Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) » About PILI

Public Interest Law Initiative

About PILI

The Executive Committee of PILI’s Board of Directors – Vice President Sarah Bernstein, President Brad Lane, Treasurer Daniel Lange and Secretary John Bourke – with PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann

Every year, tens of thousands of Illinoisans struggle to navigate the legal system due to a lack of financial resources. While there is a constitutional guarantee for legal representation in criminal matters, no such guarantee exists for civil matters. Those facing abuse, discrimination, divorce, eviction and other civil legal problems are left to sort through those issues alone. Through public interest law and pro bono service, the legal community plays a vital role in ensuring our legal system is fair and accessible for all by providing free legal help to those in need.

PILI’s mission is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need.

We envision a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where law students, lawyers and legal professionals at all stages of their careers engage in public interest law or pro bono work, and remain committed to addressing the unmet legal needs of the poor and underrepresented.

Our Programs:

PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs place law students and recent law school graduates at public interest law organizations, with PILI providing supplemental educational, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Our Alumni Network builds and maintains the connection between past PILI Interns and Fellows and the public interest law community through educational, networking, leadership, and service opportunities.

Our Pro Bono Program works to increase the availability of pro bono legal help for those who cannot afford an attorney in Illinois by developing innovative pro bono opportunities, offering pro bono programming and resources, cultivating best practices, and celebrating the life-changing pro bono performed throughout the state.

More about PILI:

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