1 What is the Public Service Requirement and what are the goals of the requirement?
2 What are the options to satisfy the Public Service Requirement?
3 When can a student satisfy the Public Service Requirement?
4 What is the Public Interest Practicum?
5 What must a student do when he or she intends to satisfy the Public Service Requirement by completing a Public Interest Practicum?
6 How does completion of the Public Interest Practicum affect my options for out-of-class and externship opportunities?
7 When will my Public Service Requirement show up as complete?
8 Do I need to register for the Public Interest Practicum on Banner?
9 Can I satisfy the Public Service Requirement through a paid internship if I do fifty (50) hours of unpaid work?
10 I am doing unpaid work for a private firm. If I am working pro bono, will that satisfy the Public Service Requirement?
11 What if I am receiving credit for my Legal Externship? Does that still satisfy the requirement?
12 What is the difference between the Legal Externship and Public Interest Practicum?
13 Can you find a practicum for me?
14 What if I can’t complete 50 hours of practicum work?
15 Can I do unpaid work for more than one qualifying organization in satisfaction of the PSR?
16 Additional Questions?

1 What is the Public Service Requirement and what are the goals of the requirement?

See the Public Service Requirement

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2 What are the options to satisfy the Public Service Requirement?
See the How to Satisfy the Public Service Requirement

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3 When can a student satisfy the Public Service Requirement?

In general, a student may satisfy the PSR once he or she has completed 30 academic credit hours. However, students who have completed one academic year (either day or evening) may satisfy the PSR through enrollment in a Public Interest Practicum for zero credit even if he or she has not completed 30 academic credit hours. For a quick reference, please review Ways to Satisfy the Public Service Requirement » Students are strongly encouraged to satisfy the Public Service Requirement before their final semester in law school.

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4 What is the Public Interest Practicum?

The Public Interest Practicum is one option for students to satisfy the Public Service Requirement. The only zero or one credit satisfying course, 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 private law firm doing pro bono or low bono work;
  • 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 or 0 credits. This is the only Public Service Requirement option that permits enrollment for little or no 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).

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 24 out-of-class credits toward their JD degree. Your 1 credit PIP will count against both the 15 credit externship limit and the 24 credit out-of-class limit.

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5 What must a student do when he or she intends to satisfy the Public Service Requirement by completing a Public Interest Practicum?

Decide how you wish to complete the requirement – i.e. through a Student Law Office Clinic, Legal Externship, Public Interest Practicum, or Pre-Approved Law School Course. Please review Ways to Satisfy the Public Service Requirement for a complete list of approved ways to satisfy the PSR.

There are two ways to satisfy the Public Service Requirement:

  • Public Interest Practicum (PIP) Satisfaction
    Students who wish to satisfy the PSR by completing a Public Interest Practicum should add themselves to the PIP waitlist on Banner and submit the online Intent Form. Upon submitting the Intent Form, the student will receive an email explaining what paperwork is required for enrollment. Once the appropriate paperwork is submitted, the student’s name will be removed from the waitlist, and the student will be enrolled in a Public Interest Practicum. Note: Completing and submitting the online Intent Form will NOT automatically register a student for the Public Interest Practicum.
  • Non-PIP Satisfaction
    A student may satisfy the PSR through successful completion of another course or program (Legal Externship, Student Law Office Clinic, or Pre-Approved Law School Course). At the end of each semester, after grades have been submitted, the Public Interest Coordinator will confirm names of students who have passed other qualifying courses and programs. The Coordinator will then update the public interest database and Banner to reflect fulfillment of the PSR. Students who would like to confirm that their PSR satisfaction has been marked in Banner should check their Academic Progress Report; PSR satisfaction will not appear on a student’s academic transcript.

    If a student is completing the PSR with a private company/firm externship, then he or she should confer with the Public Interest Office to ensure that the externship meets the parameters of the Public Service Requirement. If it does, the student must ensure that his or her supervisor submits the Private Firm Pro Bono Form to the Public Interest Coordinator.

