Public Interest and Government

15%
# of Employed 2018 Graduates in Public Interest or Government Jobs

Carolina Law students who wish to pursue public interest career paths will find a career development environment that is supportive, even though you will undoubtedly think at one time or another that you are in the minority of students in seeking a public interest profession. Not only will you find a group of your peers interested in pursuing career paths like yours, but you will find an institutional commitment to supporting the public interest career paths of students. Throughout the years, a large percentage of Carolina Law grads have entered the public sector and made tremendous contributions to the communities in which they live. We hope that many of you will continue this tradition.

Most public interest and government employers are looking for students and graduates who have a demonstrated commitment to service, and who are mission driven. Involving yourself in public interest work while still a law student will not only give you exposure to what kinds of things public interest and government attorneys do, but it will also prove to employers that you are committed to this kind of work. There are many opportunities to do public interest and government work while enrolled at Carolina Law.

Considering a Public Interest Career?

There are many things to consider when planning your legal career. In addition to thinking about what types of law interest you, you should think about your lifestyle preferences and personal plans. It may be useful to consider the following questions:

  • Would you rather have corporate clients or individual clients? If you prefer individual clients, are you interested in working with individuals who are at a disadvantage?
  • Do you enjoy conflict and confrontation? (If not, you may not like the practice of litigation.)
  • Do you seek to be an expert in one specific area of law, or would you rather have a varied practice in which it is more difficult for you to be an expert but allows you to do many different things?
  • Would you rather have a consistent and predictable workload, or is variety and change more attractive to you when picturing your typical workday?
  • Is important to you to live in a big city (or small town)?
  • What personal values are important to you? Would you be troubled working for a large corporation accused of environmental dumping or tax fraud? Could you zealously represent defendants accused of violent crimes? Would you be troubled prosecuting defendants who might be innocent?
  • How important is it to you to make a lot of money? Are you willing to give up some fiscal comfort in order to feel good about what you do? What are your financial obligations, including paying back student loans?