Public Interest Law Fund (PILF)

The UCI Public Interest Law Fund provides financial support to UCI Law students working to address gaps in our justice system and to assist those with the greatest need in our community.

PILF seeks to enable all interested UCI Law students to serve the public interest—a core mission of UC Irvine School of Law—by providing work stipends, networking opportunities and informational resources so that students can work at non-profit organizations and agencies, helping real clients with real problems.

Because public-interest organizations rely on volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono assistance, the PILF stipends allow UCI Law students to cover basic living costs while they are working without pay. Since 2010, more than $500,000 has been distributed to UCI Law students for summer stipends, allowing students to volunteer well over 60,000 hours to assist underserved communities over the past four summers.

2017-2018 Events

Fundraising for PILF is conducted in a variety of ways. Details about the PILF 2017-18 fundraising campaign are here >

Powered by PILF

  • Image of Jamila Benkato

    Jamila G. Benkato / Class of 2016

    I worked for the D.C. Prisoners’ Project at the Washington Lawyers’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in Washington, D.C. My clients were prisoners in both the D.C. Jail and federal prisons around the country ... I was able to establish connections in D.C., where I would love to work one day ... D.C. is expensive and I definitely would not have been able to accept the position without the assistance of the stipend.

  • Image of Natalie Diaz

    Natalie Diaz / Class of 2016

    I worked at Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) over the summer as a law clerk. My experience at LSNC was very rewarding and I loved that I was able to directly affect the lives of so many people on a daily basis. My summer experience at LSNC solidified my passion for public interest work and my desire to use my legal education to help low-income communities.

  • Image of Sean Garcia-Leys

    Sean Garcia-Leys / Class of 2016

    I spent the summer as an intern with the National Lawyers Guild, defending the constitutional and civil rights of marginalized communities. The clients I was privileged to work with included families of color wrongly targeted in gang raids, homeless people whose property had been seized by city government, and street performers who were kicked out of public forums. The best part for me was working side by side with some of the National Lawyers Guild’s most effective lawyers, both because I was able to be part of their important work and because I was able to learn so much from watching them.

  • Image of Nicholas James

    Nicholas James / Class of 2016

    My PILF stipend allowed me to serve indigent criminal defendants in Orange County [and] to pursue my career goals without worrying about financial pressure. This was essential to being able to pursue a public interest career.

  • Image of Kevin Lerman

    Kevin Lerman / Class of 2016

    I used the PILF stipend to spend the summer working at the California Appellate Project in San Francisco. I [did] valuable work on cases for death row prisoners who are waiting for appointed [appellate] counsel. It was rewarding ... to help people who would otherwise be waiting years to have an attorney assigned to their cases. Using the PILF stipend for capital post-conviction work was particularly valuable since state funding is woefully insufficient, which means the agencies and attorneys doing this type of work are overburdened and [need] all the help they can get.

  • Image of Ronald Park

    Ronald Park / Class of 2016

    I worked with the Wage Justice Center to assist port truckers, day laborers, construction workers and accountants recover their unpaid wages. The stipend I received from PILF went towards paying for transportation, food and other living expenses. Because of the stipend, I did not have to take a second job, and I was able to fully devote myself to serving the needs of workers across the state seeking compensation for the work they had done.