HLS strongly promotes public service as an integral dimension of lawyers’ training, requiring the completion of at least 40 hours of pro bono work before graduation. HLS students gain practical experience while serving the public through an extensive clinical program, term-time externships, and several student-practice organizations. Summer Public Interest Funding is guaranteed for all students who work in public service during either or both summers between matriculation and graduation. Each summer more than 450 students take advantage of the guaranteed funding to work for an extraordinary array of organizations here and abroad.
The Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising, the first of its kind at a law school, provides comprehensive services to students pursuing public service careers. Students are assisted in this career choice through our Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP).
The institutional support which Harvard Law School offers through OPIA for students seeking public interest work has made a dramatic difference in realizing the idealism and dedication of incoming students. A significant number of HLS grads take on full-time public service-related work after graduation or a clerkship. As our alumni progress through their careers, an even greater number make a substantial commitment to public service.