Posted on: July 31, 2018
When human rights and dignities are at stake, the legal community often provides the first line of defense and is sometimes the only resource to help those in need. In Illinois, PILI is at the center of the legal community, connecting law students, lawyers and legal professionals with those opportunities to help.
PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs serve as the gateway for law students and recent law school graduates to take their first steps toward a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service in Illinois. With the support of the PILI community, we have raised our summer Law Student Internship stipend, ensuring that these students can cover their living expenses while they give their time and talent to others. Over the past year, our Interns and Fellows have collectively provided an additional 45,200 hours of legal assistance to those in need.
We are currently launching several new projects through our Pro Bono Program, increasing the availability of pro bono legal help across Illinois for those who cannot afford an attorney. In February, we launched a pilot Conflict of Interest Pro Bono Referral Panel, providing a referral source for legal aid agencies to send potential clients who have been denied service due to a conflict of interest. In June, we joined the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), which provides civil legal services across Illinois to veterans. Through IL-AFLAN, PILI refers pro bono matters to volunteer attorneys in the 101 counties outside of Cook. This fall, we will launch Legal Help Within Reach to recruit attorneys and law students from urban areas to volunteer at legal clinics in rural and underserved communities.
As one PILI supporter explained, “The importance of PILI is really being at the center place of where the need for pro bono services are, the resources are and the information is.” If we are to continue to connect the legal community with low-income individuals, veterans and other marginalized people seeking access to justice in our community, we need your help.