Founded in 1993, Loyola Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) is a non-partisan, student-run organization invested in fostering the careers of students dedicated to providing assistance to those traditionally underrepresented in the legal system. As the largest student organization on campus, PILF provides summer grants, one-on-one mentorships, networking opportunities, scholarship navigation services, guest speaker panels, and career planning to best equip students to meet the ever-growing need for public service legal work.
Every year, PILF Summer and Post-Bar Grants provide critical funding to students working at public interest organizations locally and nationally, where the majority do not compensate students for commitments equivalent to full-time jobs. Applications for the Summer and Post-Bar Grants are available in March. Please email PILF at PILF@lls.edu for more information.
For many students, PILF Summer Grants are the only compensation they receive over an entire summer’s worth of housing, transportation, food, and associated work costs. PILF Summer Grants allow our students to assist those traditionally underrepresented in the legal system, the following are just a few examples of where last year’s grant recipients spent their summer:
- ACLU of Southern California
- Bet Tzedek
- California Department of Justice
- Children’s Law Center of California
- City Attorney's Office (Los Angeles and San Diego)
- Community Legal Aid of Southern California
- Consumer Watchdog
- Disability Rights California
- District Attorney's Office (Los Angeles and Riverside)
- Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
- LevittQuinn Family Law Center
- Human Rights First
- Immigration Center for Women and Children
- Immigrant Defenders Law Center
- Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles
- Public Counsel
- Public Defender's Offices (Los Angeles, San Deigo, Ventura, and Orange County)
It cannot be understated that PILF Grants are often the determining factor between whether a student decides to take a second job to pay their rent or accept a summer work opportunity that may change the trajectory of their legal career. Those interested in making a gift to PILF's Grants can do so at https://boundless.lmu.edu/project/29663. Every donation to PILF Summer Grants goes directly to funding students' unpaid public interest summer internships.
PILF Student-Alumni Mentorship Program
Connect with alumni in fields you’re interested in, at organizations you’d like to work with, or for general public interest career advice. Keep an eye out at the beginning of the school year for application information. Alumni interested in mentoring students can email the PILF Alumni Chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Interest Palooza!
Join us on March 26, 2022 for an afternoon of lawyers and law students learning skills, discussing how to overcome challenges in the legal field, and celebrating as a community that supports public interest work! Featuring workshops: Managing Microaggressions in the Workplace & Overcoming Ally Pitfalls, Mastering Non-verbal Communication in the Courtroom, Achieving Housing Justice, Getting Jurors to Open up About Bias, Vicarious Trauma & Trauma-Informed Lawyering, Advocating for Juvenile Clients Roundtable. Student-alumni mixer with food & beverages to follow!
- Public Interest Careers & Pro Bono Law Firm Panel 04.06.22
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Info Session 03.24.22
- Public Interest Summer Job Application Workshop 02.08.22
- Q&A with Upper-division Public Interest Students 02.02.22
- Criminal Law Society - Securing Your First Criminal Law Internship 02.02.22
- Public Interest Law Student Roadmap 10.20.21
- ACLU Loyola - Civil Rights Attorney Panel 10.27.21
- Roadmap for Public Interest Students: Public Interest Law Student Roadmap 10.20.21 provides an overview of opportunities for public interest students, including advice on classes, clinics, externships, post-grad fellowships, and public interest loans forgiveness.
- Practice Guides: provide a better understanding of specific practice areas, including information on courses, professors, concentrations, employers, and clinical opportunities. Subject areas include: Bankruptcy, Corporate Criminal Justice, Civil Rights, Education, Entertainment, Environmental & Land Use, Family, Health Care, Immigration, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Law & Technology, Real Estate, Tax, Trusts & Estates, and Workers' Compensation.
- Also explore What is Public Interest Law? to find out more about different types of issue area, practice settings, and work types in public interest.
- Los Angeles Public Interest Organizations: a list of Los Angeles Public Interest Organizations and their pro-bono coordinator contact info (note: this is not always the same person who hires summer interns) can be found here.
