With all the student organizations and places like the Center for Professional Development at Seattle University School of Law, you have great resources for learning how to use your law degree in legal services.

Erin Shea McCann
Equal Justice Works Fellow, Columbia Legal Services

Public Interest

People commit to public interest work for many different reasons: it is part of their core identity, it gives greater meaning and significance to their lives in a way that capitalizes on their professional skills, they want to make a real difference in someone’s life by reducing human suffering, righting a wrong, stopping an unfair practice, or ensuring that justice is not just for some but for all. In addition to any of these motivations, public interest law demands a higher level of creativity, hard work and devotion than any other professional undertaking, and can provide the greatest professional and personal satisfaction and rewards you will ever know. Add to this the privilege of working with social justice-motivated colleagues with whom you will share a treasured bond, and you have a winning combination of factors leading to a lifelong commitment to public interest law no matter where your legal career may take you. There is always a contribution you can make, a role you can play in the furtherance of justice.

Whether or not you attend the Seattle University School of Law because of its strong and well-respected commitment to social justice, or Seattle University’s declared purpose to develop leaders for a more just and humane world resonates with your personal core values, this is a place to explore these concepts and ideas, and to find concrete ways of applying them. In private practice, the corporate sector, education, government service, and public interest law organizations, you can ensure equal justice and work for the public good.

Seattle University School of Law has developed extensive collaborative partnerships with dozens of public interest law-related service providers and leadership organizations; we are fortunate to be a partner in one of the strongest equal justice alliances in the nation. These working partnerships afford our public interest-minded law students many rich opportunities to engage in significant and transformative public interest law-related learning experiences, and the opportunity to gain invaluable advocacy and leadership skills.

We define Public Interest Law as work using legal skills that is intended to:

  • secure justice for disadvantaged and underserved individuals or communities;
  • assert, protect and defend human rights, civil rights and civil liberties;
  • preserve and protect the world’s health and resources for the benefit of the public good; or
  • promote the public’s interests protected by agencies of government.

In collaboration with the public interest community at Seattle University, the Center for Professional Development has developed this Web site to educate you about the ways you can get involved in public interest law-related work, provide you with the tools and skills you need to locate these opportunities, and give you the resources you will need to put together the best possible presentation package so you will be ready to go when the right public interest law-related opportunity arises. We encourage you to explore the rich and diverse world of public interest law. Regardless of the practice environment in which you choose to work, Seattle University is a place to both develop skills and pursue opportunities that will serve you well in your efforts to make this a more just and humane world.

Ada Shen-Jaffe
Distinguished Practitioner in Residence

Center for Professional Development - Public Interest
Sullivan Hall 200
901 12th Avenue
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122-1090

Phone: 206.398.4100
Fax: 206.398.4123
E-mail: lawcareers@seattleu.edu