Faculty and Courses
Columbia’s world-class faculty exemplify the Law School’s mission to nurture bright, inquisitive, well-rounded attorneys who will not just carry on the “good fight,” but also do so from positions of leadership. Take courses and seminars on timely issues taught by world-renowned scholars who put their ideas into practice as well as skill-building classes and courses on innovative approaches to advocating for social justice and legal change.
Discover all the different ways to combine your studies with concrete, impactful work in the field, while building relationships with lawyers in the trenches. Columbia Law School’s wide range of experiential learning opportunities include clinics, externships, semester-long externship in Washington, D.C.and practicums linking research and practice. Many graduates cite externships and clinics as highlights of their Law School experience.
Find countless opportunities to participate in public interest and public service activities.
- Focus on public interest issues through centers, led by faculty or practitioners.
- Get involved in public service work through student-led journals and a diverse array of student organizations. Meet other like-minded students via projects, events, and mentorship programs.
- Hone skills while engaging in issues pertaining to racial, economic, and social justice in specialized moot courts.
- Take advantage of New York City and discover countless internship and volunteer opportunities related to public interest and public service work. Students go on field trips to witness the work of social-change lawyers and have even created their own field-based learning opportunities at New York City-based organizations like the ACLU, the United Nations, Center for Reproductive Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Legal Aid Society, The Door, and the Innocence Project.
Pro Bono Requirement
Each year, nearly 75 percent of the graduating class exceeds their 40-hour pro bono graduation requirement. Students have worked on a range of projects including helping transgender clients petition to have their names legally changed to match their gender identity, facilitating benefits applications for veterans, and assisting refugees all over the U.S. and the world.
The Law School offers 20 Spring Break Caravans each year, enabling students to travel to destinations around the U.S. and overseas (such as New Orleans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sicily, and Puerto Rico, amongst many others) to provide vital assistance to underserved communities.
Financial Support for Public Interest
Columbia has one of the most generous public interest financial support programs of any law school in the U.S. Examples include:
- Guaranteed Summer Funding and Human Rights Internship programs for summer financial support.
- Prestigious fellowships for postgraduate work in public interest and government sectors.
- Columbia’s generous Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), Enhanced LRAP Fellowships, and Public Service Bridge Loan.
- Financing your public interest and public service career.
Columbia Law School’s Office of Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) is one of the largest offices at any law school devoted to nurturing students who are interested in exploring public interest or government work—while on campus, or as part of a future career. SJI provides professional development, career services and other support for students and graduates, and oversees key programs including the Public Interest/Public Service (PI/PS) Fellows Program, Guaranteed Summer Funding Program, Human Rights Internship Program and Pro Bono Program.