Below is the complete list of the 60 public interest law agencies in Illinois that have been approved to participate in PILI's Graduate Fellowship Program. Please do not contact the agency directly to apply for a Fellowship, as all applications must be made through PILI's online application system. Learn more about how to apply for a PILI Fellowship.
Interested in doing your Fellowship at an agency not on this list? PILI approves placements outside of this list on a case-by-case basis, when a Fellow is planning to live outside of Illinois between graduation and starting at their firm, or when a Fellow’s interests are in a particular area not represented in our current Participating Agencies. Contact PILI Executive Director by email or by phone at 312-832-5129 to discuss this option.
Interested in disability rights and working with attorneys who specialize in disability rights? Want to learn about the disability rights movement? Access Living is a disability rights organization that uses advocacy and litigation to promote the full integration of people with disabilities into the fabric of society. The Civil Rights Team focuses on discrimination – instances in which people with disabilities confront barriers to housing, government services and programs, and public accommodations (i.e. businesses open to the public). Interns and Fellows get to do real legal work. Under the supervision of attorneys, they interview clients, investigate cases, analyze documents, write demand letters, draft complaints and other legal pleadings, conduct legal research, and manage their own caseload. Interns and Fellows are integrated into the day-to-day operations of the Team. They attend staff meetings, legal strategy meetings, and other relevant events.
The ACLU is devoted to protecting and expanding the civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans. The Roger Baldwin Foundation is the litigation arm of the ACLU of Illinois.
Ascend Justice provides free legal assistance to survivors of gender-based violence and families impacted by the child welfare system.
The Northwestern University Bluhm Legal Clinic is the legal clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law. The Clinic serves low-income persons with civil, juvenile and criminal legal problems. PILI Fellows work under the supervision of Clinic faculty on a variety of matters, including juvenile justice, immigration, civil matters, entrepreneurship/economic development issues, and death penalty and criminal cases.
Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) is an innovative law and policy center that works to advance nuanced solutions to pressing racial, economic, and social justice issues in the Chicago region and Illinois. Our team of lawyers and policy staff are committed to addressing the structural racism and systemic oppression that has led to inequities and injustices, particularly for people and communities of color, in two program areas: Criminal Legal System/Police Accountability and Housing.
Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) provides high-impact, free legal services to low-income Chicagoans in four areas of law: family, housing, criminal records, and criminal defense. We actively integrate legal and social services in order to improve our legal outcomes and extend our impact beyond crisis support.
CARPLS is a legal aid hotline that provides advice, information, and referrals to low-income residents of Cook County. Our mission is to increase access to the legal system for low-income people through our hotline work, as well as through Self-Help Projects, which include written and web-based pro se and client education materials, and our court-based advice desks, which prepare clients to represent themselves on pro se matters.
The mission of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) is to provide access to compassionate and competent legal assistance to the economically disadvantaged in the Chicago area. CCLA has four full-time staff attorneys and numerous volunteer attorneys and paralegals who receive requests for assistance in a variety of areas of the law including, but not limited to, family law, housing, consumer and immigration.
The Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) is a Chicago-based organization founded in 1979. In the past three decades, CCR has grown to become one of the nation’s premier not-for-profit providers of mediation services and training.
The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) is a not-for-profit, pro bono Chicago law firm, serving low-income elderly and disabled persons since 1984. With 1,100 volunteer attorneys from throughout Chicago’s distinguished legal community, CDEL handles cases in many practice areas, including estate planning, housing, consumer claims and dissolution of marriage.
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) envisions our community free from all forms of sexual exploitation and seeks to achieve that by addressing the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual violence. Our work includes prevention, policy reform, community engagement, and legal services. CAASE is the primary legal referral for all […]
Chicago Appleseed is a social impact research and advocacy organization which uses multidisciplinary research to identify community injustices, and to develop and advocate for practical solutions. We focus on the areas of Criminal Justice Reform, Judicial and Lawyer Ethics, Immigration Court Reform, and Family Law.
