Public Interest Law Initiative

Report on PILI’s Summer 2019 Fellows

Posted on: October 23, 2019

Who where they?

This summer, 78 Graduate Fellows served 300 hours between graduation and joining the firm, together contributing 23,400 hours of legal services on behalf of thousands of low-income individuals and families.

  • 49% of the class were women
  • 33% identified as racially or ethnically diverse
  • 53% were from Illinois law schools
  • 12% identified as LGBTQ

What did they do?

Direct Legal Services

This summer, 65% of PILI Fellows provided direct legal services to 517 clients. Of those clients,

  • 42% were people of color
  • 35% were women
  • 31% were people over 50
  • 22% were people with disabilities
  • 15% were people whose primary language was not English
  • 9% were immigrants
  • 6% were children
  • 4% were veterans
  • 2% identified as LGBTQ

Brief Legal Services

This summer, 56% of PILI Fellows provided brief

Legal services to 841 clients. Of those clients,

  • 61% were people of color
  • 51% were women
  • 38% were people with disabilities
  • 36% were people over 50
  • 13% were people whose primary language was not English
  • 10% were immigrants
  • 6% identified as LGBTQ
  • 4% were children
  • 3% were veterans

Other Legal Services

This summer, all Fellows provided other legal services, including

  • Legal & policy research or writing (60%)
  • Administrative work/legal support (51%)
  • Community outreach/education (19%)
  • Drafting or reviewing legislation (19%)
  • Class actions or impact litigations (17%)
  • Community Organizing (10%)
  • Field investigations (9%)

Fellowship Program Date Range

Year Start Before May 1st End After October 1st Average Length of Fellowship (in Days)
2019 23% 5% 103
2018 11% 8% 104
2017 8% 7% 97

 

Advising Program

Thirty-nine Fellows (50% of all Fellows) participated in the PILI Advising Program and, of those surveyed, 95% said they interacted with their advisor at least once. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being “Very Good,” Fellows rated the Advising Program a 4.2, which is slightly better than last year.

“It was nice to see someone working in the field I would like to be in and still doing public service.”

– 2019 PILI Graduate Fellow

Overall feedback from Fellows:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “very poor” and 5 being “very good,” Fellows rated the program a 4.7 overall.

100% of Fellows who responded said they would recommend the Graduate Fellowship program to others.

Work Experience

Fellows indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the following statements regarding the quality of their Fellowship experience:

5 = Strongly Agree, 4 = Agree, 3 = Neutral, 2 = Disagree, 1 = Strongly Disagree

Average
A majority of the work I was assigned was legal or law-related. 4.7
I received enough training and assistance to understand the legal work asked of me. 4.6
My agency helped me develop a realistic understanding of the practice of public interest law. 4.4
I was satisfied with my agency’s efforts to provide me with an educational experience. 4.7
I was provided levels of responsibility consistent with my ability throughout the summer. 4.5
I was given the opportunity to see a reasonable range of my agency’s workload. 4.6
The work I performed was challenging and stimulating. 4.3

 

Impact on Career

Fellows indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the following statements regarding the impact on their legal career:

5 = Strongly Agree, 4 = Agree, 3 = Neutral, 2 = Disagree, 1 = Strongly Disagree

Average
My future career goals include pursuing a position in the public interest law sector.  3.0
As a result of my Fellowship, I have developed new legal skills. 4.7
As a result of my Fellowship, I have a better understanding of the clients served and work done in the public interest law sector 4.5
As a result of my Fellowship, I have made professional contacts that I can use in the development of my practice.) 4.4
As a result of my Fellowship, my intention to integrate pro bono work into my future practice has been strengthened. 4.6

Quotes from 2019 Fellows:

“There is no better way to get practical and meaningful legal experience in the public interest law sector than the PILI Fellowship Program.”

“My PILI Fellowship experience has enhanced my communication, research, and legal writing skills. More importantly, PILI has given me practical experience that I will take with me into my future career.”

“PILI solidified my desire to continue to do pro bono work as I start my career.  Through my agency I have gained a new passion for an area of law that I was not very familiar with and I have developed professional connections that I hope will last a lifetime.”

“This program gave me a greater understanding of the impact the practice of law in the public interest field can have. This is the most I have learned about law and the practice of law since beginning law school. I also think the program provides good structure while studying for the bar.”

“I learned a lot about public interest law and I expect to be able to continue doing pro bono work with my PILI organization once I am at the law firm.”

“PILI is a great way to give back, and you can make great connections with other attorneys and legal professionals.”

“I greatly enjoyed the program, and found it to be manageable with bar prep. I would recommend the program to anyone.”

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