Sorry if this has been discussed already; there are so many pages on this forum! I'm currently deciding between Michigan, UVA, and Northwestern, and while I was leaning toward NU for a while, I have heard a few things about how its heavy business orientation results in somewhat of a lack of support for public interest law. I'm definitely planning on a career in public interest, focused on environmental law, so I find such sentiments concerning. I am also a pretty liberal leaning individual myself (not that I need everyone to agree with me; I just want to know that the type of work that I want to do will be not only supported institutionally, but that I will be able to find a supportive community of others with similar interests).
I would also recommend looking at it more as how good a public interest career can you start from the school than how much support the school offers.
I very much agree with this point:
There is a lot of Public Interest support, but yeah I do think most people lean away from it, which just makes the support there is concentrated on the few individuals devoted to PI.
I also want to emphasize that any amount of school support is worth a lot more when the people and organizations they can connect you with are a few subway stops away (we have an alum who works at the EPA who've I've seen at at least 3 events). More importantly, the hands down easiest* way to get a PI job is to intern with the organization while in school.
That means being in a major city with a TON of organizations that do good work and hire is a huge advantage. You can actually work with them during the school year and you summer job will help you expand your network not start it. You'll have that in Chicago, but not in Ann Arbor or Charlottesville. And to the extent that a smaller % of NU students are PI focused that will help them notice you during the school year
* I say easiest not best because not all of those organizations hire every year. That's not a huge deal though because (1) PI people in the same city work with each other a lot and will help you get jobs (2) many people will end up on the fellowship --> job track anyways.