Even amid economic crises, law schools continue to be populated by people who want to use their law degrees for the greater good. It’s called “public interest law,” and our Law Center has been cited as one of the top schools in the country – and the only one in Texas – for students interested in these pursuits.
The National Jurist has cited the Law Center for its strong student involvement in public interest law. The magazine’s ranking formula gave equal weight to three factors: student involvement, curriculum and financial factors.
Public interest encompasses “non-traditional” posts such as working with non-government organizations or advocating for the less-advantaged. The Law Center has a strong heritage of supporting public interest law, and I believe it’s part of the culture we impart to our graduates. I know of many alumni who work in large law firms or corporations and remain compelled to contribute pro bono work in support of various causes.
Over the past eight years, the Law Center has invested more than $700,000 to fund Summer Public Interest Fellowships for nearly 200 of our students. We also maintain a robust externship program that places scores of students with non-profit and government agencies in Texas and throughout the country. And during the school year, our students involve themselves in everything from hurricane relief assistance and community legal aid to consumer advocacy.
Add it up – and it’s clear that Law Center students and alumni believe in giving something back to their communities. At this time of year, and amid these market uncertainties, it’s important to recognize the powerful contributions made by public interest lawyers.
On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Law Center, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving holiday.