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.
The PILI Internship experience gave me an opportunity to see and hear about passionate advocates for social justice about their experiences.
“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.”
“Working for a firm or a corporation was not why I went to law school. I was one of those idealistic people who went to law school to change the world, or at least a tiny part of it.”
“I began going to the PILI luncheons with my grandfather, Hubert Will, a federal judge here in Chicago, and my mother, Nikki Will Stein who later became a member of the PILI Board, before I even went to law school.”
“I wanted to use that experience to make connections to the public interest law world in Chicago. My PILI internship did just that.” Most importantly, says Jessica, “I learned how to be a compassionate attorney working to address those issues that affect so many in our society.”