Public Service Law Program

The Public Service Law Program is an academic certification program developed to give UC Davis School of Law students seeking public service careers a theoretical and practical foundation on which to build. Students who have not yet made a decision on a career path or who choose careers in the private sector are also strongly encouraged to participate in the program, to explore a wider range of law-related careers and to receive recognition for service performed while attending UC Davis. Program participants will sharpen their minds and strengthen their legal skills through academic and experiential components. Each year, a high percentage of King Hall graduates receive their Public Service certificate, demonstrating a school-wide commitment to serving the community. These certificates are awarded at a special Public Service Graduation ceremony designed to honor certificate and award recipients.

Eligibility & Enrollment

UC Davis School of Law Students are eligible to enroll in the program at any time throughout law school by using the online Enrollment Form, but are encouraged to enroll in their first or second year, soon after registering for an approved course or obtaining a qualifying position. After enrolling, candidates for the Public Service Law Program Certificate may notate their candidacy for the certificate on their resumes.

Certificate Requirements

To receive the Public Service Law Program Certificate, candidates must complete a minimum of 15 credits of public service coursework and a minimum of 175 hours of legal work.

Academic Coursework Requirements

Program candidates must complete a minimum of 15 credits of public service coursework from the Program's approved course list. The courses which can be counted toward the public service requirement are also denoted on the Course Descriptions page. Coursework requirements begin in the second year, as all first-year students follow a required curriculum. The academic coursework requirements are attainable for almost every student who seeks to incorporate the approved courses into their studies. Many classes from different areas of interest qualify each semester, enabling students with a broad range of concentrations to complete the requirements while taking classes relevant to their career path. Units from clinical fieldwork may also be counted towards coursework requirements.

Public Service Legal Work Requirements

Throughout law school, program candidates must complete a minimum of 175 hours of legal work in public interest organizations, government agencies, and courts.  In accordance with the National Association of Law Placement's (NALP) Principles and Standards, "first year, first semester students should not initiate contact with employers prior to December 1." 

The work must be professional legal work, performed under the supervision of an attorney or a member of the Law School faculty. It can be paid, volunteer or for academic credit. The experiential component provides students the opportunity to make important contacts with public service attorneys. In addition to assisting public service organizations meet their needs, volunteering offers students opportunities to interact with attorneys and gain practical legal work experience.

Volunteer legal work done through the Pro Bono Program can count towards the Public Service Law Program work requirements.


Students are expected to perform all assignments in a professionally reasonable manner and in accordance with the American Bar Association Model Rules and California Rules of Professional Conduct.  With respect to competence and diligence, students must prepare thoroughly, avoid procrastination, avoid undue delay, and avoid undue emphasis on personal convenience.  Further, students must carry an assigned matter through to conclusion.

It is the responsibility of the student to read the most up to date versions of the ABA Model Rules and California Rules of Professional Conduct.  The ABA Rule 1.1, requiring competence; Rule 1.3, requiring diligence; and Rule 1.6, requiring confidentiality, are especially important.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Local 1199 Salute to Freedom, March 1968


For additional information contact Alec Nocco at 530.752.1980 or


To enroll in the program and submit work records and coursework, complete the online Enrollment Form. Once you have submitted the form, you are responsible for having your supervisor verify your hours by emailing Alec Nocco at Verification of your hours is required to complete the program and be eligible to receive transcript notation and the certificate.

You can submit the form more than once if you want to include additional legal work or coursework to a previously submitted form, but please only include new records to avoid double counting of hours or units.

Those in the class of 2023 who complete the requirements and wish to be recognized in the Public Service Graduation program must submit the form, including supervisor verification no later than March 1, 2023.


Foundation Courses

No course(s) required.


Elective Courses