RWU Law Alternative Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) was started in 2005 by the Association for Public Interest Law (APIL) at Roger Williams University School of Law in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a way for students to assist those recovering from the devastation.

Today RWU Law’s ASB program is a robust and popular program placing students in local, regional and national pro bono legal service projects during spring break. The program focuses on areas of the law where clients often lack adequate representation and works to secure projects that give students the most rewarding experience possible.

Some of our previous ASB placements include:

List of ASB Project Name, Placement Location and Area of Law
Project NamePlacement LocationArea of Law
Bronx DefendersBronx, NYCriminal Defense/ Immigration
Brooklyn Defender ServicesBrooklyn, NYCriminal & Family Defense
Catholic Social Services ILEAPFall River, MAImmigration Law
Center for Indigenous Peoples Rights Cranston, RIIndian Law
Cherokee County Office of District Attorney, Blue Ridge Judicial CircuitCanton, GAProsecution
City of Central Falls Law DepartmentCentral Falls, RIMunicipal Law
Committee for Public Counsel ServicesFall River, MACriminal Defense
Connecticut Division of Public Defender ServicesNew London & Waterbury, CTCriminal Defense/ Juvenile Advocacy
Conservation Law Foundation Providence, RIEnvironmental Law
Death Penalty Information CenterWashington, DCDeath Penalty
Federal Defender Services OfficeWashington, DCFederal Criminal Defense
Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of TexasFort Worth, TXFederal Criminal Defense
Harris County District Attorney's OfficeHouston, TXProsecution
HousingWorks RIProvidence, RILegislative Advocacy/ Housing Law
Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice GroupMultiple Boroughs, NYChild Protection/ Juvenile Delinquency Defense
Legal Assistance of Western New YorkElmira, NYConsumer Law
Los Angeles County Public Defender's OfficeLos Angeles, CACriminal Defense
Medical Legal Partnership BostonBoston, MAPublic Health Law
New York City Law Department - Family Court DivisionBrooklyn, NYJuvenile Prosecution
New York Waterfront CommissionNew York, NYCriminal Prosecution/ Administrative Law/ Labor or Employment Law
Office of Steuben County Public DefenderBath, NYCriminal/Family Defense
Office of the Public Defender - Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach, FLCriminal Defense
Operation Stand DownJohnston, RIVeterans Law
Providence Law Department Providence, RIGovernment Law
RI Attorney General - Criminal DivisionProvidence & Wakefield, RIProsecution
RI Attorney General - Environmental Advocacy UnitProvidence, RIEnvironmental 
RI Center for JusticeProvidence, RICivil Legal Services
RI Legal ServicesProvidence, RICivil Legal Services
Safe Passage ProjectBrooklyn, NYImmigration Law
South Coastal Counties Legal ServicesFall River, MACivil Legal Services
Southcoast Fair HousingNew Bedford, MAHousing Discrimination Law
Southwest Center for Law and Policy/ National Tribal Trial CollegeTucson, AZTribal Law
Sugar Law for Economic and Social JusticeDetroit, MIEmployment/Labor Law
Western New York Law CenterBuffalo, NYCivil Legal Services
Women's Law Project Philadelphia, PAReproductive Justice/ LGBTQ+ Rights

ASB not only supports the work of public interest legal organizations, but it is also a great opportunity for you to get out there and put into practice your legal education.  Use ASB to jump into an area of law that interests you or to learn about a new area of law.  ASB can be a transformative experience.  See what some past participants have had to say:

"Up until now, I never understood when lawyers would visit the school, talk to us and say "if you love doing the work it doesn't feel like work." This is the first job where every time I get a new assignment, I am excited to get into it....It is a feeling I never thought I would have about working or the law."

" of the most important thing I learned was that valuing your clients is one the most important parts of being an attorney."

"I am a strong advocate for Alternative Spring Break because this exposure teaches students what it takes to be a successful attorney for their clients."

“My time spent at [ASB placement] was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had while at Roger Williams.  [My ASB placement] was not just a valuable experience for me to help me discover what I don’t want to do, it helped me understand another area of law that I would probably never have been exposed to…”

“This week opened my eyes to what I really want to focus on in law school and as a lawyer…”

“I’m really happy that I now have some client interaction experience under my belt.”  “This entire experience has shown me how valuable public interest law and pro bono work truly is…”

 “I’ve worked in a corporate setting since graduating college and I’ve never had the feeling that I did working at [my ASB Placement], that I had really made a difference to someone in need.”

“This experience reminded me of why I came to law school…”

“...Alternative Spring Break is one of the best resources that students at this school can use to take the principles instilled in us at school and see where they can be utilized in the real world.  I will be hard-pressed to find another educational experience that is so enriching in just one week.”

“Everyday, I woke up excited to go and I believe anyone else who chooses this program will have a similar enjoyable and engaging experience.”

“Being at [ASB ] this week has taught me that lawyering doesn’t stop with your doctrinal courses….Being a lawyer is so much more…”

ASB is open to all RWU law students, and you can apply to participate in ASB each year you are here if you wish.  Participants are responsible for all travel expenses; however, we do secure air or train fare and provide a small stipend for placements more than 2-3 hours away from Rhode Island.

Want to learn more? We hold an Info Session in early October each year. We announce the placements for the year around December and begin accepting applications in January.  Keep an eye on your email for ASB announcements or stop by the Feinstein Center anytime for more information.

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.