Public Interest Law Initiative

2020: Defining Justice

PILI’s mission is to engage, inspire and empower those advancing equal access to justice. 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.

PILI and the legal community talks a lot about increasing access to justice, but what do we mean by justice? PILI is exploring that question through our “2020: Defining Justice” campaign. Over the course of the next year, we will be defining what justice means to us and showing how PILI’s work increases access to justice while working to raise $80,000 in new funding for PILI’s programs.

We asked some of our supporters and volunteers to share with us what they believe justice is and how PILI is working towards that ideal.

Some of the ways in which PILI defines justice through our work include:

  • If veterans fight for our country, but then can’t get legal help when they need it, that’s not justice. That is why PILI connects veterans with pro bono lawyers through our participation in the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network to help with benefits and other civil legal issues.
  • If a small business or nonprofit doesn’t have a fair chance to gets its start, that’s not justice. That is why PILI places Graduate Fellows at nonprofit organizations like those that help new businesses and nonprofits work through the legal barriers to get started.
  • If a child with a learning disability doesn’t receive a good education, that’s not justice. That is why PILI funds and supports Law Student Interns to provide legal assistance such as helping making sure children are given an equitable education experience.
  • If someone loses their home because they didn’t understand eviction court proceedings and couldn’t afford a lawyer, that’s not justice. That is why PILI manages Illinois Free Legal Answers website where people in need of legal assistance can ask lawyers questions online.

These are just some of the ways in which PILI defines justice through our work to advance access to justice for all. Did you know all that PILI does? »

At PILI, 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.

We hope you will join us in making justice accessible for all.

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