Ethics and Social Justice
Our inclusive Jesuit mission of educating minds and hearts to change the world integrates humanity and ethical conduct into the practice of law.
The noted public interest law program at USF includes a certificate option, public interest internships, an annual social justice retreat, the Law In Motion Service Program, as well as many other service-oriented activities. Numerous law school centers and clinics allow students to pursue public interest objectives, such as the Child Advocacy Clinic, Employment Law Clinic, and the Center for Law and Ethics. All students may enroll in the numerous social justice courses offered by the USF School of Law, such as Elder Law, Predatory Lending Law, and Race Law and Policy.
Lindbergh Porter | Class of 1981
"At USF the faculty and administration believe that they are preparing students to be full participants in both the legal community and the larger community in which they live."
Students may earn a Public Interest Law Certificate through a combination of course work, practical experience, and community service. Students who complete the certificate program work extensively in public interest and government organizations, in addition to volunteering at community organizations.
The annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Law Retreat provides a foundation for students' public interest ambitions and offers professional networking opportunities.
The Law In Motion Service Program provides opportunities for the law school community to reflect on issues of social justice through organized events, such as serving meals at St. Anthony's Foundation Dining Room, hosting an annual Halloween Fair for local elementary school students, and providing tax filing assistance to low-income individuals.
Professor Steve Shatz | JD, Harvard University
"At USF we believe that every lawyer has an obligation not only to represent clients to the best of the lawyer's ability but also to promote justice in this world, and we hope that our summer internships and other social justice programs will inspire students to undertake that task."
The Public Interest Law Foundation provides financial support to students who pursue unpaid summer internships in the public interest sector and honors those committed to equality and justice at its Annual Gala Auction and Awards Ceremony. Past honorees have included former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart and National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter, and Equal Justice Society President Eva Paterson.
The Law Student Pro Bono Project, co-sponsored by the USF School of Law and the Public Interest Clearinghouse, matches students with volunteer projects at legal aid agencies, court-based programs, and social service providers.
Students who participate in the Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project perform hands-on legal work aimed at the interim reform, and ultimate abolition, of the death penalty in the United States.
The University of San Francisco has earned placement with distinction on the Corporation for National Community Service President's Honor Roll, in part due to law school centers and programs, every year since the program was launched in 2006; USF is one of only 19 schools to be recognized with distinction every year since the program's inception.