Public Sector & Public Interest
The Career Center works closely with the Field Placement Office, Pro Bono Program, and the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics to support students pursuing public sector and public interest careers. The Career Center connects students with employers through the annual Public Sector Recruiting Program (PSRP), the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair, information sessions with employers, and various networking events. GW Law is also a member of PSJD and Equal Justice Works, national organizations that provide resources and connect law students with public interest opportunities worldwide.
Public Interest Career Advising Timeline
- 1L Public Interest Career Planning Overview
- Participate in the Public Interest Pre-Orientation.
- Join student organizations focused on issues/practice areas that interest you, including the Equal Justice Foundation, which raises money to support students working in public interest positions
- Subscribe to the Public Interest Newsletter by emailing [email protected].
- Attend the Pro Bono Fair in mid-October
- Register for and attend table talk session at the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair to meet public interest employers and learn more about public interest internships and careers
- Begin using the Career Center webpage and PSJD to explore public interest career paths, practice areas, and practice settings
- After October 15th, make an appointment to review your resume, a draft cover letter, and discuss your summer and long-term career plans.
- Research summer public interest opportunities using PSJD, the Government Honors & Internship Handbook ("Arizona Guide"), CORE, and organization websites
- Prepare for the on-campus Public Sector Recruiting Program (PSRP) in January. Review emails about the program, and research and apply to participating employers. Participate in a PSRP webinar to get tips on preparing your applications
- Volunteer on a local pro bono project or participate in the Gulf Network Recovery trip.
- Attend the PSRP orientation session in early January
- Learn more about public interest careers at on-campus events. Attend the pre-PSRP networking reception hosted by the SBA and the ABA Public Lawyering panel
- Participate in PSRP! Attend interviews, table talk, and apply to resume collections.
- Continue building professional relationships and keep up your summer job search
- Learn about summer funding opportunities at the Career Center’s information session on “How to Get Summer Funding for Your Public Interest or Government Job”.
Funding sources include GW Law-sponsored summer subsidies, Equal Justice Foundation summer grants, GWU KACIF grants, and external grants. Most sources require that you have a position lined up before funding can be awarded. Deadlines for applications typically fall in late February through late March.
Volunteer with the EJF Trivia Night, Race for Equal Justice, and auction activities.
- Keep up your summer job search. Most students confirm their summer positions in March or April
- Participate in a pro bono project during Alternative Spring Break
- Attend the clinic open house to learn about clinical opportunities; apply for clinics
- When registering for classes, consider Field Placement (internships/externships for credit) in line with your interests. Consult with the Dean of Students office for academic advising
- Submit your application for GW Law summer subsidies
- Volunteer for and attend the EJF auction. Submit your application for EJF summer funding.
- Make the most of your summer internship experience. Look out for opportunities to take on new assignments, gain new skills and subject matter knowledge, and develop professional relationships in the public interest field
- Apply to fall externship opportunities
- Consider pro bono opportunities as a way to gain skills and exposure to practice areas outside of your summer internship
- Summer Recruitment Program is not just for the private sector! Watch for Career Center communication about Summer Recruitment Program and regional recruitment programs. Many public sector employers, including federal agencies and prosecutor and public defender offices, participate in these programs and seek early applications from rising 2Ls.
- 2L Public Interest Career Planning Overview
- Meet with a counselor to develop a long-term strategy for your public interest career and begin your 2L summer job search. Consider how your choice of 2L summer position will impact your future plans for Honors programs, fellowships, and other post-grad opportunities
- Watch for early deadlines! Apply to DOJ SLIP (deadline is Tuesday after Labor Day). Register for and apply to employers participating in the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference
- Research and apply for spring externships and clinics that will help you develop new skills and/or deepen your experience in a specific area
- Continue building your resume by participating in pro bono opportunities and through involvement with public interest student organizations.
- Apply to and attend PSRP.
- Continue your 2L summer job search, and begin applying for fall externships.
- Attend summer funding information session and apply for summer funding.
- Research and apply for fall externships and clinics that will help you develop new skills and/or deepen your experience in a specific area.
- Attend Post-Graduate Fellowship Information Session. Consider how your 2L summer experience could impact your search for a fellowship sponsor, especially if you plan to co-design your fellowship proposal or adopt an existing project idea.
- Review the post-graduate fellowships guide in the “Resource Center” section of PSJD and meet with a counselor to discuss your ideas.
- Participate in an Alternative Spring Break pro bono project.
- Begin developing proposals and sponsorship relationships for project-based fellowships like Equal Justice Works and Skadden.
- Research and begin applying for organization-based fellowships, whose deadlines start now and run through spring of 3L year.
- Research deadlines for federal agency and state AG Honors Programs.
- Apply for 3L Shapiro Fellowship for academic-year internships by late July deadline.
- Prepare for and participate in Summer Recruitment and regional recruitment programs. Some federal agencies, prosecutor, and public defender offices begin their recruitment for post-graduate opportunities through Summer Recruitment Programs.
- Begin post-grad financial planning. Research loan repayment and student debt relief options.
- 3L Public Interest Career Planning Overview
- Apply to federal agency and state AG Honors programs. DOJ Honors deadline is Tuesday after Labor Day. Other Honors Program deadlines occur throughout September and October.
- Apply to state court clerkships throughout the fall.
- Register for and apply to employers participating in the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference.
- Complete applications for Equal Justice Works, Skadden, and Gideon’s Promise Fellowships, due in September/October.
- Attend Presidential Management Fellowship Info Session and apply for PMF program (typically late October/early November).
- Apply to and attend PSRP.
- Continue applying for organization-based and clinical fellowships and state court clerkships.
- Finalize your bar exam jurisdiction and study plans.
- Meet with Financial Aid Office about GW’s Loan Reimbursement Assistance Program, which assists law graduates working in public sector jobs with repayment of law school loans. Research other loan repayment options and assistance.
- Complete and turn in Pro Bono hours to Dean David Johnson before late April deadline to receive recognition at graduation.
View resources related to specific practice areas and settings to dive deeper into your areas of interest
Learn how to tailor your resume and cover letters to make the best impression with public interest organizations, as well as tips for federal government resumes.
Get tips on preparing for interviews, including public sector, public interest, and prosecutor/public defender interviews.
Students working in public sector or public interest internships are eligible to apply for a variety of scholarships and summer funding opportunities, including the Law School Summer Grant Program, EJF, KACIF, and more.
There are a number of resources designed to make public interest careers financially feasible. Explore options for funding your post-graduate public interest career.
The GW Law Career Center and the Georgetown University Law Center collaborate to host our annual Public Sector Recruiting Program (PSRP). This program allows public interest organizations, government agencies, and legal services offices to meet and interview students from both law schools. The program will be held in January 20, 2023. PSRP is exclusively for GW and Georgetown students and is the premier event for public sector job opportunities for Summer 2023.
View our PSRP page for more information.
Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair
The Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair is the largest national public interest legal career fair, bringing together more than 200 public interest employers to conduct interviews for full-time positions and internships. More than 1,400 law students from over 150 law schools attend the conference to participate in workshops and informal “table talk” discussions, receive resume advice, and network with fellow law students and legal professionals. The conference and career fair will be held on online October 12-14, 2023, via Flo Recruit.