A public interest attorney is a lawyer who represents clients in cases considered within the "public interest." Public interest attorneys generally work for the government or for non-profit organizations that represent people who are marginalized within society for economic or social reasons. Public interest attorneys generally get paid much less than lawyers who work for law firms, and the goal of public interest law is to help make society more fair and to ensure that all people have access to the legal system and enjoy the full rights of citizenship. There are many different types of public interest attorneys. Examples include legal aid attorneys, prosecutors and public defenders, constitutional and civil rights attorneys, attorneys who assist victims of discrimination and domestic violence, childrens' rights lawyers, attorneys for the homeless, asylum attorneys, elder law attorneys, human rights attorneys, and tenants' lawyers, among many other kinds of public interest lawyers.
Here are a few sample public interest attorney job descriptions:
The candidate will review, analyze, negotiate and draft common commercial contracts as well as venture capital financing documents and private company merger and acquisition documents. Should have 4+ years’ major law firm corporate experience. Familiarity with the issues, tasks and documents relating to formation and representation of new business entities is essential.
Assistant Attorney General - Public Interest - Special Litigation
The candidate will be responsible for all aspects of the investigation and litigation of assigned cases, including investigative memoranda, pleadings, discovery, court appearances, witness interviews, depositions, mediations and settlements, and generally representing the interests of the People of the State of Illinois. Must have 5+ years of litigation experience and be licensed by the State of Illinois at the time of application. Should have a demonstrated commitment to public service work; sound judgment and excellent research and writing skills; and a background in complex litigation and trial work, including familiarity with False Claims statutes.