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Public Interest

Drake Law School provides education, opportunities, and recognition for student participation in public interest activities.

Many students come to law school with a passion for a particular issue, such as children's rights, civil rights, or immigration, to name a few. Others develop a strong interest during law school.

Drake Law School encourages student participation in pro bono activities through its Public Service Scholarship Program, the Public Service Certificate, Public Interest Career Fair, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Amanda Blome
Des Moines, IA

"Last summer, I worked as a farmworker intern with Iowa Legal Aid, devoting my time to helping migrant and H-2A farmworkers learn their rights. Seeing clients and hearing their stories helped to inspire my passion for immigrant and worker rights."

Public Interest Opportunities

There are a variety of public interest opportunities available to students, from internships and fellowships to federal work study to involvement in Drake's Legal Clinics.

Public interest internships may include illegal discrimination, environmental protection, immigration, child welfare and dometic violence issues.

Learn more about Public Interest Opportunities.

Public Service Scholarship Program

Each year, Drake Law School awards up to two full-tuition Public Service Scholarships to entering first-year law students with strong academic credentials and who demonstrate a commitment to public service.

Learn more about Drake Law School's Public Service Scholarship Program.

Public Service Certificate

Drake Law School offers a Public Service Certificate to students who perform legal or non-legal services without compensation or the award of academic credit.

To be recognized with the Public Service Certificate, students must complete 60 hours of public service and record the hours on the Public Service Hour Log.

Learn more about Drake Law School's Public Service Certificate.

Government & Public Interest     Career Fair

Each spring, Drake Law School hosts a Public Interest Career Fair comprised of more than 20 city, county, state and federal employers and non profit organizations who may hire students for summer internships or post graduate positions. Attendees have included:

  • US Attorney's Office
  • Iowa Governor's Office
  • Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Disability Rights Iowa
  • Iowa Enviornmental Council
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission
  • Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board
  • Iowa Center for Children's Justice
  • State Public Defender's Wrongful Conviction Division

Public Interest Law Association

The Public Interest Law Association is a student organization at Drake Law School that strives to empower less fortunate persons and communities, encourages participation in the Drake Public Service Certificate program, and promotes social justice.

The organization also hosts the annual Court2Court 5K race to benefit Iowa Legal Aid’s Poverty Law Internship Program.

For more information or to get involved, visit the organization's Facebook page.

The Ferguson Prize

The annual Ferguson Prize Gold and Silver Awards are awarded to the students who best exemplify the commitment of Drake Law School and the legal profession to public service. The recipients are chosen for rendering outstanding service—primarily legal assistance—to eligible individuals or groups in the Law School legal clinic or to other public service projects integrated with the Law School.

The Ferguson Prize was established by Edwin Earle Ferguson Sr., LW’34. The award winners are announced each year at the Supreme Court Celebration Banquet.

Loan Repayment and Forgiveness

The College Cost and Reduction Access Act of 2007 contains two programs of which students should be aware: income-based repayment for student loans and public service loan forgiveness. Workshops are held twice a year for third year law students to discuss the mechanics of these programs.

Learn more:

Post-graduate Fellowships

Students can participate in a number of post-graduate fellowship opportunities in public interest, including the Iowa State Public Defender Gideon Fellowship Program, Soros Justice Fellowships, and Skadden Fellowships.

Learn more about post-graduate fellowships.

Additional Resources

American Bar Association Pro Bono & Public Service

For more information, contact Drake Law School's Career Development Office at 515-271-2988 or

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