Public Interest Law Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the PILI Law Student Internship Program?

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.

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

Learn more about PILI’s summer Internship opportunities »

Why should I apply for a PILI Internship?

The PILI Law Student Internship Program is a unique opportunity to serve the needs of low-income legal aid clients under the supervision of staff attorneys at approved legal service agencies. PILI Interns gain hands-on, practical work experience providing legal services directly to clients or engaging in the tasks associated with advocacy, impact-litigation, policy development and analysis, or other related legal work. Interns are typically paid $6,000 for their work during the summer and school-year Interns are paid $3,000, less applicable taxes. Supplemental educational, networking and advising opportunities provided by PILI help PILI Interns enhance their legal education and build lasting connections to the Illinois public interest law community.

What type of work would I be doing as a PILI Intern?

PILI Interns work on a wide and diverse range of issues depending on the agency at which they are placed. There are currently 25 agencies in Illinois that are approved to participate in PILI’s Law Student Internship Program. These agencies cover the gamut in terms of the clients they serve, the legal issues they address and impact they have on the low-income and underrepresented of Illinois. Recent examples of the work performed by PILI Interns include: conducting client intakes at agencies, schools, shelters and clients homes; conducting site visits at state-operated institutions and nursing homes; representing clients in court for adoption and divorce cases; and staffing the Expungement Help Desk at the Daley Center.

See a full list of agencies hosting PILI Interns and Intern job descriptions »

Who can apply?

The Internship Program is open to law students from any ABA accredited law school in the United States. School-year Internship positions are open in Chicago. Summer Internship positions are open in Chicago as well as Alton, Bloomington, East St Louis, Champaign, Peoria, and Rock Island, Illinois.

When do I apply?

The application system opens for each Internship period at 10:00 a.m. CST on the below dates. You will apply directly on PILI’s website.

  • Fall Semester: August 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 15th
  • Summer: October 15th for 2Ls and December 1st for 1Ls (due to NALP restrictions)

Apply Now

PILI offers Internships at 28 different legal service agencies in Illinois, and each applicant may apply to up to 10 agencies. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all agencies have completed their hiring. Please note that each agency supervisor handles hiring differently: some make hiring decisions early in the application period, while others wait until later. You are encouraged to apply early to ensure the fullest consideration of your application.

Once an agency has completed its hiring, it will be removed from this list and you will no longer be able to apply to that agency

How do I apply?

Prospective PILI Interns must apply directly through PILI’s website. Applicants will be able to apply to up to 10 agencies, with the ability to provide each agency with 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.

Learn more about how to apply »

How does PILI determine where it places Interns?

Every year, PILI’s Board of Directors approves the allocation of Interns to a limited number of public interest law agencies which then receive a grant from PILI to pay Intern stipends. Agencies approved for Interns are those with whom PILI has an existing relationship, where the agency has a proven track record of providing quality supervision and a valuable educational experience to the Intern. While 57 agencies have been approved to host PILI Graduate Fellows, currently only 25 agencies are approved to host PILI Law Student Interns. See the full list »

How will PILI support me as an Intern?

In addition to screening and evaluating placement agencies and facilitating the application process, PILI also provides educational, networking and advising opportunities for Interns. Our weekly summer Educational Seminar Series cover substantive law topics and career development issues relating to public interest law. Our Advising Program pairs Interns with PILI Board Members or Alumni for a personal introduction to the Illinois legal community. PILI also offer a range of social and networking opportunities as part of our Internship Program.

How will I be paid?

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. Interns are then paid by the agency based on the payroll procedures as a regular, temporary employee. This means Interns will receive a regular paycheck (typically on a monthly or bi-monthly basis) for the duration of their Internship. Interns will not receive the stipend as a lump sum at the beginning of the Internship and taxes will be deducted.

Learn more about the stipend »

Can I receive school credit for my PILI Internship?

PILI permits Interns to receive law school credit in addition to their stipend if approved by both their law school and their agency.

Who can I contact to find out more about PILI?

Contact PILI Program Manager Brent Page by email or by phone at 312-832-5128.

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