PILI is excited to welcome Pilar Mendez to our Board of Directors as the 2018 Law Student Intern Alumni Representative. Each year, PILI appoints one Intern and one Fellow every year from the most recent class to serve on the board for a two-year term.
Pilar is a second-year law student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She was an Intern at the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois where she worked on a number of legal writing and research projects related to women’s and reproductive rights, police practices, institutional reform and LGBTQ rights. “PILI really opened my eyes to the local public interest and pro bono community,” Pilar said.
Before law school, Pilar worked in public health and earned a Master of Public Health degree in Global Health Policy from George Washington University. She worked in health care research and was an ORISE Health Equity Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Minority Health.
The ACLU provided Pilar with experiences outside of her health care specialty. “I learned the value of being open to new opportunities that may not initially be something I was interested in – taking chances and exploring the types of assignments and areas of the law that are new to me,” she said. “It made me want to take more constitutional law related courses at school and try my hand at litigation.”
Since her PILI Internship, Pilar worked for the Chicago Office of U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth where she assisted staffers on constituent concerns such as health care, the environment and immigration. She is currently a judicial extern in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Her long-term goals include assisting in writing effective evidence-based national health policies.
“I have focused my career thus far on people and worked on issues and policy areas aimed at improving access to care and closing the justice gap,” said Pilar. “Though I am still in school, my commitment to service is inherent in everything I do.”