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Civil Rights/Liberties

Many public interest students come to law school because they are inspired to help achieve equality through the law. Lawyers who seek to protect and enforce civil rights and civil liberties can be found in a variety of arenas. One might focus on DIRECT LEGAL SERVICES or class-action LITIGATION to enforce existing civil rights laws in areas like EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, and housing, or to set new precedents in emerging areas like international human rights or technology and civil liberties.

Others may choose to use legislative advocacy to change laws to better protect civil rights and civil liberties. Increasingly, civil rights lawyers are embracing non-litigation strategies as well, so community organizing and media advocacy may also come into play. Lawyers might work on civil rights and civil liberties from within government at the federal or state level; from the nonprofit sector; or even from the private sector at a plaintiffs’ side law firm or through pro bono work while at a defense-side firm. Each of these venues offer different advantages and face different kinds of constraints.