Public Interest Law Initiative

About PILI

Board Vice President John Bourke, Board Secretary Daniel Lange, Board President Sarah Bernstein, Executive Director Michael Bergmann and Treasurer Kyle Petersen.

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.

Mission Statement

PILI engages, inspires and empowers those advancing equal access to justice.

Vision Statement

We envision making equal access to justice a reality through a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where pro bono and public interest law engagement is optimized to best serve people, families and communities in need.

Value Statement

We believe equal access to justice is a fundamental right. We believe serving those in need through public interest law and pro bono service is the key to ensuring that right. We believe the Illinois legal community should work together to provide these services, and that it is PILI’s role to facilitate this collaboration. We expect our work to result in a more accessible justice system for all.

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.

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