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Public Interest & Pro Bono

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Whether you aspire to become a public interest lawyer, incorporate pro bono work into your practice, or serve your community in other ways, you will find the resources at Duke to reach your goals. The value of service is core to the profession and central to the Duke Law experience.

Duke Law is committed to providing students with experiential learning opportunities that not only contribute to their professional development, but also stress the value of service. Students provide law-related services in a broad array of areas including criminal law, environmental law, and civil rights, and work with Legal Aid, nonprofit advocacy groups, government, and private attorneys in their pro bono work. Whether students opt to take on significant commitments with student pro bono groups such as the Guardian ad Litem program or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, the Public Interest and Pro Bono program gives them a chance to engage intellectually and reflect on the value of service.

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students sitting at table Pro Bono Program

The Pro Bono Program takes learning beyond the classroom, connecting students with attorneys working in non-profit and governmental organizations.

Brittany Mixon Clinics and Externships

The Duke Legal Clinics and externships program enable students to build an experiential bridge between law school and practice and to gain legal experience beyond that available in the classroom setting.

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female student speaking in conversation Public Interest Funding

Duke Law School proudly offers guaranteed funding for summer internships with public interest or government entities.

two students speaking in hallway Certificate Program

The Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service Law is a JD certificate program for students committed to a legal career in public service.

Public interest is broadly defined at Duke Law School. Lawyers are looked to as leaders in their communities and most are called upon frequently to serve their communities; indeed, they are exhorted to do so by the codes of professional responsibility of state bars. Lawyers have many opportunities to serve: you may choose a career in the public sector, or do pro bono work at your law firm. You may serve the community as an elected official, an advisor on a nonprofit board, as a member of a public commission or school board. However you choose to serve, we are here to support and encourage you and to help you create the educational opportunities that will lead to a life of service in the law and beyond.

Testimonial

Altruism combined with realism; knowledge of fundamental principles and capacity to apply them; courage to insist on the right and patience to achieve it; understanding of the timidity of the weak; fearlessness of the domination of the powerful; sympathy for the mistakes of the indiscreet; caution of the craftiness of the unprincipled; enthusiasm for that which is fine and inspiring; reverence for that which is sacred; these are some of the attributes of great lawyers.

Author
Justin Miller, creator of the clinical legal education model and dean of Duke Law School, 1930-34
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