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6 How does completion of the Public Interest Practicum affect my options for out-of-class and externship opportunities?

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 24 out-of-class credits toward their JD degree. Your 1 credit PIP will count against both the 15 credit externship limit and the 24 credit out-of-class limit.

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7 When will my Public Service Requirement show up as complete?

The Director of Public Interest automatically updates student records for the Public Service Requirement after receiving confirmation of students who have successfully completed PSR satisfying courses or placements. The updates occur approximately four times a year, after grades have been received each semester. Once the student’s satisfaction has been noted, it will be reflected in the student’s APR report through WebCentral.

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8 Do I need to register for the Public Interest Practicum on Banner?

Yes. A student wishing to enroll in a Public Interest Practicum should add himself or herself to the Public Interest Practicum (PIP) waitlist on Banner and complete the online Intent Form. Upon submitting all necessary paperwork, the student will be removed from the waitlist and enrolled in the PIP.

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9 Can I satisfy the Public Service Requirement through a paid internship if I do fifty (50) hours of unpaid work?

Possibly, but please speak with the Director of Public Interest beforehand to ensure that the work you are doing qualifies for the PSR, and to discuss how best to distinguish the unpaid work from your compensated duties.

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10 I am doing unpaid work for a private firm. If I am working pro bono, will that satisfy the Public Service Requirement?

Just because you are unpaid does not mean that the work is pro bono. While you can satisfy the Public Service Requirement by volunteering at a private law firm, you must do at least fifty (50) hours of uncompensated work that the firm has undertaken on a pro bono basis. Please contact the Director of Public Interest with questions about whether a particular project constitutes pro bono work.

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11 What if I am receiving credit for my Legal Externship? Does that still satisfy the requirement?

Many externships with the Legal Externship Office satisfy the Public Service Requirement. (See the Ways to Satisfy the Public Service Requirement). You may satisfy the Public Service Requirement with a qualifying externship for which you received credit.

It is now the policy of the department that 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.

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12 What is the difference between the Legal Externship and Public Interest Practicum?

A Legal Externship is always for credit (minimum 2 credits) and should be utilized for placements where your work commitment will be greater than 100 hours. Most externships are offered for 3 credit hours. An extern must work 50 hours for each credit hour awarded. Students may earn between 2 – 6 credits, per semester. Successful completion of a Legal Externship with a government, judicial, or non-profit entity will satisfy your Public Service Requirement. Private firm/entity Legal Externships may qualify for the PSR. (See FAQ #8)

The Public Interest Practicum may be taken for zero or one credit and is overseen by the Director of Public Interest in the Externship Office. It is the only non-credit option for satisfying the PSR. The Public Interest Practicum for one academic credit requires submission of the Public Interest Practicum Online Seminar component to supplement a student’s 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. The primary difference from an externship placement is the number of available credits and corresponding requirements as well as a more flexible period for registration and completion. (Questions about the registration and completion periods should be directed to the Public Interest Coordinator.)

It is now the policy of the department that 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.

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13 Can you find a practicum for me?

It is the student’s job to find his or her own practicum. While the Director of Public Interest works to develop and advertise practicum opportunities to the student body, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to find a supervisor and a practicum opportunity.

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14 What if I can’t complete 50 hours of practicum work?

In order to pass the Public Interest Practicum for zero or one academic credit, students must complete at least fifty hours of practicum work. There is no exception to this rule and the hours must be completed in no more than two consecutive semesters. Students who do not complete a minimum of fifty hours cannot pass the practicum and will not satisfy the Public Service Requirement.

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15 Can I do unpaid work for more than one qualifying organization in satisfaction of the PSR?

Yes, you can. If you are considering this approach, please contact the Director of Public Interest to discuss where you will be working and how to handle the logistics of this option.

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16 Additional Questions?

If you have additional questions, please contact the Public Interest Coordinator by phone (303/671-6169) or email (publicinterest@law.du.edu).