Who are we?
The Public Interest Law Fund (PILF) is a student-run organization at UCI Law that provides financial support to students who do summer work at non-profit legal organizations. Many of these positions at non-profit legal organizations are unpaid, creating a financial burden for many UCI Law students. We seek to help ease that burden for UCI Law students.
Our mission is to make a positive impact on our communities by enabling students to work at non-profit, public interest organizations that provide low-cost or free legal aid to the people and causes that need it most.
Why Support PILF?
Public interest organizations are typically underfunded and rely on unpaid volunteers, including UCI Law students. Because these positions are unpaid, many UCI Law students would struggle to pay their bills and cover their living expenses without PILF stipends. PILF Stipends enable students to take volunteer positions to help others without having to worry about how they will make their next rent payment.
Most of the summer positions that PILF recipients will be working provide legal services to low-income, marginalized communities. At a time where COVID-19 is disproportionately compounding the needs of these communities, it is more important than ever that we facilitate this work by helping students with the financial burden of working for free to help others. For each student who receives aid from PILF, several members of our community gain access to needed services.
The UCI Law Community has contributed over $560,000 toward stipends. And for the summer of 2021, PILF dispersed stipends for 38 students.
We hope that you can contribute to providing public interest services through UCI Law students by giving to PILF’s Friends and Family Campaign! Help us make our goal to raise $10,000 for PILF 2022 stipends!
Thank you from all of us at UCI Law!
What will your money go towards?
UCI Law students have worked in areas such as children’s rights, environmental law, housing and homelessness advocacy, elder rights, immigration law, and more. With the help of PILF stipends this past summer, UCI Law students have done great work, including but not limited to:
● Helped a guardianship applicant appeal for and navigate altered visitation requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions
● Assisted domestic violence survivors through court systems
● Helped a client apply and receive unemployment benefits when their business closed for COVID-19
● Represented people threatened by removal proceedings
● Defended a veteran with diagnosed PTSD
● Filed papers representing international students at online-only universities
● Investigated insider trading cases and predatory Ponzi schemes.
“Because of this pandemic, like a lot of people, my parents’ small business suffered. Because of the PILF stipend, I’ve been able to pay my rent without needing extra loans, which has really saved my family so much. If it weren’t for PILF, I would have had to look for another job.”
“My parents are above the age of 70, so they are at high risk of COVID infection. The funding I received from PILF allowed me to buy groceries for my family and take care of some of our expenses while still working in public interest so they could allocate their savings towards their medical bills.”
“Without the funding, I would not have been able to focus my time on my internship. Furthermore, due to the high cost of living in Orange County and limited federal student loan funding, along with uncertainty about COVID and worries about finding part-time work, the stipend provided a safety net and peace of mind this last summer”
“There is absolutely no world in which I would have worked for these organizations if PILF had not been able to provide funding. Being a legal intern was stressful enough; if I’d had to worry about how to pay my rent and buy my groceries as well, I don’t know how I would have handled this summer.”
Margaret Hinson (’22); Standpoint MN, Advocates for Human Rights
“This PILF stipend helped to solidify my choice to pursue environmental law. It allowed me to explore the government side of environmental law and made me realize I enjoy it enough to pursue it as a career”
Michael Damasco (’21); Attorney General’s Office in Sacramento