Over the past two years as President of PILI’s Board of Directors, it has been my honor to work with the Board of Directors and Executive Committee to take tremendous strides toward fulfilling PILI’s mission. Together, we:
- Increased the number of PILI Interns and Fellows, and increased Internship stipends for the first time in over a decade. Over the past two years, our Interns and Fellows provided over 80,000 hours of public interest services to the Illinois community;
- Assisted the PILI Alumni Network and its leadership to provide meaningful CLE and networking, give back to the community through the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic in the Garfield Park neighborhood, and grow the Network to over 4,000 Alums;
- Increased the number of Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees by 33% so as to promote and enhance pro bono outside of Cook County, where there is a tremendous need for these legal services;
- Launched the PILI Conflict of Interest Pro Bono Referral Panel pilot program, which enables those of lesser means in the Tenth Judicial Circuit to obtain legal assistance in a dispute with another who is already represented by the sole legal aid agency in that area;
- Applied for and received PILI’s first Equal Justice Works Fellow who will launch the Legal Help Within Reach project, which will recruit attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to volunteer at pro bono legal clinics for low income Illinoisans living in rural and underserved communities;
- Joined the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network to refer veterans to pro bono attorneys in the 101 counties outside of Cook County; and
- Celebrated PILI’s first 40 years, with a 40th Anniversary Awards Gala that, together with our generous law firm, corporate, foundation, and individual donors, helped finance PILI’s recent growth in service to the Illinois community.
For the sake of brevity, the above are just some of our accomplishments.
Our Executive Director Michael Bergmann and his staff have been nothing short of amazing in accomplishing every goal in our organization’s current long range plan. With such a well-run organization, all of our gifts (in terms of financial contributions, pro bono time, efforts at partnering PILI with other organizations and foundations that provide resources to PILI, and any combination thereof) have been efficiently and effectively utilized to achieve PILI’s mission. A financial contribution to PILI is a sound investment, which is why my family and I have pledged to sponsor a named PILI Intern annually. To be sure, I have no reservation in urging everyone to consider a generous gift to PILI.
It has truly been my privilege to work with such a vibrant Board of Directors over these past two years, and together, we have done much to cultivate a lifelong commitment to pro bono service and public interest law in the Illinois legal community. There have been so many good works in such a short time. But more needs to be done, so please consider supporting PILI and getting involved (or even more involved) in a PILI program or project of interest to you. Together, let’s continue our intrepid journey to further PILI’s mission in the years ahead!