Happy Valentine’s Day! We spoke with one of our PILI Alumni Couples, Sarah Schultes and Ndjuoh MehChu, about their experience as PILIs and how their commitment to service plays a role in their relationships. Sarah was a PILI Intern at the Legal Council for Health Justice in 2013 and a PILI Fellow at the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice in 2015 and is now an associate at Kirkland & Ellis. Ndjuoh was a PILI Intern at the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois in 2016 and is now an associate professor at Seton Hall Law School.
How did you meet?
We met during law school at a cocktail networking event planned by a mutual friend. We would frequently run into each other at the weekly “Bar Reviews” on Thursday nights but we didn’t start dating until over a year later.
What was your favorite thing about being a PILI Intern or Fellow?
Sarah: I loved the policy-type work I got to do during my summer Fellowship at Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. I really enjoyed having room to be creative when thinking about how our court system could be reimagined or how we could bring more immigrant justice organizations to Chicago. One of my other favorite things about my PILI experiences is the relationships I formed, including with my 1L summer PILI mentor, who continues to be a mentor to me today at Kirkland & Ellis.
Ndjuoh: I had great supervisors and colleagues who allowed me to take on important projects and were patient with my development. As a consequence, I gained critical insight and hands-on experience on issues ranging from child welfare to police accountability. All this directed me to further study and continues to inform my work today.
How has each of your commitment to service played a role in your lives and your relationship?
Sarah: It provides perspective and meaning. It serves as a reminder that there is more to being a lawyer than representing sophisticated clients with disputes that are primarily focused on exchange of money; that there are a lot of individual humans out there with limited knowledge of or access to legal representation but that desperately need a good lawyer to ensure their basic human rights. As lawyers we have the ability to provide that, whether through pro bono, volunteer, or full-time work. As for our relationship, Ndjuoh’s commitment to service is one of the reasons I married him in the first place.
Ndjuoh: As a law professor focused on civil rights and social justice, service is at the heart of my work. It informs my teaching and scholarship and I hope to instill in my students a similar commitment to using the law as a tool to uplift those who are marginalized across various axis of identity.