Pro Bono Fellowships


Being a PILI Fellow at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) allowed me to directly help Chicago residents improve their housing situations. Through client interviews and courtroom appearances, I developed my passion for pro bono legal work. Since my Fellowship, I remain active with CVLS, in both pro bono legal work and as a member of their junior board. - Jonathan Adair, Associate and 2015 PILI Fellow

Public Interest Law Initiative

Each year, Kirkland funds multiple postgraduate fellowships as part of the Firm's commitment to the Public Interest Law Initiative® (PILI), an organization with a mission to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community. The fellowships allow incoming Kirkland lawyers to work at public interest legal aid organizations across Chicago while studying for the bar exam. The legal aid organizations help clients become citizens, buy homes, adopt children, secure disability benefits and gain asylum, among many other achievements. Kirkland sponsors approximately 30 PILI Fellows every year, the most of any law firm in Chicago.

NYC Public Service Fellowships

Kirkland’s New York office annually awards Public Service Fellowships to outstanding law school graduates from Columbia Law School and the New York University School of Law for a year of public service work aimed at addressing unmet legal needs in New York City.

Emily Sun, from New York University School of Law, and Elizabeth Orem, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland's 2021–22 New York Public Service Fellows. Emily is working with Her Justice to empower Chinese domestic abuse survivors in New York City to apply for immigration relief and serve as a point of contact for additional services. Elizabeth is assisting immigrant youth at The Door’s Legal Services Center (“LCS”) by providing advocacy in the areas of public benefits, Medicaid coverage, the family court system, and the public school system in addition to LCS’s current focus on immigration law needs.

For more information about the 2022–2023 New York City Public Service Fellowships, view our webpage and application.