Public Interest Job Counseling and Programming

The Associate Director of Public Interest provides individual career counseling to students and alumni, develops career-related programming, and administers public interest funding programs. The Associate Director works closely with the Career Strategy Center to provide information and programming of interest to public interest students. Programs include the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference, hosted annually by Northwestern Law, where more than 50 employers come to interview and meet with law students. 

Summer Funding

The Law School provides guaranteed summer funding, in the amount of $8000, to JD students who work full-time in public interest jobs in the U.S. during their summers. The funding is available for students doing legal work for non-profit or government agencies. The Global Public Interest Fellows program provides $9500 in funding for up to six JD students per year to work abroad during the summer for an approved governmental or nongovernmental organization active on legal issues. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, the school also offers multiple named fellowships for students dedicated to public interest work.   

Dawn Clark Netsch Public Interest Scholarship

Each year the law school awards one scholarship for full tuition plus a living allowance to a student who demonstrates a strong commitment to public interest. The scholarship is in honor of our late graduate and faculty member Dawn Clark Netsch and is funded by a generous gift from her estate. 

Public Interest Post-Graduate Fellowships

The Law School recognizes that although the need for public interest lawyers is strong, many organizations lack the funding to offer entry-level opportunities. The post-graduate fellowships (pdf) launch the public interest careers of dedicated graduates by providing a $50,000 salary and health care benefits to work for one year as a lawyer at a domestic nonprofit or government agency of the graduate’s choice. After a year as a fellow, recipients gain the experience needed to be hired for competitive public interest positions. Up to five graduating students are awarded the fellowship through a competitive process. To date over 30 graduates have received the fellowship and are employed in public interest agencies across the country. 

Loan Repayment Assistance Program

The Law School has a robust LRAP that dovetails with federal income-driven repayment programs and federal public service loan forgiveness. The program provides funding for graduates to use to repay their law school loans for up to ten years. Many Northwestern Law graduates who remain in public service for ten years do not use any of their own funds for federal educational debt repayment.