Public Interest Employers Rise

By Jasminder Deol
NALP Bulletin+
June 2024

NALP's Jobs & JDs analysis for the Class of 2022 found that public service jobs accounted for 30.7% of all jobs taken by employed graduates and that the total number of public interest jobs was at an all-time high for the Class of 2022. While pursuit of a public interest career remains constant with law students, engagement with NALP by public interest employers is limited.

In 2023, after seeing an increase in attendance by public interest employers at the Annual Education Conference, NALP's Public Service Section created a new Employer Relations Workgroup. The goals of this workgroup include creating resources on best practices for public interest employers and identifying ways to increase involvement in NALP by public interest employers.

As public interest career advisors know, the category of public interest employers is vast and there is little consistency with hiring timelines and practices, with variations occurring not just by type or size of employer, but also by geographic region. While many of us work locally on an individual basis with employers, NALP and its broader membership can serve as a resource for many public interest employers in areas related to retention and recruitment. Public interest employers can also provide insight and a different perspective into issues related to professional development, wellness, and more.

This year, representatives from 20 different public interest employers attended the Annual Education Conference in Boston. While this number is low in comparison to other demographics, it is notable. These attendees also contributed to eight presentations, including Building Resilience for Students and Public Interest Lawyers, Identifying and Assisting the Next Generation of Prosecutors on the Post-George Floyd Era, and three presentations with members of the judiciary.

Long-time NALP members Lily Evans and Jennifer Thomas collaborated with private sector employers to present They Don’t Stay Like They Used To: Cultivating Belonging and Engagement and Structuring Your Summer Program on a Budget, demonstrating areas of crossover between private sector and public sector employment. NALP also formalized the Breakfast for Public Interest and Public Sector Employers by adding it to the conference agenda. In addition to involvement at AEC, new NALP members Amanda Doroshow and Lauren Esterle from Acacia Center for Justice co-authored Five Reasons to Pursue a Career as an Immigration Lawyer Representing Unaccompanied Children with their colleague Jill Williams for the March NALP Bulletin+.

These contributions of public interest employers to NALP should not be overlooked and can serve as a reminder of the opportunities NALP and its members have to advance NALP’s mission by increasing engagement with public interest employers.

Later this year the Public Service Section will host Public Interest Recruiting 101, a webinar modeled after Public Service Advising 101 to provide guidance to those public interest employers without dedicated recruiting staff or structured hiring programs. The Employer Relations Workgroup remains active and has already identified new initiatives to work on in the coming year. If you are interested in collaborating with members of NALP’s Public Service Section or have ideas to share with its Employer Relations Workgroup, contact new section Co-Chairs Chelsea-Leigh Flucus and Elizabeth Dunn.

Jasminder Deol ( is the Assistant Dean for Career Development at UC Irvine, School of Law and served as a Co-Chair of the Public Service Section for 2023-24.

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