The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is the only legal organization in Illinois solely dedicated to providing legal representation and advocacy to homeless or at-risk individuals, youth and families. Our team of six attorneys and intake specialist provide assistance in the areas of education, civil rights, access to health care and public benefits and other civil legal services.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is a non-profit law and advocacy organization, whose mission is to promote and protect the civil rights of poor, minority, and disadvantaged people in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic, and political systems of our community and nation.
With more than 44 years of experience, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) is the first and pre-eminent pro bono civil legal aid provider in Chicago. With its pool of nearly 2,500 volunteer attorneys, CVLS is unique in its ability to offer a wide range of totally free civil legal aid to the poor and working poor on an individual basis.
The Citizen Advocacy Center builds democracy for the 21st century by strengthening public participation in community affairs. The Center believes in developing self-government.
The Adult Guardianship Division serves as guardian for approximately 800 adults with disabilities who need a guardian but who have no appropriate family or significant others to act as guardian. As guardian, the office is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the people we serve in all areas of their life including medical care, end-of-life issues, placement, and financial and legal decisions.
Attorneys in the Office of the Public Guardian’s Juvenile Division represent nearly 6,000 children, from birth to age 21, alleged to have been abused or neglected by their parent or guardian. The Division has over 130 attorneys, child interviewers, investigators, and support staff. Attorneys in the Juvenile Division are assigned to a child protection courtroom and represent a caseload of children with cases pending in that courtroom.
CAIR-Chicago is a local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization and was established to promote an accurate image of Islam and Muslims in America.
The DePaul University College of Law Clinical Programs provide legal services to low-income persons and groups working in low-income communities in the Chicago area.
The Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic is the clinical program of the University of Chicago Law School. The Clinic specializes in the areas of criminal justice, civil rights, employment discrimination, the rights of the mentally ill, and low-income housing development.
The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, seeks to hire PILI Fellows. Our Fellows support ELPC’s state and federal litigation and policy work throughout the Midwest.
Equip for Equality, Inc. is a private nonprofit, statewide organization whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities by promoting the principles of equality, self-determination, and dignity. The five substantive priority areas of Equip for Equality are discrimination, community integration, safety from abuse and neglect, special education and self-determination.
FLAP’s mission is to improve working conditions and opportunities for low-income workers and their households in these industries: cannery, farms, greenhouse, landscaping, meat, nursery, packinghouse, poultry, restaurants, and snow plowing. The organization carries out its mission through advocacy, community outreach and education, litigation, community legal education, information and referrals, partnering with other organizations to fight human labor trafficking, preventing family separations by helping immigrants secure dual citizenship for their children and facilitating access to cash transfers to very low-income populations.
The Federal Defender Program is a not-for-profit private corporation which provides free legal representation to all persons accused of committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire private counsel.
First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) provides free, 24-hour, legal representation to people in Chicago Police Department custody and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. FDLA undertake these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system. FDLA also provides educational outreach, participates in community organizing, and engages in systemic reform activities.
Founded in 1981, the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. provides free or low-cost legal consultations and representation to disadvantaged individuals in the Chicago region from advice desks located at the Richard J. Daley Center: Foreclosure Advice Desk and Parentage and Child Support Pro Se Advice Desk.
The Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission protects and enforces the rights of individuals with mental illness, developmental disability, or physical disability through three separate divisions. PILI Fellows and Attorneys working through the Extended Placement Program will have the opportunity to work with the Legal Advocacy Service (LAS).
Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) uses innovation to help people understand and act on their legal rights. ILAO provides 24/7 access to free, reliable, self-help legal tools in English, Spanish and Polish.
The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC) was formed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009 to investigate claims of torture by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge or officers under his supervision. TIRC examines claims of tortured confessions and determines whether sufficient evidence of torture exists to merit judicial review. Convicts whom the […]
The Immigration Project is a nonprofit organization that provides high quality immigration legal services in Central and Southern Illinois. We are the principal provider of non-profit immigration legal services in our service area which encompasses 86 counties. We are staffed by experienced immigration attorneys and excellent support professionals. We recognize that access to accurate, complete information regarding immigration law is geographically and economically restricted for underserved, immigrant populations in downstate Illinois. The Immigration Project endeavors to provide access to justice for immigrants and their families through immigration-related legal and educational services to immigrants, refugees, their families, and others in downstate Illinois, in a manner and context which recognizes the full dignity of each individual.
