Public Interest Center
The Mission of the Chicago-Kent Public Interest Center is to increase pro bono and community service and support careers in public interest law for Chicago-Kent students while expanding access to justice in the community. It supports those curious about a career in public interest, or simply wanting to explore pro bono opportunities, and fulfills this mission through:
The Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative
The Initiative provides information about volunteer opportunities, collaborates with student organizations to support pro bono opportunities, and coordinates volunteer training with community partners. We organize a Public Service Day for incoming first-year law students and a Pro Bono Forum for students to learn about local volunteer opportunities. We have several excellent in-house opportunities: the Self-Help Resource Center at the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Patent Hub, and the Constitutional Democracy Project.
Career and Financial Support
We have dedicated career support for public interest students. Our career team makes students aware of opportunities when they happen and helps them with their applications. In addition our staff can help students pursue Public Interest Fellowships such as Equal Justice Works.
We offer financial support for students who work at legal aid and government organizations, through the Kent Justice Foundation, Stevens Fellowship, and Federal Work Study program. For graduates in public interest law careers we have a Loan Repayment Assistance Program that helps repay student loan debt.
J.D. Certificate in Public Interest Law
The Public Interest Certification, led by Professor Carolyn Shapiro, allows students to specialize in public interest law, while our externship program and clinical offerings through the CK Law Group allow students to develop their lawyering skills. The Justice and Technology Practicum explores how technology and new innovations can make legal services more accessible to those with limited resources.
Conferences and Events
Our annual Explore the Possibilities: Public Interest Law Event, hosted with the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and the Chicago Area Law School Consortium (CALSC), features opportunities to engage with the legal aid, government, and nonprofit sectors. In addition the center coordinates more than 20 programs a year on public interest career topics, as well as public interest practice areas, often in collaboration with our student organizations.
Our premier public interest event is our annual Public Interest Awards celebration, which honors student pro bono efforts, public interest leadership, and community partners. There we celebrate the achievements of those who have shown a true passion for public interest, and who are or will become leaders in the field.
Public Interest Center
Conviser Law Center
565 West Adams Center
Chicago, IL 60661
Michelle Vodenik, Director