The “Anti-Social” Life: Public Service at Northwestern Law

Let’s face it: law school students have a reputation for burying their heads in their books. So we offer this weekly series, “The ‘Anti-Social’ Life,” to illustrate that law school students can enjoy a life of leisure as well.

In 2002, the Northwestern University School of Law developed a Public Service Strategy to encourage and allow public service and giving among all law students, even those not choosing public interest law as a career. This strategy broadens the definition of public service to both legal and non-legal work in community organizations, legal service offices, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

As part of the strategy, every law student must perform a minimum of 50 nonpaid and noncredited hours of public service to graduate. To assist in completing these service hours, Northwestern Law offers curricular options such as a concentration in Law and Social Policy, work in the Bluhm Legal Clinic and externships in government and nonprofit settings. Options outside the classroom include a day of service during Orientation Week, alternative Spring Break service trips, the Public Interest Law Group student organization, the Student Funded Public Interest Fellowships Program and the Student Effort to Rejuvenate Volunteering. The law school also updates a volunteer opportunities database and has key partnerships with local nonprofit agencies and a Chicago Public School.

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