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PILI Alumni Spotlight: Irene Hickey Sullivan, 2018 Graduate Fellow

PILI is excited to welcome Irene Hickey Sullivan of Kirkland & Ellis to our Board of Directors as the 2018 Graduate Fellow Alumni Representative. Each year, PILI appoints one Intern and one Fellow from the most recent class to serve on the board for a two-year term.

Irene is a first-year associate at Kirkland & Ellis. She recently graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and completed her PILI Graduate Fellowship at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services last summer. As part of CVLS’ Access to Justice Program, she worked on various aspects of foreclosure cases, housing voucher terminations and other administrative review cases.

“As a PILI Fellow, I accomplished many important milestones for a young attorney: I stood up in court and performed direct client representation for the first time,” said Irene. “Marking these achievements while learning about new areas of law and working toward CVLS’ mission of providing quality legal representation to Chicago’s underserved communities was an excellent way to start my legal career.”

Before law school, Irene worked as a School Growth Coordinator at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School network. As a law student, she was an intern for the Honorable Amy J. St. Eve in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as well as in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. She was the 2018 Ann Barber Watson Service Award Winner and in addition to her service on PILI’s Board, Irene is an Associate Board Member for Urban Initiatives and an Alumni Mentor for Loyola Academy.

While a Fellow at CVLS, Irene gained experience working directly with pro bono clients. “Although I may have otherwise gained the experience gradually throughout my career, during my PILI I was interacting with clients and potential clients on a daily basis,” explained Irene. “I felt my ability to work productively with clients improved significantly as the summer went on.”

Since starting at Kirkland & Ellis, Irene has continued to work closely with Chicago Volunteer Services on pro bono matters including a voucher termination case against the Housing Authority of Cook County, which resulted in a favorable settlement for her client. She is currently working with CVLS on a pro bono divorce case and a second voucher termination case against the Chicago Housing Authority.

“Although I have only been an attorney for a few months, I have prioritized making pro bono service a consistent component of my practice,” said Irene. “Since starting at Kirkland, I have always had at least one active pro bono matter. My relationship with CVLS has made this a straightforward process!”

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