Public Interest Externship

The Public Interest Externship (formerly the Pro Bono Clinic) is a one-semester, one credit-hour externship that offers second and third year students an introduction to the world of public interest lawyering. Students in the Clinic complete a 45-hour placement with a public interest law organization arranged and monitored by the course instructor, with a private attorney handling a pro bono case, or with a pro bono project or placement developed by the student with instructor approval.

Through a supervised work experience, Public Interest Externs put classroom learning into a real-world context and develop and enhance their practical legal skills in research and writing, drafting legal documents and correspondence, interviewing, and evaluation of facts. Students have the opportunity to gain insight into the world of public interest lawyering and explore possible career paths, while providing needed assistance to organizations and agencies that serve low-income and under-represented North Carolinians. In academic year 2009-10, our externs provided 1,830 hours of service to organizations and attorneys serving North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens.

Organizations where students have externed

  • ACLU Capital Punishment Project
  • ACLU of NC Legal Foundation
  • Center for Child & Family Health
  • Child Advocacy Commission of Durham
  • Disability Rights North Carolina
  • Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center
  • Guardian Ad Litem Program
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina
  • National Women’s Law Center through ACS ResearchLink
  • NC Association of Black Attorneys Land Loss Prevention Project
  • NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • NC Justice Center
  • NC Attorney General’s Office, Tort Claims and Consumer Protection Sections
  • NC Center on Actual Innocence
  • NC Innocence Inquiry Commission
  • NC Prisoner Legal Services
  • Wake County Attorney’s Office

Public Interest Externs In Their Own Words

[At Prisoner Legal Services] I was given meaningful assignments that had a huge impact on the lives of our clients. One of the first assignments that I received was a civil case involving an inmate who had gotten into an altercation with another inmate. The injuries were so bad that it left his retina detached. … Cases involving such serious injuries forced me to work quickly and diligently to ensure that inmate received the proper medical treatment. … A lot of people make an argument that because the prisoner got himself in the situation, he does not deserve any help or any advocate for his rights. While I understand this point of view, as a lawyer, it will be my job to honor the Constitution and ensure that those rights are not violated. –Shaquana Rudolph, Class of 2009

Contact Information

Director: Deria Hayes