Public Interest Law

image of justice building

Among the goals of Marquette’s legal education is that each graduate be able to embrace a professional life that advances the Jesuit mission of service to the poor, marginalized, and underrepresented in society. Support for this goal and commitment to service of the public interest is evident in the law school’s curriculum, supervised field placements, and pro bono opportunities.

Public Interest Law courses provide education for public interest and public sector careers, as well as an overview of the various ways lawyers can advance the interests of the poor, disabled, consumers, elderly, and others who lack equal access to the legal system. These issues profoundly affect the lives of individuals and the growth of social institutions. Marquette’s curriculum is designed to give students a clear sense of how the application of legal theories affects the lives of real people and real organizations.

Beyond the classroom, practical legal experiences are available to all students. To put education into practice, Marquette law students are encouraged to choose from an assortment of pro bono opportunities and supervised field placements. These experiences allow students to advocate for those too-often underrepresented in the justice system. In most placements, students get time with clients and an opportunity to research and explore public interest causes with organizations such as Legal Action of Wisconsin, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Catholic Charities Immigration Project, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

A student wishing to be counsel to a nonprofit agency might take Nonprofit Law and Organizations, seek a supervised field placement at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and do pro bono work for the Marquette Nonprofit Clinic. A student interested in civil rights law would consider taking Law of Privacy, enrolling in the Restorative Justice Clinic, and choosing a pro bono placement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin.

The classroom and practical legal experiences are made possible by the strength of the Marquette Law School faculty’s knowledge and experience with public interest law issues.


As is evident in the extensive list of courses, seminars, workshops, and experiential opportunities available, nearly every one of the full-time and adjunct faculty members incorporate the spirit of public interest in their teachings. Take a moment and meet the faculty in our online directory.

Curriculum and Courses

Course descriptions can be found in the online Law School Bulletin.
Please note that not every course is taught each year.

Student Organizations and Activities

Public Interest Law Society
The Public Interest Law Society (PILS) raises funds throughout the academic year to support summer fellowships for Marquette Law Students. Interested students may apply in spring for a fellowship to do public interest legal work in the summer following their first or second year of law school. Students perform 350 hours during the summer fellowship at nonprofit and governmental public interest law organizations nationwide.

Registered Student Organizations contribute to the vibrant student community at Marquette University Law School. Scroll through our list of organizations to find the one that suits you best and if you are a current student, you can click on the links to get contact information.