Public Interest Law Initiative

Agencies & Placements

Below is the complete list of the 56 legal service agencies in Illinois that have been approved to participate in PILI’s Graduate Fellowship Program. Please do not contact the agency directly to apply for a Fellowship as all applications must be made through PILI’s online application system.

In order to apply for a specific Fellowship position, you will need to register on llinoisProBono.org before you can submit your application. There is an approval process for IllinoisProBono.org that can take up to 24 hours (longer on weekends and holidays); it is therefore recommended that applicants complete this registration prior to the first day of their application period. After registering and receiving approval, you may apply online.

Apply early! As each agency completes its hiring, they will be closed in our online application system and no longer visible to applicants. Depending on when you apply, you may not find all of the agencies listed here in the online application system.

Interested in doing your Fellowship at an agency not on this list? PILI approves placements outside of this list on a case-by-case basis, when a Fellow is planning to live outside of Illinois during the summer of bar study or when a Fellow’s interests are in a particular area not represented in our current Participating Agencies. Contact PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann to discuss this option.

AIDS Legal Council of Chicago

The AIDS Legal Council of Chicago is the only organization in metropolitan Chicago exclusively devoted to providing legal services and legal information/advocacy to persons affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (“HIV”) including: employment; insurance; discrimination; bankruptcy; HIV testing; confidentiality; immigration; estate planning; guardianship; and public benefits.

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Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes works to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource through policy, education and local efforts aimed at preserving the Great Lakes region as a national treasure. To that end, we draw on many resources, working with teachers, scientists, economists, legal specialists, government representatives, communities and individuals.

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago

Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Chicago (“Advancing Justice—Chicago”) is a pan-Asian, non-partisan, non-profit organization located in Chicago, Illinois, whose mission is to empower the Asian American community through advocacy, coalition-building, education, and research. Advancing Justice—Chicago is part of a national affiliation with affiliates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Advancing Justice—Chicago’s programs include legal and policy advocacy, community organizing, and leadership development.

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Better Government Association

The Better Government Association (BGA) is an eighty six-year old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to combating waste, fraud and corruption in government through a combination of investigative research, policy analysis and public education initiatives.

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Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI)

Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) is a public interest law and policy center that focuses on transforming segregated public housing, increasing the supply of affordable housing, addressing the foreclosure crisis, improving public education, and helping restore open, honest, responsible, and accountable government in Illinois

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Cabrini Green Legal Aid

Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) provides high-impact, free legal services to low-income Chicagoans in four areas of law: family, housing, criminal records, and criminal defense. We actively integrate legal and social services in order to improve our legal outcomes and extend our impact beyond crisis support.

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CARPLS

CARPLS is a legal aid hotline that provides advice, information, and referrals to low-income residents of Cook County. Our mission is to increase access to the legal system for low-income people through our hotline work, as well as through Self-Help Projects, which include written and web-based pro se and client education materials, and our court-based advice desks, which prepare clients to represent themselves on pro se matters.

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Center for Conflict Resolution

The Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) is a Chicago-based organization founded in 1979. In the past three decades, CCR has grown to become one of the nation’s premier not-for-profit providers of mediation services and training.

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Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL)

The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) is a not-for-profit, pro bono Chicago law firm, serving low-income elderly and disabled persons since 1984. With 1,100 volunteer attorneys from throughout Chicago’s distinguished legal community, CDEL handles cases in many practice areas, including estate planning, housing, consumer claims and dissolution of marriage.

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Center for Economic Progress

The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps hard-working, low-income families move from financial uncertainty to financial security. Through our Tax Clinic, we provide free legal representation to low-wage taxpayers facing tax disputes with the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue, if associated with an IRS dispute.

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Centro Romero

CENTRO ROMERO is a not-for-profit community-based organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). It was founded by refugees of El Salvador fleeing civil war, and is named for Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was assassinated during that conflict.

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Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice

Chicago Appleseed is a social impact research and advocacy organization which uses multidisciplinary research to identify community injustices, and to develop and advocate for practical solutions. We focus on the areas of Criminal Justice Reform, Judicial and Lawyer Ethics, Immigration Court Reform, and Family Law.

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Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

All applicants should submit a detailed cover letter explaining why he or she is interested in serving the legal needs of people experiencing homelessness. Also, CCH is interested in any personal experience of the candidate with poverty or injustice.

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Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law is a non-profit law and advocacy organization, whose mission is to promote and protect the civil rights of poor, minority, and disadvantaged people in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic, and political systems of our community and nation.

