Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate

Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate

The Center for Access to Justice’s Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate Program provides students with the training and legal knowledge necessary to serve traditionally underrepresented individuals, communities and interests and facilitates the development of problem-solving skills relevant to working with and on behalf of public interest issues and underserved populations.

The program is designed to allow students to focus on a particular substantive area specific to their interests and career goals or to explore more broadly the kinds of issues that might arise in doing public interest or pro bono work. Students pursuing the certificate must satisfy the general J.D. requirements and satisfy the curricular elements detailed in the Certificate Information Packet.

Benefits of earning a certificate in public interest law and policy

Participating in the certificate program affords students an innovative course of study that will enhance familiarity with fundamental issues likely to arise when serving the public interest. Certificate students also have the opportunity for faculty advisement, curriculum planning and career guidance.

Participants will enjoy:

  • Preparation for practice: Certificate students will engage with key concepts and develop skills and values central to public interest and pro bono practice.
  • Faculty advisement and curriculum guidance: Faculty advisors in public interest law and policy are assigned to every student enrolled in the certificate program. Advisors can assist with course selection and provide career guidance or suggestions for professional development.
  • Integrated learning: Certificate students build on their legal skills and knowledge as they progress through the required and elective courses and apply theory to practice in experiential courses and pro bono volunteer opportunities.
  • Transferability and adaptability: The certificate program facilitates learning and skills development through the lens of public interest law and policy, but the program curriculum addresses issues that affect all areas of law practice. Students can pursue focused public interest coursework while enrolling in other academic specializations, pursuing dual degrees and selecting from the general curriculum for a well-rounded legal education.

For more information, download the Certificate Information Packet>> or contact Darcy Meals, center assistant director, at