UToledo College of Law Named Among Top Schools for Public Service

June 17, 2020 | News, UToday, Alumni, Law
By Diana Case

The University of Toledo College of Law was ranked nationally in preLaw magazine’s “Best Law Schools for Public Service” in the area of public interest law.

In identifying top schools, the magazine reviewed employment data (50%), curricula (40%), and debt and loan repayment options (10%).

The UToledo College of Law has a rich history of training students for successful careers in public interest law. Public interest lawyers use the legal system to promote justice and the advancement of the public good. Graduates have a passion for public service and may choose to work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or law firms focused on public interest work.

The college offers numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in public interest law through legal clinics, commendation program, fellowships and externships.

Legal clinics within the law school place students in supervised settings to provide community members with legal services at low and no cost. Students benefit from a rigorous and dynamic experience that combines a structured classroom curriculum with individualized instruction and collaborative learning.

The UToledo College of Law’s Public Service Commendation Program recognizes and encourages student pro bono engagement in the community and region. Students earn a commendation each academic term in which they complete 30 or more documented hours of unpaid, law-related service work. Students can secure their placements or work with the college to find volunteer opportunities with area organizations, including the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Since the program’s inception in 2007, students have dedicated more than 24,500 volunteer hours.

In addition, the College of Law offers several public interest fellowships and public service externships for students to gain experience in courts, government agencies and public service organizations.

Students also can join the Public Interest Law Association student organization to explore career opportunities, raise funds for public interest fellowships, and partner with organizations on community outreach.

“One distinct mission that we have at the UToledo College of Law is to ensure that we provide our students with experiences that encourage them to develop awareness of and a dedication to public service and public interest during law school and beyond,” said Maara Fink, clinical professor of law and director of externship programs.

“A vast majority of our students enroll in at least one semester of our Public Service Externship Program during their time at the college. This program provides them with opportunities to explore various areas of public interest practice at placements throughout northwest Ohio and beyond — with many choosing employment at the same offices and agencies upon graduation,” Fink said.

She added, “In addition, through the Civil Advocacy Clinic, our students provide direct legal services to members of our community in need and recognize the importance of ensuring that legal representation is not just limited to those who can afford it. Due in large part to these and other opportunities at the College of Law, our students leave aware of and committed to a lifetime of public service in practice.”

Read the full article “Best Schools for Public Service” in the Winter 2020 issue of preLaw magazine.

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