PILI Law Student Intern & Graduate Fellow Orientation

Each year, PILI hosts an orientation for Interns and Fellows to kick-off the summer. This program serves as an introduction to the Illinois legal aid community and some of the struggles your clients face as well as the impact you can have. We also focus on developing practical skills that will be useful this summer and throughout your career.

PILI Interns and Fellows are encouraged to attend in person, but virtual participation is also available. In-person attendees find business casual attire appropriate. This program is also open to all interns at Illinois public interest law agencies to attend virtually. Advance registration is required for this event using the form below.


  • 9:00 – 9:30 am: Registration & Continental Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 9:50 am: Welcome & Overview of PILI

Michael G. Bergmann, Executive Director

Arthur C. Surratt III, Attorney Program Manager

Learn more about PILI, our Internship & Fellowship Programs, and what to expect this summer. You will also hear about the impact of the work you will be doing over the summer.

  • 9:50 – 10:45 am: Getting to Know the Communities You Will Serve

Claire Johnson Raba, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

During this session, you will receive an overview of the factors contributing to underrepresentation, which may include the cycle of poverty and violence for millions of people in Illinois.

  • 10:45 – 11:00 am: Break
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Writing for Public Interest Law Attorneys

David Chrisinger, University of Chicago Writing Program

This workshop will provide specific strategies for writing clear, concise and compelling legal documents. Learn to eliminate common writing weaknesses and better organize your writing.

  • 12:00 – 1:30 pm: Intern & Fellow Lunch with PILI Alumni Network

Interns and Fellows will hear about the importance of public service in one’s legal career and the impact you can have working in public interest law or the private sector. Following brief remarks, you will have the opportunity to network with each other and members of PILI’s Alumni Network.

  • 1:30 – 2:45 pm: Conflict Management

Kate Finch, Center for Conflict Resolution

Conflict in the courtroom (and even the workplace) may be unavoidable. Gain insights, tools, and techniques on how best to manage disputes and create meaningful resolutions.

  • 2:45 – 3:00 pm: Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00 pm: How to Be an Effective Advocate: A View from the Bench

Honorable Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Illinois Appellate Court

Honorable Alison C. Conlon, Circuit Court of Cook County

Honorable Robert F. Harris, Circuit Court of Cook County

A panel of judges will share their suggestions for new attorneys in litigation and transactional practice to be effective advocates and will discuss the role all attorneys play in addressing the access to.

  • 4:00 – 5:30 pm: Networking Reception

We end our day with a special reception at which you will meet members of PILI’s Board of Directors and Alumni Network, including those participating in the Advising Program, and celebrate the start of your Internship or Fellowship. All Interns and Fellows are encouraged to attend, whether you signed up to participate in the Advising Program.

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If you have any questions about the Intern & Fellow Orientation, please contact PILI’s Attorney Program Manager Arthur Surratt by email or by phone at 312-832-5130.