William H. Gates Public Service Law Program

As a public institution, UW Law promotes social justice and equity, engaging in today’s pressing issues across the landscape of law, business and public policy. Advancing access to justice and opening opportunity is integral to who we are.

The William H. Gates Public Service Law Program, named in honor of William H. Gates Sr. and his commitment to public service, is the central hub for public service and public interest law at UW Law. The program encompasses events and programming, career coaching and academic advising, pro bono service and leadership development.

Our students are presented with many opportunities to help reduce the barriers in access to justice and build the foundation to a career in public service, including:

Public Service Graduation Requirement

J.D. students are required to perform at least 50 hours of public service legal work through clinics, select externships, or other approved pro bono projects with the goals of:

  • Educating students about an attorney’s ethical responsibility to provide pro bono legal assistance, particularly to those who would not otherwise have access to the legal system.
  • Fostering in students a lifelong commitment to public service by providing the opportunity and training vital to the development of such a commitment.
  • Developing students’ lawyering skills by providing them with work experience under the supervision of an attorney.

Public Service Concentration Track

J.D. students also have the opportunity to pursue a public service concentration track. Upon completion, graduates receive special notation on their transcript.

Gates Public Service Law Program news

  • Gates Scholar Karla Davis, sitting outside William H. Gates Hall
  • Public service is community. It’s the idea of seeing a problem and taking it upon yourself to be part of the solution with whatever means you may have at your disposal, whether time, money or effort.

    — Karla Davis, Gates Scholar 2017