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J.D. Admitted Public Interest and Public Service

Our community of public interest, government, and human rights students, graduates, faculty, and administrators is eager to welcome you to Columbia Law School. Our mantra is that there is no one true path to social justice lawyering.

Whether students wish to serve through human rights or social justice advocacy, a career in government or at a nonprofit, or pro bono lawyering at a private firm, Columbia Law School provides a wealth of opportunities and expert guidance.

Our faculty members are renowned scholars with extensive experience in public interest and government service. They design courses and seminars that equip students with innovative approaches to advocate for social justice, as well as impart substantive knowledge of the law.

In addition to the robust curriculum, students have opportunities for fellowships, research, and hands-on work in public service. Columbia is home to important research centers, such as the Center for Public Research and Leadership, highly regarded academic journals like the Human Rights Law Review, and pro bono initiatives. Student organizations help the community flourish by hosting service projects and events and coordinating mentoring programs.

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Social Justice Initiatives

Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) assists Columbia Law School students in creating individual experiences that allow them to explore the law and the legal profession. 

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Native American Law Students Association Wisconsin Wills Caravan

Pro Bono Programs

Columbia's long-standing pro bono programs, including Spring Break Caravans and In-House Pro Bono Projects, are part of every student's professional development.

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Professor Sturm with members of the Public Interest/Public Service (PIPS) Fellows Program

Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program

The Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program brings together and supports a community of students seeking to use their legal training to serve the public good.

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Davis Polk Fellows

Public Interest/Public Service Council

This large group of senior Law School alumni who are experts and leaders in the public interest and government sectors are available to engage with students to provide support and advice.

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Summer Programs in Public Service

Our summer funding program, one of the largest in the nation, includes Guaranteed Summer Funding and Human Rights Internship, and other opportunities. These programs fund students to work at nonprofits, government agencies, and NGOs.

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A student wearing academic regalia waves from the processional at the 2017 Graduation.

Post-Graduate Employment

SJI is dedicated to providing opportunities, mentoring, and counseling for students exploring careers in public interest or government service. Our Loan Repayment Assistance Program reduces the burden of Law School debt and makes a career in public service financially possible for graduates. 

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