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Public Interest Law

Lawyers play an important part in promoting the public interest and protecting the rights of underrepresented populations. Lawyers have been leaders in many social movements including those involving civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT issues, disability rights, and many more.

Lawyers working to promote social justice are employed in many settings. Some lawyers work in government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where they investigate alleged cases of discriminatory behavior. Some lawyers work in the nonprofit sector to promote the interests of certain groups such as ProKids and ProSeniors here in Cincinnati. Other lawyers work in corporations or other organizations to help promote diversity or other social issues within those organizations.


You build a foundation in public interest law by studying Constitutional Law in your first year. The classes listed below offer you more advanced study in this area. If you are interested in public interest law, you may also be interested in many of the classes, clinics, institutes, and other learning opportunities discussed in the International Law and Criminal Law courses of study.

  • American Legal History
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Crimmigration
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Disability Law
  • Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic
  • Education Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Feminist Jurisprudence
  • First Amendment Seminar
  • Gender and the Law
  • Human Rights Seminar
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • Public International Law
  • Representation of Women: Law, Literature, and Gender
  • Tax Policy

Sample Student Schedules

Linked here are two samples of student schedules of fictitious students who are interested in public interest law. These are designed to give some idea of the many ways courses can be woven into a curriculum designed to build your knowledge of public interest and other areas of the law, prepare you to take a bar exam, and help you acquire professional skills. Unlike some other areas of the law, this one does not require courses to be taken in a specific sequence. You can create many wonderful schedules that include these courses. These two are merely samples that, frankly, should only be used to spur your ideas about the best curriculum for you. You may also want to discuss your scheduling choices with professors, practitioners, upper-level students, and Dean Oliver. Please remember that you must ensure that your schedule will meet all the requirements for graduation. Also remember that the classes listed in these sample schedules may not be offered in the particular semester shown here while you are in law school and that the number of credits may vary from year to year.

Jean Schoor – Student interested in working in a nonprofit agency
Paul Tagen – Student interested in working for a governmental agency

Other Student Learning Opportunities

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Centers and Institutes


Joint Degree Programs

Other Student Activities

Student Organizations — sampling

* See complete list of student organizations

Volunteer Opportunities — sampling

* Get more information about volunteer opportunities


Emily Ming-Sue Houh
Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of Law

Ann Hubbard
Professor of Law

Kenyatta Hurd
Associate Professor of Clinical Law

Kristin Kalsem
Professor of Law

Bert B. Lockwood
Distinguished Service Professor of Law and
Director, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights

Betsy Malloy
Andrew Katsanis Professor of Law

Ronna Greff Schneider
Professor of Law

Sandra F. Sperino
Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Law

Yolanda Vazquez
Assistant Professor of Law

Verna L. Williams
Professor of Law

Alumni Careers

Some places our graduates have worked include:

  • Amnesty International
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (Sacramento, CA)
  • California Rural Legal Assistance
  • Children's Law Center
  • Cincinnati Legal Aid
  • Civil Rights – United States Department Of Justice
  • Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Open Society Foundations (Washington, DC)
  • ProKids
  • ProSeniors
  • United Nations Development Programme (Sudan)
  • World Vision UK (United Kingdom)