Public Service Careers

Public interest careers offer an opportunity to work in places like non-profit agencies, government agencies, and with other employers who advocate for and serve the public good. Positions with public interest groups, organizations, and public service law firms (usually civil legal nonprofits), are opportunities to serve the public good while acquiring valuable, substantive legal experience that will assist you in securing and succeeding in future legal employment. A large number of 1Ls who work after their first year do so in paid and unpaid public interest positions. With planning and creativity, these summer experiences may transition into ongoing law school placements, and full time post graduate positions. If you decide you are interested in pursuing a different area of law, the skills you will gain from this experience will be transferrable to both public and private sector employers. Since resources at these organizations are often limited, you will likely gain immediate hands-on experience while providing needed legal representation and advocacy for underserved community members.  The experience may change your life, as well as theirs.

Externship Program – Externship Work is Public Interest Work

Students may enroll in up to two externships in their law school career with a non-profit, government agency, in a judicial setting or alternative dispute resolution placement. It is a for-credit program that gives students the ability to gain hands on experience while at the same time benefiting the needs of the community. For more information about externships go to the career services website.

Career Advising for Public Interest

If you are thinking about a career in public interest, taking advantage of Career Services’ advising is a good place to start. Schedule an appointment with one of our career advisors to obtain information about externships, other paid work opportunities, fellowships, loan repayment programs, networking, student organization opportunities and the job application process.   Contact us for more information.  

Other Resources

  • Equal Justice Works - provides multiple Fellowship opportunities such as: Crime Victims Justice Corps, Veterans Legal Corps, Disaster Recovery Legal Corps, Housing Justice Program, Georgia Housing Corps, and a Design Your Own Fellowship Program. 
  • PSJD – This is an online clearinghouse for law students and lawyers to connect with public interest job listings and career building resources through NALP. 
  • Spring Career Fair – every year the Student and Career Student Services office organizes and presents a career fair which will host many public interest employers.  Dates for the coming spring to be announced.
    • Public Interest Career Fair Participants from 2020

      American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico (ACLU-NM)

      American Indian Law Center


      Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM)

      Enlace Comunitario New Mexico

      Environmental Protection Agency Region 6

      Environmental Protection Agency Region 8

      Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

      New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, Court Services Division

      New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution

      New Mexico Appleseed

      New Mexico Attorney General's Office

      New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP)

      New Mexico Department of Health

      New Mexico Education Department (NMED) General Counsel

      New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC)

      New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender (LOPD)

      New Mexico Legal Aid Native American Program (NAP)

      Pegasus Legal Services for Children

      Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office

      Senior Citizens Law Office (SCLO)

      State of Colorado AG's office

      Utton Transboundary Resource Center

      WildEarth Guardians

  • The State Bar Public Law Section welcomes student participation and collaboration with them in their work to enhance the practice of law in public interest areas. 

  •  Join APIL. This student organization raises and allocates funds to provide grant recipients with an opportunity to gain practical experience in summer public interest law placements, provides networking and educational opportunities for students in public interest law, and creates a community where students may demonstrate their individual and communal support of public interest law.

  •  To learn more about fellowships and funding a public interest job check out our Guide in Connect