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Public Interest

Join our tradition of expanding knowledge in the service of humanity

ROOTED IN OUR JESUIT IDENTITY, NORTHAMPTOM’s JD Certificate in Public Interest prepares you for practice settings in government and the non-profit arena where you will advocate and work in service to others. You’ll find robust coursework, many clinical opportunities and resources, and co-curricular activities that will provide you with legal skills to help those in need. Our graduates work in civil and criminal law, represent underserved populations, and work to protect legal rights.


There are three requirements for the Public Interest Certificate: coursework; clinic or externship experience; and co-curricular experience.


You must complete one required course and at least 10 credit hours of elective courses in public interest law (four courses). You must earn a B or better in each of the four public interest elective courses.

Required Course: You must enroll in the required Public Interest Law Seminar course during your second or third year of law school, when you have completed or are in the process of completing your 30 required volunteer service hours and a clinical program or externship.

Elective Courses: You must take four elective courses in public interest law, which are listed on the Certificate in Public Interest application.

You must complete a clinic, practica, or externship at a government agency or agency that serves, represents, or advocates on behalf of indigent persons, disadvantaged groups, or inadequately protected interests:

Business Law Clinic
ChildLaw Clinic
Community Law Center Clinic
Education Law Practicum
Externship (government agency or non-profit organization)
Federal Tax Clinic
Health Justice Project
Life After Innocence Project

You must complete 30 hours of public service work. This work does not need to be at one organization and it need not be completed prior to enrolling in the Public Interest Law Seminar.

Advanced Litigation
Trial or Appellate Advocacy Writing
Dispute Resolution
Co-Curricular Experience



After completion of all requirements, you must complete an application for the Certificate in Public Interest. Submit a completed application to the Director of Public Interest Programming for signature. You must then submit your signed application form to the Law School Registrar’s Office.