15+ Best Law Schools For Public Interest : Requirements, Scholarships

The government manages over 15 central universities or colleges, several public institutions, and numerous autonomous universities. While there are multiple options for your law degree, there are perks to choosing law schools for the public interest. The fight for admission to one of these public interest schools may be brutal. However, the rewards for your efforts will be well worth it.

Depending on your area of interest in law, you can find a list of the best law schools for public interest in this list. You will also find their cost, requirements, and application guidelines. Keep reading.

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Are The Best Law Schools For Public Interest Worth it?

If you want to attend the best law schools for the public interest, you should know they are-

  • There is a minimum charge. Higher education at private colleges is usually costly. Whether your family can afford to pay for you or not, you can get in.
  • There are excellent facilities. The best law schools for the public interest have excellent facilities. The libraries are open for extended hours, allowing students to spend their free time reading various books. You will not need to purchase books because the library includes all required texts and reference materials.
  • The science and computing laboratories are impressive as well. Labs have high-quality instruments and materials that will allow students to experiment and conduct research with precision. Furthermore, the labs and reading rooms are open outside of class hours.
  • College students get free health care services like therapy, medication, and insurance. Fitness training at fitness centers, yoga, and other facilities is, of course, free.
  • There are flexible university rules. Everything you do is at your own risk! The regulations are so liberal that you can attend a friend’s birthday celebration, have fun at night, and return when you want.
  • The best law schools for public interest allow you to form your ideologies. Colleges have numerous groups catering to students’ hobbies, such as poetry, movies, athletics, etc. You can participate in any of them and enhance your talents while having fun with other kids.

These law schools might not be the best, but they are worth it.

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What Is The Cost Of The Best Law Schools For Public Interest?

According to U.S. News, the average tuition and fees for the best schools for public interest in the 2025 school year were $48,869 per year. The cost of law school varies according to where you study. Tuition and costs of books, food, lodging, and supplies differ between colleges. The break-down of the cost is $21,268 for tuition and fees- (residents) and $34,000(non-residents)

These figures might be intimidating, especially when transitioning from undergrad to law school. However, according to the BLS, the typical compensation for a lawyer in 2025 is $126,930. This is with the top 10% earning more than $208,000 annually.

There are also other ways to pay for law school. Payments are easy on your mind and wallet with specialized loans, grants, scholarships, and cheap programs. Understanding the cost of the best schools for the public interest is the first step in a lengthy career. Use the correct tools and available research to make wise decisions and prepare yourself for the future you deserve.

What Are The Requirements For The Best Law Schools For Public Interest?

By policies, every law school for public interest has its requirements. Applicants for first-year admission must provide some things. This would be necessary to complete an application file for assessment by the Admissions Committee. The necessary documents are-

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  • A completed application for the current year (submitted electronically through LSAC.org)
  • A non-refundable $60 (U.S.) application cost. Each applicant must pay a $60 (U.S.) application fee electronically (only) through LSAC. This cost is non-refundable and you cannot use it for any other Law School or University fees.
  • A personal statement. Your statement should answer the questions
    • Your reasons for wanting to be a lawyer
    • Your reasons for wanting to attend the school
    • Your strengths
    • Any economic, social, or other obstacles you have overcome in your education or life
    • If you worked while in college or graduate school, you should discuss the impact of that work on your academic experience.
  • Your CV
  • An active and complete CAS subscription includes a recent LSAT score and an LSAT Writing Sample.
  • Two recommendation letters. A full application for admission requires two letters of recommendation. You should request letters from two people who can provide special insight into your experience, aptitude, or skill. It should be particular about the factors on which we base admissions.
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How To Apply To The Best Law Schools For Public Interest?

The application process at the best law schools for the public interest differs depending on your chosen school. After you have applied, the law school’s admissions committee reviews and compares application files before voting on a decision. Interviews are usually not part of the admission process in the best law schools for the public interest. However, the Admissions Committee may request additional information from an applicant to aid in its consideration.

Each applicant must pay an application fee of $60 (USD) paid electronically (only) through LSAC. Fee waivers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. In applying for the best law schools for a public interest, you should follow the instructions. Also, make sure you give the correct answers to all questions and upload the right documents.

