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Highlights from PILI’s Fall 2020 PILI Intern Evaluation

Who they were:

In fall 2020, there were 8 Law Student Interns:

  • 3 were 2Ls and 5 were 3Ls
  • 6 identified as female and 2 as male
  • 3 identified as racially or ethnically diverse and 1 identified as LGBTQ
  • 3 were double PILIs

Interns came from the following Law Schools:

  • 4 from DePaul University School of Law
  • 1 from Loyola University Chicago School of law
  • 1 from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • 1 from University of Chicago
  • 1 from University of Illinois College of Law

What they did:

Interns worked at the following agencies:

  • Center for Disability and Elder Law
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
  • Equip for Equality
  • Greater Chicago Legal Clinic
  • Legal Aid Society
  • Legal Aid Chicago
  • National Immigrant Justice Center
  • The Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Interns worked in the following practice areas:

  • Children Law
  • Civil Rights
  • Disability Law
  • Education Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Guardianship & Estates
  • Housing Law
  • Immigration
  • Juvenile Law
  • Prisoner’s Rights

Interns provided direct legal services to 35 clients and brief legal services to 39 clients for a total of 74 clients served. Of those clients:

  • 69%  were people of color
  • 41%  were people with disabilities
  • 32% were immigrants
  • 32%  were children
  • 32%  identified as women
  • 3% identified as LGBTQ
  •  24%  were people over 50

All of those who responded provided other legal services as well, including:

  • Legal support work (intake, case paperwork and filing) (5)
  • Community outreach/education (2)
  • Legal or policy research/writing (2)
  • Class actions/impact litigation (1)
  • Drafting/reviewing legislation (1)

Interns report on their impact:

“I was able to help families establish visitation orders as well as well planning the next steps for families regarding guardianship.”

“I made it more feasible for my clients to maintain a life in the United States and give their families better lives through legal immigration statuses.”

“I was able to represent a student with significant social-emotional needs that were not being addressed at school in negotiations.”

“Helping an elderly and disabled client with her estate planning documents and hearing her happiness and appreciation once we were done.”

Overall feedback from Interns:

Overall rating of PILI experience:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “very poor” and 5 being “very good,” Interns rated the program a 4.7 overall.

Quality of Experience

Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements:

5 = Strongly Agree, 4 = Agree, 3 = Neutral, 2 = Disagree, 1 = Strongly Disagree

The work I performed was challenging and stimulating. 4.6
I was given the opportunity to see a reasonable range of my agency’s workload. 4.4
I was provided levels of responsibility consistent with my ability throughout the semester. 4.7
I was satisfied with my agency’s efforts to provide me with an educational experience. 4.6
My agency helped me develop an understanding of the practice of public interest law. 4.7
I received enough training and assistance to understand the legal work asked of me. 4.3
A majority of the work I was assigned was legal or law-related. 4.6

Impact on Career

Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements:

5 = Strongly Agree, 4 = Agree, 3 = Neutral, 2 = Disagree, 1 = Strongly Disagree

Even before doing this Internship, I had intended to pursue a career in public interest law. 4.1
As a result of my Internship, I am able to make a more informed decision about a career in public interest law. 4.6
As a result of my Internship, I am more likely to integrate public interest/pro bono law into my future practice. 4.4
As a result of my Internship, I am more likely to seek a job in public interest law. 3.7
As a result of my Internship, I have developed new legal skills. 4.6

What Interns said about their experience:

 “This experience really highlighted the importance of public interest work in addressing the justice gap.”

“Only so much about the practice of law can be learned within the classroom. PILI’s internship program offers a great opportunity to learn how to practice law.”

“It’s a really great opportunity to have mentorship more broadly about public interest careers or ways to participate in pro bono. It’s really helpful to have a network of alumni to talk to about their paths to public interest work because everyone journey is different.”

“I have learned the importance of time management and being responsible by keeping track of all my assignments. I also learned a great deal about trial advocacy by observing and representing clients in court in a limited fashion.”

Posted in Internships.