Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that focuses on careers in public service for lawyers. Equal Justice Works’ stated mission is “to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice.”[1]


Founded in 1986 as the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL), the organization works with law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments and nonprofit organizations to provide the training and skills that enable attorneys to provide legal assistance to the poor and other vulnerable populations.[2] The law school affiliates of NAPIL were known individually as APIL.

Research has shown that early public interest experience for law students and new lawyers leads to a lifelong commitment to justice, but that debt keeps many law graduates from taking public interest jobs.[3] Equal Justice Works has contributed to the research and advocacy of loan repayment assistance programs and the College Cost Reduction And Access Act of 2007.[4]

One hundred ninety-five law schools (including 189 of the country’s 196 American Bar Association-accredited law schools)[5] are members of Equal Justice Works and participate in programs to develop public interest training and opportunities. The organization publishes The E-Guide to Public Service at America’s Law Schools, an online resource of public service opportunities, curricula and financial-aid programs. Equal Justice Works also hosts an annual Conference and Career Fair for employers, job seekers and law school professionals.[6]

Through "Summer Corps"—a partnership between Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps—350 law students serve at nonprofit legal aid organizations every summer.

Also with the support of AmeriCorps, "Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellows" raise awareness of public interest issues at law schools and recruit law students to do pro bono work to advance public service as a career-long commitment. In 2009, the federal government doubled its support of Equal Justice Works' AmeriCorps programs to assist in foreclosure prevention and economic recovery.

"Equal Justice Works Fellowships" is the largest postgraduate legal fellowship program in the United States.[7] The projects proposed by the Fellows are varied and tend to reflect unresolved social and legal issues including immigration, health care and civil liberties.[8][9]


Equal Justice Works is governed by a board of directors made up of law firm partners, corporate counsel, legal educators and executives from legal services agencies. The 35-member staff is led by Executive Director David Stern, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Susan Gurley, and a management team of four directors at its Washington headquarters.


  1. "About Us". Equal Justice Works. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
  2. "A Noble Mission: Filling The Pipeline With Public Service Lawyers". Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. September 2006. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  3. Mangan, Katherine (January 26, 2007). "Debt Keeps Many Law Graduates From Taking Government Jobs". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  4. "Social law is victim of debt". The Times Higher Education Supplement. February 16, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  5. "ABA-Approved Law Schools". abanet.org.
  6. Ambrogi, Robert (2004). Essential Guide to the Best and Worst Legal Sites on the Web. New York, NY: ALM Publishing. ISBN 1-58852-117-6.
  7. Dodson, Doreen. “From the Chair: NAPIL Announces an Expanded Fellowship Program for Public Service Lawyers.” American Bar Association’s Dialogue Magazine, v.2, #3. April 1998.
  8. Lore, Michelle (October 8, 2007). "Minnesota firms sponsor Equal Justice Works fellowships". Minnesota Lawyer. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  9. Griffin, Greg (March 15, 2006). "Denver lawyer puts power back in hands of disabled Kmart shoppers". Knight-Ridder Tribune. Retrieved March 19, 2008.

External links

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