Become a Social Justice Lawyer at GGU
The world is full of injustice. It exists internationally, domestically, and even within your own community. You might be someone who has always felt the need to fight the good fight to make things better. Your passion may exist in giving people a voice who traditionally may not have had it, or do not realize their rights and how to use them. Perhaps you already work for the public interest and want to continue your work another way – a way that involves the law.
By earning a Juris Doctor, you can obtain tools that allow you to fight injustice through the law. Becoming a social justice lawyer allows you to work to make the world a better and more equitable place. If you are looking to enact change by getting your JD and becoming an attorney, attending a law school that specializes in public interest law will give you the tools you need to develop your social justice lens.
Golden Gate University School of Law has been San Francisco’s law school since 1901. The law school has a Social Justice and Public Interest Law Career Track that sets you on a path to gain the legal skills most useful for this kind of advocacy.
What is Social Justice Work?
According to the National Association of Social Workers, “Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” At its core, social justice encompasses having equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal treatment for everyone.
The reality is that in this world, that is far from the case. Many professions work to right this wrong, such as social workers, educators, and community advocates. Lawyers are amongst those professions. As an attorney, you can do many things. You can fight to change policy to help on a macro level. You can help communities get resources to help on a micro-level. Or you can represent clients who cannot afford representation to help on an individual level. By being a social justice lawyer, you can prepare for careers in places including but not limited to:
- Criminal defense or prosecution
- Legal aid
- Nonprofits and government agencies
- Businesses and law firms committed to inclusion and diversity
- Public office
Social justice work includes legal issues facing our communities today. These issues include voting rights, healthcare rights, income inequality, climate justice, racial injustice, food insecurity, and gun violence.
Social Justice and Public Interest Law Career Track
Enrolling in the public interest career track at Golden Gate University School of Law lets you master real-world public interest issues while you get your degree. You’ll be able to develop the practical skills necessary to find comprehensive solutions to your client’s most challenging legal problems. Public interest lawyers use different modes of advocacy to address problems, and the program gives you the tools to work to create a stronger, more inclusive justice system. Not only will you take core classes that teach about general public interest policies and principles, but you can customize your education by choosing electives in areas such as:
- International human rights
- Gender-based violence
- Immigration and refugee policy
- Criminal justice
- Youth law
- Family law
- Alternative dispute resolution
The world of public interest is expansive as well, and customizing your education with electives lets you lean deeper into what you want your social justice practice to be.
Flexibility for Law Students in Education
Golden Gate University School of Law offers a new, ABA-accredited JD Flex program that lets you take your education into your own hands when it comes to scheduling. It is a part-time program that blends online coursework with 8 weekend on-campus sessions per semester. Summer courses are all online. With the JD Flex Program, you have all of the same rigor and standards as the campus-based full-time JD programs.
“Social Justice is Who We Are”
At Golden Gate University School of Law, social justice is who we are. Our law school embodies social justice and has a strong commitment to the public interest. The curriculum and clinical offerings teach you how to make a difference.
The Social Justice & Public Interest Law track is an option for the JD Flex Program. Students jumpstart their careers by specializing while in law school. Additionally, they stay active in social justice work while advancing their education through this part-time program.
The alumni of our program have gone on to become judges with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Deputy Attorney Generals with the State of California and U.S. Department of Justice. They are now criminal litigators with some of the most renowned public defender offices in the country, such as the Office of the Alameda County Public Defender, attorneys at progressive district attorney’s offices, such as the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and civil rights practitioners who fight daily to ensure justice is served. In addition, they have careers that lead them to be executive directors and founders of nonprofit organizations such as the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. As a Golden Gate University School of Law student and graduate, you become a part of this network the day you accept your offer to start at GGU Law.
Why a Career in Social Justice?
The legal world is vast and there is an endless amount that you can do within it. If you have always wanted to help make the world a better place for those in marginalized communities, those who are oppressed, or those for whom any other injustice has fallen, becoming a social justice lawyer may be the path for you. With the ability to be flexible with your legal education, law school moves from appearing like a daunting prospect to an exciting, achievable goal. At Golden Gate University Law School, you can take the traditional route of earning your degree in person or start in our new JD Flex program.
Enrolling in the Social Justice and Public Interest Law Career Track presents you with the opportunity to jumpstart what you want to do professionally, and you can be flexible with your law school timeline. You can earn your JD and change the world. If this interests you, check our Admissions page today to get started.