Public Interest Law
Revised November 2012
Books & Narratives
A Force for Nature: The Story of the NRDC and the Fight to Save Our Planet, by John H. Adams, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2010.
This memoir by the founder of the National Resources Defense Council recounts some of the courtroom victories achieved by NRDC attorneys.
KF373.A33 A3 2010 (STACKS)
Bringing Justice to the People: The Story of the Freedom-Based Public Interest Law Movement, Lee Edwards, ed., Washington, D.C.: Heritage Books, 2004.
This book describes the efforts of conservative lawyers in the “freedom-based” public interest law movement, which aims to challenge liberal judicial activism.
KF390.5 .P78 B74 2004 (STACKS)
Justice at Guantanamo: One Woman's Odyssey and Her Crusade for Human Rights, by Kristine A. Huskey, Guildford, CT: Lyons Press, 2009.
The author describes her work representing suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo.
KF373 .H867 A3 2009 (STACKS)
Lawyering from the Heart, by Deborah Kenn, New York: Aspen, 2009.
Features interviews with 22 law school graduates who pursued careers as public interest lawyers.
KF299 .P8 K46 2009 (OCS)
The Making of a Civil Rights Lawyer, by Michael Meltsner, Charlottesville, Va.: Univ. of Virginia Press, 2006.
An autobiography by Michael Meltsner (1937- ), an NAACP attorney involved in several high-profile civil rights cases.
KF373 .M456 A3 2006 (STACKS)
Beyond the Big Firm: Profiles of Lawyers Who Want Something More, by Alan B. Morrison & Diane T. Chin, New York: Aspen, 2007.
This book profiles a variety of lawyers who work outside big firms. It includes sections on civil rights lawyers, environmental lawyers, government lawyers, and lawyers specializing in social change.
KF299 .P8M67 2007 (STACKS)
The People's Lawyer: The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Fight for Social Justice, From Civil Rights to Guantanamo, by Albert Ruben, New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011.
A history of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a public interest law group that advocates for social justice.
KF4749 .R83 2011 (STACKS)
The Worlds Cause Lawyers Make: Structure and Agency in Legal Practice, by Austin Sarat, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2005.
Features profiles of cause lawyers past and present from around the world.
K118 .P82 W67 2005 (STACKS)
Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism, and Cause Lawyering, by Stuart A. Scheingold & Austin Sarat, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2004.
This book “explores the work that cause lawyers do, the role of moral and political commitment to their practice, their relationships to the organized legal profession, and the contributions they make to democratic politics.”
KF299 .P8 S334 2004 (STACKS)
Erin Binns, Who You Are and What You've Done Matter to Public Interest Employers, Student Lawyer, May 2010, at 5.
Provides advice on how to land a job in the public interest sector.
Bettina E. Brownstein, Private Practice and Cause Lawyering: A Practical and Ethical Guide, 31 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 601 (2009).
Explains what cause lawyering is and offers practical advice for attorneys seeking to enter this field. Discusses the ethical problems that arise when trying to balance the interests of the client with the interests of the cause.
Kelly Carmody et al, Creating the Legal Services Organizations Our Clients Deserve: Salaries and Beyond, 45 Clearinghouse Rev. 329 (2011).
This in-depth article focuses on salaries for public interest lawyers.
Kristin Choo, 3 Go Out, 2 Return: Public Interest Gig Led to New Job, ABA Journal, Nov. 2010, at 29.
Describes the experiences of three young associates who left their jobs at a large law firm to pursue one-year public interest fellowships.
Carla J. DeVelder, Passion, Commitment and a Desire to Serve: Is Public Interest Law for You?, Student Lawyer, March 2012.
Provides an introduction to the public interest field, discusses salaries and offers tips on how to enter this job market.
Deborah L. Rhode, Public Interest Law: the Movement at Midlife, 60 Stanford Law Review 2027 (2008).
Examines public interest organizations that have reached maturity—what the author calls "midlife." The article surveys around fifty leaders of the nation's preeminent public interest legal organizations and discusses their priorities, structure, strategies, funding, and challenges.
U.S. Department of Education, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (June 15, 2011).
Explains the loan forgiveness option for federal direct loan borrowers who work in the public service sector.
David C. Yamada, Packaging Yourself for Public Interest Employment: Career Planning Guidance for Aspiring Public Interest Lawyers, Oct. 21, 2012.
"This is an updated version of a career counseling piece for law students who are interested in pursuing work in the public interest field. It covers topics such as course selection, clinics and internships, and overall career development." --From the abstract.
Library has v. 3, 1969 to present
Six issues per year.
Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse for Legal Services
SHELVED IN PERIODICALS
Available on Lexis
Three issues per year.
Washington, D.C.: National Legal Aid and Defender Association
On the Web at: http://www.nlada.org/News/News_Pubs/Publications/Cornerstone_Issues
Dialogue: The Magazine of the ABA Division for Legal Services
Chicago: ABA Division for Legal Services
On the Web at: http://www.americanbar.org/publications/dialogue_home.html
Legal Services Now
Six issues per year.
Chicago: ABA Division for Legal Services
On the Web at: http://www.americanbar.org/publications/legal_services_now_home.html
ABA Division for Legal Services
321 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
tel: (800) 285-2221
The Division works to improve access for all to legal services. It offers periodicals, directories, and other information for lawyers. Within the Division, 11 committees and commissions focus on different aspects of legal services.
Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law)
2120 L Street NW, Ste. 450
Washington, D.C. 20037
tel: (202) 466-3686
fax: (202) 429-9766
“Equal Justice Works organizes, trains and supports public service-minded law students and is the national leader in creating summer and postgraduate public interest jobs.” Their website includes a searchable database of public interest law career opportunities.
Legal Aid Clinic
William & Mary Law School
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg VA 23187-8795
tel: (757) 220-6837
"Students work in the Williamsburg office of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia under the supervision of an attorney, providing legal services to low income clients in a variety of civil matters, including domestic relations, consumer law, debt collection defense, landlord-tenant law, public benefits, and other issues." --From the website.
National Legal Aid and Defender Association
1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 900
Washington, D.C. 20036
tel: (202) 452-0620
fax: (202) 872-1031
NLADA is the largest and oldest organization for legal professionals who serve low-income clients. They provide support for their members, information for the public, and take part in legislative efforts.
Other organizations may be found using:
Encyclopedia of Associations. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., 1961-
Covers more than 100,000 nonprofit membership associations worldwide.
Photo: Associated Press