Service & Public Interest Programs
Service & Public Interest Programs
The Moritz College of Law is fortunate to have a community of faculty, students, alumni, staff, and administration who continually develop new and exciting opportunities for community outreach and public service.
Moritz Law students are encouraged to become involved in one or more of the college's many public interest initiatives. Once classes begin, students can participate in organizations such as Street Law, an initiative in which law students teach area school children about the legal system; Moritz Law Community Outreach Project, formed to work with volunteer groups throughout Columbus in an effort to better the community and help those less fortunate; or the college's Pro Bono Research Group, a group dedicated to providing legal research assistance to Ohio attorneys who are engaged in public interest work.
To encourage law students to accept low-paying or volunteer positions with public interest organizations during the summer, the college's Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) annually offers several student funded fellowships. In the most recent year, more than $30,000 of aid was awarded to students by PILF.
Law students who contribute at least 50 hours of their time to a nonprofit organization in the course of their three years at Moritz Law are recognized as "Public Service Fellows" on their transcripts and at the time of graduation. In any given year, students contribute approximately 10,000 hours of volunteer time to various public interest and community organizations.
The Career Services Staff counsel all students on a multitude of job search options, and will guide you through your summer and permanent job searches. Knowing that a good number of students intend to pursue summer positions and permanent jobs in the public sector or public interest, Moritz has specialized Career Service staff who can help students wishing to pursue these specific opportunities. These staff include the Director of Public Service and Public Interest Programs, Cybele Smith, and a counselor with ten years public policy and career services experience prior to joining Moritz, Travis Sheffler.
Our staff offer a variety of career planning and job search services and resources which can be utilized by accessing our website anytime, through one on one counseling appointments, as well as by attendance at some or all of our programming throughout the academic year. We are committed to helping students find the best job fit possible through individualized self assessment, identifying appropriate legal career options, providing training in job search skills and offering many sources of employment opportunities. Students interested in pursuing public sector employment can receive counseling on how and when to apply to federal, state and local government jobs and internships, get feedback on application materials and participate in mock interviews with Career Services Staff. Our alumni in similar careers have proven helpful to current and graduating students as they prepare to enter government careers. The Career Services office subscribes to the best web and print resources available. Moritz Law students can access PSLawNet.org, which posts jobs in the US and abroad as well as open fellowship and government opportunities, as well as summer funding options. Moritz subscribes to the Arizona Guide to Government Honors and Internship Handbook, the Vermont Guide to State Court Clerkships and are institutional members of Equal Justice Works, allowing our students and alumni to attend their Career Fair and apply for post graduate fellowships and Americorps summer funding, among other benefits. More resources are available here.
Students considering post graduate fellowships benefit from the experience and counsel of staff who have helped others land fellowships and from a former fellow JD Counselor, as well as by being connected back to potential employers and alumni fellows. By our Moritz membership in PSLawNet.org, students are able to track deadline dates and use the free information available to member school students. Students can also use the search tools on that site to find host employers for summer and for fellowships. For much more on public interest and to read through our 1L, 2L and 3L Public Interest Handbooks, please click here.
Our Washington, D.C. Summer Program, has become increasingly popular, especially among students who hope to return to D.C. for a career in policy, legislation or other government position.
Moritz law students can participate in our Judicial Externship Program during the school year or during the summer. Judicial externships provide excellent educational opportunities, including opportunities to glimpse the workings of courts from the inside, interaction with distinguished judges, and engagement in supervised research and writing.
Moritz Law students have the opportunity to participate in our robust Clinical Programs. Clinics give students academic credit for real-world experience and classroom preparation. In recent years, students in Moritz clinics have represented clients in both federal and state cases. Two of the cases in the Civil Clinic have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court, and clinic students have been crucial in preparing briefs and arguments. Another case involved a five-day jury trial in federal court, tried almost entirely by Moritz students. In the Criminal Defense and Prosecution Clinics, students regularly appear in local courts in misdemeanor cases, learning how to prepare witnesses, negotiate plea bargains, and try criminal cases.
In addition to Clinical programs, students are strongly encouraged to consider volunteering with our active public interest student groups as well as at any number of government or non-profit organizations during the school year or summer. Past students have completed law and mediation pro bono work in a wide array of settings from Asia to Europe and all over the United States. Pro bono work not only allows students to gain real world experience, meet practitioners in their field of choice, but also experience work with under-represented individuals and groups. Here is a list of some of the places where students did volunteer work in the past few years. Every year students gain practical experience volunteering and the hours typically count toward the Public Service Fellow distinction at graduation.
MoritzLaw students can participate in our fall and spring On-Campus Interview program, and those wishing to pursue summer and permanent positions in the public service are also invited to participate in specific public service related job fairs. For instance, each winter Moritz sponsors the Government and Public Interest Opportunity Forum and Table Talk sessions. In past years over 30 employers have interviewed and hired students for summer paid and volunteer work each February. These positions help students gain experience, meet practitioners, interact with clients and court personnel and hone research and writing skills under the tutelage of licensed attorneys in a wide variety of settings, from prosecutor and public defender offices, to local, state and federal government agencies, to direct legal service providers and many more. Moritz is a member school and is therefore able to send students to the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair in Washington, DC annually. The fair, typically held in October each year, is the largest career fair of public interest and public sector employers in the country. Our membership also allows 3Ls to apply for Equal Justice Works Fellowships and the PD Corps and Americorps Summercorps funding. The Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference is held in February in Chicago and hosts regional public sector employers. Students apply in advance for interviews and can attend for table talk informational interviews as well. MoritzLaw participates in the National Law School Consortium, which provides another opportunity for students to interview with firms and organizations outside of Ohio. For instance, a number of federal agencies interview students in Washington, DC in fall for summer and permanent jobs with the government.
Moritz graduates take advantage of the many public oriented opportunities provided while they are in law school. Our alumni (provide links to alumni profiles of Lauren Dubick and Rebecca Albers) are among the ranks of federal, state and local leadership, have completed prestigious fellowships, and are eager to help students follow in their career paths. What follows is a representative list of where our alumni have gone to work in the past few years: US Department of Justice, US Department of Transportation, Internal Revenue Service, Presidential Management Fellows, Equal Justice Works and Skadden Foundation Fellowships, direct legal services offices, Ohio and other Attorney's General offices, Office of Consumer Counsel, Robert Bosch Fellowship, Pacific Legal Foundation Fellowship, US Department of State, US Department of Veteran's Affairs, Peggy Browning Fellowships, and prosecutor and public defender offices throughout the United States.
In sum, students will find a community of support should they choose to pursue a summer or a lifetime serving the public. Both human and informational resources will be made available to students and students will find support amongst their peers, staff, faculty and alumni.