J.D. Public Interest Program Curriculum

To obtain the Certificate in Public Interest Law, 12 hours of coursework is required. Because of the wide scope of public interest law, students meet with the program director, Professor Carolyn Shapiro, to create a curriculum plan tailored to their interests.

Two core courses are mandatory. Electives include a practicum and a variety of seminars and clinics.

Required Courses

  • Public Interest Law and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • Legal Writing IV - Public Interest Law (3 credit hours).  Students participating in Law Review, Moot Court Honor Society, Judicial Externships, or other certificate programs may work with the program director to identify another course in lieu of Legal Writing IV – Public Interest Law.

Elective Courses

Students must complete 6 credit hours of electives in public interest law. Courses taken pass/fail do not count toward certificate requirements. Students are encouraged to consider at least one of the following electives:

  • Justice & Technology Practicum
  • Public Interest Clinic (Criminal Defense, Low-Income Tax Payer, Family Law, Health and Disability Law, Chicago Legal Clinic Practicum, Mediation and Other ADR Procedures)
  • Public Interest Externship (e.g., Public Interest Legal and Judicial Externship, International Rule of Law Externship)
  • Public Interest Seminar (e.g., Access to Justice and Technology, Legal Rights of Children, Privacy in Employment, Sexual Orientation & the Law)

Examples of other elective courses (other classes can also fulfill the elective requirement)

  • Civil Rights History
  • Disability Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • International Human Rights
  • Legislative Advocacy.