Leaders Entering and Advancing Public Service

Leaders Entering and Advancing Public Service (LEAPS)

Our goal is to develop public service leaders. The LEAPS program integrates the academic, career and experiential opportunities that touch public service at BC, providing opportunities for students to discover and develop their talents for advancing the public good through their chosen legal path.

Each year, our LEAPS Public Service Scholars become a core part of the entering 1L class, but the LEAPS experience extends across the entire student body beginning with our leadership read early in the fall semester. It continues at our Public Interest Law Retreat where students get to know each other, explore various public interest career paths, and meet alumni, faculty, and student organization leaders. We offer LEAPS-related academic and experiential course offerings, faculty mentoring, career-related programs, pro bono opportunities and immersion trips, and many events with student organizations.

Contact the Director

The LEAPS Faculty Director helps guide students through the various leadership and public service opportunities at BC Law. Contact Evangeline Sarda to learn more.

Student at pro bono event

The Pro Bono Program

Our Pro Bono Program connects students to a variety of placements and organizations where they gain invaluable experience, develop critical skills, and build relationships with practitioners and other professionals by pledging 50+ hours of law-related community service.

Class of 2020


Participated in the Pro Bono Program 

Completing 16,900 hours of service

From BC Law Magazine

Shannon Johnson ’15 was selected as one of two law students nationwide to receive a Merit Distinction for the PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award.


Shaping Public Service Leaders

The pro bono program gave me the opportunity to learn and develop lawyering skills in the real world. It is an extremely rewarding experience to take what you have learned and use it to positively impact someone's life.
Heather Perez '17, Pro Bono Program participant
Student working in Center

Public Interest Designation Program (PIDP)

PIDP prepares students to launch meaningful public sector careers. PIDP students contribute not only to the BC Law community but also to the local, national, and international communities they serve. Students who complete PIDP’s requirements are honored as Public Interest Designation Fellows at Commencement.

Class of 2020


of students participated in PIDP

Program Requirements

Complete 15 hours of public interest coursework

Participate in experiential learning offerings—completing a clinic, an independent study with corresponding pro bono placement, or a public service Semester in Practice or other qualifying externship

Spend at least one summer interning with a public sector employer

Take BC Law’s pro bono pledge and complete 50+ hours of public service

Student at event

The Curtin Center

Opened in 1999 and dedicated by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the John J. and Mary Daly Curtin Center for Public Interest Law serves as the physical home for the Law School’s LEAPS initiatives supporting public interest legal work.

Funded through a gift by former American Bar Association President John J. Curtin Jr., BC '54, JD '57, the Center is, in the words of the late Mr. Curtin, “a visible sign of the commitment to public service for Boston College and its students."

In addition to offices and a formal conference room, the Center also provides casual meeting, study, and common space for students involved in various LEAPS public service and pro bono activities. BC Law students regularly complete over 13,500 pro bono hours annually and anout 20% of graduates participate in the Public Interest Designation Program. The Center allows these students to share their experiences and reflect on the educational and formative impact of their work.

Mr. Curtin maintained that when it came to public interest legal work, “the spirit is alive, but must be nourished." The Curtin Center for Public Interest Law continues to support, encourage, and nourish our students' commitment to public service.  

Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)

Housed in the Curtin Center, PILF aims to promote public interest law-focused activities at BC Law. PILF hosts an annual auction, and the proceeds along with matching funds from other generous supporters provide grants to students who would not otherwise be able to afford to work in these traditionally low-salaried areas. PILF also supports the Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment Assistance and Forgiveness Program for graduates who pursue careers in public interest law. 

Pro Bono Praise

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Geraldine Hines and members of the SJC’s Pro Bono Standing Committee praised BC Law's strong commitment to service.

Jack Curtin's life is a shining example of something we hold most dear at Boston College Law School: a life spent in service to others in a myriad of ways.
Vincent Rougeau, Dean

Spring Break Pro Bono Immersion Trips

New Orleans, Phoenix, Chicago—to some students those cities might sound like fun spring break destinations, but for a number of BC Law 1Ls, they were places to learn complex truths about practicing law. For decades, during a week in spring semester, the school has been sending aspiring lawyers across America to gain experience in international human rights, immigration, Native American law, and more.

Read Story

Make Your Case in Federal Court

In our Ninth Circuit Appellate Program, students hone high-level skills in client communication, legal research, brief writing, and oral advocacy as they argue (and often win) real immigration cases before the bench in Federal Appeals Court—a chance that many seasoned lawyers never get over an entire career.

California Ninth Circuit program