Public Interest Law Initiative

How to Apply

Register on the application site:

PILI administers our Internship Program application through You must register on this site before you can submit any applications. There is an approval process for that can take up to 24 hours (longer on weekends and holidays), so we recommend that applicants complete this registration prior to the first day of their application period. You can complete this step at any time. Applicants are encouraged to use an .edu email address when registering on the system to expedite approval. Using a personal email address can add up to two weeks for the approval process. Those with an .edu email address are automatically approved after completing the registration process by following the link in the email they receive after signing up on

Important dates:

The application process for the summer Internship Program opens on October 15 for 2Ls at 10 a.m. CST.   NALP restrictions prohibit 1Ls from applying prior to December 1. For the fall Internship Program, the application system opens on August 1st at 10 a.m. CST and for the spring Internship Program, the application opens on November 1st at 10 a.m. CST. 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 in the application period. You are encouraged to apply early to ensure the fullest consideration of your application.

Upload your resume and cover letters:

After registering and receiving approval, you may apply online PILI Internships. PILI offers Internships at 25 different legal service agencies in Illinois, and each applicant may apply to up to 10.

Please note: While all 25 of our participating agencies host summer Interns, only a limited number have been approved to host school-year Interns.

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

The application system allows you to upload one resume, which will be sent to every agency where you apply, but you will be able to upload separate cover letters for applications to separate agencies. Once you have uploaded your resume and your cover letter(s), your application is complete. You will not receive any e-mail or other notification from PILI that we have received your application materials. Until the agency has completed their hiring, the agency supervisor will receive weekly automated e-mails with links to the applicants that have been submitted in the past week.

Getting hired as a PILI Intern:

PILI recruits applicants and hosts, funds stipends, and acts as a clearinghouse. Each agency has the sole hiring discretion. These public interest law agencies want students who are dedicated to public interest law and to service. Therefore, when preparing your application, mention experiences that demonstrate your commitment, including volunteer or community work, and note any special skills, e.g., language proficiency, computer experience, etc.

Agency responses:

Each agency has its own hiring practices and operated on its own timeline.  Agencies may not always acknowledge every application because many agencies have neither the staff nor the funds to do so. Typically, agencies will directly contact selected applicants for interviews. If you have not yet heard from an agency, you are free to follow up with that agency to check on the status of your application, but do so in a professional and respectful manner.

Stipend for PILI Interns:

Unlike many internship funding 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 for 400 hours in the summer and 200 hours over a semester. Interns are then to be paid by the agency based on the agency’s customary payroll procedures.

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