- Opportunities at Loyola (view past Experiential Learning Fair info session recordings):
- Clinics (Attend Experiential Learning Fair in March to learn about clinical opportunities and the deadlines to apply)
- Practicums (Attend Experiential Learning Fair in March to learn about practicum opportunities and the deadlines to apply)
- Moot Court & Trial Advocacy Programs
- Field Placements (internship during the school year for units)
- Law Review
- Public Interest Concentration Requirements
- Pro-bono Requirement: Before graduation, each student must perform 40 hours of uncompensated, legally related public service work under the supervision of an attorney in order to fulfill the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement. Find more information here.
- General Tips
- Watch Public Interest Summer Job Application Workshop 02.08.22: counselors from the Career Development Office discussed tips on how to tailor your resume and cover letter for public interest internships
- When to start looking for a summer internship? Some organizations start soliciting summer internship applications as early as September. Public Sector Career Day (see below) holds interviews in February, but many organizations post information about how to apply for summer jobs on their own websites before then (usually by December). Contact your career counselor for advice about when to apply to a specific organization.
- If you did not get your top summer internship, you can always apply to intern for the organization during the school year for units (see Field Placements for more info). It is much less competitive during the school year.
- Looking for a summer internship? Symplicity (how to use Symplicity) and Public Sector Job Database are great places to start your search. You can also view a list of all the public interest organizations in the Los Angeles area here. Many organizations start accepting applications for summer internships as early as September. Most students apply for summer internships by February.
- Public Sector Career Day: The Public Sector Career Day is an annual career fair with more than 100 government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private public interest firms collecting resumes and soliciting interviews. Many Loyola public interest students obtain their summer internship this way. Applications open mid-December to mid-January. Organizations typically include: Public Counsel, Esperanza Immigrants Rights Project, Los Angeles County Public Defender, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Inner City Law Center, Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, Consumer Watchdog.
- Spring 2022 Virtual On-Campus Interview (OCI) Program: OCI is applying for a job with multiple employers at the same time. Spring OCI typically includes the following government agencies and public interest organizations: Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center; Disability Rights California; Los Angeles County District Attorney; Los Angeles County, Office of the County Counsel; and Ventura County Public Defender. Submit your resume to your career counselor by early January and apply to On-Campus and Resume Collect employers via Symplicity by mid-January.
- Career Services Useful Links:
- Career Service’s Summer Plan Guide
- Resume: Legal Resumes Video, Resume Breakdown, Resume Samples, Action Verbs, VMock Instructions for Students
- Cover Letter: Cover Letters Video, Cover Letter Breakdown, Cover Letter Samples
- Writing Sample: Writing Sample Breakdown
- Funding for Summer Public Interest Internships: Loyola offers two opportunities for students to obtain funding for their public interest summer internships. First, PILF offers the PILF Grant and will host an information session around March. Second, the Summer Public Interest Employment Program (SPIEP) is offered through Loyola Law School. You can find more information about the application process and requirements for SPIEP here.
- General Tips
Post-grad fellowship helps fund projects that serve unmet legal needs by paying a first year attorney’s salary for 1-2 years depending on the fellowship. Applicants must propose their own projects, usually in conjunction with an existing organization, but in some cases candidates may apply for support to start a new organization. The Skadden, Equal Justice Works, and Justice Catalyst fellowships are examples of project-based fellowships and applications are due in the fall of 3L/4E. Loyola also offers a Post Graduate Public Interest Fellowship Program and applications are due in April of 3L/4E.
Many organizations have internal deadlines during your 2L/3E summer to select the students they are going to host for fellowships. Consider interning your 2L/3E summer with an organization that you would like to have a post-grad fellowship with so you can get a head start on your project proposal. PSJD is an amazing resource for fellowship tips, deadline overviews, and fellowship postings.
- Loyola Loan Forgiveness: The Public Interest Loan Assistance Program (PILAP) is offered to graduates, who were employed full-time by a public interest program earning a salary of less than $72,000. Loyola graduates receiving assistance under the PILAP will be given grants of up to 90 percent of the difference between their annual salary and the $72,000 ceiling. Those grants must be applied directly to the repayment of educational loans, with priority being given to loans undertaken to complete legal education. More information can be found here.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): The Federal PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments (10 years) under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying nonprofit or government employer. View a recording of Public Service Loan Forgiveness Info Session 03.24.22 and visit here to find out more information.