Planning Your Public Interest Career

THERE ARE MANY WAYS YOU WILL USE THE LAW AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

 

Many of you were advocating for change before you even arrived. During your time at CUNY Law, you can explore all the opportunities a J.D. degree, our network, and your aspirations can offer. From support through your summers to applying for post-graduate work, we’ve got resources, events, networking, and one-on-one guidance.

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Summer Public Interest Grants >

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Career Planning Toolkit >

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Programming & Events >

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Financing Your Career >

Career Planning Support

Interview Support

Strategic Career Counseling

Bar Admissions Advice

Resumes & Cover Letters

Explore Careers & Opportunities

Headshot of Lauren DiMartino ’20

Judicial Clerkships

Clerkships in both the Federal and State Courts are the foundational building blocks for many jobs in government, the private sector, and nonprofits. Experience as a clerk is one pathway to becoming a judge, especially in New York State Courts, but many CUNY Law graduates clerk at various stages of their careers.

“Clerking has given me unparalleled ‘behind the scenes’ access to the federal legal system, but even more valuable is the mentorship and insight I’ve received from my judge, a brilliant woman who committed her life to public service and broke barrier after barrier in her pursuit of justice. I can’t imagine a better way to have started my legal career.”

Lauren DiMartino ’20, former law clerk to Judge Martha Craig Daughtry, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit

Headshot of Malita Picasso ’19

Postgraduate Fellowships

These one to two-year positions allow graduates to work on special projects to undertake innovative approaches to address systemic issues of inequality, poverty, racism, and more. Fellowships can be project-based, organizational, or within government-funded programs—CUNY Law grads have done them all.

“My Fellowship was an incomparable opportunity to engage in truly impactful work while continuing to build the litigation and lawyering skills required of an effective public interest lawyer. With the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, I have been able to fight for the rights of transgender people across the country and learn from some of the most brilliant civil rights attorneys.”

Malita Picasso ’19, Skadden Fellow

Cristian Farias '14 presents to an audience while a Senior Fellow at the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School

Alternative Legal Careers & the J.D. Advantage

There is no one path to public interest or public service advocacy. Not only are there many ways to be a lawyer, but there are also many ways to put your J.D. to use—including elected office, nonprofit leadership, legal academia, government policy, and more.

“Writing about the law, justice, and their failures can be tough sometimes — but not nearly as tough as the impact those things can have on real people. My aim, as a legal journalist, is to never forget that humans bear the brunt of the subjects I cover.”

-Cristian Farias ’14,

Scott Kennedy '20 smiles while wearing blue spectacles that match his blue suit and necktie in this portrait

Solo & Private Practice

About 25% of CUNY Law grads work in firms or open up their own small or solo practices, allowing them to bring their expertise to the social justice issues they care most about through pro bono work or areas of specialization. You’ll find them building their dream practice, running boutique firms, and leading work at some of the city’s biggest firms.

“I view working at a large private firm as an opportunity to practice law at the highest levels, on behalf of some of the world’s most sophisticated and vulnerable clients, while being developed and nurtured by extraordinarily gifted, dedicated, and well-resourced legal and non-legal colleagues.”

Scott Kennedy ’20, Associate, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP

Upcoming Career Events

PILA Gala 2024 Midnight Masquerade: A Night of Magic

CUNY Law Community Room

Step into a world of elegance and impact at the Public Interest Law Association's Midnight Masquerade: A Night of Magic! Don your most exquisite masks and attire for an evening […]

$50.00

CUNY Law’s Event Calendar

All events on this calendar are open to the public, or our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporter audiences. Faculty, staff, and students: To list your event please complete the SUBMISSION FORM.

Once posted, all events appear on digital signage and in our Monday morning weekly “Upcoming Events” email.

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

Contact Us

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SCHEDULE A MEETING
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CAREER COUNSELOR.

OFFICE HOURS

Time: Monday – Friday, 9:00AM – 4:30PM
Office:
4-108
Phone: (718) 340-4230
Email: careerplanningoffice@law.cuny.edu