Public Interest Legal Expert Susan Curry to Become Director of Public Interest Law and Policy

Public Interest Legal Expert Susan Curry to Become Director of Public Interest Law and Policy
Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky
Law School Office of Communications
June 23, 2010

The University of Chicago Law School is pleased to welcome Susan Curry to head its new Public Interest Law and Policy Program. Ms. Curry, currently the Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), will formally join the Law School on July 12, 2010.

According to Michael Schill, Dean of the Law School, "The selection of Ms. Curry to run our new public interest initiative is a coup for the school. Susan Curry is among the nation's most respected public interest leaders. She will help us establish our program as the best in the nation." At PILI, Ms. Curry created opportunities for law students and lawyers to do pro bono work and also administered the PILI law student internship and law school graduate fellowship programs. In addition to her role in counseling students wishing to pursue legal careers in the public and nonprofit sectors, she has also developed and  taught courses on non-profit and public interest  lawyering.

Among her duties as Director of the Public Interest Law and Policy Program will be career counseling and mentoring. "We are thrilled that Susan Curry's extraordinary background and skill set will now work on behalf of University of Chicago Law students who are interested in pursuing public sector opportunities," said Abbie Willard, Associate Dean for Career Services and Public Initiatives. "Her addition to our team will allow us to expand our programming for public sector bound graduates and will enable us to encourage all students to take advantage of expanded public interest offerings while they are in law school."

The Director for Public Interest Law and Policy is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of programs, courses, counseling, and placement activities for students and alumni interested in pursuing public interest activities and careers. In this role, Ms. Curry will work closely with the Dean, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Financial Aid, the Dean of Students Office, and various student organizations to coordinate and disseminate public sector information and assist students in all aspects of their public interest career path.

Ms. Curry has spent nearly her entire legal career working in the public sector. Following a short time practicing with a law firm, she worked at the Better Government Association as a staff attorney and then as Assistant Director. In 1992, she became the Legal Director of AIDS Legal Council of Chicago and was promoted to Executive Director the following year. She served as the Executive Director of both PFund and the Minnesota Justice Foundation. Upon her return to Chicago, she consulted with foundations and non-profit organizations before taking her current position as Executive Director of PILI in 2004.

Ms. Curry holds a JD from the University of Notre Dame College of Law, an MA in Public Affairs/NonProfit Management from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a BA from Canisius College.

According to Ms. Curry, "One of my goals as Director of the Public Interest Law and Policy Program is to increase the opportunities for public interest involvement to which our students are exposed. The University of Chicago Law School has a proud of history of public service and the rigorous academic and legal education we give our students is more important in government and the nonprofit sector today than ever before."

Among the new public interest law initiatives already implemented at the Law School are an expansion of the Hormel Public Interest Program which provides loan repayment assistance to students working in public interest careers. In addition, this year the Law School doubled the number of students working in summer public interest law jobs funded under the Heerey, Caplan, and Kirkland & Ellis Fellowship programs.

Michael H. Schill
Abbie Willard