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Past PILA Events | Summer Grant | Ways to Contribute

Welcome to PILA

The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) at the William S. Boyd School of Law is a non-profit, student-run organization that works closely with students, faculty, and members of the community to raise awareness about public interest work and opportunities available to law students.

The Annual Public Interest Law Association Fundraiser Auction

PILA hosts an auction each year to raise funds to finance grants for Boyd students undertaking public interest work over the summer. PILA uses all proceeds from the auction to provide grants to students who commit to spending their summer in unfunded or low-paying positions that address the unmet legal needs of people in Nevada and around the world. In the past, with the assistance of PILA grants, students have helped senior citizens obtain housing, resolved landlord-tenant conflicts, dealt with child custody and divorce disputes, and secured equal and civil rights for individuals.  Since our first auction in 1999, we have raised over $100,000.

This year's PILA Auction will be held on February 19, 2015 in Reynolds Hall Lobby at the Smith Center, beginning at 5:30pm. All are welcome and invited to attend!

Click here to visit our PILA Auction website for ways to contribute and a current list of auction items.

2013 PILA Auction: click here

2012 PILA Auction: click here

2011 PILA Auction: click here

Ways to Contribute
If you are interested in donating, click here.

Silver Staircase Honor
During PILA’s Annual Public Interest Auction, a member of the legal community is recognized for their commitment to public interest and creating access to justice for those in need.  In 2011, this honor was renamed the Silver Staircase Honor to symbolize that the award recognizes valuable members of our community who are known for helping people up.

This year's Silver Staircase Honoree is Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, in gratitude for her outstanding service to our community.

WHAT IS PUBLIC INTEREST LAW?

Simply put, public interest law is legal work that serves the public interest in some capacity. It is a somewhat specialized practice of law that is largely founded on the belief that every individual is entitled to have access to the legal system. Generally, public interest lawyers work to help people with legal needs that typically cannot afford the higher fees of private attorneys. In most cases, public interest lawyers are those who have chosen to pursue a legal career because they want to use their skills to serve others and make a difference in society.
Public interest lawyers work in all sectors of the law including, but not limited to family, environmental, criminal, civil, international, human rights and administrative law.

However, attorneys need not solely work in public interest to make a difference. Pro bono cases, or cases for which the lawyer is not paid, also serve the public interest. PILA is dedicated to expanding the definition of public interest law so all Boyd students know that whatever their future career choices, there are always ways to help the community through a variety of public interest law work.

REASONS TO JOIN PILA

Besides the Career Fairs, Workshops, Social Justice Retreat, and the Summer Grant program outlined on this site, there are still more reasons to join PILA at the Boyd School of Law. By joining and volunteering with PILA, a student can increase their chances for eligibility for other opportunities such as the Community Service scholarship, numerous fellowships and job opportunities that may require a demonstrated commitment to public service. Many employers, especially those in the non-profit, public and government sectors seek potential employees who have shown an interest in community service and public interest law while in law school.

FOR MORE INFORMATION...
PILA will be holding informational sessions regarding membership and other upcoming events in the first few weeks of law school. We encourage you to attend these meetings to learn more about the opportunities a PILA membership can offer to law students. 

PILA SUMMER GRANT
Available for Students Who Choose to Engage in Public Interest Work over the Summer
How Much: Up to $5000 for 8 weeks of work or a minimum of 320 hours... read more

 

ACTIVITIES
Public Interest Law Workshops
During the year, PILA will hold workshops where students will be able to speak to public interest attorneys about the rewards and challenges of pursuing a career in public interest work. These will also include panels with attorneys discussing current public interest issues facing the legal community. 

Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference
The Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference is the largest national conference that supports public interest legal work through recognition awards, informational sessions regarding career development and provides students with the unique opportunity to network with prominent public interest lawyers from all over the country.
For more information see www.equaljusticeworks.org.


Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Law Retreat
The Grillo Retreat will be held at the University of San Francisco School of Law this year. It is held in memory of Trina Grillo, who was active in public interest and social justice. The event is an opportunity for students, faculty and practitioners of public interest to engage in discussion. For more information see http://www.saltlaw.org/contents/view/trinagrillo