Public Interest Law Initiative

Report on PILI’s Fall 2018 Interns

Posted on: January 16, 2019

The following is a report on the Fall 2018 Interns including the type of work they did, the clients they served and their impact. It also includes evaluation data on their experience with PILI. Learn more about our Internship Program here »

Who they were:

In fall 2018, there were 9 Law Student Interns:

  • 4 were 2Ls and 5 were 3Ls
  • 5 identified as female and 4 as male
  • 5 identified as racially or ethnically diverse
  • 1 was a double PILI

Interns came from the following Law Schools:

  • 1 from Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • 3 from Loyola University Chicago School of law
  • 1 from DePaul University School of Law
  • 1 from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • 1 from The John Marshall Law School
  • 2 from The University of Chicago

What they did:

Interns worked at the following agencies:

  • CARPLS
  • Center for Disability and Elder Law
  • Chicago Legal Clinic
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
  • Equip for Equality
  • LAF
  • Legal Aid Society
  • Shriver Center
  • The National Immigrant Justice Center

Interns worked in the following practice areas:

  • Children Law
  • Civil Rights
  • Disability
  • Domestic Violence
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law
  • Guardianship & Estates
  • Housing Law
  • Immigration
  • Public Benefits
Interns report on their impact:

 “I assisted in the preparation of humanitarian visa application for victims of crime. This including conducting ongoing client interviews, drafting client affidavits, compiling evidence, researching inadmissibility issues and waivers, and requesting records and certifications from law enforcement agencies.”

“Overall, I wrote ten memos on civil rights issues, housing law issues, fines and costs for traffic offenses, labor issues, and public benefit issues. Two of these memos were an analysis of claims for potential lawsuits.”

“I remember doing a divorce prove up and the woman that I was representing was crying and throughout the litigation she held my hand. Knowing that I could be there for her and help her during her time of need was truly rewarding.”

Direct and Brief Legal Services

Interns provided direct legal services to 169 clients and brief legal services to 58 clients for a total of 227 clients served. Of those clients:

  •  78%  were people of color
  •  71%  identified as women
  •  41%  were people over 50
  •  27% were immigrants
  •  26%  were people with disabilities
  • 8% were veterans
  •  5%  were children
  •  4% identified as LGBTQ
Other Legal Services

All of those who responded provided other legal services as well, including:

    • Legal or policy research/writing (6)
    • Administrative and legal support work (intake, case paperwork and filing) (6)
    • Class actions/impact litigation (2)
    • Community outreach/education (1)

Overall Feedback from Interns:

Overall rating of PILI experience:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “very poor” and 5 being “very good,” Interns rated the program a 4.8 overall.

Quality of Experience

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

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

Average
The work I performed was challenging and stimulating. 4.9
I was given the opportunity to see a reasonable range of my agency’s workload. 4.9
I was provided levels of responsibility consistent with my ability throughout the semester. 4.8
I was satisfied with my agency’s efforts to provide me with an educational experience. 4.9
My agency helped me develop an understanding of the practice of public interest law. 4.9
I received enough training and assistance to understand the legal work asked of me. 5
Most of the work I was assigned was legal or law-related. 5

 

Impact on Career

Interns 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
Even before doing this Internship, I had intended to pursue a career in public interest law. 4.6
As a result of my Internship, I am able to make a more informed decision about a career in public interest law. 5
As a result of my Internship, I am more likely to integrate public interest/pro bono law into my future practice. 4.8
As a result of my Internship, I am more likely to seek a job in public interest law. 4.8
As a result of my Internship, I have developed new legal skills. 5
What Interns said about their experience:

“This work has forever changed my outlook on how the law serves to both promote and inhibit the freedoms and equalities of our most marginalized communities. I hope to use this experience to ground my legal practice and humanize my experience.”

“It’s great to get hands-on experience during the school year. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with people and clients because you don’t get that same experience in class.”

“I had a great Internship experience and I had the opportunity to network with lawyers, past PILI Interns, and PILI board members.”

“There is an incredible amount of opportunity with PILI. I have a richer understanding of what it means to practice law.”

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