Atlanta Public Interest Opportunities

Atlanta is a great place to study and experience public interest law. 

The city hosts numerous respected organizations engaged in public interest work. Law students have access to both legal and non-legal opportunities in the Atlanta area, allowing them to step out of the classroom and gain first-hand public interest experience in the community.

Legal Public Interest Opportunities in Atlanta

In addition to becoming involved with groups within the law school, students at Emory also have the opportunity to work with public interest organizations in the Atlanta area that are dedicated to providing free or low cost legal services to eligible individuals or organizations.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU works in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU's mission is to fight civil liberties violations wherever and whenever they occur.

Atlanta Legal Aid Society
The Atlanta Legal Aid Society has represented Atlanta's poor in civil legal cases since 1924. Their work helps clients deal with some of life's most basic needs—a safe home, enough food to eat, a decent education, protection against fraud and personal safety. Clients come from Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to providing representation for persons of low income. AVLF arranges pro bono representation in civil matters for financially eligible clients who are residents of FultonCounty, Georgia or who have a case pending in Fulton County.

GreenLaw is a nonprofit public interest law center dedicated to empowering Georgia's citizens by promoting the development and effective implementation of public policy and laws to protect our natural resources. At the cornerstone of the Center's mission is the belief that alone, no single organization can affect the change necessary for long-term environmental protection. Instead, environmental advocacy organizations are most effective when working cooperatively and sharing expertise and experience. To that end, the Center provides significant legal and technical expertise to local, state and national environmental groups.

Georgia Justice Project
The Georgia Justice Project's mission is to ensure justice for the indigent criminally accused and take a holistic approach to assist them in establishing crime free lives as productive citizens. The Georgia Justice Project is a legal organization that reaches out to an individual looking for a long-term, lasting relationship that transcends that of attorney-client. Each client receives thorough, individualized legal representation as well as long-term social service support in the form of prison visitation, individual and group counseling and jobs and job training.

Georgia Legal Services
Georgia Legal Services, an independent, nonprofit organization, provides free legal services to low-income people in civil matters in the 154 Georgia counties outside the five county Atlanta metropolitan area. The mission of Georgia Legal Services is to work for equal access to justice under the law for all people of Georgia.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men and people with HIV/AIDS through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda carries out its legal work principally through test cases selected for the likelihood of their success in establishing positive legal precedents. Lambda has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. Lambda also maintains a national network of volunteer Cooperating Attorneys, which widens the scope oftheir legal work and allows attorneys, legal workers and law students to become involved in the program by working with Lambda's legal staff.

Southern Center for Human Rights
The Southern Center for Human Rights is a nonprofit, public interest legal project, founded in 1976, to enforce the constitutional protection against "cruel and unusual punishment" by challenging excessive and degrading forms of punishment and cruel and inhuman conditions of confinement. The Center challenges discrimination against people of color, the poor and the disadvantaged in the criminal justice and corrections systems of the South, raises public awareness of these issues and works with community groups and individuals to improve the criminal justice and corrections systems and develop constructive, humane and nonviolent solutions to crime.

Southern Environmental Law Center
Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) is the only environmental organization dedicated solely to protecting the natural resources of the southeastern United States. Founded in1986 as a small group of attorneys working on strategic cases to enforce environmental laws, SELC has grown into a multi-faceted organization that is leading several broad-based, regional conservation initiatives to strengthen environmental protection laws and policies. Through direct legal action, policy reform, public education and partnerships with other groups, SELC is playing a major role in setting the environmental future of the South.

Non-Legal Public Interest Opportunities

Atlanta is full of opportunities for students to become involved in the community through public service. Whether you have a few hours one afternoon, or would like to get involved in a longer term project, Hands on Atlanta and United Way 211 can match you with an organization that shares your interests.

Hands on Atlanta
Hands on Atlanta is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals, families and corporate and community groups find flexible volunteer opportunities at more than 400 service organizations and schools. Hands on Atlanta volunteers, now 25,000 strong, are at work every day of the year, building community and meeting critical needs in schools, parks, senior homes, food banks, pet shelters, low-income neighborhoods and more. Hands on Atlanta is an affiliate of City Cares a national umbrella association of 42 "Cares" and "Hands On" organizations across the US and UK.

United Way
United Way is at the forefront of building partnerships, forging consensus,and maximizing resources to address critical needs in communities across America. As the leader in performance-based philanthropy, United Way is focused on achieving measurable results.