Public Interest Law Initiative

About the Internship Program

News Post 7

PILI’s Law Student Internship Program connects law students from across the country with public interest law agencies in Illinois, with PILI ensuring quality supervision by experienced attorneys and providing extra educational, networking and advising opportunities. Interns work 400 hours full-time during the summer or 200 hours part-time during the school year. Interns are typically paid $6,000 for their work during the summer and $3,000 for their work during the school-year, less applicable taxes.

In addition to Chicago, we also currently offer Internship placements in Alton, Bloomington, East St Louis, Champaign, Peoria, and Rock Island, Illinois. PILI’s goals are to help our partner agencies increase their impact while also helping Interns develop legal and client interaction skills, build a professional networks, and strengthen commitment to public interest law and service.

Learn more about PILI’s school-year Internship opportunities »

Learn more about PILI’s summer Internship opportunities »

Work Experience

PILI Interns work on a wide and diverse range of legal issues depending on the agency where they serve and the issues that agency addresses. In addition to direct client services, PILI Interns also do policy development and analysis, advocacy, impact litigation, and more.

Here’s a look at the kind of work PILI Interns have done recently:

  • served as a court appointed Guardian ad litem in minor and adult guardianship matters;
  • conducted client intake at a detention facility;
  • prepared T Visa applications for victims of human trafficking;
  • reached out to the migrant farmworker community to educate them on their rights; and
  • conducted legal and policy research on public housing and housing mobility related to the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Learn more about PILI’s Participating Agencies, including position descriptions »

Advising

As a PILI Intern, you can be placed with an advisor from PILI’s Board of Directors or Alumni Network for career guidance, networking inroads and a personal introduction to the Illinois legal community. This is a great opportunity to get connected and start building your professional network from the beginning of your legal career.

Learn more about PILI’s Advising Program »

Education

As a PILI Intern, your education doesn’t just happen at your agency. PILI organizes a series of weekly educational seminars for Interns over the summer, covering a range of hard skills and substantive law topics related to public interest law and pro bono. We also discuss career development ideas for law students interested in public interest law. Additionally, each fall and spring, we host at least one educational program for school-year PILI Interns.

See a list of upcoming PILI educational and networking events »

Community

When you become a PILI Intern, you join a class of over 100 law students and graduates serving the public interest through PILI that year. PILI also offers a range of educational, networking and advising opportunities as part of our Internship program. As a PILI Intern, you become part of a distinguished group of 4,000 law students and lawyers who have been PILI Law Student Interns or Graduate Fellows since PILI was founded in 1977. With PILI’s Alumni Network, you can stay connected to PILI throughout your career through educational, networking, service and leadership opportunities.

Meet our current class of Interns and Fellows »

Learn more about the PILI Alumni Network »

Stipend for PILI Interns

Interns are typically paid $6,000 for 400 hours full-time during the summer and $3,000 for 200 hours part-time during the semester, less applicable taxes. Unlike many internship programs, PILI does not pay stipends directly to our Interns.  Rather, PILI makes a grant directly to the agency in the amount of the stipend. Additionally, PILI permits Interns to receive law school credit in addition to their stipend if approved by both their law school and their agency.

Learn more about PILI’s Internship stipend »

How to apply

Prospective PILI Interns must apply directly through PILI’s website. Applicants will be able to apply to up to 10 agencies, and should provide a distinct cover letter and resume. It is important to note that PILI does not make the final hiring decisions; rather, each agency selects the candidate best-suited to their needs.

More on important application dates and how to apply »

Funding an Intern

PILI relies on generous contributions from foundations, individuals, law firms and corporations to support our Internship program. Sponsoring a Named or Honorary Internship makes a difference in the education of a law student, and in the lives of  individuals, families and communities they serve during their PILI Internship. Donors can select the focus of the Internship position they fund, designate their Internship to an agency where the need is greatest, and name the Internship for the donor or in memory of someone else.

Find out how to fund a PILI Intern »

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