Public Interest Fellows

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Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Fellowship Program

Started in 2010 with the University of Chicago Law School, the Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Fellowship Program provides a unique opportunity for select law students to gain practical experience in a law firm setting while engaging in public interest work during the summer following their first year of law school.

Our 2016 Fellows worked with Chicago-area legal aid and non-profit organizations Cabrini Green Legal Aid, the National Immigrant Justice Center, Equip for Equality, and had the opportunity to do work for The Law Project and Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

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.

“During my PILI Fellowship, it was exciting to counsel clients directly and argue in court. It was a glimpse into the future of my legal career.”

Bobby Earles, Associate and 2012 PILI Fellow

New York City 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 Kenyon of New York University School of Law and Elena Rodriguez of Columbia Law School have been selected as Kirkland’s 2017–18 New York Public Interest Fellows. Emily is working with the Pace-Natural Resources Defense Council Food Law Initiative at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law to provide direct legal services to local farmers, start-up food businesses, and non-profit food justice organizations while advocating for food policy reform in New York City to increase access for low-income residents to affordable healthy food. Elena is assisting Housing Works in providing essential legal services to low-income people living with AIDS at various legal proceedings that are essential for their survival including administrative fair hearings over public assistance benefits and holdover proceedings in housing courts.

For more information about the 2018–2019 New York City Public Service Fellowships, view our brochure here and the application form here.

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