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Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM)

CLAIM is a nonprofit agency that advises and represents incarcerated or formerly incarcerated mothers at hearings on child custody, guardianship, and mother-child visitation. They also represent guardians of children in the Probate Division with the consent of the mothers.

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Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc.

Founded in 1981, the Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. provides low-cost and free legal services to disadvantaged individuals in the Chicago region. The Clinic’s four offices are located in the communities of South Chicago, Downtown, Pilsen, and Austin.

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Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation

With more than 44 years of experience, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) is the first and pre-eminent pro bono civil legal aid provider in Chicago. With its pool of nearly 2,500 volunteer attorneys, CVLS is unique in its ability to offer a wide range of totally free civil legal aid to the poor and working poor on an individual basis.

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Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology Law Offices

The Law Offices, the locus of the clinical education programs of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, is a teaching law firm which provides representation in a broad range of criminal and civil litigation matters. The educational goals of its clinical programs are to educate the student participants to become reflective practitioners who are highly competent, ethical, and sensitive to their pro bono and other social responsibilities.

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Citizen Advocacy Center

The Citizen Advocacy Center builds democracy for the 21st century by strengthening public participation in community affairs. The Center believes in developing self-government.

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Cook County Office of the Public Guardian-
Juvenile Division

Attorneys in the Office of the Public Guardian’s Juvenile Division represent over 6,000 children alleged to have been abused or neglected by their parent or guardian. The Office has two practice groups in Juvenile Court: attorneys who represent children on a daily basis, and attorneys who engage in impact litigation and appeals. The Division has over 150 attorneys, child interviewers, investigators, and support staff.

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DePaul University College of Law Clinical Programs

Asylum and Immigration Clinic Death Penalty Clinic The DePaul University College of Law Clinical Programs provide legal services to low-income persons and groups working in low-income communities in the Chicago area. PILI Fellows can work in the areas of asylum/immigration or the death penalty. The Asylum and Immigration Clinic represents individuals before the Immigration and […]

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Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC)

DVLC is a civil legal services clinic designed to provide assistance in obtaining orders of protection. We also represent married clients in divorce cases. We serve low-income residents of Cook County who have been subjected to domestic abuse and are seeking protection from the abuser.

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Edwin F. Mandel Legal Clinic

The Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic is the clinical program of the University of Chicago Law School. The Clinic specializes in the areas of criminal justice, civil rights, employment discrimination, the rights of the mentally ill, and low-income housing development.

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Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest

The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, seeks to hire PILI Fellows. Our Fellows support ELPC’s state and federal litigation and policy work throughout the Midwest.

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Equip for Equality

Equip for Equality, Inc. is a private nonprofit, statewide organization whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities by promoting the principles of equality, self-determination, and dignity. The five substantive priority areas of Equip for Equality are discrimination, community integration, safety from abuse and neglect, special education and self-determination.

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Family Defense Center

The Family Defense Center (“FDC “) is a first-of-its-kind legal advocacy organization focused on reform of child protection systems (e.g., the Department of Children and Family Services, juvenile court). Its mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system.

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Federal Defender Program

The Federal Defender Program is a not-for-profit private corporation which provides free legal representation to all persons accused of committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire private counsel.

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Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission

The Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission protects and enforces the rights of individuals with mental illness, developmental disability, or physical disability through three separate divisions. PILI Fellows and Attorneys working through the Extended Placement Program will have the opportunity to work with the Legal Advocacy Service (LAS).

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Illinois Legal Aid Online

Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), www.IllinoisLegalAidOnline.org, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide low-income individuals and the attorneys who serve them with greater access to legal information through the innovative use of technology. ILAO’s four websites serve pro se litigants, legal aid attorneys and pro bono attorneys and are located at www.IllinoisLegalAid.org, www.AyudaLegalIL.org, www.IllinoisLegalAdvocate.org, and www.IllinoisProbono.org.

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Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School, or IJ Clinic, is devoted to assisting lower income entrepreneurs with the legal intricacies of business ownership. A branch of the public interest law firm Institute for Justice, the IJ Clinic acts on the belief that legal tangles shouldn’t get in the way of inner city residents who dream of starting their own businesses

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James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy provides integrated legal and social work services to low-income Evanston youth (21 and younger) and their families to improve their quality of life at home, at school and within the community. Our practice focuses on juvenile delinquency, adult misdemeanor and felony, expungement and sealing and school discipline matters.

