Contact Information

Office of Public Interest
American University Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Ave, NW, Suite C115
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-274-4090


Upcoming Events

Fellowships 101: An Introduction to Public Interest Fellowships
February 22, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM

Gideons Promise Fellowship Program Information Session
February 28, 2017, 12:00-1:00pm

Applying for a Skadden Fellowship:
Insider Tips

March 21, 2017, 12:00-1:00PM


Attention WCL Students!
Sign up for DC Alternative
Spring Break!

March 11- March 19

Staying in DC for spring break?
Volunteer with the DC Alternative Spring Break Project and make a difference in the lives of others! Join students from GW, Georgetown, Catholic, and WCL in this exciting initiative to serve the DC community at local nonprofits while developing advocacy skills. The deadline to sign up is February 26, 2017.

Click here for a complete list of participating organizations and a description of available projects.

Sign up here.

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Office of Public Interest

As the first law school founded by women, the goals of advancing the causes of underprivileged and underrepresented people were at the core of American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) from its start in 1896. The Office of Public Interest (OPI) advances this commitment by fostering a sense of community and support among public interest minded students, alumni, faculty, and staff. OPI works at multiple levels to:

  • Advise students about how to best use their time in law school to prepare for a public interest career.
  • Encourage activism and social justice among the student body, particularly through projects and endeavors that help to fill the justice gap for the most vulnerable members of society.
  • Educate graduating students and alumni about loan repayment and forgiveness tools specific to the public interest field, as well as those open to all borrowers of federal financial aid.
  • Highlighting the importance of public service, either through full-time employment or though pro bono contribution.
  • Facilitating connections between current students and public interest alumni.

AUWCL's public interest programs are among the strongest in the nation. This vibrant activist community offers unique opportunities for law students to gain legal experience through a broad range of pro bono and public service programs such as:

Students and Alumni

Students arrive at AUWCL with a variety of backgrounds and interests including: environmental activism, women's rights, civil rights, international human rights, labor and employment, criminal justice, juvenile justice, land use, and war crimes tribunals. Upon graduating from AUWCL they continue to work on social justice issues as nonprofit staff attorneys, policy advocates, government attorneys and litigators in public interest law firms.

AUWCL graduates have been very successful at securing prestigious fellowships. Since 1998, graduates have received more than 30 postgraduate public interest legal fellowships with programs such as: Skadden, Equal Justice Works, Echoing Green, Soros, Women's Law and Public Policy, and New Voices. The Assistant Director of the Office of Public Interest & The Assistant Director, Public Service Careers, in the Office of Career and Professional Development provides career seeking resources and counseling for students planning public interest or government careers.

If you are a current student or alumni that would like to stay connected to the Office of Public Interest and the public interest community at AUWCL "Like" our Facebook page and join the AUWCL Public Interest Students and Alumni Group on LinkedIn. In addition, please consider subscribing to the OPI Informer. Each week, the American University Washington College of Law Office of Public Interest sends a digest that includes information for students and alumni about public interest events, internship postings, pro bono opportunities, job listings, tips and a student/alumni spotlight. Only one email is sent each week.

Research and Networking Opportunities

At AUWCL students have the opportunity to network with practitioners while participating in many public interest activities and programs. Students conduct research as faculty Dean's Fellows, and volunteer with the War Crimes Research Office, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Innocence Project, and the Health Law Project, among other programs. In addition, there are many domestic and international for-credit opportunities through the Clinical Program, externships and the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. Every year AUWCL is one of the host schools for the Greater Washington, D.C./Baltimore Public Service Career Fair. The fair offers law students an opportunity to learn about public interest organizations and government agencies and to interview for summer and post-graduate positions. Each spring the Externship Program coordinates an Externship Fair with typically more than 130 employers and 400 students participating. The Externship Program places hundreds of upper-level students each year in externships with government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, courts and law firms engaged in pro bono work.