Instead of fighting for those who can afford to hire them, lawyers who go into public interest serve the needy, the poor, and the underrepresented.
The law school believes the law is a calling in the spirit of public service, and that it is the responsibility of the legal profession to insure access to justice for all by meeting the legal needs of all individuals and communities.
In 2005-06, the school operated 9 clinics, allowing 86 students to work with real clients on real cases. Clinic students gain confidence, valuable insight, and hands-on experience, all while providing free legal services to underserved populations. Current clinics include:
Street Law is a national program that teaches high school students the fundamentals of our legal system, legal process, and the principles and values that underlie our constitutional democracy. Each year, 24 law students teach more than 300 Seattle-area high school students topics such as the court system, consumer law, criminal law, family law and landlord-tenant law.
Externships, including the new Olympia Quarter Fellows Program, allow students to gain valuable experience and earn credit toward their J.D. Externships typically last three months and may be based with local, national or international organizations. Examples of participating organizations available upon request.
Other opportunities include the Public Interest Law Association (PILA) student-run organization dedicated to promoting legal work that serves the public, alleviates suffering, and improves the quality of life for individuals; the Native American Law Center, promotes understanding of Native American legal issues through research, scholarship and client representation; the Immigrant Families Advocacy Project (IFAP), which assists immigrant victims of family violence as they petition for permanent residency in the United States, and more.