a public interest career counselor, please contact OPIP at publicinterestoffice@law.ucla.edu.

  • Public Interest Résumé Guide

    Cover of Guide to Public Interest Résumé GuideThe UCLA Public Interest Résumé Guide provides general guidance to assist you in drafting your résumé. It is specifically tailored to law students seeking summer and post-graduate positions with public interest entities, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, courts and private public interest firms.

    Explore the guide 

  • Careers in Criminal Law and Policy

    Cover of Guide to Careers in Criminal Law and PolicyThis Careers in Criminal Law and Policy guide was created to help law students and law school graduates who are interested in careers in the field of criminal law outside of public defense and prosecutorial work. The guide highlights a number of diverse areas of practice within criminal law and policy and various sites that may be of interest for summer internships and post-graduate employment opportunities as well as narratives from alumni who work in this field.

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  • Careers in Government

    Cover of Guide to Careers in GovernmentA career in government offers lawyers gratifying and dynamic ways to be involved in public service. Careers in Government serves as a tool to help chart the best possible career path for law students and law graduates seeking to embark on this pursuit.

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  • Careers in Private Public Interest Law Firms

    Cover of Guide to Careers in Private Public Interest Law FirmsAttorneys in private public interest practice are at the forefront of public interest lawyering. These attorneys practice in every area of public interest law, as they fight for the constitutional rights of incarcerated people, seek accountability for police officers' use of excessive force, negotiate affordable housing contracts, sue discriminatory employers and monitor elections. This Careers in Private Public Interest Firms handbook has been created to help law students and graduates understand how to enter private public interest practice.

    Explore the guide

  • Careers in Prosecution

    Cover of Guide to Careers in ProsecutionThis Careers in Prosecution guide was created to help law students and law school graduates who are interested in performing the duties of a prosecutor.

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  • Careers in California Public Defender Offices

    Cover of Guide to California Public Defender OOfficesThe Guide to California Public Defender Offices provides law students and recent graduates interested in careers in criminal defense in California with contact and other relevant information for every county public defender office and office to which public defender services are contracted in California.

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  • Careers in Public Defense

    Cover of Guide to Careers in Public DefensePublic defenders dedicate themselves to protecting the constitutional right to counsel by representing those who cannot afford an attorney. This Careers in Public Defense handbook was created to help law students and law school graduates who are interested in public defense work.

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  • Careers in Public Interest Food Law and Policy

    Cover of Guide to Careers in Public Interest Food Law and PolicyA food law and policy career, especially for attorneys interested in working in the public interest sector, can take many shapes. Food policy work often intersects with other legal subject matters, such as housing, health care, education, and family law. Careers in Public Interest Food Law and Policy has been created to help law students and graduates understand the varied directions a public interest food law career can go, and how to embark upon such a career path.

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  • Careers in Public International Law & Human Rights

    Cover of Guide to Careers in Public International Law & Human RightsCareers in public international law and human rights take many different forms, from domestic organizing to international litigation and everything in between. The UCLA Public International Law and Human Rights Guide has been created to help law students and graduates understand how to enter practice in these fields.

    Explore the guide 

  • Careers in Environmental Law

    Environmetnal Law Career Guide coverThe Careers in Environmental Law guide was created to highlight the breadth of opportunities that exist for environmental lawyers and to provide resources and advice to assist students and graduates with job applications and career development.

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