Public Interest Practice

If you are like many students, you may come to law school with a desire to represent people and communities which have been under-served in the legal system. Providing legal assistance to low income and other under-represented people and communities is generally referred to as “public interest practice.” Whether you chose a career as a public interest lawyer or serve the public interest through pro bono representation within an otherwise for-profit practice, there are certain courses that will help prepare you. Public interest practice requires you to understand the basic workings of courts, governmental agencies, and corporations. Public interest practice may range from litigation to alternative dispute resolution to representation of your client in a legal transaction (such as assisting a public interest group acquire land or a building).  The courses listed below will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills for public interest practice.

As a public interest lawyer, you might specialize in a particular area of the law such as criminal defense, family law, poverty law, health law, consumer protection or employment law.  Finally, if you are interested in public interest and the efforts to provide equal access to the justice system for all people, you should strongly consider a course which provides a manner for critiquing the current American legal system such as Jurisprudence, Feminist Legal Theory or Comparative Law.

General Courses

  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Advanced Torts
  • Bankruptcy
  • Because of Sex: Sex Discrimination
  • Civil Rights Litigation: Beyond the Constitution
  • Civil Rights Litigation: Enforcing the Constitution
  • Complex Litigation Theory
  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigation
  • Criminal Prosecution in the 21st Century
  • Death Penalty: Theory and Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Environmental Law
  • Enivronmental Lawyering
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Federal Courts/Federal Systems
  • Health Care and the Law
  • Human Trafficking
  • Immigration Law
  • Interviewing/Counseling
  • Justice & Rights (First Year Elective)
  • Labor Law I and II
  • Law and Psychology
  • Law, Science & Advocacy
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Negotiation & Mediation Advocacy
  • Public International Law (First Year Elective)
  • Secured Transactions
  • Sentencing and Punishment
  • Trial Advocacy
    • Intensive Trial Advocacy
    • Trial Practice Competition
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Civil and Criminal)
  • Villanova Sentencing Workshop


Practical Writing Courses

  • Administrative Practice
  • Advanced Legal Writing (6th Semester Legal Writing course)
  • Civil Pretrial Practice
  • Contract Drafting
  • Divorce Practice & Procedure
  • Litigation Drafting

Research Paper Courses

  • Advanced Issues in Criminal Law
  • Education Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Human Rights
  • Police Conduct 
  • Privacy Law 
  • Public Interest Lawyering
  • Sexuality & the Law




Clinics and Externships