Public Service at WashULaw

Commitment to public service is an integral part of the tradition and ethic of the legal profession. Washington University has a longstanding commitment to public service and recognizes its important role in preparing students to be competent, ethical lawyers working toward a more just society. It is our goal to prepare students to contribute to society through service to the profession and the community. To this end, the Public Service Advisory Board was established to:

  • Provide desperately needed services to the St. Louis community;
  • Help students learn about representing the underserved and to inquire into the fairness and effectiveness of the law and legal institutions; and
  • Provide students with valuable practical experience and the opportunity to interact with representatives from public service organizations and law firms.
Public Service
Law Students participate in the Big
Brothers/Big Sisters program of
St. Louis.

The Public Service Advisory Board is a student-led organization that creates and administers public service opportunities for law students. It is responsible for allocating public service funds among student groups, promoting service within the law school and greater St. Louis communities, and planning public service programming.

Beginning with the Class of 2013, law students are encouraged to complete the Pro Bono Pledge and commit to performing at least 50 hours of law-related public service before they graduate. To get more information, complete the pledge, submit your hours, and learn about pro bono opportunities, click here.

In addition to the comprehensive Public Service programming provided by the Public Services department, Washington University School of Law offers a broad-based curriculum that supplements traditional courses with hands-on clinical training, skills courses, interdisciplinary learning, and public interest courses in fields such as constitutional law and government, criminal law, employment law, environmental law, family and health law, and international law.

The Clinical Education Program at the School of Law is widely known to be one of the best in the country. Through the clinics, students have opportunities to assist indigent and underrepresented clients with domestic violence, employment rights environmental concerns, criminal defense and death penalty cases. They may also work with state and federal judges, Congressional committees and federal agencies. Unlike most law schools, Washington University guarantees every student placement in at least one of the clinical courses during his or her second or third year of law school.

The Career Services Office (CSO) offers services and resources specifically for students interested in public interest employment. CSO holds an annual Public Interest Job Fair, hosts government and public interest employers who interview on campus, and brings successful public interest and government attorneys to campus to talk with students about careers in public service.

Note: Washington University School of Law students cannot provide legal assistance directly to members of the public.  Students can only provide legal assistance under the supervision of an attorney.