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New England Law | Boston is nationally ranked for its public interest law program. Here you’ll find a student body and faculty passionate, purpose driven, and dedicated to improving lives through the law.
Learn more about our concentration in Public Interest Law

Students in our in-house Public Interest Law Clinic

Public interest law spans many legal disciplines (see “What Do Public Interest Lawyers Do?” below). By pursuing the Public Interest Law concentration at New England Law, you’ll explore legal coursework across these disciplines while mastering the specific skills you need to become a public interest lawyer.

Opportunities to grow those real-world skills include working in our in-house Public Interest Law Clinic, where you'll assist real clients on a variety of cases under the direction and guidance of our faculty; volunteering with the school’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility, such as helping survivors of domestic violence, the wrongfully imprisoned, and people facing eviction; and joining our Human Rights and Immigration Law Project, where students have made a tangible difference in immigration, refugee, and human rights-based work. 

What Do Public Interest Lawyers Do?

Public interest law is a large field that touches upon many different areas of practice, such as criminal law, environmental law, family law, immigration law, and public international law. Lawyers practicing in particular fields within public interest law must be trained not only in the substantive law relevant to the field but in the specific lawyering skills that are most needed for public interest practice.

Common roles for public interest lawyers include working as public defenders, providing legal services to those who cannot afford them; serving as in-house legal counsel at a nonprofit, such as a humanitarian organization; or acting as a prosecuting attorney in criminal cases, perhaps working on behalf of a state government to bring charges against individuals and corporations.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Public Interest Lawyer

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Students in our Public Interest Law concentration program have access to the following hands-on learning experiences, among others:

Public Interest Law Courses

In addition to their foundational legal coursework, students pursuing a concentration in Public Interest Law can choose among many exciting elective classes to meet their credit requirements. To complete a concentration in Public Interest Law, students must earn 12 credits by completing courses from the following list. At least one of the courses must be a clinic listed below. Courses counted toward the Public Interest Law concentration may not also be counted toward another certificate or concentration.

  • American Indian Law
  • Business Compliance and Human Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Children and the Law
  • Crimmigration
  • Criminal Procedure II
  • Criminal Procedure II Clinic
  • Domestic Violence
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Family Law
  • Family Law Clinic
  • First Amendment
  • Government Lawyer Clinic
  • Housing Discrimination Law
  • Indigenous Peoples' Rights
  • Immigration Law
  • Immigration Law Clinic
  • Juvenile Law
  • Labor Law
  • Landlord-Tenant Law
  • Lawyering Process
  • Mental Health Law
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic
  • Race and the Law
  • Sexual Violence and Law Reform
  • Special Education Law

Public Interest Law Faculty

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Advisor: Russell Engler

BA Yale University
JD Harvard Law School

Professor Engler directs the law school’s clinical programs. His scholarly interests include ethical issues, the delivery of legal services to the poor, Civil Gideon, and legal education. He also directs the Public Service Project of the law school’s Center for Law and Social Responsibility. Learn more

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Judith G. Greenberg

BA Cornell University
JD University of Wisconsin Law School
LLM Harvard Law School

Professor Greenberg is co-director of the school’s Women and Children’s Advocacy Project. She has written on feminist jurisprudence, race and legal education, and domestic violence. Learn more

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Dina Francesca Haynes

BA University of Denver
JD University of Cincinnati College of Law
LLM Georgetown University Law Center

Professor Haynes is a former director general of the Human Rights Department for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia-Herzegovina, protection officer for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and attorney for the US Department of Justice. Learn more

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Ilene S. Klein

BA Queens College, City University of New York
JD Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall School of Law

Professor Klein supervises students in the Clinical Law Office, teaches seminars in the clinical program, and teaches Law and the Elderly. Learn more

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Peter M. Manus

BA Dartmouth College
JD Cornell Law School

Professor Manus joined the New England Law faculty after serving as an associate at the Boston law firms of Goodwin, Procter and Peabody & Arnold. He is coauthor of several books on environmental law and regularly engages in environmental projects on a pro bono basis, often with the assistance of interested students. Learn more

Professor Caryn Mitchell-Munevar

Caryn R. Mitchell-Munevar

BA New England College
JD New England Law | Boston

Professor Mitchell-Munevar supervises students in the law school’s Clinical Law Office and is co-director of the law school’s Charles Hamilton Houston Enrichment Program. Learn more

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David M. Siegel

BA University of Chicago
JD University of Chicago Law School

A founding member of the New England Innocence Project, Professor Siegel has written on the history of mental health defenses in criminal law and the involuntary medication of criminal defendants. He directs the Center for Law and Social Responsibility at New England Law. Learn more

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Monica Teixeira de Sousa

BA Brown University
JD Georgetown University Law Center

Professor Teixeira de Sousa is a founding member and past chair of the Rhode Island Education Justice Council. She has presented on issues of equity and education in numerous settings. She directs the school’s First Generation Students Program. Learn more