Pro Bono and Public Service Program

Pro Bono and Public Service Program

Northwestern Law has a long history of fostering a commitment to public service in its students and graduates, and we continue to increase the volunteer opportunities. In 2002, the Law School adopted a Public Service Strategy, designed to build an ethic of service and giving among all students, regardless of their career path. Acknowledging that not all students will choose public interest law as a career, the strategy broadly defines public service to include legal and non-legal work in community organizations, advocacy groups, legal service offices, government agencies, and a wide variety of non-profit organizations.

A goal of this strategy is that each law student performs a minimum of 50 hours of public service before graduation. The public service work must be performed during the academic year without compensation or academic credit.

Northwestern Law has a public service coordinator dedicated to assisting students in finding meaningful public service opportunities. Students have access to a volunteer opportunities database, and the Law School maintains key partnerships with several non-profit agencies and a Chicago Public School. Additional opportunities include a day of service during Orientation Week, Martin Luther King Jr. Service Projects, and alternative Spring Break service trips. Students can join public-service-focused student organizations, including the Public Interest Law Group (PILG), the Student Funded Public Interest Fellowships Program (SFPIF), and the Student Effort to Rejuvenate Volunteering (SERV). A number of other student organizations also sponsor public service events throughout the year.


Julia P.
JD '17

"During my time at Northwestern Law, participating in public service opportunities enriched my education.

I volunteered as a tutor for Chicago Youth Programs, taught with Street Law, worked on expungement and sealing at the Cabrini Green Legal Aid, prepared taxes with Ladder Up, and completed legal research with Sierra Club. Public service allowed me to take what I learned in the classroom into the real world, and helped me to be a small part of a positive change in someone's life."


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the Pro Bono and Public Service Program at Northwestern Law, please reference the FAQ page. If you still have questions after looking through the FAQs, please contact:

Sara Sommervold
Assistant Director, Academic and Career Management

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-3069

Related Links

Student Time Log for Volunteer Hours | Public Interest Careers