The Program seeks to admit students based on their demonstrated commitment to and competence in public interest work, as well as their academic achievement, and is highly selective in its admissions process. Each year, the Program enrolls 25 first-year students (typically from more than 450 applicants). The Program also allows a select number of students to transfer into the Program after the completion of their first year of law school, enrolling between five and ten rising second-year students annually.
Both when considering applicants for admission as first-year students and when considering transfer applicants, as well as when considering LLM applicants, the Program seeks to admit those students most likely to achieve academic success who also satisfy one or more of three admission criteria related to the public interest orientation of the Program, as described below:
- Commitment to public interest, which is evaluated in two ways:
- Activities in high school, college, graduate school (including the first year of law school) or career. (For this purpose, "public interest" is broadly defined to encompass any and all interests underrepresented by the private market, including the interests of the poor, ethnic minorities, unpopular social causes across the political spectrum, and broad-ranging interests such as the environment, peace, and the welfare of future generations.)
- Evidence that the applicant demonstrated, in the conduct of these activities, the personal qualities of tenacity, idealism, and initiative that are particularly important for public interest lawyers who may forgo material incentives in their careers.
- Special abilities enabling the applicant to serve or represent groups or interests lacking adequate access to law and lawyers. While this criterion overlaps somewhat with the first one, this criterion would be evidenced by such things as language skills, cultural familiarity, insight into such groups, or other special skills.
- Intellectual strengths and acquired expertise relevant to problem solving and policy analysis. This includes expertise in quantitative methods, social science, policy analysis, ethnographic and historical research, or similar skills, acquired through formal education or work experience.
If Applying for Admission as a First-Year Student
If you are interested in applying to the Program as a first-year student, you must follow the J.D. application procedures and complete and submit the specific Program application. The Program application is included in the last section of the general J.D. application.
If Applying for Admission as a Transfer Student
If you are interested in applying to the Program as a transfer student, you must follow the J.D. transfer application procedures and complete and submit the specific Program application. The Program application is included in the last section of the general J.D. application.
If Applying as an LLM Applicant
The School of Law’s LL.M. Program itself allows students to pursue a specialized LLM degree, including one in public interest. If you are interested in applying to the Program as an LL.M., you must follow the LL.M. application procedures and complete and submit the specific Program application. LLM Program information, including application procedures.