Background - A Brief History of PSJD
PSJD - formerly PSLawNet - has come a long way since its founding in 1989 at New York University School of Law as "Pro Bono Students." The idea behind PBS was simple: to create a database of organizations serving under-represented communities that could be searched by law students interested in volunteering. Prior to this time, no easy way existed for law students to identify law-related volunteer opportunities. The program was an instant success, and within a few years, PBS expanded first to law schools throughout the state of New York and then eventually to law schools all across the country. By 1995, Pro Bono Students had become Pro Bono Students America (PBSA) and was collectively run by seven “regional centers.” Each center represented member law schools in its designated geographic area by developing academic-year pro bono opportunities and helping ‘match’ students with those opportunities. The regional centers were also expected to ‘upload’ their regional listings to the PBSA national database so that students from all member schools could search the database for summer legal internships.
PBSA’s innovative technology allowing students to search for academic year and summer internships by geographic location and subject matter was markedly different than any previous public interest resource, and it quickly became the primary research tool for students exploring public interest and government career options. Eventually, the database was expanded to include post-graduate fellowship opportunities and full-time public interest job listings as well. In 1998, PBSA’s name was changed to Public Service Law Network – PSLawNet – to reflect its broader scope as a comprehensive, public interest career resource and job search tool.
By 2000, PSLawNet’s membership had grown to more than 180 U.S. law schools and seven Canadian law schools. This evolution from its inception at just one law school led NYU in 2003 to decide that it was time for PSLawNet to be housed with an organization serving a more national audience. Many organizations were interested in acquiring PSLawNet, and NYU and PSLawNet’s Executive Council deliberated at some length before unanimously selecting NALP as its new home. The strong consensus was that NALP had the unique resources and energy necessary to sustain the tradition of excellence embodied by PSLawNet.
Since that time, PSLawNet has continued to grow and improve. Indeed, in August 2012 PSLawNet underwent not only its latest upgrade, but also a ground-up redesign and a name change: to PSJD, or Public Service Jobs Directory. This latest evolution includes enhanced search functionality, a redesigned career resource database, and more. Best of luck in using PSJD! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.296.0076 to learn more.
- Michelle Grossfield, Chair, PSJD Advisory Group
- Lauren Dubin, immediate past Chair, PSJD Advisory Group
NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond.
What brings NALP members together is a common belief in three fundamental things. First, all law students and lawyers should benefit from a fair and ethical hiring process. Second, law students and lawyers are more successful when supported by professional development and legal professionals. Third, a diverse and inclusive legal profession best serves clients and our communities. That’s why NALP members work together every day to collect and publish accurate legal employment data and information, and champion education and standards for recruiting, professional and career development, and diversity and inclusion. For more than forty years, NALP has played an essential role in the success of our members and the lawyers and law students they serve.