The Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) is a great website offering a variety of opportunities for people that are interested in working in public interest.  This organization has several programs that are molded to work well with various points in an attorney’s career.

PILI offers internships for law students in Chicago, Peoria, and Champaign, Illinois.  Interns participating in these programs work for 400 hours over the summer, and are placed at a variety of agencies serving low-income clients.  Interns receive a $5,000 stipend for their participation.  This past summer, Mizzou Law had two PILI interns!

The Graduate Fellowship programs places new associates from Chicago law firms at a public interest law organization while studying for the bar, or after taking the bar.  These fellowships occur during the summer or fall and the associate works for 300 hours.  The hiring firm sponsors the associate’s public interest work.  There are approximately two dozen firms that participate in this program in Chicago.

PILI also works with various firms, corporations, and agencies to further their program, the Pro bono Initiative.  This is a program that implements incentives for organizations to increase the amount of pro bono work they do in the community.

Finally, the extended placement program allows law firms to place their attorneys, new or experienced, at a public law organization for an extended period of time in a rotation or fellowship program.

Participating in a PILI program also serves as a great networking opportunity.  If you click on the “events” tab on the site, you will see that the organization holds different types of events each month, creating an opportunity for participants to meet each other and expand their networks. 

There is also a great “resources” tab with links to more information about law school internships and post-grad opportunities, as well as links to articles and other public interest related sites.

This would be a great resource for anyone interested in getting some experience working in public interest, and especially for students who may like to live in Illinois once they graduate.  There are a variety of opportunities available through PILI for any point in an attorney’s career!