Public Interest Law

An american flag with barbed wire in front of it

At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, we put social justice at the heart of our mission. We work to improve the local bail bond system, reform municipal policing, prosecute international war crimes, research Innocence Project cases, address human trafficking and remedy the lead contamination crisis in our city and the nation.

Clinics, Labs and Projects 

We raise our voices for social justice while providing students a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in our clinics, labs and projects. In our ten law clinics, students prepare and argue pre-trial motions and appeals in criminal cases; they try cases involving journalists and protesters and other civil rights plaintiffs; they argue refugee, asylum and Torture Convention cases; they provide legal representation to individuals identified as survivors of human trafficking; they participate in impact litigation on behalf of environmental groups, non-profits and community groups; and they provide legal counsel to community businesses and non-profits. In our labs, students work on death penalty cases, reproductive freedom issues, issues involving victims of human trafficking and provide assistance to war crimes tribunals. In our Yemen Accountability Project, 1L students prepare case files and white papers for prosecution of war crimes in the Yemen civil war.  

Dual Degrees

Earn two graduate degrees in just four years. Credit-sharing between the School of Law and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences allows you to earn your JD and MNO (Master of Nonprofit Organizations) or MSSA (Master of Science in Social Administration) simultaneously.

Stipends for Externships

The Social Justice Law Center provides stipends for summer and semester-long public interest law internships and externships. It also supports research projects for our Stephanie Tubbs Jones Scholars — a dozen talented students in each class recognized for their interest in public interest law. The Student Public Interest Law Fellowship (SPILF) also supports students interested in public interest law careers. Through an annual auction and other events, SPILF raises money to provide annual grants to law students who accept summer internships with public interest employers in lieu of more lucrative summer employment.

Street Law

Street Law student volunteers lead an innovative teaching program in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court's juvenile detention center for youth ages 14 through 17. Lessons aim to help them understand relevant legal topics, such as discrimination, crime and domestic law.

Loan Repayment

CWRU JD graduates who use their legal training to provide services in the public interest are eligible for a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) grant to help cover student loan payments for up to eight years of eligibility. Our LRAP program has provided loan repayment assistance to alumni since its inception in 1994.