Public Service Law Program

The Public Service Law Program is an academic certification program developed to give UC Davis School of Law students seeking public service careers a theoretical and practical foundation on which to build. Students who have not yet made a decision on a career path or who choose careers in the private sector are also strongly encouraged to participate in the program, to explore a wider range of law-related careers and to receive recognition for service performed while attending UC Davis. Program participants will sharpen their minds and strengthen their legal skills through academic and experiential components. Each year, a high percentage of King Hall graduates receive their Public Service certificate, demonstrating a school-wide commitment to serving the community. These certificates are awarded at a special Public Service Graduation ceremony designed to honor certificate and award recipients.

Eligibility & Enrollment

UC Davis School of Law Students are eligible to enroll in the program at any time throughout law school by using the online Enrollment Form, but are encouraged to enroll in their first or second year, soon after registering for an approved course or obtaining a qualifying position. After enrolling, candidates for the Public Service Law Program Certificate may notate their candidacy for the certificate on their resumes.

Certificate Requirements

To receive the Public Service Law Program Certificate, candidates must complete a minimum of 15 credits of public service coursework and a minimum of 175 hours of legal work.

Academic Coursework Requirements

Program candidates must complete a minimum of 15 credits of public service coursework from the Program's approved course list. The courses which can be counted toward the public service requirement are also denoted on the Course Descriptions page. Coursework requirements begin in the second year, as all first-year students follow a required curriculum. The academic coursework requirements are attainable for almost every student who seeks to incorporate the approved courses into their studies. Many classes from different areas of interest qualify each semester, enabling students with a broad range of concentrations to complete the requirements while taking classes relevant to their career path. Units from clinical fieldwork may also be counted towards coursework requirements.

Public Service Legal Work Requirements

Throughout law school, program candidates must complete a minimum of 175 hours of legal work in public interest organizations, government agencies, and courts.  In accordance with the National Association of Law Placement's (NALP) Principles and Standards, "first year, first semester students should not initiate contact with employers prior to December 1." 

The work must be professional legal work, performed under the supervision of an attorney or a member of the Law School faculty. It can be paid, volunteer or for academic credit. The experiential component provides students the opportunity to make important contacts with public service attorneys. In addition to assisting public service organizations meet their needs, volunteering offers students opportunities to interact with attorneys and gain practical legal work experience.

Volunteer legal work done through the Pro Bono Program can count towards the Public Service Law Program work requirements.

THE COMMITMENT TO CONFIRMED EMPLOYMENT OR VOLUNTEER WORK IS A SERIOUS ONE.

Students are expected to perform all assignments in a professionally reasonable manner and in accordance with the American Bar Association Model Rules and California Rules of Professional Conduct.  With respect to competence and diligence, students must prepare thoroughly, avoid procrastination, avoid undue delay, and avoid undue emphasis on personal convenience.  Further, students must carry an assigned matter through to conclusion.

It is the responsibility of the student to read the most up to date versions of the ABA Model Rules and California Rules of Professional Conduct.  The ABA Rule 1.1, requiring competence; Rule 1.3, requiring diligence; and Rule 1.6, requiring confidentiality, are especially important.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Local 1199 Salute to Freedom, March 1968

Contact

For additional information contact Rachael Shulman

Enrollment

To enroll in the program and submit work records and coursework, complete the online Enrollment Form. Once you have submitted the form, you are responsible for having your supervisor verify your hours by emailing Rachael Shulman. Verification of your hours is required to complete the program and be eligible to receive transcript notation and the certificate.

You can submit the form more than once if you want to include additional legal work or coursework to a previously submitted form, but please only include new records to avoid double counting of hours or units.

Those in the class of 2024 who complete the requirements and wish to be recognized in the Public Service Graduation program must submit the form, including supervisor verification no later than March 1, 2024.

Courses

Foundation Courses

No course(s) required.

