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New England Law | Boston is nationally ranked for its public interest law program. Here you’ll find a student body and faculty passionate, purpose driven, and dedicated to improving lives through the law.
Learn more about our concentration in Public Interest Law

Students in our in-house Public Interest Law Clinic

Public interest law spans many legal disciplines (see “What Do Public Interest Lawyers Do?” below). By pursuing the Public Interest Law concentration at New England Law, you’ll explore legal coursework across these disciplines while mastering the specific skills you need to become a public interest lawyer.

Opportunities to grow those real-world skills include working in our in-house Public Interest Law Clinic, where you'll assist real clients on a variety of cases under the direction and guidance of our faculty; volunteering with the school’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility, such as helping survivors of domestic violence, the wrongfully imprisoned, and people facing eviction; and joining our Human Rights and Immigration Law Project, where students have made a tangible difference in immigration, refugee, and human rights-based work. 

What Do Public Interest Lawyers Do?

Public interest law is a large field that touches upon many different areas of practice, such as criminal law, environmental law, family law, immigration law, and public international law. Lawyers practicing in particular fields within public interest law must be trained not only in the substantive law relevant to the field but in the specific lawyering skills that are most needed for public interest practice.

Common roles for public interest lawyers include working as public defenders, providing legal services to those who cannot afford them; serving as in-house legal counsel at a nonprofit, such as a humanitarian organization; or acting as a prosecuting attorney in criminal cases, perhaps working on behalf of a state government to bring charges against individuals and corporations.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Public Interest Lawyer

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Students in our Public Interest Law concentration program have access to the following hands-on learning experiences, among others:

Public Interest Law Courses

In addition to their foundational legal coursework, students pursuing a concentration in Public Interest Law can choose among many exciting elective classes to meet their credit requirements. To complete a concentration in Public Interest Law, students must earn 12 credits by completing courses from the following list. At least one of the courses must be a clinic listed below. Courses counted toward the Public Interest Law concentration may not also be counted toward another certificate or concentration.

  • American Indian Law
  • Business Compliance and Human Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Children and the Law
  • Crimmigration
  • Criminal Procedure II
  • Criminal Procedure II Clinic
  • Disability Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Family Law
  • Family Law Clinic
  • First Amendment
  • Government Lawyer Clinic
  • Housing Discrimination Law
  • Indigenous Peoples' Rights
  • Immigration Law
  • Immigration Law Clinic
  • Juvenile Law
  • Labor Law
  • Landlord-Tenant Law
  • Lawyering Process
  • Mental Health Law
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic
  • Race and the Law
  • Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law
  • Sexual Violence and Law Reform
  • Special Education Law

Public Interest Law Advisor

R Engler

Russell Engler

BA Yale University
JD Harvard Law School

Professor Engler directs the law school’s clinical programs. His scholarly interests include ethical issues, the delivery of legal services to the poor, Civil Gideon, and legal education. He also directs the Public Service Project of the law school’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility. Learn more