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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Public Interest Law Program

an asian male student sits on the terrace speaking with a male professor

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.


Social Justice and Public Interest Track

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law is committed to training students for justice work. The Law School has many opportunities to take courses, to work with professors, professionals, alumni and leaders dedicated to social justice and public interest, and to train students for work in the field. The Social Justice and Public Interest Track provides the following academic and experiential learning resources to prepare students for such work.

Social Justice and Public Interest Track Steps

To get started, students should watch the career panel videos on the Law School's "Academic Advising" TWEN site. Such videos include global justice, immigration law, criminal law, legal aid, and nonprofit and public interest law.

Pepperdine Professors with Public Interest Law Expertise

  • Jeff Baker
  • Stephanie Blondell
  • Tanya Asim Cooper
  • Isai Cortez
  • Curt Cutting
  • David DeJute
  • Sophia Hamilton
  • Nancy Hunt
  • Mark Kressel
  • Sarah Nissel
  • Brittany Stringfellow Otey
  • Gregory Ogden

. Take Relevant Courses

Students interested in social justice work should consider taking any of the following elective courses.

  • Anti Human Trafficking Law Practicum I
  • Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
  • Asylum and Refugee Law
  • California Family Law Practice
  • Civil Rights
  • Community Justice Clinic
  • Comparative Anti-Discrimination Law Seminar
  • Cross Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution
  • Dispute Resolution and Religion
  • Domestic Violence Seminar
  • Education Law
  • Election Law
  • Employment Law Practicum
  • Employment Discrimination Law (new fall 2020)
  • Externships (see below for more information)
  • Faith and Family Law Mediation Clinic
  • Faith Based Diplomacy and International Peacemaking
  • Faith and Family Mediation
  • Fair Employment and Housing Mediation Clinic
  • Family Law
  • First Amendment: Freedom of Speech, Religion, & Related Rights
  • Health Care Organizations, Financing, and Ethics
  • Health Law Practicum
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration Law
  • Immigration Law Practicum
  • International Criminal Law
  • Juvenile Rights
  • Law and Religion Seminar
  • Law Enforcement and Civil Rights Claims (new spring 2020)
  • Legal Aid Clinic
  • Low Income Taxpayers' Clinic
  • Mediation Theory and Practice
  • Negotiation Theory and Practice
  • Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic
  • Police Practices
  • Public International Law
  • Public International Practicum
  • Racial Justice and the Law
  • Restoration and Justice Clinic
  • Veterans' Law Practicum
  • War Crimes

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Pepperdine Caruso Law offers a robust Clinical Education Program with opportunities to earn academic credit for legal work in Clinics, Externships, and Practicums. In Clinics, students practice law under faculty supervision in rigorous, diverse practice areas. Each clinic has its own focus and style of lawyering, so students can experience many different kinds of practice before they graduate. Students may also earn academic credit at field placements in public interest organizations through Externships and Practicums. The programs advance the school's mission to provide access to justice for people and communities who cannot afford lawyers, for the sake of social justice and the rule of law.