The Pacific McGeorge Public Legal Services Society (PLSS) is a student organization dedicated to enhancing the ability of law graduates to choose public interest or public service careers. PLSS was established in 1990 by students who recognized that student loan debt could very likely deter or prevent their employment in jobs that serve the public interest.
Assisted by faculty and staff, the students began the tradition of a yearly auction to raise money to fund a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). With the encouragement of the law school, PLSS expanded its mission to include funding students’ summer internships in public interest work.
With the assistance of PLSS grants, Pacific McGeorge students are able to engage in meaningful public assistance and public policy related legal work in a wide variety of organizations, both domestically and abroad. The LRAP continues to support Pacific McGeorge graduates in public interest positions, including legal services organizations, district attorney and public defender offices, state agencies and more.
To further PLSS’ mission, the once exclusively student organization has built a network of faculty, staff, alumni and friends in the community who lend support and advice. In 2008, a PLSS Alumni Board was created with the goal of recapturing the passion of alumni who served the organization as students and drawing on their expertise in both fundraising and in creating a network of public interest contacts and placements for current students.
PLSS also organizes career development, educational, and community service activities for the McGeorge community.
Many students do not realize that the type of law they want to practice falls under the public interest “umbrella.” Generally, attorneys who represent state agencies, non-profits, and/or members of the indigent community are considered public interest practitioners. In addition, many attorneys at private law firms that bring causes of action to protect civil rights, civil liberties, women’s rights, or the environment are considered public interest lawyers.
The following are generally considered public interest employers:
Mission & Goals — the mission of the PLSS Community Outreach Chair is to: (1) organize and recruit students to participate in volunteer projects, (2) coordinate and combine efforts with the McGeorge Alumni Community Service Committee and other local non-profit organizations, (3) strengthen McGeorge’s ties with the Oak Park community through philanthropy and fundraising, and (4) promote PLSS’s reputation in the Greater Sacramento area.