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Public Interest Career Counseling

The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) provides individual advising to students interested in pursing public interest careers.

Megan Heneke, Assistant Dean of OCPD, is the primary public interest adviser and available to meet one-on-one with students to discuss, among other things, public interest careers and job searches, post-graduate fellowships, and funding for summer public interest positions. She can be contacted for appointments at either 608-265-6684 or megan.heneke@wisc.edu.

Megan also maintains an e-mail listserv for students interested in receiving periodic updates on public interest events and jobs. Please contact her directly to join the listserv.

Public Interest Job Fairs

Annual University of Wisconsin/Marquette Law School Public Interest Job Fair

The University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School jointly host the Wisconsin Public Interest Interview Program (PIIP).  PIIP is a great opportunity for students to interview with multiple public interest and government employers for either paid or unpaid summer internships or permanent positions after graduation.

The 2021 PIIP is being held on the following two dates:

  • Friday, February 19th virtually for both University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School
  • Saturday, February 20th virtually for both University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University Law School

Participating employers select the single date and location most convenient for their organization and interviewers.  Students from UWLS and MULS may interview on both dates at the specified law school.  Students must submit their application materials by Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

 Employers that have participated in the Public Interest Interview Program include:

  • ABC for Health
  • ACLU of Wisconsin
  • AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin 
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
  • City of Kenosha, City Attorney's Office
  • City of Madison, City Attorney's Office
  • City of Racine, City Attorney's Office
  • Clean Wisconsin
  • Community Justice, Inc.
  • Dane County Corporation Counsel
  • Disability Rights Wisconsin
  • Eau Claire County Corporation Counsel
  • End Domestic Abuse WI – the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources
  • International Institute of Wisconsin
  • Kids Matter, Inc.
  • Legal Action of Wisconsin
  • Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
  • Midwest Environmental Advocates
  • Milwaukee Justice Center
  • RISE Law Center
  • State Public Defenders Office
  • Tenant Resource Center
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • UW-Madison, Office of Legal Affairs
  • Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Children and Families
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation
  • Wisconsin Judicare
  • Wisconsin Legislative Council
  • Wisconsin State Public Defender

33rd Annual Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference

The Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference will be held at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago on February 6, 2021. Participation is free and open to the first, second, and third year students from participating schools.  The registration deadline is December 3, 2020. Contact Megan Heneke (megan.heneke@wisc.edu) if you wish to pre-register.  If you timely pre-registered, the deadline by which to submit resumes will be January 13, 2021.

Equal Justice Works Career Fair

This is the largest public interest law-related job fair in the country.  Each October it brings over 200 employers to the Washington, DC area to interview and meet with students.  The Career Fair, along with a conference on public interest career topics, is held in October of each year in Washington, DC.  OCPD offers a small travel stipend to assist with the cost of attending the Career Fair.  More information about the Career Fair is available at www.equaljusticeworks.org.

Public Interest Job listings & Research SItes

The Career Services Office has assembled a list of Internet resources to help students search for public interest internships, careers, fellowships and funding opportunities in many areas of law, including electronic resources for Public Interest students.


  • PSJD (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Comprehensive listing of public interest legal positions, including volunteer opportunities, paid summer positions, and post-graduate positions and fellowships.
  • Idealist (Action without Borders) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Comprehensive listing of public service positions, both legal and non-legal, in over 140 countries. This is an especially good site for post-graduate job listings. Searchable by subject matter, country, type of position, and other categories.
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): This is the best site for post-graduate jobs in civil legal services organizations and defender organizations. Other public interest organizations are also listed. Searchable by state.
  • Foundation Center: Provides information about every foundation in the country. Much of this information is free, but some of it is for paying subscribers only. Job corner contains a database of job openings in foundations, corporate grant makers, and other nonprofit organizations. Searchable by type of employer and region.
  • ABA-Section of International Law, Human Rights Committee
  • American Society of International Law
  • Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID): Weekly listing of gender-related vacancies; often includes human rights jobs.
  • Communication Initiative: Website designed to facilitate communication among development professionals (legal and non-legal).
  • DevNet Jobs: Job listings in the development field, including many related to human rights and humanitarian work. Membership is required to view some listings. Free newsletter.
  • Foreign Policy Association: Website and also weekly jobs newsletter.
  • Human Rights Careers
  • One World: Similar to idealist.org.


  • Government Honors & Internship Handbook (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Contains information on federal government post-graduate honors programs and summer internship programs. (Password-protected list of OCPD usernames and passwords.)
  • Office of Personnel Management: This is the federal government?s official one-stop source for federal jobs (permanent and internships) and employment information. Searchable by position, salary, and geographic location. Updated every business day. Can create an ?agent? to email particular kinds of opportunities as soon as they are posted. Note: when searching for federal jobs, you should also check the agency site, as not every job makes it into USA JOBS.
  • CareerOneStop: Offers streamlined access to key resources and tools for job seekers, businesses, veterans, students, workers with disabilities, older workers, workers with criminal convictions, and more. The site is fully mobile-ready—meaning it automatically adjusts to fit smartphone or tablet screens.
  • National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG): The most comprehensive online site for the latest developments in the offices of the state Attorneys General throughout the country, including ground-breaking litigation, new appointments, and job opportunities.
  • Government Jobs: GovernmentJobs.com is the only government sector job board created from the world's foremost fully integrated recruitment, selection and applicant tracking system called NEOGOV Insight designed specifically for public sector employers.
  • Roll Call Jobs: Features jobs in government affairs, lobbying and other positions with organizations that do lobbying and other work with the federal government.

State-Specific Job Sites

  • Chicago (Chicago Bar): To help law school graduates search for a public sector career, the Chicago Bar Association Government Services Committee and the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association of Chicago have compiled the most current hiring information available on numerous government agencies in Chicago.
  • Minnesota (MN Justice Foundation): The site of the Minnesota Justice Foundation, this site lists Minnesota legal internships.
  • New York City (Gotham Gazette Classifieds): Gotham Gazette Classifieds, an on-line listing of public service jobs in New York City, includes many law-related jobs.
  • New York City (Government Jobs): Websites for International Job Searches

Inter-Governmental Organizations

International NGOs

Domestic Organizations

(Sometimes they have opportunities in International Law)

Regional Job Listings

  • Pambazuka News: Website and newsletter on social justice in Africa.
  • PAE-REACT: This is the contractor paid by the US State Department to select US citizens for seconded jobs with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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