Office of Public Interest Programs


Supporting future public interest advocates and nurturing a lasting commitment to public service.

UCLA 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.

Centers of Excellence

David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy

This program is of the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs.

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Areas of Focus

Public Interest Law & Policy

Our robust program provides the training and opportunities for students to become leaders in public service.

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The Office of Public Interest Programs strives to enhance UCLA Law’s commitment to public service by offering an array of services to 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 and provides information about public interest financial support.
  • Serves as UCLA Law’s principal information center for public interest and community service activities.

 

Professional Staff

  • Robert Bradley 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 16 years and as the assistant dean and then associate dean of academic programs and enters act UCLA Law for the past six years. In his current role, Brad provides strategic leadership for UCLA Law’s public interest programs in order 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 J.D. from Harvard Law School.

  • Karin H. 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 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 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 J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law.

  • Brenda Suttonwills

    Assistant Director of Public Interest Counseling

    Brenda Suttonwills was appointed the Assistant Director of Public Interest Counseling at UCLA Law in February 2018. Prior to joining UCLA 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 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 J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she received the Nancy Mintie award for public service.

  • 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

    Administrative Programs 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.

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