Leah Gould

Assistant Dean of Public Interest

Leah Gould leads the Public Interest Center as the inaugural Assistant Dean of Public Interest. She oversees the work and staff of the Center, including advising students and alumni on public interest internships and careers, organizing programs and events for students to learn more about the numerous career paths one might take to become a public service attorney, and administering various financial programs that make those career paths more possible. Prior to joining Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Leah was the Assistant Dean for Public Service and Director of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center at the University of Virginia School of Law. After graduating from the University of Colorado Law School, Leah clerked on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She then joined the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s New York City Field Office through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, where she investigated and prosecuted price-fixing and bid-rigging schemes in the financial services industry. Leah went on to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where she prosecuted a variety of federal criminal cases, including firearms, narcotics trafficking, child exploitation, and white-collar cases. The Federal Law Enforcement Foundation named Leah 2020 Prosecutor of the Year for her work leading an international dark web narcotics and cryptocurrency laundering investigation. Throughout her time at the DOJ, Leah recruited law students and attorneys as a DOJ ambassador and conducted Honors Program and intern hiring. Before practicing law, Leah served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. As a law student, she was an editor on the University of Colorado Law Review, won a national championship in moot court, and founded the Military Law Society. Leah also co-founded The Brigid Alliance, a national nonprofit based in New York.


Emily Powers

Associate Director, Public Interest Center

Emily Powers is the Associate Director of the Public Interest Center. She manages the Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LRAP) and assists with career advising and public interest programming. Prior to joining the Public Interest Center, Emily was a Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow and Program Manager at BPI – Chicago, a law and policy center where she focused on education, housing, and criminal legal reform. She was also a Senior Manager at Start Early where she provided consultation to state and local government leaders and advocates to advance early childhood systems change. Emily received her JD, cum laude, from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2015 and a BA in English and Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2009, where she was named a Nevada Regents’ Scholar and Truman Scholar.


Matthew Hawkins

Program Coordinator, Public Interest Center

Matthew Hawkins is the Program Coordinator for the Public Interest Center. They manage the daily operations of the Center, as well as help organize events and assist with awards. Matthew joined the law school in 2021 as part of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In addition to the Public Interest Center, they also coordinate the Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy and the Center for Externships. They hold a BA from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA from Florida Atlantic University.