Pursue Public Interest

Seattle University School of Law offers a range of financial and other support for students interested in building a career in public interest. "Public Interest Law" can be understood broadly to encompass legal work 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

Below we have consolidated a range of resources available at the law school for prospective, current, and former students who are exploring or committed to a career in public interest. Not sure where to go for help? Talk to ATJI!

For Prospective Students:

The School of Law offers two Scholars for Justice Scholarships each year, which allows students who have proven their dedication to public interest to earn their degrees without incurring the debt that is often an obstacle in choosing such a career. These scholars make a commitment to devote much of their careers to public interest law or to donate to the law school's scholarship fund an amount at least equal to the scholarship should their career path change. The Access to Justice Institute supports these Scholars in their career paths toward public interest by facilitating mentorship, networking opportunities, and leadership development programming throughout their time at the School of Law.

For Current Students:

Public Interest Advising: ATJI staff have a depth and breadth of knowledge about the practice of public interest law and can help facilitate your exploration by connecting you to other students, alumni, and attorneys practicing in the community. Email atji@seattleu.edu to make an appointment. The Center for Professional Development is also available to help you understand the job search process, explore career options, and help give you the tools and skills you need to locate and secure job opportunities that are a good fit for you.

Public Interest Law Foundation Summer Grants: The Public Interest Law Foundation is a student-led organization committed to increasing awareness of the rewards, challenges, opportunities, and needs in public interest law. Recognizing the responsibility that members of the legal profession have in working to serve severely underrepresented legal needs, PILF engages in a number of projects, including funding PILF Summer Grants. These Summer Grants support Seattle University law students who work in summer public interest internships that offer little or no pay. Students contact employers themselves, arrange for potential summer positions, and then apply for grants from PILF.

For Graduating Students and Alumni:

Loan Repayment Assistance Program: Seattle University School of Law has a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) to assist graduates who choose full time public interest legal careers and are licensed attorneys. Click here for more information about policies, procedures, and eligibility.

Post-Graduate Fellowships: Since 2009, Seattle University School of Law has offered Social Justice Post-Graduate Fellowships to SU law graduates, providing opportunities for new lawyers to work shoulder-to-shoulder with underserved and disadvantaged populations, or in other endeavors that promote social justice. Click here to learn more about the Leadership for Justice Fellowship and other post-graduate fellowship opportunities and resources.

Low Bono and Solo Initiative: In 2013 the School of Law launched a Low Bono and Solo Initiative to assist alumni in starting their own solo practices or small firms, including those setting up their own practices with the intent of serving the moderate means client community. Click here for more information.

Justice Statue