PILI Intern & 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.

Registration and continental breakfast will be available at 9:00 am with the programming beginning promptly at 9:30. The programming will conclude with a networking reception from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. A detailed schedule is available below.

PILI Interns and Fellows are encouraged to attend in person, but virtual participation is also available. This program is also open for all interns at Illinois agencies to attend virtually. We have a full day of speakers lined up as well as opportunities to network with PILI’s Board and Alumni, so most in-person attendees find business casual attire appropriate. Advance registration is required.


9:00 – 9:30 a.m.                  Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.                  Welcome & Overview of PILI
Michael G. Bergmann, Executive Director
Arthur C. Surratt III, Attorney Program Manager
Learn more about PILI, our Internship and 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.
9:45 – 10:45 a.m.               Getting to Know the Communities You Will Serve
Jennifer Cooper, Heartland Alliance
John Bouman, Legal Action Chicago

Public interest law attorneys need a deep understanding of the many dimensions of the communities they serve to represent them effectively. As an Intern or Fellow, you may be interacting with communities that are new to you. 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. You will also hear about the benefits of understanding your clients and connecting with those communities.

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.             Break
11:00 a.m. – Noon          How to Be an Effective Advocate: A View from the Bench
Honorable Edmond E. Chang, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Honorable Jesse G. Reyes, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Third Division
Honorable Alison C. Conlon, 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 justice gap.
Noon – 1:30 p.m.               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 p.m.                 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 – 3:45 p.m.                 Making the Most of Your Internship & Fellowship
Ruben Bautista, Equip for Equality (2019 & 2020 PILI Intern)
Corey Biller, Conagra Brands (2015 PILI Intern)
Kathleen Callahan, CARPLS (Supervisor)
Sarah Lode, ArentFox Schiff (2019 PILI Graduate Fellow)

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

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.                 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 or not you signed up to participate in the Advising Program.

In an effort to keep everyone safe and comfortable, we ask that you do not attend this event in person if you are feeling unwell on the day of this program/event, have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have possibly been exposed to COVID-19 recently.

Please register below by Monday, May 29th.

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.

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