Student Checklist for Public Interest Practicum

“100% my legal research skills have improved. As a matter of fact, considering how well those skills were refined during the practicum, I wish I would have completed the practicum earlier in my law school career. Those legal research skills would have been helpful in a number of classes.”
~DU Law Student, Class of 2011

The Public Interest Practicum is one option for students to satisfy the Public Service Requirement. The only satisfying course offered for only zero or one credit, it requires participation of the JD student in a 50-hour, non-compensated, law-related, public interest placement under the supervision of an attorney or judge who has been in practice or on the bench for a minimum of three years. A practicum student must complete the minimum of 50 hours in one of the following settings:

  • A judicial internship;
  • A government agency;
  • A non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization; or
  • A pre-approved uncompensated research project for a faculty member.

A student may decide to take the Public Interest Practicum for 1 credit or 0 credit. The Public Interest Practicum for 1 Academic Credit requires a Public Interest Practicum Online Seminar component to supplement the practical experience. In either case, every student must complete requirements as listed in the Student Guidelines.

The Public Interest Practicum is beneficial for students who are not planning on satisfying the Public Service Requirement through other opportunities (please see Ways to Satisfy the PSR for a complete listing of the methods in which you may satisfy the PSR).

Please note:

  • You cannot count hours worked at an appropriate organization until you have been registered for the PiP.
  • Students who expect to, currently are, or already have satisfied the PSR shall not be permitted to enroll in the Public Interest Practicum for Credit.
  • A student may earn no more than 15 hours of academic credit from externships during law school (unless participating in the Semester in Practice which allows for 19 credit hours). Externship credits are considered out-of-class credits, and a student may earn no more than 25 out-of-class credits toward their JD degree. A 1 credit PIP will count against both the 15 credit externship limit and the 25 credit out-of-class limit.