As an Augustinian Catholic University, serving the community is at the center of our values.
At Villanova Law, we look to foster in all law students a commitment to service that will continue through their legal careers.
We encourage students to consider how they can use their legal skills to benefit others by engaging in pro bono volunteer work or becoming public interest attorneys and devoting their careers to serving those who are disadvantaged.
There are unmet needs in every area of public interest practice, including health law, family law, consumer protection, employment law, small business development and criminal defense, among many others. Public interest attorneys may provide direct litigation or transactional-based representation to individuals or community groups, engage in research or policy work or participate in legislative advocacy.
Whether you are considering public service as a full-time career or want to incorporate pro bono service into your other professional work, we offer an inspiring and collaborative community that is dedicated to supporting you as you pursue this calling. This includes the Public Interest Scholars program, the public interest focus area of study, support for public interest through our Office of Career Strategy & Advancement, six in-house clinics, public interest externships, student-organized pro bono opportunities, and The Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program.
AREA OF STUDY
The Public Interest focus area of study helps to prepare you for a career in public interest through key course work and experiential education. For example, someone interested in pursuing a career representing indigent clients seeking government health care benefits might explore an externship at a hospital. Many public interest attorneys end up playing a leadership role in a nonprofit organization, for which business law courses can be helpful. Faculty advisers play a key role in helping in course selection.
Key to Villanova Law’s public interest offerings is a robust clinical program that focuses on assisting poor, disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. The six on-campus clinics provide students with vital practical experience while furthering the University’s mission as an Augustinian Catholic institution. Students directly represent clients gaining invaluable hands-on experience.
Students interested in public interest practice may also pursue an externship in the field. A hallmark of Villanova’s educational experience, our externship program offers placements in a variety of settings that are relevant to a public interest practice, including federal, state and local government, and nonprofit organizations. Recent placements have included ACLU of Pennsylvania, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office (Consumer Protection Bureau), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.