If your application is successful, the school usually gets back to you less than 2 months after the application.

16 Best Law Schools for Public Interest

Law schools, for a public interest, focus on representing the underprivileged. After graduation, most of the graduates work in legal services, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. The best law schools for the public interest prepare their students to excel in their chosen sectors. Students at these law schools study through clinics, externship programs, and cooperative arrangements. The 16 best law schools for public interest are-

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  • New York University School of Law
  • Boston University School of Law
  • Northeastern University School of Law
  • Case Western Reserve University Law School
  • City University of New York School of Law
  • Yale University School of Law
  • UCLA Law School
  • Stanford Law School
  • University of Chicago Law School
  • Harvard Law School
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • Stanford Law School
  • University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Columbia Law School
  • Duke University Law School
  • The University of Michigan Law School

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#1. New York University School of Law

New York University Law School boasts of being one of the best law schools for public interest in the country. NYU Law’s Public Interest Law Center provides forty clinics. It also provides summer grants for students working in government and nonprofit organizations. Students enrolled in the summer financing program are also eligible for a housing discount.

It is a great school, with almost half of its first-year cohort participating in public interest internships.  NYU Law plays up to its aim of being a “private university in the public service.” Many students also volunteer through the school’s student-run pro bono organizations. Every year, the Public Interest Law Center at NYU Law conducts the largest Public Interest Legal Career Fair in the U.S.

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#2. Boston University School of Law

As indicated by their graduation employment achievements, this school is one of the best law schools for public interest. After graduation, 17% of the class of 2025 went into government or public service. B.U. Law offers both a full-tuition public interest scholarship and a one-year public interest fellowship.

Students would participate in the pro bono program at their institution. Those who complete a certain amount of pro bono hours get it on record on their transcripts. Through pro bono service tours conducted over spring break, B.U. Law assists students in gaining practical experience. The interest they pick is especially important in public interest law.

Students can also get involved in the Public Interest Project (PIP). It arranges networking events, talks, and panels on public interest opportunities, and community service activities. B.U. also runs Lawyers for Affordable Justice, a residency program that prepares recent law school graduates to represent the underserved.

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#3. Northeastern University School of Law

Northeastern University School of Law was among the first to adopt a public interest requirement. Applicants to this school complete it through one of the school’s 1,500 co-op employers. N.U. Law provides dozens of public interest and advocacy courses and several more in public regulation. It offers courses on delinquency, abuse, and neglect.

Students are also taught human rights in the United States; and Race, Justice, and Reform as recent courses. Northeastern law students acquire real public service experience through the school’s clinics and institutes. There are opportunities at the nationally recognized Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. It investigates civil rights cold cases and the Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration.

All of this help drive the school’s mission through initiatives and interactive student experiences. It is one of the best law schools in the public interest.

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#4. Case Western Reserve University Law School

Case Western Reserve University School of Law runs a public interest law program. It is one of the best law schools for public interest. It sees social justice as vital to its mission. The school provides clinics on criminal justice, immigration, and human trafficking. It also provides various public-interest externships.

The school has summer and semester-long public interest law internships and externships. The Street Law program is a one-of-a-kind public interest opportunity where students teach juvenile detainees about legal topics. They teach discrimination, crime, and domestic law.

CWRU law students can achieve a J.D. and a Master of Nonprofit Organizations through a credit-sharing partnership. The partnership is with the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

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#5. City University of New York School of Law

The CUNY School of Law, New York City’s only publicly funded law school, is a pioneer in public interest law. The school community has activists, organizers, scholars, and advocates dedicated to the abolition of injustice. For that purpose, CUNY Law offers a variety of pro bono public service options. This includes the Courtroom Advocates Project.

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In the project, students advocate for domestic violence victims in family court. The school also runs three public-interest justice centers and several clinical programs. The Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic, Family Law Practice Clinic, and Economic Justice Project are among the notable clinics. It is one of the best law schools in the public interest.

