SJI Mission and 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.
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.
Our Services Include:
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 resume? 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.
Advising and Career Education
Our team of advisors are lawyers with experience in public interest, government, international human rights, and numerous specific practice areas and regional job markets. They are available to you as a student or at any stage of your career. Most appointments are booked via Symplicity.
Our advisors can help you:
- think through the types of work that may interest you;
- identify internships, fellowships, and postgraduate positions;
- build your contacts;
- improve your interviewing, networking, and job search skills;
- advise you on next steps in the application process.
In addition, our library of career guides includes our Public Interest Job Search Toolkit and special resources for LL.M. students, alumni, and seekers of jobs in an array of specific fields.
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.
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.
The Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program is an exciting new 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 will focus 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.
We provide guidance on identifying and applying to many postgraduate fellowships, including more than 15 exclusive programs for recent graduates to work in public interest, human rights, or government.
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.
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.