The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School, or IJ Clinic, is devoted to assisting lower income entrepreneurs with the legal intricacies of business ownership. A branch of the public interest law firm Institute for Justice, the IJ Clinic acts on the belief that legal tangles shouldn’t get in the way of inner city residents who dream of starting their own businesses
The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy provides integrated legal and social work services to low-income Evanston youth (21 and younger) and their families to improve their quality of life at home, at school and within the community. Our practice focuses on juvenile delinquency, adult misdemeanor and felony, expungement and sealing and school discipline matters.
Founded in 1901, JHA is Illinois’ only non-partisan prison watchdog. Our mission is to achieve a fair, humane, and cost-effective criminal justice system by promoting adult and juvenile prison reform, leading to successful re-integration and enhanced community safety.
Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization is a multiracial, nonprofit organization that has served the legal community for over 25 years. It is dedicated to developing and nurturing interest in the law among young persons from various socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds underrepresented in the legal profession and to supporting their continued advancement via our pipeline programs.
Ladder Up and Center for Economic Progress, the leading Chicago-based providers of free financial services in Illinois, have merged under the name Ladder Up. Through our Tax Clinic, we provide free legal representation to low-income taxpayers facing tax disputes with the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil right of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV, through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.
Through its five regional offices (Champaign, Springfield, Alton, East St. Louis and Carbondale), Land of Lincoln Legal Aid’s lawyers provide a full range of civil legal assistance to low-income residents of 65 counties in central and southern Illinois, including providing advice and counsel, litigation, and community education.
LUCHA strengthens communities and empowers Latinos and other neighborhood residents to plan, improve, own, preserve and develop safe and life enriching housing.
The Lawndale Christian Legal Center serves North Lawndale youth, age 24 and younger, who are currently involved in the adult or juvenile criminal justice system. LCLC serves youth diverted through the Juvenile Intervention Support Center (JISC), those with pending cases, and those on probation, supervision, or parole as LCLC stays with youth through their entire duration with the criminal justice system, from the time of arrest through the end of any sentencing period.
Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA) is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal assistance and education to artists and arts organizations of all kinds, the visual, performing, entertainment, and literary throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. LCA has two attorneys on staff who represent clients in-house and who manage a volunteer attorney referral program. Most matters are referred to LCA’s hundreds of volunteer attorneys, but much work is handled in-house.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) believes that every individual and family is entitled to decent housing as a basic need and human right. LCBH promotes the rights of tenants to safe, accessible, and affordable housing on a non-discriminatory basis through education, outreach, supportive services, advocacy, and legal representation. LCBH has been providing legal services to low-income renters in Chicago for over 37 years.
Legal Aid Chicago handles a wide spectrum of civil cases on matters of core social and economic importance. Case handlers work in one of five practice groups: Consumer, Family, Housing, Immigrant and Workers’ Rights, and Public Benefits.
The Legal Aid Society was established in 1886 and works with its seven social service centers to bring a variety of legal services to Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens in the communities where they live. The Domestic Violence Team focuses on issues related to family law, including domestic violence, divorce, and child custody and support issues.
Legal Council for Health Justice (formerly known as the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago) uses the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity, and well-being for people facing barriers due to illness or disability.
Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy combines a full range of legal services with a complement of social services to survivors of domestic violence. The agency’s services are free of charge to clients who are predominately poor or of low-income.
The Loyola University School of Law Business Law Clinic represents entrepreneurs and small business owners who are seeking legal assistance with for profit ventures, as well as individuals who are seeking assistance with nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area.
The Civitas ChildLaw Clinic represents children in child protection (abuse and neglect), child custody and visitation, and delinquency cases.
The Community Law Center and its legal clinics are affiliated with the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The Community Law Center serves low-income persons with a variety of civil legal problems. PILI Fellows of the Community Law Center will represent clients in disability claims, family law litigation, elder law, and in defense of eviction and consumer debt suits.