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#6. Yale University School of Law

Yale Law School has a long history of educating students in public interest law. It ranks high as one of the best law schools for public interest. The Ivy League institution has a substantial public interest program. This includes reading groups, student organizations, and legal research centers, as well as centers and specialized public interest career services. All of this is within its Career Development Office.

Approximately 80% of Yale Law School students participate in clinical initiatives that help the underserved. Yale Law has over two dozen clinics, including the Housing Clinic, International Refugee Assistance Project, Veterans Legal Services Clinic, and others.

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The Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale Law offers year-long fellowships to graduates. However, they must be interested in public service after graduation. In addition, the Center funds and supports student activities and public interest organizations.

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#7. UCLA Law School

UCLA Students at UCLA Law School can concentrate on public interest law and policy through the David J. Epstein Program. This is through the Public Interest Law and Policy program.

The program prepares students to advocate for society’s most disadvantaged members. Students in the program’s first year receive an overview of public interest law practice.

The following courses further prepare students to work as public interest advocates. Students can participate in the public interest centers at UCLA Law.

Some are the Native Nations Law & Policy Center and the International Law & Human Rights Center. Students at UCLA Law can also seek combined degrees in social welfare and urban planning.

UCLA law school is one of the best for the public interest.

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#8. Stanford Law School

Stanford law school is among the best law schools for the public interest. Many courses and clinics at Stanford Law School help students who would work in the public interest. Stanford Law School’s John and Terry Levin Center provides students with a thorough education in public interest law.

Stanford has a strong culture of public service. Every September, the school conducts a public interest welcoming reception for incoming students. It also runs a public interest mentoring program in which entering students match with upper-class students. They are also paired with faculty members who share similar public interest aspirations.

The school provides other opportunities for students to connect with others in the profession. The institution also has a robust public interest curriculum and research opportunities. If you are passionate about the public interest, you should check out Stanford Law School.

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#9. University of Chicago Law School

The University of Chicago Law School has become one of the most influential law schools in the country. It is also one of the best law schools for the public interest.

In its relatively brief history, the school has produced several renowned jurists, including several Supreme Court justices.

The University of Chicago Law School excels at job placement, with graduates earning some of the best median salaries in the country. In addition to the Juris Doctor program, the law school provides a variety of other degrees. The J.D. degree deeply revolves around public interest.

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#10. Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School legal education has a history as the country’s oldest continually operating law school. Harvard Law School has influenced legal education techniques and curriculum from its founding in the early nineteenth century. A significant proportion of its graduates go on to work as full-time teachers.

In addition, Harvard Law School has produced more U.S. Supreme Court justices than any other school in the country. Admission is extremely competitive despite the big class size. Harvard Law also has one of the country’s largest and most recognized legal faculty. It is one of the best law schools for public interest.

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#11. University of Virginia School of Law

The University of Virginia School of Law, founded by former President Thomas Jefferson, is in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is one of the best law schools for public interest. UVA School of Law has been one of the country’s top law schools since the early nineteenth century. Along with its standard Juris Doctor curriculum, it provides a prestigious Master of Law program for students.

The law school is well-known for its high quality of life and superb teachers. The University of Virginia Law School also has a remarkably diverse student body. The school has more female students than males and more than one-third identify as people of color.

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#12. Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School has grown to become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious law schools.

Stanford Law School students have the country’s highest undergraduate grade point average. This also makes it one of the most competitive law schools in the country. It is one of the best law schools for the public interest.

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Its graduates also have the nation’s second-highest median wage. Stanford Law School began an effort to diversify its student body in the 1960s.

The school is now frequently regarded as one of the best for minority pupils. Stanford Law School is one of the first law schools in the U.S. to implement a quarterly system in 2009.

Stanford Law School

#13. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School teaches practicing lawyers. Penn Legal grads are in high demand by the nation’s leading law firms. This is also one of the best law schools for public interest. The school has an employment rate of over 99 percent and median pay of close to $200,000 per year.

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School embraces the University’s greater objective of “One University.” Admission to Penn Law is extremely tough. It admits less than 15% of applicants. The student body is also diverse, with more than 40% identifying as people of color.