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John Howard Association of Illinois

Founded in 1901, JHA is Illinois’ only non-partisan prison watchdog. Our mission is to achieve a fair, humane, and cost-effective criminal justice system by promoting adult and juvenile prison reform, leading to successful re-integration and enhanced community safety.

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John Marshall Law School Pro Bono Program

The John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono Program is a teaching program at the law school that provides legal representation in a wide range of civil and criminal matters. The Program provides an opportunity for students to engage in law-related activities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

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LAF Chicago

LAF handles a wide spectrum of civil cases on matters of core social and economic importance. Case handlers work in one of five practice groups: Consumer, Family, Housing, Immigrant and Workers’ Rights, and Public Benefits.

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Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil right of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV, through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

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Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.

Through its five regional offices (Champaign, Springfield, Alton, East St. Louis and Carbondale), Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation’s lawyers provide a full range of civil legal assistance to low-income residents of 65 counties in central and southern Illinois, including providing advice and counsel, litigation, and community education.

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Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender

The mission of the Cook County Public Defender’s Law Office is to protect the fundamental rights, liberties, and dignity of each person whose case is entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation. Our clients are accused of offenses ranging from traffic and misdemeanor charges to capital murder.

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Lawyers Committee for Better Housing

The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) believes that every individual and family is entitled to decent housing as a basic need and human right. LCBH promotes the rights of tenants to safe, accessible, and affordable housing on a non-discriminatory basis through education, outreach, supportive services, advocacy, and legal representation. LCBH has been providing legal services to low-income renters in Chicago for over 31 years.

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Lawyers for the Creative Arts

Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA) is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal assistance and education to artists and arts organizations of all kinds, the visual, performing, entertainment, and literary throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. LCA has two attorneys on staff who represent clients in-house and who manage a volunteer attorney referral program. Most matters are referred to LCA’s hundreds of volunteer attorneys, but much work is handled in-house.

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Legal Aid Society

The Legal Aid Society was established in 1886 and works with its seven social service centers to bring a variety of legal services to Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens in the communities where they live. The Domestic Violence Team focuses on issues related to family law, including domestic violence, divorce, and child custody and support issues.

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Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy

Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy combines a full range of legal services with a complement of social services to survivors of domestic violence. The agency’s services are free of charge to clients who are predominately poor or of low-income.

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Loyola University Community Law Center Clinics

The Community Law Center and its legal clinics are affiliated with the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The Community Law Center serves low-income persons with a variety of civil legal problems. PILI Fellows of the Community Law Center will represent clients in disability claims, family law litigation, elder law, and in defense of eviction and consumer debt suits.

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MacArthur Justice Center

The MacArthur Justice Center is a non-profit public interest law firm established in 1985 to litigate for human rights and social justice. The Center concentrates on cases raising significant criminal justice issues, such as opposing the government’s use of unjustified detentions in the war on terror; improving the quality of representation for indigent defendants; promoting acceptable conditions of incarceration and alternatives to incarceration; compensating the wrongfully convicted; and limiting the availability of firearms to unauthorized persons.

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Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is a national Latino civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and expanding civil rights of Latinos in the areas of immigrant rights, education, political access, employment and public resource equity.

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Northwestern University Bluhm Legal Clinic

The Northwestern University Bluhm Legal Clinic is the legal clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law. The Clinic serves low-income persons with civil, juvenile and criminal legal problems. PILI Fellows work under the supervision of Clinic faculty on a variety of matters, including juvenile justice, immigration, civil matters, entrepreneurship/economic development issues, and death penalty and criminal cases.

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Prairie State Legal Services

Prairie State Legal Services is a not-for-profit law firm that provides civil legal services at no fee to the poor, elderly, and people with disabilities in 36 counties in northern and central Illinois. In almost all of those counties, Prairie State is the only source of civil legal aid for low-income, elderly and disabled residents.

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Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides free legal representation to low-income persons and groups in Illinois on a wide range of public policy issues. The Shriver Center represents clients before legislative bodies and administrative agencies, in class actions, and in individual cases with broader policy implications. Some of our main public policy areas include public benefits, health care, employment, housing, asset opportunity, criminal background, budget and tax, domestic violence and child support.

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The Law Project

The Law Project (TLP) is a long-standing project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Since 1985, it has provided transactional pro bono legal assistance to community-based organizations involved in economic and affordable housing development.

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Working Hands Legal Clinic

Working Hands Legal Clinic (WHLC) is a joint project of three Chicago area community-based workers’ centers: the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative (CWC); the San Lucas Workers’ Center (SLWC); and the Latino Union (LU).

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