Public Interest Law Publications
Among the ways that Columbia students contribute to national and international discourse on a variety of current legal issues is by becoming active participants in journals published by the Law School. Columbia Law School has several student-edited law journals that focus primarily on public interest law issues.
Students often write articles about legal problems that arose during their human rights internships, pro bono projects, or classroom discussions. They also develop relationships with Columbia professors and other leading scholars by editing their submissions.
Along with the Columbia Law Review, which often discusses public interest law, several journals specialize in public interest practice areas. They include:
Columbia Human Rights Law Review
Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
Columbia Journal of Gender and Law
Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts
Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems
Columbia Journal of Race and Law
The Columbia Human Rights Law Review also publishes A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (JLM), a 1,000-page manual that provides inmates with the information they need to appeal their cases, assert their rights in the face of mistreatment in prison, or simply understand their lawyers’ actions. The manual, now in its sixth edition, is in every prison library in New York State and is available by request to individuals throughout the country.
Symposium issues of the law journals extend the lives and broaden the distribution of papers presented by leading scholars and practitioners at Columbia Law School conferences, which are sponsored by various centers, faculty members, and student groups. Examples: “Why a Feminist Law Journal?” in the Journal of Gender and Law, “Sentencing: What Is at Stake for the States?” in the Columbia Law Review, “Affirmative Action,” in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and “Trade, Sustainability, and Global Governance,” published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.
Public Interest Student Groups
More than 20 student-run public interest organizations offer a means for students to meet like-minded peers while mixing fun with service. Students often start new groups, many of which are affiliated with national organizations. Student groups are instrumental in raising the level of discourse on campus, often by sponsoring conferences on issues of current relevance. A few examples from recent years: The Civil Rights Society sponsored the “Educational Equity Conference,” which brought together government representatives, civil rights lawyers, other advocates, and educators to address gains and shortcomings in the struggle against economic and racial discrimination in public education; Columbia Law Students for Enacting Humane Drug Policies joined forces with the North American Congress on Latin America to organize “Widening Destruction: A Teach-In on the Drug War,” for which leading human rights activists, political figures, and policy experts came to Columbia to share knowledge and seek solutions to this controversial issue; a consortium of student groups hosted a conference on the Voting Rights Act to look at its successes and failures in light of its upcoming reorganization; Empowering Women of Color hosts an annual conference, the most recent of which was entitled "Front Lines: Women of Color on the Forefront of Activism Movements."
Each year the Public Interest Law Foundation sponsors a Bid for Justice Auction, which supports the Law School's Community Grants and Guaranteed Summer Funding programs.
Click here for the Student Services list of student organizations with contact information