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#14. Columbia Law School

Columbia University Law School is one of the nation’s best legal schools. It is particularly for graduates who want to work in prominent law firms. Columbia Law School has also been a major center for advancing legal education. It also covers American jurisprudence since its inception. This school is one of the best law schools for public interest.

The law school has produced nine Supreme Court Justices and two Presidents of the United States. The law school is one of many in New York City’s Manhattan borough, having a prime site near Riverside and Morningside Parks. Columbia Law admits slightly more than 15% of all candidates yet performs admirably regarding job placement and median compensation.

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#15. Duke University Law School

Duke University Law School has established itself as one of the country’s leading law schools. Duke Law accepts slightly more than 22% of all applications and admits fewer than 300 students yearly.

Duke University school of law is one of the best law schools for public interest. The law school has had one of the greatest bar passage rates and median starting wage rates in the country.

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#16. The University of Michigan Law School

The University of Michigan Law School is one of the country’s top public law schools. It has an outstanding clinical program and emphasis on international legal studies. It is one of the best law schools for public interest. Michigan Law is also one of the largest law schools in the country, with a population of about 1,000 students.

Despite its small size, admittance to the institution is exceedingly hard, with less than 6% of candidates enrolling. Michigan Law also offers one of the nation’s most prestigious clinical programs. Over 18 clinical programs are available to law students. This provides them with a variety of practical experiences to supplement their classroom education.

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Are There Public Interest Law Firms To Work In After Graduation?

After attending law schools for public interest, you may have to work in public interest law firms as well. Why? Well, that’s what your law school studies were all about. Public interest law firms, like traditional law firms, recruit applicants with solid academic credentials. You must also have strong research and writing skills.

Public interest law firms seek individuals who have demonstrated a dedication to their organization’s work and the interests of its clients. Also, public interest legal firms are often small and understaffed and expecting to start strongly with little training.

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Employment discrimination, civil rights, criminal defense, environmental law, and disability rights are common areas of practice for public interest law firms. These cases are frequently unprofitable.

As such, the company may accept other sorts of claims. It may include medical malpractice or other tort lawsuits, to assist pay the bills. Some public interest legal firms focus on class actions, whilst others represent individual litigants.

What are the Highest-paying Jobs for Graduates from Law Schools for Public Interest?

There are at least 5 jobs related to Public Interest Law that pay more per year than the average Public Interest Law salary. Teen Law Firm Partner, Business Law Attorney, and Construction Law Attorney are a few examples of these roles.

All of these positions pay between $42,307 (67.0%) and $106,213 (168.2%) more than the average Public Interest Law salary of $63,141. If you qualify, recruitment to one of these related Public Interest Law positions may allow you to earn more money.

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Some of the highest-paying jobs are-

  • Business Law Attorney $169,354
  • Construction Law Attorney $110,382
  • Employment Law Attorney $109,042
  • Environmental Law Attorney $105,447
  • Criminal Law Attorney $130,479

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best public interest law school?

New York University School of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and City University of New York School of Law are some of our favorite best law schools for public interest.

Which of the best law schools for public interest has the smoothest?

These 12 law schools in the country are the simplest to get into — and can still help you start your dream legal profession.

Which major has the highest rate of admittance to law school?

Economics majors have the greatest average LSAT score and acceptance rate into law school. 632 applicants majored in pre-law, with an average LSAT score of 148 and a 64% admission rate.

Is it worthwhile to attend the best law schools for the public interest?

Yes. They offer everything any law school would give you and a few extras.

What exactly is a Tier 2 law school?

Tier 2 law schools may refer to those, not on the T14 list. They are the schools listed after the fourteenth on the list.

Conclusion

Develop your knowledge and practical lawyering abilities by taking advantage of these schools. You would truly enjoy the best law schools for public interest after you have graduated. There would also be better job opportunities. This is mainly because you studied what most law students didn’t.

The best law schools for public interest provide a wide range of public interest and public service initiatives. It does this both within and outside the classroom to help you on your journey.

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References

collegeconsensus.com – Best law Schools

law.nccu.edu – Law Schools for Public Interest         

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