LL.M. Specialization in Public Interest Law

“As funding shrinks and the problems facing society get ever more vexing, the need for creative public interest lawyering becomes even greater. UCLA School of Law’s Program in Public Interest Law and Policy aims to provide its students with serious, sustained training and education from some of the country’s leading scholars and practitioners in order to meet that need.”

- Professor Ann Carlson


With the ascendance of privatization, increasing global economic pressures, the rapid development of new technologies, and the growth of nongovernmental organizations, the context within which lawyers advocate for the disadvantaged and underrepresented has changed dramatically in recent years. In Spring 1996, in response to these developments and the corresponding need for better trained public interest lawyers, UCLA School of Law established the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. In 2000, the Program graduated its inaugural class of students. And, in recent years, The Epstein Program has come to stand among the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs.

Recognizing the considerable debate about the proper role of the law in creating and sustaining a just society, the Epstein Program strives to provide its students with an innovative and intellectually ambitious curriculum that prepares them to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally underserved clients and interests. The Epstein Program’s faculty are leaders in their respective fields and have distinguished themselves by the quality of their scholarship and teaching. They represent a broad cross-section of interests in social justice issues and have brought a depth of knowledge from a wide range of experiences and scholarly research perspectives. The Epstein Program’s students arrive with diverse histories and distinctive goals. Representing a broad range of political and ideological perspectives, they contribute significantly to the School’s intellectually rich learning environment.

UCLA School of Law has a proud tradition of public service. We are a public law school in a great university situated in a metropolis of diverse communities facing a vast range of challenges. The future of our nation is taking place just blocks away from our campus. We expect our Program students to be active shapers of this future.

Required Courses for the LL.M. Specialization in Public Interest Law

  • 541. Seminar: Problem Solving in the Public Interest
  • Two courses from the following categories (each course must come from a separate category):
    • Public Interest Lawyers and Institutions
    • Advocacy Sites
    • Applied Advocacy
  • One course from either of the following categories:
    • Civil Rights and Discrimination
    • Economic Inequality
  • One course designated as a Substantive Law Specialization (to be determined by student in consultation with program faculty/staff)

Note: This specialization requires a separate admission. Admitted students will receive application instructions. To earn the specialization in Public Interest Law, LL.M. students must obtain a B- (2.7) grade average in courses taken for the specialization. Prospective students should bear in mind that, due to curriculum scheduling and faculty availability, not every class listed is taught each year. This is most often true in the case of seminar courses. A sufficient number of courses will be available to enable those students who choose to specialize to satisfy the specialization requirements.

Public Interest Lawyers and Institutions

Advocacy Sites

Applied Advocacy

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Economic Inequality