Public Interest Overview

Many students who choose to attend MU Law School do so with the intent of using their law degrees to pursue careers in government or with non-profit organizations. Historically, approximately one-quarter of MU law graduates begin their careers with government agencies or public interest organizations.

Because salaries for these positions are typically lower than those at private law firms, it is important that students considering careers in public interest law incur a minimum of student loan debt. Many students who would like to work in the public interest sector are prohibited from doing so once student loan repayment becomes a reality.

During your law school career, it is important that you take steps to demonstrate your commitment to public interest work. Many fellowship programs require a prior demonstrable commitment to this type of work.

There are many opportunities inside and outside of the law school that will qualify you to apply for these programs. Our office will be happy to assist you in developing a career plan with the types of academic and work experience required to successfully compete for fellowship funding by showing a commitment.

Public interest organizations are not uniform. They vary in type, purpose, structure and most importantly to the job seeker, in funding sources. One time frame does not exist in applying for all public interest jobs. For each entity that interests you, you should educate yourself as to the individual organization's hiring schedule. There is no one "right" way to conduct a job search for public interest jobs. We can assist you in designing your own plan.