Public Interest and Pro Bono Overview

The Public Interest and Pro Bono Program is directed by Alan Morrison, the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law.  It is divided into four main areas:

  • The Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics are under the direction of Phyllis Goldfarb, the Jacob Burns Foundation Professor of Clinical Law and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. The Clinics focus on various types of legal practice, services, and policy:  family law; immigration law; health law; international human rights; federal criminal appeals; domestic violence; public justice advocacy; neighborhood law & policy; and small business & community economic development.  The 2011-2012 year marked the 40th Anniversary of the Burns Legal Clinics. 
  • The Field Placement Program is under the direction of Jessica Tillipman, Assistant Dean for the Field Placement Program. It is one of the nation's largest law school externship programs, and is offered year-round.
  • The Pro Bono Program is under the direction of David Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono & Advocacy Programs. Students volunteer to work for non-profit or government organizations, on projects that are organized by student groups on their own, or on projects for non-profit organizations doing legal work.

In 1971, Alan Morrison teamed up with Ralph Nader to found and direct the Public Citizen Litigation Group, the litigating arm of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Over the span of his career, Dean Morrison argued 20 cases before the United States Supreme Court. His deanship is endowed by the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation. Dean Morrison authored the following documents:

Public Interest/Public Service Law Annual Report

New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement Memorandum

Suggestions to the New York Pro Bono Requirement Memorandum

GW Pro Bono Program Takes on BP Oil Spill

Making Public Interest Affordable 

David Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Advocacy Programs, currently oversees the Pro Bono Program after serving the Law School for nine years as a Senior Assistant/Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Dean Johnson has taught legal courses to inmates in prisons, run a public interest law school’s career services office, and placed hundreds of students in externships and jobs serving the public interest in the Washington, DC area. He also oversees GW Law's involvement with DC Law Students in Court, a public interest legal clinic he participated in during law school.

Spotlight Item: Pro Bono Recognition Ceremony

Pro Bono Recognition Ceremony

Students dedicate thousands of hours each year to pro bono legal services and are honored at the annual Pro Bono Recognition Ceremony held at the Nationals Park. View Photos.

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