The importance of public interest law practice in our society cannot be overstated. Many interests worthy of protection—including those of low-income individuals, the environment, children and other diffuse and unorganized interests—are underrepresented or unrepresented in our legal system. Public interest lawyers working for legal services and other nonprofit organizations ensure that these interests have access to representation in our legal system.
The USD School of Law prepares its students to practice public interest law through its existing civil, criminal, immigration and environmental clinical programs. USD law students have indicated their interest in and support for public interest law by forming the Public Interest Law Foundation and Pro Bono Legal Advocates. However, this commitment of public interest training is partially mooted by a tuition-loan burden which inhibits postgraduate practice to benefit society. Thus, the law school administration, faculty and students have created a Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LRAP) to assist students choosing public interest law as a career in repaying their law school loans.