Office of Public Interest Programs

Supporting future public interest advocates and nurturing a public service ethic

UCLA School of Law, one of the nation’s premier public law schools, has a proud tradition of public service. Through our rich and innovative academic and pro bono programs, our vibrant public interest community of faculty, administrators, students and alumni, our intellectual and programmatic ties to one of the foremost universities in the country, and our location in one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world, we are committed to preparing the public interest lawyers and advocates of the future and nurturing in all of our students a public service ethic.

The Office of Public Interest Programs strives to enhance the UCLA Law’s commitment to public service by offering an array of services to School of Law students and alumni. The Office’s principal goal is to encourage students and alumni to embrace a career that incorporates an ongoing commitment to public service.

The Office:

  • Provides a variety of career and job search-related services to students and alumni interested in exploring and pursuing pro bono opportunities, public interest internships and/or postgraduate public interest employment.
  • Hosts and sponsors public interest career-related events and educational programs, including the Annual Southern California Public Interest/Public Sector Career Day.
  • Encourages and facilitates students' pro bono efforts.
  • Administers the Summer Public Service Fellowship Program.
  • Serves as the UCLA School of Law’s principal information center for public interest and community service activities.

Professional Staff

  • Brad Sears
    Brad Sears
    Associate Dean of Public Interest Law
    David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy, The Williams Institute
    Brad Sears was appointed the Associate Dean of Public Interest Law at UCLA School of Law in the summer of 2017. Directly prior to this appointment, Brad served as the Founding Director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy for the past sixteen years and as the Assistant, and then Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Centers at UCLA School of Law for the past six years. In his new role, Brad will provide strategic leadership for UCLA School of Law’s public interest programs to support students pursuing public interest careers; promote a broader public service ethic throughout the law school and its alumni; facilitate students and alumni in advancing justice and being of service to the Los Angeles and broader communities; and continue to enhance UCLA Law’s national reputation as a leader in public interest practice. Brad earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his JD from Harvard Law School.
  • Karin Wang v2
    Karin Wang
    Executive Director, David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
    Karin H. Wang was appointed Executive Director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy in July 2018. Before joining UCLA School of Law, Karin was the Vice President of Programs and Communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. Earlier in her career, she directed Advancing Justice-LA's immigrant rights project; launched the Los Angeles civil rights field office of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; and was a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco. She has served on or chaired the boards of many legal organizations at the state and local level, focused on legal access and diversity issues, and has received a number of awards for her activism and leadership. As Epstein Program Executive Director, Karin oversees the public interest curriculum and programs at UCLA Law, strengthens the law school's relationships with public interest alumni and the broader public interest community, and supports students seeking public interest careers. Karin earned her B.S. in Finance summa cum laude from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her JD from UC Berkeley School of Law.
  • Brenda Suttonwills 2
    Brenda Suttonwills
    Assistant Director of Public Interest Counseling
    Brenda Suttonwills was appointed the Assistant Director of Public Interest Counseling at UCLA School of Law in February 2018. Prior to joining UCLA School of Law, Brenda served as Staff Counsel with the California Teachers Association; practiced Labor and Employment Law, at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers and worked as a Civil Rights Fellow at Litt & Márquez. Brenda is the past Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Section Ethics & Professional Responsibility Committee. As the Assistant Director of Public Interest Counseling, Brenda advises and supports students and alumni pursuing public interest opportunities through individual counseling appointments, development of various resources, informational presentations, and the strengthening and building of UCLA School of Law’s relationship with the public interest community in Los Angeles and beyond. Brenda received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications, and Minor in Business Management from Drake University; and JD from UCLA School of Law, where she received the Nancy Mintie award for public service.
  • Brenda Kim
    Brenda Kim
    Manager of Operations and Events
    Brenda has been with the Office of Public Interest Programs since September 2013. Brenda manages the administrative aspects of the Office of Public Interest Programs and David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, including for the Annual Southern California Public Interest/Public Sector Career Day, UCLA School of Law's Summer Public Service Fellowship Program, and the Epstein Program's formal mentorship programs. Brenda received her B.A. in English and Art History from UCLA.
  • Jamie Libonate
    Jamie Libonate
    Administrative Coordinator
    Jamie joined the Office of Public Interest Programs and David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy in August 2018 and has been with the UCLA School of Law since August 2016. In her current role, Jamie supports our mission of nurturing a public service ethic in our community through event planning, general student support, and handling administrative matters. Jamie received her B.A in Criminal Justice with minors in Spanish and Forensic Studies from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA.