Public Interest Law Initiative

Participating Agencies

Below is the complete list of the 60 public interest law 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. Learn more about how to apply for a PILI Fellowship.

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 between graduation and starting at their firm, or when a Fellow’s interests are in a particular area not represented in our current Participating Agencies. Contact PILI Program Manager Brent Page by email or by phone at 312-832-5128 to discuss this option.

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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Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

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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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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Catholic Charities Legal Assistance

The mission of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) is to provide access to compassionate and competent legal assistance to the economically disadvantaged in the Chicago area. CCLA has four full-time staff attorneys and numerous volunteer attorneys and paralegals who receive requests for assistance in a variety of areas of the law including, but not limited to, family law, housing, consumer and immigration.

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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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Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) envisions our community free from all forms of sexual exploitation and seeks to achieve that by addressing the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual violence. Our work includes prevention, policy reform, community engagement, and legal services. CAASE is the primary legal referral for all […]

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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 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 Medical-Legal Partnership for Children

The Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children is a legal partnership with medical providers serving pediatric patients with significant health challenges with the ultimate goal of improving children’s access to a full-range of social, educational, developmental, medical and legal services and supports and removing systemic barriers.

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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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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 -
Adult Guardianship Division

The Adult Guardianship Division serves as guardian for approximately 800 adults with disabilities who need a guardian but who have no appropriate family or significant others to act as guardian. As guardian, the office is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the people we serve in all areas of their life including medical care, end-of-life issues, placement, and financial and legal decisions.

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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 nearly 6,000 children, from birth to age 21, alleged to have been abused or neglected by their parent or guardian. The Division has over 130 attorneys, child interviewers, investigators, and support staff. Attorneys in the Juvenile Division are assigned to a child protection courtroom and represent a caseload of children with cases pending in that courtroom.

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Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC)

The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (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 Graduate Fellows – Various Locations

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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Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP)

FLAP’s mission is to improve working conditions for immigrants, migrant, and seasonal workers in the agricultural and landscaping industries in Illinois; including low-income farmworkers, landscapers, snow plow workers, packinghouse workers, cannery workers, and meat and poultry workers. FLAP carries out this mission through outreach, community education, community legal education, litigation, and referrals.

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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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First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA)

First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) provides free, 24-hour, legal representation to people in Chicago Police Department custody and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. FDLA undertake these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system. FDLA also provides educational outreach, participates in community organizing, and engages in systemic reform activities.

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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), is a non-profit organization that uses technology to help people understand their legal options, make informed decisions and represent themselves in court when a lawyer is out of reach. ILAO evens the playing field for millions of Illinois residents with legal problems by offering 24/7 access to free, reliable legal information and tools on IllinoisLegalAid.org. ILAO serves as the central nervous system for legal aid in Illinois.

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Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC) was formed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009 to investigate claims of torture by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge or officers under his supervision.  TIRC examines claims of tortured confessions and determines whether sufficient evidence of torture exists to merit judicial review.  Convicts whom the […]

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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

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 Graduate Fellows – Various Locations

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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Lawndale Christian Legal Center

The Lawndale Christian Legal Center serves North Lawndale youth, age 24 and younger, who are currently involved in the adult or juvenile criminal justice system. LCLC serves youth diverted through the Juvenile Intervention Support Center (JISC), those with pending cases, and those on probation, supervision, or parole as LCLC stays with youth through their entire duration with the criminal justice system, from the time of arrest through the end of any sentencing period.

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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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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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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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Legal Council for Health Justice

Legal Council for Health Justice (formerly known as 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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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 Business Law Clinic

The Loyola University School of Law Business Law Clinic represents entrepreneurs and small business owners who are seeking legal assistance with for profit ventures, as well as individuals who are seeking assistance with nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area.

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Loyola Community Law Center Clinic

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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Loyola Federal Tax Clinic

The Federal Tax Clinic represents low-income individuals who are seeking legal assistance concerning a dispute or potential dispute with the Internal Revenue Service

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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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Prairie State Legal Services Graduate Fellows – Various Locations

Prairie State Legal Services is the civil legal services provider 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. Prairie State provides excellent opportunities for fellows to perform meaningful work and gain valuable experience by assisting clients who need legal help to address basic needs issues. Prairie State has 12 local offices, all of which are possible locations for a Fellowship.

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Resolution Systems Institute

The mission of RSI is to strengthen justice by enhancing court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems. Our unique organization advances this mission through research and evaluation of court ADR programs, dispute system design and program administration, and the curation and dissemination of resources.

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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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SSI Homeless Outreach Project

The SSI Homeless Outreach Project is a project of The Legal Council for Health Justice. The Project specializes in providing trauma-informed advocacy to persons who are homeless, disabled and who are survivors of significant “adverse childhood experiences” (“ACE”).

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The Community Law Project

The Community Law Project (formerly known as the Law Project) 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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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The mission of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws.

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