Public Interest Lawyers


Public Interest Lawyers


Lawyers, or attorneys, help clients know their rights under the law and then help them achieve these rights before a judge, jury, government agency, or other legal forum, such as an arbitration panel. Lawyers represent individuals and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Lawyers often choose a field of law in which to specialize. Lawyers specializing in public interest law provide a wide range of services to those who otherwise could not afford legal representation. They also work for organizations advocating for a parti...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Law Degree



Internship or clerkship



Business Management


Personality Traits



Public interest lawyers earn salaries that vary depending on the type, size, and location of their employer. PILs who are employed by government agencies typically earn more than those employed by nonprofit organizations or foundations.

The National Association for Law Placement reports the following starting salaries for public interest lawyers by specialty in 2018: civil legal services...

Work Environment

Offices and courtrooms are usually pleasant, although busy, places to work. Public interest lawyers also spend significant amounts of time in law libraries or record rooms, in the homes and offices of clients, and sometimes in the jail cells of clients or prospective witnesses. Many lawyers never work in a courtroom. Unless they are directly involved in litigation, they may never perform at a t...


According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2028, but record numbers of law school graduates have created strong competition for jobs, even though the number of graduates has begun to level off. Continued population growth and increased numbers of legal cases involving environmental,...