Office of Social Justice Initiatives

By offering professional development programming, career advising, counseling, support, and community, we equip students and graduates with an expansive view of how they might use their legal education to advance the public good and promote social justice through the law.

Contact Information

Office of Social Justice Initiatives

435 West 116th Street, Box B-26

Department Services

Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) inspires and prepares students and graduates to pursue public service and public interest work throughout their careers anywhere in the world.


  • Programming

    Our programming ranges from nuts-and-bolts sessions on finding a job to talks on the future of public interest and public service law. What should you put on your résumé? How did our alumni reach their positions? And what is your vision for advancing the public good? We also host social and community-building events, such as our annual Public Interest Honors Dinner.

  • Advising

    Our advisers can help you:
    • Think through the types of work that may interest you.
    • Identify internships, fellowships, and postgraduate positions.
    • Build your contacts.
    • Decide on the curricular and extracurricular pursuits that support your future public interest/public service career.
    • Improve your interviewing, networking, and job search skills.
    • Follow through the next steps in the application process.
    • Engage in meaningful experiences at the Law School.
    • Chart your unique path to serving the public good.


  • 1L Cover Letter and Résumé Review

    1Ls, use this link to get quick feedback on your résumé for your summer job in public interest or government work.

  • LL.M. Résumé and Cover Letter Review

    LL.M.s, use this link to get get quick feedback on your résumé for your summer job in public interest or government work.

  • On-Campus Interviews and Job Recruiting

    We host numerous public interest and government employers hiring for summer and postgraduate jobs as part of the Law School's On-Campus Interview Program and at other times in the year.

  • Pro Bono

    Columbia Law School is one of a small group of law schools nationwide, and the only one in New York City, that require all J.D. students to do pro bono legal work during law school. We help students develop exciting, rewarding in-house and Spring Break Caravan pro bono projects and maintain a database of more than 1,000 placements.

  • Summer Programs and Funding

    We run the Law School’s Guaranteed Summer Funding Program and the Human Rights Internship Program, which fund students during 1L and 2L summers as they explore legal practice and provide assistance to organizations around the world.

  • Fellows Program

    The Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program is an exciting opportunity for Columbia Law School students who are interested in exploring public interest and public service more fully as preparation for careers in these sectors. The program focuses on supporting students in four key areas: (1) community-building, (2) mentorship, (3) professional development and reflective learning, and (4) in-depth career and curricular counseling.

  • Postgraduate Fellowships

    We provide guidance on identifying and applying to many postgraduate fellowships, including seven exclusive programs for recent graduates to work in public interest, human rights, or government.

  • LRAP

    With the goal of making a career in public service financially possible for graduates, Columbia Law School offers a generous Loan Repayment Assistance Program—one of the best in the country. SJI works closely students and alumni so that they can make career decisions from a place of financial knowledge.

  • Small Grants

    In very specific circumstances, SJI provides students with small grants to help them pursue careers in public interest or public service. Expenses that may be eligible include those associated with traveling to an interview for a postgraduate job outside of the New York City area, the cost of attending career seminars, workshops, or conferences, and costs associated with 2L summer employment. For more information, contact Natalie Stephenson.

    Funding Request Form

Meet the Social Justice Initiatives Team

Dean Eric Smock

Erica Smock

  • Assistant Dean Dean for Social Justice Initiatives & Public Service Lawyering
Maddie Kurtz

Maddie Kurtz

  • Director of Public Interest Professional Development