David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy Specialization

Overview of the Program

Students who specialize in public interest law and policy pursue an innovative and rigorous curriculum, which educates and trains them to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally under-served individuals, communities and interests while enabling them to refine their own career goals. 

This Specialization is at the center of UCLA Law’s pioneering David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, which offers students a rich community of dedicated peers, faculty, administrators, and deeply connected alumni. Beyond the Specialization’s formal coursework requirements, the Epstein Program provides an array of opportunities for students to hear from and engage leading public interest practitioners and scholars, work on current policy problems and become involved in public interest activities within and outside of the law school.

The Program has consistently defined "public interest" broadly, as any and all interests underrepresented by the private market, including the interests of the poor and ethnic minorities, unpopular causes across the political spectrum, and undervalued stakes in the common good (such as the environment). Epstein Program students vary in age, experience, political viewpoint, and educational and social background and contribute significantly to the law school’s intellectually rich learning environment. The Program faculty represent diverse scholarly and pedagogical perspectives and offer rich experience and expertise as public interest litigators and advocates, applied policy experts, and distinguished scholars and teachers. Students in the Program also receive guidance, support and counsel from experienced administrators and Program alumni, who remain deeply engaged with the Program.

Students who wish to specialize in public interest law and policy will apply for admission to the Epstein Program. Through its admissions process, the Program seeks to admit students based on their demonstrated commitment to and competence in public interest work, as well as their academic achievement. Those interested in the highly selective Epstein Program must submit a separate application concurrently with the UCLA Law application. The Program also reserves a select number of transfer slots for students who seek to transfer into the Program after the completion of their first year of law school.