Elective Courses

  • 210 Reforming the Police and Criminal Justice (2)
  • 210B The Law of Policing (2)
  • 210D Comparative Criminal Justice (2 or 3)
  • 210ET Race, Mass Incarceration and Policing (2)
  • 210J Best Practices for Justice Seminar: Advocates Working to Improve the Criminal Justice System (2)
  • 210K Sexual Assaults in the Criminal Justice System (2)
  • 210N Aoki Conviction and Sentence Integrity Practicum (3)
  • 210P King Hall Post-Conviction Practicum (3)
  • 210Q Advanced Aoki Criminal Justice Practicum (3)
  • 218 Constitutional Law II (4)
  • 218A Constitutional Law II - Equal Protection (2)
  • 218B Constitutional Law II - First Amendment (2)
  • 218C Critical Perspectives on Equal Protection (1)
  • 218E Direct Democracy in California (3)
  • 218F Implicit Bias and the Law (2)
  • 220A State and Local Taxation (3)
  • 220B Tax and Distributive Justice (3)
  • 222 Critical Race Theory Seminar (2 or 3)
  • 222D Race and the Law (2)
  • 224 Animal Law Seminar (2)
  • 225 Marital Property/California Community Property (2)
  • 226 Disability Rights Law (3)
  • 227B Advanced Criminal Procedure (3)
  • 230C California Environmental Cases and Places (3)
  • 230 International Environmental Law (3)
  • 231 Race, Gender and Inequality (2)
  • 231A Sexuality, Gender and the Law (3)
  • 231B Military Justice and Social Change: Race, Gender, and SOGI (2)
  • 231C Gender and Name Chance Practicum (2)
  • 233 Asylum and Refugee Law (3)
  • 233B A Comparative Study of Forced Migration/Comparative Forced Displacement (2)
  • 235 Administrative Law (3)
  • 241 Voting Rights Seminar (2)
  • 241A Election Law: Voting Rights (2)
  • 241B Election Law: Campaign Finance, Political Speech, and Rights of Political Association (2)
  • 245 Corporate and White Collar Crime (2)
  • 245B Death Penalty Seminar (2)
  • 248B Human Rights in Context (2)
  • 248C Business and Human Rights (2)
  • 251B Labor Law Practicum (2)
  • 253A Community Lawyering (3)
  • 253B International Public Interest Law and Advocacy (3)
  • 254A Law and Rural Livelihoods (3)
  • 254B Access to Justice (2)
  • 256 Land Use Planning and the California Environmental Quality Act (2)
  • 257 Legislative Process (2)
  • 258/258H Professional Responsibility (2 or 3)
  • 258B Mindfulness and the Law (2)
  • 259 Feminist Legal Theory (2)
  • 259B Women’s Human Rights (2)
  • 260 Employment Discrimination (3)
  • 260A Employment Law (3)
  • 262B Regulated Industries (2)
  • 264 Water Law (3)
  • 264A Ocean and Coastal Law (3)
  • 265 Natural Resources Law Seminar (2)
  • 267 Civil Rights Law (2)
  • 271 Nonprofit Organizations and Drafting: A-Z Coverage with Document Drafting (4)
  • 271T Nonprofits Organizations: Key Legal Topics (2)
  • 273A Education Policy and the Law (3)
  • 275 Complex Litigation in a Civil Rights Context (2)
  • 276 Juvenile Justice Process (2)
  • 276A Child Welfare and the Law (2)
  • 276B Children and the Law (3)
  • 277 Federal Indian Law (3)
  • 281 State and Local Government Law (3)
  • 282 Energy Law (2)
  • 282A Renewable Energy Seminar (2)
  • 285 Environmental Law (4)
  • 285A California Environmental Issues (2)
  • 285B Environmental Practice (3)
  • 285D Farmworkers and the Law (2)
  • 285E Climate Change Law and Policy (3)
  • 285F Environmental Justice (2)
  • 285G Environmental Law Seminar: Emerging Technologies and the Environment (2)
  • 286 Health Care Law (3)
  • 286B Public Health Law (2)
  • 286C Bioethics (3)
  • 286E Reproductive Rights, Law, and Policy (2)
  • 287T Law and Society Seminar (2)
  • 290T International Trade Law: Public Law Issues (3)
  • 292 Immigration Law and Procedure (3)
  • 292A Advanced Topics in Immigration and Citizenship Law Seminar (2)
  • 292C Humanizing Deportation (2)
  • 293 Public Interest Law Seminar (2)
  • 298A Leadership and the Law (2)
  • 298B Trauma-Informed Lawyering (2)
  • 408 Community Education Seminar (3)
  • 411B Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy (1-2)
  • 420 Civil Rights Clinic (2 to 6)
  • 435 Domestic and Sexua Violence Law Clinic (4)
  • 440 Immigration Law Clinic (4 each semester)
  • 445A-B Aoki Water Justice Clinic (3-5)
  • 450 Environmental Law Externship (2 to 6)
  • 455 Employment Relations Externship (2 to 6)
  • 460 Public Interest Law Externship (2 to 6)
  • 470 Administration of Criminal Justice Externship (2-6 or 12)
  • 475 Washington UCDC Law Program (10)
  • 475A Law Making and Law Changing in the Nation's Capital (3)