PILI Intern & Fellow Orientation (Virtual)

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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.

This virtual program is only open to all Illinois Interns and Fellows, and advance registration is required.


9:30 a.m.  Getting to Know the Communities You Will Serve

  • Katie Buitrago, Director of Research at Heartland Alliance
  • Veronica Cortez, Staff Attorney at Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Public interest law attorneys need a deep understanding of the many dimensions of the communities they serve in order to represent them effectively. During this session, you will receive an overview of the factors contributing to underrepresentation and the cycle of poverty and violence for millions of people in Illinois.

10:30 a.m.  Helping Ourselves to Help Others: Understanding and Addressing Vicarious Trauma

  • Virginia Torres Ryan, Supervisory Attorney at Life Span

It is common for those working with clients who have experienced traumatic life events to also bear an emotional impact from the exposure to hearing the client’s stories and witnessing the client’s pain and fear. Learn how to become aware of the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma and practical tips you can utilize to promote self-care to help you become a better advocate for your client.


1:30 p.m.  Conflict Management

  • Rae Kyritsi, Programs Director at 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.

2:30 p.m.  Making the Most of Your Internship & Fellowship

  • Arturo Hernandez, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, 2011 Intern at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Brandon Knop, Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, 2017 PILI Fellow at LAF
  • Nidhi Narielwala, K&L Gates, 2018 PILI Fellow at ACLU
  • Ekaette Obot, Lifespan, 2017 Intern at Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

PILI Alumni will share tips and best practices to maximize your Internship or Fellowship experience and beyond.

Please register below by Wednesday, May 27th. If you have any questions or problems with the form, please contact Sophia Vagnone by email or by phone at 312-832-5127.