The Public Interest Practicum (PIP) is a three-credit seminar on public interest law and policy that also provides students with the opportunity to provide legal advice to poor clients in and around Athens. Students work in project groups to visit with clients at diverse locations, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, counseling centers, senior centers and the like. PIP students offer advice and counsel on civil legal issues to clients under the supervision of the PIP director, who is a licensed Georgia attorney. Students may also engage in service projects, including community presentations or creation of self-help legal materials. Projects adapt semester-by-semester depending on the needs of the community, and students have the opportunity to propose and initiate new projects. Students gain practical experience in interviewing clients, investigating their situations, performing legal research, assessing solutions to hard problems related to the lack of money, and delivering useful advice. Students do this in the context of a seminar that explores major issues of public interest law, access to justice, and lawyering. PIP offers a rich combination of practical, theoretical and cross-disciplinary perspectives on the public dimensions of the lawyer’s role.
Course Information & Requirements
JD students may take PIP for up to two semesters at any point in the second or third years by registering through the point allocation process. The two semesters do not need to be consecutive. LLM or MSL students make take PIP for one semester with the permission of the PIP director. PIP requires a weekly seminar, with readings; 5 -10 hours per week of work with clients or projects; regular reflective writing; and representation of individual clients under the supervision of the PIP director.. PIP does not count towards the 16-credit cap on clinical credits, and is a fully graded course.
JD students may use the course to meet the capstone writing requirement by writing a series of client letters, but the director may assign additional simulated cases in order to satisfy the capstone requirement depending on the volume of client work during the semester. All students will gain some experience writing client letters and students are not required to meet the capstone requirement through PIP.
There are no prerequisites.
How to Apply
Students enroll through regular point allocation.
If you are interested in Public Interest Law, visit the website's Public Interest webpage, and explore course offerings through our online course concentrations list of Public Interest related courses.
Listen to Associate Professor and former Dean for Clinical Programs and Experiential Learning Alex Scherr talk about Public Interest Law, how to choose courses if you are interested in this area of law, and what courses are available at Georgia Law.