Public Interest

Become an Advocate for Social Justice

Vanderbilt’s public interest curriculum addresses a wide range of public interest law topics, including equality, access to justice, and human rights. The George Barrett Social Justice Program and the Criminal Justice Program sponsor short-courses and events with guest speakers including prominent practitioners in a wide variety of public interest topics.

An Integrated Curriculum

The George Barrett Social Justice Program aims to promote a dynamic atmosphere within which issues of equality, access and service are openly and regularly explored by faculty and students inside and outside the classroom. Students can choose from a variety of courses and clinics addressing a diversity of topics, including non-litigation strategies for social change; race and the law; drug law and policy; domestic violence; labor and employment; poverty law; mental health law; bioethics; immigration; the death penalty; and wrongful conviction.  

Related Faculty

Daniel Sharfstein

Daniel Sharfstein’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race and citizenship in the United States. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship to research his 2017 book on post-Reconstruction America, Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War, which was a Montana Book Award Honor Book and Southern Book Award finalist. 

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Lauren Sudeall

Lauren Sudeall serves as director of the Vanderbilt Access to Justice Initiative. Her research focuses on access to the courts, both civil and criminal, and how lower-income individuals engage with the legal system, either with a lawyer or on their own. Her earlier work has also included the relationship between rights and identity and the intersection of constitutional law and criminal procedure. 

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Terry Maroney

Terry Maroney investigates the intersection of law and emotion. She is a scholar of criminal law, with specializations in wrongful convictions and in juvenile justice. Her work illuminates how emotional experiences, dynamics, and their management interact with the constraints and demands of varied judicial roles, with deep implications for judges and the public they serve. 

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Have Questions?

Email the Public Interest Office Program Coordinator.

Vanderbilt does not respond to email requests for legal assistance. Please call 615-322-4964.