“My fondest memory from participation in the PILI programs is generally the relationships that I built. It was inspiring to work with dedicated attorneys and I have also kept in touch with the other law students with whom I interned.”
At our 2011 Annual Awards Luncheon PILI presented a Distinguished Alumni Award to Kathleen K. Clark, Executive Director of Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, who served as a PILI Intern in the spring and fall of 1997 at the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU and at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
“The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee opened my eyes that I could be an advocate in so many ways, that I could change the landscape of the law. You do not have to be passive when you see something is unjust, you can be an advocate for change in a meaningful way. It just clicked with me.”
In December 2010, the Senate unanimously confirmed Edmond Chang as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Chang began service on the court in early January 2011, and was at that time the youngest federal judge in the nation.
“My PILI Internship solidified my inclinations that I ultimately wanted to be a public interest attorney. It was my first experience actually interacting with clients, researching issues for public interest legislation, and witnessing a large class action.”
Paul says that “because of my positive PILI Fellowship experiences, when I entered private practice I did quite a bit of pro bono work at Kirkland, including the extended representation of a client in a multi-year prisoner civil rights case and have continued doing pro bono as an in-house lawyer.”
“From the first day of my Fellowship, I was given a great amount of responsibility and had access to clients so I could immediately apply my skills to the organization’s cases.”
The purpose of the Commission is as far-reaching as it is urgent: “to promote, facilitate, and enhance equal access to justice with an emphasis on access to the Illinois civil courts and administrative agencies for all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.”