Public Interest Law Initiative

PILI: 40 Years of Impact

Click the image above to learn more about PILI's major accomplishments over the last 40 years.

Click the image above to learn more about PILI’s major accomplishments over the last 40 years.

Founded in 1977, 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.

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.

Through our Pro Bono Initiative Program, PILI enhances the scope and quantity of pro bono legal assistance in Illinois by offering a range of pro bono programming and resources, by developing innovative projects and by cultivating best practices, and by celebrating ongoing pro bono contributions.

Through these programs, PILI is working to build 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.

We have achieved so much over the last forty years thanks to the generous support we have received from the legal community. Here are just a few of the achievements that you’ve help make possible:

  • We are funding the largest number of Law Student Interns ever, with a 51% growth in this program over the last 6 years, significantly increasing the number of clients served by our partner organizations.
  • We raised the stipend for our Law Student Interns for the first time in over a decade in 2016 and have raised it again for 2018, and we are a leader nationally in the funding of law students working in the public interest law sector.
  • We are supporting our largest number of Graduate Fellows, with most major Chicago law firms now offering this program to provide legal training to new associates and much needed help to public interest law organizations.
  • We hold a monthly neighborhood legal clinic, with Alumni from our Internship and Fellowship Programs providing legal assistance to those in need.
  • We have expanded statewide, now placing Interns and Fellows across the state as well as working to expand and enhance pro bono throughout Illinois through innovative projects and partnerships.
  • We launched the Illinois Pro Bono Pledge, and now have over 120 law firms, corporations, and individual lawyers across the state signed on, pledging to increase their pro bono participation.

Join us as we celebrate 40 years of impact in the Illinois legal community with our celebration culminating with our 40th Anniversary Awards Gala on Thursday, November 30, 2017. To learn more about PILI’s 40th Anniversary celebration and how your support can increase our impact today and for the future, contact PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann by email or at 312-832-5129.

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