Public Interest Law Support

Public Interest Law Support

Northeastern is renowned as one of the top public interest law schools in the nation.

Our history and mission are deeply tied to public interest law, and we strongly encourage all of our students to make public service a part of their lives regardless of which area of law they choose to practice. We encourage you to explore the many ways in which we demonstrate our commitment to social justice and public interest law. Of particular note is our Public Interest Law Scholarship, which provides renewable, full-tuition funding to exceptional applicants who possess impressive academic profiles as well as extensive experience in fields concerned with social justice and public service.

Through our Fund for the Public Interest, we offer co-op stipends and a post-graduate Loan Deferral and Forgiveness Program. We also provide a range of other scholarships, and we encourage you to find out about the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.


  • The Fund for the Public Interest includes:

    Loan Deferral and Forgiveness (LD/F) Program

    Since 1990, the LD/F Program has provided loan relief assistance to JD graduates pursuing careers with public interest law organizations. Since 1990, the program has provided more than $3 million to 425 graduates. Under the program, a portion of an eligible graduate's debt is initially deferred and ultimately forgiven if the recipient continues working in the public interest field for between three and five years. While the majority of LD/F recipients perform public interest work on the east coast, the program has supported graduates working in at least 24 states and the District of Columbia. More information about applying for LD/F assistance is available from the Office of Financial Aid.
    >>Learn more

    Co-op Stipend Program

    Since 1988, this component of the fund has provided support for students undertaking public interest co-ops. Stipends have allowed students on co-op to represent immigrants seeking political asylum, tenants fighting to prevent eviction, women seeking shelter from domestic violence, children trying to obtain educational services, mothers seeking child support payments, inmates challenging overcrowded prison conditions and more. The Fund for the Public Interest Co-op Stipend Program has been supported through gifts from donors, including the Stride Rite Charitable Foundation, George H. and Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund, Brown Rudnick Special Fund for the Public Interest, the Neil Leifer ’81 Public Interest Co-op Stipend Fund, the law school’s Thomas P. Campbell Fund and countless graduates in all practice areas.

  • Northeastern is well known as one of the top public interest law schools in the nation. The renewable, full-tuition Public Interest Law Scholarship (PILS) is offered to exceptional applicants who possess impressive academic profiles as well as extensive experience in fields concerned with social justice and public service.

    Launched in 1999 by generous donors who believed that the mission of the law school naturally led to the need for such a scholarship, the first class of scholars graduated in 2003. These graduates have built a strong network, giving back to the program and assisting new students as they begin their pursuit of public interest law careers. Once scholars have graduated from the School of Law, it is hoped that a significant portion of their careers be dedicated to public interest law.

    We also offer a variety of other scholarships, such as the Peace Corps and Teach For America Scholarships, for those students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and a solid academic background.

    Selection Process

    To be considered for the full-tuition Public Interest Law Scholarship (PILS) applicants must first gain admission to the law school. All applications received by the priority deadline of March 1 will automatically be considered for the PILS award. Applicants who apply after the deadline may be considered as space and time allow.

    Students who wish to bolster their candidacy for PILS may respond to the optional essay question asking about a specific social justice issue they are most passionate about. This essay should be labeled as a PILS essay in the heading of the document and should be submitted with their application materials via

    Scholarship Benefits

    • Full-tuition scholarship
    • Three $5,000 stipends for unpaid public interest co-ops
    • One-on-one advising including specialized mentoring and guidance regarding public interest law careers and pro bono opportunities
    • Individualized guidance for fellowships and government honors programs by experienced public interest career advisors
    • Close involvement with the managing director and faculty affiliates of the Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration
    • Monthly PILS meetings to discuss public interest-related campus activities

    PILS Day

    Finalists should plan to join us for a special event in March.

    Annual Half-Day Conference: Pioneers in Public Interest

    This annual event celebrates the Public Interest Law Scholars Program and focuses on scholarship related to a pressing public interest issue. Our inaugural conference was held in 2020 and tackled the Battle for Voting Rights.

    Questions or Concerns?

    Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with the Office Admissions if you have any questions about the Public Interest Law Scholarship. You can contact us at or 617.373.2395. 

  • The fellowship, established to honor the accomplishments and continuing leadership of renowned health law expert Professor Wendy Parmet, provides a year’s salary and benefits to one law graduate of Northeastern chosen each year to work with Health Law Advocates (HLA). HLA represents vulnerable people, particularly the chronically ill and uninsured who are seeking access to health care services. Based in Boston, HLA is the only nonprofit law firm in the country affiliated with a grassroots organization (Health Care for All) and is dedicated solely to ensuring access to health care.

    This fellowship is most appropriate for graduates who are interested in a fast-paced learning environment with immediate, direct client contact and hearings and appeals work before administrative agencies. HLA is also involved in state and federal litigation and the fellow has the opportunities to participate in such work as well.  The Parmet Fellow represents vulnerable clients who are being denied coverage for necessary medical treatment by private and public health insurers. This fellowship allows the graduate to blend direct client advocacy with policy work in health law. HLA’s relationship with Health Care For All allows staff to closely monitor and help implement health care policy in Massachusetts with advocates from hundreds of organizations.  This includes health reform implementation, children’s health care, prescription drugs, oral health, disparities in health care, and quality of medical treatment.

    In addition to working with individual clients denied access to health care, the fellow participates in impact litigation, and work with coalitions or on legislative drafting. The Parmet Fellow is also responsible for (at least) one special project, which the fellow helps to choose and develop.

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