Public Interest Careers

The Law School’s commitment to training and supporting students pursuing public interest opportunities has encouraged a large number of graduates each year to pursue careers in the public interest. To support students and alumni in pursuing careers in public interest, the Law School provides:

  • Financial support, including the Robina Public Interest Scholars Program, summer funding and work study awards, conference and job fair funding, post-graduate fellowships, and the MN LRAP;
  • Resource support, including a dedicated Assistant Director of Public Interest and a Public Interest & Judicial Clerkship Advisor who assist students and alumni in public service career paths and judicial clerkships, direct programming, recruit employers, and manage summer and post-graduate funding programs;
  • Skill building support, including the clinical program, Saeks Public Interest Residency Program, experiential opportunities, and pro bono opportunities.  

Public Interest Facts & Stats

Summer Opportunities
In summer 2019, 50% of current 2Ls and 36% of current 3Ls worked at government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

Public Interest Fellowships
From 2016-19, nine graduates were awarded prestigious post-graduate fellowships with Equal Justice Works.

Entry Level Careers in Public Service 
More than 42% of our employed graduates from the class of 2018 started directly in public interest careers and judicial clerkships, serving in nonprofit, government, and international organizations. Graduates started public interest jobs across the country, including in Washington D.C., New York, California, Illinois, and Minnesota, among other states. Read more about post-clerkship employment.

More information on annual NALP and ABA reporting for government and nonprofit positions is available in the Career Facts & Statistics reports under Where Grads Go.

School-Funded Fellowships

Robina Post-Graduate Fellowships

Robina Post-Graduate Fellowships are supported by the Robina Foundation in recognition of the need for greater funding for recent graduates who want to pursue public interest work. This highly competitive fellowship program provides funding for fellows to work full-time, for one year, in a legal or policy role at a nonprofit or government agency.

Organizations where Robina fellows have worked include:

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas
  • American Red Cross, International Humanitarian Law Unit
  • Earthjustice
  • Gender Justice
  • International Corporate Accountability Roundtable
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Mid Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Sierra Club
  • UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency
  • United Nations, UN Women, Peace and Security Division
  • DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • Guernica Centre for International Justice
  • Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law

Bridge Fellowships

Bridge Fellowships, sponsored by the Robina Foundation, support recent graduates in paths to public service. Bridge Fellowships provide short-term funding for graduates to work at government agencies and nonprofit organizations—locally, nationally, and internationally—while they search for permanent employment. All fellows work closely with their career counselors to secure quality placements and to best utilize their fellowships to secure permanent work. More than 75% of our Bridge fellows have continued in careers in public service.

Organizations where Bridge fellows have worked include:

  • NYC Metro Transit Authority
  • National Health Law Program
  • Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Human Rights First
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Housing Justice Center
  • Minnesota Dept. of Labor and Industry
  • Mid Minnesota Legal Aid
  • NFL Players Association
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office
  • Advocates for Human Rights
  • DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
  • Public defender offices, both locally and nationally
  • US Courts, including federal district, state appellate, and trial courts