The Program seeks to enroll twenty-five first-year students and reserves five slots for students who seek to transfer into the Program after their first year of law school, whether at UCLA or another law school. In any given year, therefore, nearly one hundred students are enrolled in the Program.
Program students arrive with diverse histories and distinctive goals. Some come directly from college with a special interest in, for example, welfare, housing, domestic violence, or the environment, and have been active in volunteer work involving these issues. Some have spent significant time before or after college working as community organizers, representing consumer groups, or serving as legislative assistants in state legislature and in Congress. Others have worked in business, and have become concerned about the social and economic problems of the community in which they live. And still others may have done graduate work in biology, finance or anthropology, and then worked for a policy group or in a conservative or liberal think tank. Program students vary in age, experience, political viewpoint, and educational and social background.
In light of the Program’s broad definition of “public interest,” it has always been understood that students admitted to the Program would likely evidence significant diversity in their respective career goals, as well as in their interests. Thus, as envisioned by the faculty who founded the Program, some students would go on to careers in more traditional kinds of public interest work – handling civil rights litigation, providing legal services for the poor, engaging in transactional work with nonprofit organizations to develop housing or employment resources. Other graduates of the Program would possibly work exclusively in the realm of politics and policy-making, both inside and outside government. Still others would start up community-based law practices serving the particular needs of particular communities, spending perhaps more time educating and organizing rather than litigating.