J.D. Public Interest Program Requirements

The three main components of the Certificate in Public Interest Law Program are course work, service, and career planning. Requirements consist of six steps below:

  1. Complete Certificate Sign-Up Form
  2. Curriculum planning meeting
  3. Public Interest career planning meeting
  4. Completing coursework
  5. Completing a Certificate of Service
  6. Application for completion of the program

I. Signing up

Students must sign up for the certificate program at least six months before graduation, indicating their intent to obtain the certificate, though students are urged to do so as early in law school as possible.

Those signing up for the certificate program are not required to complete the program. Withdrawal occurs either through inaction or emailing cajt@kentlaw.iit.edu.

Students who enter the certificate program receive email notices of upcoming events and deadlines related to the program.

II. Career planning meeting

Within six weeks of submitting the letter of intent, students must complete a Public Interest Career Plan Survey, available either online or at the Career Services Office, Suite 360. The survey enables Career Services counselors to assist students in defining their career goals.

After completing the survey, candidates should contact Career Services to schedule a career planning meeting.

III. Curriculum planning meeting

After completing the sign-up form, students should contact Professor Carolyn Shapiro, director of the certificate program, to schedule a meeting to discuss course work that meets their interests and fulfills the certificate requirements.

Professor Shapiro's office is located in Room 753, and she can be reached at 312.906.5392 or cshapiro1@kentlaw.iit.edu.

IV. Course work requirements

The Certificate in Public Interest Law requires a total of 12 hours of coursework. Students should have their elective courses approved during the Curriculum Planning Meeting with Professor Shapiro. Courses taken pass/fail do not satisfy the requirement.

V. Completion of the Chicago-Kent Certificate of Service

Prior to graduation, students must complete 50 hours of pro bono community service and document their hours with Chicago-Kent's Public Interest Center. This student-staffed office assists students in finding legal and extra-legal volunteer projects, either one-time or ongoing.

VI. Application for Completion of the Certificate in Public Interest Law

Students must complete the Application for Completion in their final semester to be considered for graduating the Certificate.