Center to create public interest culture at law school
Public Interest Center reflects Northwestern Law’s strong commitment to public interest
CHICAGO - A new center at The Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law will house the growing array of public interest offerings at the school, enhancing Northwestern’s strong commitment to a public service ethic.
Northwestern Law’s Public Interest Center will ensure strategic leadership of important public interest activities under a single umbrella. Its formation is made possible in part through the $100 million donation made by J.B. and M.K. Pritzker in 2015.
“In tandem with the exceptional work of our Bluhm Legal Clinic and our public interest journals, we already have in place the key features befitting a premier public interest program,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern Law.
Among the center’s features are financial support for students doing public interest work during and after law school; a robust menu of course offerings, including a law and social policy concentration; career programming and counseling; a wide range of pro bono and public service opportunities; and passionate student organization participation and leadership.
The Law School is committed to promoting the advancement of social justice and preparing students for public interest careers and pro bono work.
“Until now, our delivery of these services has been decentralized,” said Cindy Wilson, clinical professor of law and director of the Center for Externships at Northwestern Law, who will serve as the center’s interim director for the first year. “This new administrative structure will allow us to leverage, plan and deliver our public interest assets more effectively.”
With Wilson, Katie Shelton, associate director of public interest at Northwestern Law, and Maureen Stratton, public service program director, will direct the work of the center. They will collaborate with a public interest committee made up of students and faculty.
The following existing activities are within the Public Interest Center’s purview.
- Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
- Guaranteed summer funding
- Global Public Interest Fellowship program
- Postgraduate public interest fellowships
- Public interest career assistance
- Pro bono and community service opportunities
- Public interest student group support, including Public Interest Law Group (PILG), Student Funded Public Interest Fellowship Program (SFPIF) and Student Effort to Rejuvenate Volunteering (SERV)
- Public interest alumni engagement and assistance
“Over time, we aim to increase resources and, consequently, the breadth of initiatives within the center -- with the goal of benefiting our students, our alumni and our communities,” Rodriguez said. “We are committed to creating and nurturing a distinct public interest culture at Northwestern Law -- one that encourages all students to develop a public service ethic.”