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.

Surbi Sarang of Columbia Law School and Alicia Nieves of New York University School of Law were selected as the 2016–17 Kirkland & Ellis fellows. Surbi is working with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest providing support for the Transform Don’t Trash campaign, which strives to transform the commercial waste industry to create jobs, increase recycling, and improve conditions for sanitation workers. Alicia is working with JustFix.nyc to assist low-income New York City tenants with resolving issues with landlords and the housing courts.

For more information about the 2017 New York City Public Service Fellowships, view our brochure here and the application form here.

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