Public Interest Law
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
What is Public Interest Law?
Ask a Public Interest Lawyer for Legal Advice
Public interest law generally refers to the interest of a person or parties for the wellbeing of the common good, usually through the management of local, state, and national affairs of government. Public interest law becomes relevant when someone with a passion for a specific issue decides to take action to address the way the issue is handled. This field of law is extremely broad and encompasses many more specific fields, ranging from arts and entertainment legislation to voting and campaign legislation.
While at first, it might seem as if matters of personal injury law should fall into the public interest category, this is not the case. There are a variety of differences between traditional law firms, nonprofit organizations, and public interest law firms.
To address an issue that falls under public interest, contact a public interest lawyer to learn what kind of action you can take to move toward the change you want to see. While most public interest lawyers work in private, for-profit law firms, their focus tends to be on assisting and repairing the system that has previously harmed underrepresented people. This results in a different approach by public interest lawyers regarding which clients they generally take on. In these situations, the choice to take a client’s case is more likely to depend on the level of need for the change or recuperation the client wants to see, rather than a client’s ability to make them copious amounts of money in a successful case.
Common Areas of Public Interest Law
There are a variety of public interest issues for which there has been and continues to be ongoing litigation fueled by parties who want to see a particular change happen. You will likely be familiar with a variety of these issues.
Common areas of public interest law include:
- Labor and employment
- Migrant workers
- LGBTQ issues
- Gun control
- Human rights
- Native American or tribal law
- Criminal defense
- Environmental law
- Disability rights
- Trusts and estates
- Voting and campaign finance
- Arts and entertainment
- Women’s issues
- Prison issues
- Animal issues
Why Public Interest Law Firms Operate Differently
While many law firms function on a for-profit basis, with the focus on how much money a potential case can bring in for both the victim and the legal team representing the case, public interest law firms work a little differently. Public interest law firms function similar to nonprofit law firms; however, public interest law firms do not have access to the same grants and federal funding as a non-profit. Public interest law firms typically experience greater freedom regarding the kind of cases they can select to represent, even if those cases do not have the potential for a high monetary payout. The focus for most attorneys in public interest law is often to advance legislation in an issue they are personally passionate about.
To discuss an issue that you believe falls under public interest, contact a public interest attorney to learn more about your options and what you can do to pursue justice and change to benefit the common good.