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 Director of Public Interest Programs and Public Sector Coordinator 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, Minnesota Law Public Interest Residency Program, experiential opportunities, and pro bono opportunities.  

Public Interest Facts & Stats

Summer Opportunities
In summer 2016, 42% of current 2Ls and 31% of current 3Ls worked in public interest.

Public Interest Fellowships
From 2015-17, seven graduates were awarded prestigious post-graduate fellowships with Equal Justice Works.

Entry Level Careers in Public Service 
More than 22% of our employed graduates from the class of 2015 started directly in public interest careers, 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. An additional 21% of graduates entered a judicial clerkship, a great launching pad for a long-term public interest career.   

*More information on annual NALP and ABA reporting for government and nonprofit positions available here. 

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 Red Cross, International Humanitarian Law Unit, Washington, D.C.
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minneapolis, MN
  • United Nations, UN Women, Peace and Security Division, New York, NY
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Earthjustice, New York, NY
  • Mid Minnesota Legal Aid, Minneapolis, MN
  • Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, Minneapolis, MN
  • Bridge Fellowships

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

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-1000

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