The Federal Tax Clinic represents low-income individuals who are seeking legal assistance concerning a dispute or potential dispute with the Internal Revenue Service
The Health Justice Project is a medical-legal partnership clinic partnering with Erie Family Health Center (a large federally qualified health center), and LAF (the largest provider of free legal services to people in poverty in the cook county area), working collaboratively to address the health-harming legal needs of patient/clients by advocating for access to health care, access to healthy housing, and the rights of people with disabilities.
The MacArthur Justice Center is a non-profit public interest law firm established in 1985 to litigate for human rights and social justice. The Center concentrates on cases raising significant criminal justice issues, such as opposing the government’s use of unjustified detentions in the war on terror; improving the quality of representation for indigent defendants; promoting acceptable conditions of incarceration and alternatives to incarceration; compensating the wrongfully convicted; and limiting the availability of firearms to unauthorized persons.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is a national Latino civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and expanding civil rights of Latinos in the areas of immigrant rights, education, political access, employment and public resource equity.
The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), formerly known as Midwest & Immigrant Human Rights, is a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.
North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic provides accessible, quality free civil legal services to low-income and at-risk families in Lake County and north suburban Cook County. We provide legal services to those in need in the areas of immigration, housing, and domestic violence.
The Civil Justice Clinic provides holistic legal services to clients through Northern Illinois University College of Law’ clinical program. The goal of the Civil Justice Clinic is to provide holistic services to the Clinic’s clients and to provide students and Fellows with opportunities to develop professionalism and engage in the ethical practice of client-centered lawyering on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as senior citizens and indigent residents of Winnebago County, Illinois.
Prairie State Legal Services is the civil legal services provider in 36 counties in northern and central Illinois. In almost all of those counties, Prairie State is the only source of civil legal aid for low-income, elderly and disabled residents. Prairie State provides excellent opportunities for fellows to perform meaningful work and gain valuable experience by assisting clients who need legal help to address basic needs issues. Prairie State has 12 local offices, all of which are possible locations for a Fellowship.
The mission of RSI is to strengthen justice by enhancing court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems. Our unique organization advances this mission through research and evaluation of court ADR programs, dispute system design and program administration, and the curation and dissemination of resources.
The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over our 50-year history, we have secured hundreds of victories with and for people living in poverty in Illinois and across the country. Today, we litigate, shape policy, and train and convene multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders, and activists nationwide. Together, we are building a future where all people have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law.
The mission of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is to promote consideration of best interests in all decisions affecting unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States.
Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit organization that provides education on the practical and legal issues that may impact individuals diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers, through events, materials, and resources.
The mission of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws.
The UIC John Marshall Law School Community Enterprise & Solidarity Economy Clinic (CESEC) represents low-moderate income entrepreneurs, community-based businesses, cooperatives, and not-for-profit organizations in transactional matters, and works on economic development law projects.
The UIC John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Clinic provides legal services in cases of discrimination relating to housing, insurance, affordable housing, and lending.
The UIC John Marshall Law School International Human Rights Clinic promotes human rights domestically and around the world by providing direct legal representation to clients and organizations in international and domestic forums; documenting human rights violations in the United States and abroad; collaborating with other human rights organizations on cases and projects; and publishing and presenting reports, papers, and other materials related to human rights.
The UIC John Marshall Law School’s Pro-Bono Litigation Clinic provides legal representation in a wide range of civil and criminal matters. The Clinic will provide, for the Fellow, a real-world opportunity to engage in the actual representation of clients in both state and federal courts.
The UIC John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Clinic provides free legal assistance to veterans in VA benefit appeals following an improper denial by the VA. The Clinic also provides legal assistance to veterans seeking to have their discharge status reclassified.
For over 35 years, Uptown People’s Law Center has fought for prisoners, tenants, and individuals seeking Social Security benefits. Our deep roots and location in the Uptown community, as well as decades of experience fighting on behalf of prisoners, have provided UPLC with unique and valuable insight into the lives of community residents who seek our help.