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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Public Interest Law Program

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The term "public interest" describes the practice of law carried out under the auspices of a nonprofit organization for which the attorneys focus on issues that benefit the public, such as civil rights, protections for disabled and underrepresented persons, the prevention of remediation of racial and gender discrimination, reformation of the legal and other professions, representation of labor unions, and promotion of campaign finance reform.

Public Interest Law Degree

Public interest law practice contrasts with the traditional civil and criminal practice where the focus is on achieving the justice for an individual client. Most public interest matters are civil rather than criminal in nature.

Most clients of public interest organizations cannot afford to pay for legal services, and thus, other methods must be used to fund these organizations, including membership dues, charitable contributions, foundation grants, and, under certain statues, attorneys' fee awards paid by the defendant.

Pepperdine Professors with Public Interest Law Expertise

Jeff Baker, Amy Levin, Brittany Stringfellow Otey

Relevant Course Offerings

  • Civil Rights
  • Sex Based Discrimination
  • Race and the Law
  • Special Education Law

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Clinical Education at Pepperdine Caruso Law

In-house clinics include Legal Aid, Community Justice, Special Education Advocacy, and a Mediation Clinic at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Our externship and practicum opportunities offer additional hands-on learning opportunities, including a semester in Washington, D.C.