While we are all excited to get back to life after the pandemic, we cannot forget our vulnerable neighbors. Many of the protections shielding them during this difficult time are expiring; the eviction moratorium has been rolled back and debt payments will soon come due. Civil legal aid helps to ease these burdens in our communities. Pro bono attorneys can work to keep families housed and help clients access the resources available to them.
In Illinois, PILI is the gateway through which the legal community serves. PILI converts gifts of time and money into system-wide positive impact, whether that is by introducing law students and recent graduates to legal aid through our Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs, ensuring their ongoing connection to public interest law through the Alumni Network, or mobilizing the legal community and providing pro bono opportunities through our Pro Bono Program.
At the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), we have been working hard since the pandemic began to increase access to free legal services for those in need across Illinois. We have answered more than 3,500 questions on Illinois Free Legal Answers, placed 62 Law Student Interns and 63 Graduate Fellows, and placed 85 pro bono cases. This combines to over 40,000 hours of legal services and nearly 3,000 clients served. We have also held virtual programs and events to train pro bono attorneys, to address timely legal topics, and to increase pro bono services across the state.
As one client who asked a question on Illinois Free Legal Answers said, “I was frustrated trying to find the answers that I needed and was not in a position to hire or know if I needed to hire a lawyer. I received an informed and complete answer to my question including recommendations in a very timely manner. I am following the advice given and so far am getting results. Thank you again.”
What have you done to advance access to justice this year? Could you increase your giving to PILI or make your first gift today? Take a pro bono case from us or another legal aid program in your area, or answer some questions on Illinois Free Legal Answers? Or, be a champion for pro bono with your colleagues? Whatever you can do, it will make a difference and PILI can serve as your gateway to helping those in need. You can read more on our website about how to volunteer, or make a donation through our Giving Tuesday campaign.
About the PILI Young Professionals Board (YPB):
Established in 2017, PILI’s YPB is a group dedicated to empowering PILI through fundraising and by serving as PILI’s ambassadors in their communities. Members are emerging leaders who have begun their professional careers in the past fifteen years.
About Giving Tuesday:
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity.