Public Interest

There are many opportunities for students to gain public interest experience. Drake Law School provides education about, opportunities for, and recognition of student participation in public interest activities.

Many students come to law school with a passion for a particular issue--children's rights, civil rights or immigration to name a few. Others develop a strong interest during law school.

Drake Law School encourages student participation in pro bono activities through its Public Service Scholarship Program, the Public Service Certificate, Public Interest Career Fair, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Public Service Scholarship Program

Each year, Drake Law School awards up to two full-tuition Public Service Scholarships to entering first-year law students with strong academic credentials and who demonstrate a commitment to public service.

In addition, at the conclusion of the 1L year, up to two additional Drake law students will be awarded a Public Service Scholarship award equal to three-quarters tuition (renewable for the third year).

Public Service Scholars will be included in a program of activities designed to encourage them to explore the wide variety of public service career opportunities and to prepare them for a career of public service.

Learn more about Drake Law School's Public Service Scholarship Program.

Public Interest Opportunities

There are a variety of public interest opportunities available to students, from internships and fellowships to federal work study to involvement in Drake's Legal Clinics. Public interest internships may include illegal discrimination, environmental protection, immigration, child welfare and dometic violence issues.

Learn more about Public Interest Opportunities.

Public Service Certificate

Drake Law School offers a Public Service Certificate to students who perform legal or non-legal services without compensation or the award of academic credit.

To be recognized with the Public Service Certificate, students must complete 60 hours of public service and record the hours on the Public Service Hour Log, which is then submitted to Assistant Dean Erin Lee-Schneider.

Learn more about Drake Law School's Public Service Certificate.

Public Interest Career Fair

Each spring, Drake Law School hosts a Public Interest Career Fair comprised of city, county, state and federal employers and non profit organizations who may hire students for summer internships or post graduate positions. 

Attendees include ACLU of Iowa, Disability Rights Iowa, Iowa Enviornmental Council, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, Kids First Law Center and the US Attorney's Office, to name a few.

Public Interest Law Association

The Public Interest Law Association is a student organization at Drake Law School that strives to empower less fortunate persons and communities, encourages participation in the Drake Public Service Certificate program, and promotes social justice.

The organization also hosts the annual Court2Court 5K race to benefit Iowa Legal Aid’s Poverty Law Internship Program.

For more information or to get involved, visit the organization's Facebook page.

The Ferguson Prize

The annual Ferguson Prize Gold and Silver Awards are awarded to the students who best exemplify the commitment of Drake Law School and the legal profession to public service. The recipients are chosen for rendering outstanding service—primarily legal assistance—to eligible individuals or groups in the Law School legal clinic or to other public service projects integrated with the Law School.

The Ferguson Prize was established by Edwin Earle Ferguson Sr., LW’34. The award winners are announced each year at the Supreme Court Celebration Banquet.

Loan Repayment and Forgiveness

The College Cost and Reduction Access Act of 2007 contains two programs of which students should be aware: income-based repayment for student loans and public service loan forgiveness.

Learn more:

Additional Resources

American Bar Association Pro Bono & Public Service
Equal Justice Works

Law School Events
February 26, 2018
05:00 PM - 06:45 PM
March 5, 2018
12:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Law School News
February 2, 2018
Four alumni from Drake Law School were named to the Business Record’s 2018 Forty Under 40 list, which recognizes local business leaders in the Greater Des Moines area.
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