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.

Hailey Cunningham, from New York University School of Law, and Laura McFeely, from Columbia Law School, were selected as Kirkland’s 2023–24 New York Public Service Fellows. Hailey is working with Manhattan Legal Services to advance the rights of youth whose intersectional identities (low-income, BIPOC and disabled) and unmet educational and behavioral needs often lead to absenteeism and school refusal. Laura is working with the Center for Appellate Litigation to provide client-centered advocacy on behalf of indigent New Yorkers and represent them in direct criminal appeals.

For more information about the 2023–2024 New York City Public Service Fellowships, view our webpage and application.