Public Interest Law Initiative

PILI Intern & Fellow Orientation

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Each year, PILI hosts a full-day orientation for PILI Interns and Fellows to kick-off the summer. This program serves as an introduction to the Illinois legal aid community and some of the struggles your clients face as well as the impact you can have. We also focus on developing practical skills that will be useful this summer and throughout your career.

This program is only open to PILI Interns and Fellows, and advance registration is required. Business casual attire is appropriate.


9:30 a.m. – Registration & Continental Breakfast


10:00 a.m. – Welcome & Overview of PILI

PILI staff will share more about PILI and our programs as well as give an overview of what to expect this summer and the impact of your work.

10:30 a.m. – Getting to Know the Communities You Will Serve

Public interest law attorneys need a deep understanding of the many dimensions of the communities they serve in order to represent them effectively. During this session, you will receive an overview of the factors contributing to underrepresentation and the cycle of poverty and violence for millions of people in Illinois.

11:30 a.m. – Break


11:45 a.m. – How to Be an Effective Advocate: A View from the Bench

A panel of judges will share their expectations of new attorneys, suggestions on how to be effective advocates, and how you can help increase access to justice.

1:00 p.m.- Intern & Fellow Lunch with PILI Alumni

Hear from the President of PILI’s Board of Directors and Chair of PILI’s Alumni Network Leadership Council on the importance of public service in the legal sector and the impact you can have through public interest law and pro bono work.

Following the presentation, you will have the opportunity to network with each other and members of PILI’s Alumni Network.

2:30 p.m. – How to Interview Your Legal Aid Client

Learn strategies to interview low-income clients in a variety of settings as well as the tools needed to elicit information to assist them. We will discuss making the client feel comfortable, questioning techniques, and how to structure the interview.

3:45 p.m. – Making the Most of Your Internship & Fellowship

PILI Alumni will share tips and best practices to maximize your Internship or Fellowship experience and beyond.

4:45 p.m. – Break


5:00 p.m. – Vicarious Trauma and the Importance of Self-Care

Hear from an expert on self-care strategies for handling stress in the legal profession. Learn about the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma and other daily stressors as well as practical tips you can utilize to promote self-care. PILI Alumni & Advisors will be invited to this session for CLE credit.

6:00 p.m. – Networking Reception

We end our day with a special reception to kick-off the PILI Advising Program. Meet members of PILI’s Board of Directors and Alumni Network and celebrate the start of the Internship and Fellowship Programs. All Interns and Fellows are invited to attend, whether or not you signed up to participate in the Advising Program.

Please register below by Tuesday, May 29th. If you have any questions or problems with the form, please contact Belinda Bing by email or by phone at 312-832-5127.

Venue: The John Marshall Law School, Room 1200

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