News & Events
Posted May 9, 2013

Law School, PILA Give $484,500 in Public Service Grants to 109 Students

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PILA Grants

Shannon Parker, left, and Sejal Jhaveri both received PILA fellowships to work in public service jobs over the summer.

The University of Virginia School of Law and the student-run Public Interest Law Association will provide 109 first- and second-year law students with roughly $484,500 to fund their public service jobs over the summer. (Where PILA Grantees Will Work)

Contact: Brian McNeill

"Every year, students rely on PILA grants to perform the kind of work they came to law school to pursue," said second-year law student Emily Kveselis, PILA's incoming director of disbursements. "For most students, a summer in public interest means a summer without income, and for many, this would be impossible without a PILA grant."

The number of law students receiving grants this year remained the same as in 2012, but the total amount distributed rose slightly from last year's sum of $483,000.

The funds were raised at PILA-sponsored hornbook and textbook sales, and major fundraising events, such as PILA's annual auction and dance which brought in roughly $69,000 in November and a new 3-on-3 basketball tournament that was held in the fall. The remaining funds were provided by the Law School Foundation and other donors.

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This year, PILA awarded grants to 66 first-year students and 43 second-year students. First-years typically receive $3,500 and second-years $6,000.

To qualify for a PILA grant, first-year applicants must have volunteered 15 pro bono and public service hours since the start of classes, while second-years need to have volunteered 35 pro bono and public service hours since the start of their 1L year, not including 1L summer internship hours.

Each recipient must also secure a summer job at a qualifying public interest employer, such as a nonprofit organization, legal services or public defender office, or with state, local or federal government. For example, this summer PILA grant recipients will be working at the Office of the White House Counsel, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender, Legal Aid Society in New York City, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Kveselis said students applying for a grant "must also explain how prior experiences have prepared them to serve the public interest in their summer internship and how their summer experience will relate to long-term career goals and commitment to public service."

This year's PILA grant recipients volunteered a total of 10,286 pro bono and public service hours, with an average of 95 hours per student. First-year recipients completed an average 75 hours, while second-years completed an average of 126 hours.

First-year law student Sejal Jhaveri will use her PILA grant to work in New York City on impact litigation cases at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's education and voting rights practice groups.

"I will mostly be working with attorneys to write memos and briefs," she said. "I won't know the exact cases I'm working on until the summer, but LDF's education practice group focuses on education equity and the school to prison pipeline. Its voting rights group mostly works on felon voting rights and racially motivated voting laws."

Jhaveri said the 10-week internship with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund was at the very top of her job search list.

"Before I started law school I was a teacher for three years in Baltimore," she said. "That experience led me to see the importance of civil rights work. I wanted a job where I could still work on education issues but from a civil rights perspective. LDF fit that perfectly. It will also give me an opportunity to learn more about a different field in civil rights work and provide me with an introduction to impact litigation."

Without the PILA grant, Jhaveri added, she would have been unable to take such a job and live in New York City over the summer.

Second-year law student Shannon Parker is another PILA grant recipient. Parker will be working at the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia, an organization that helps children in the foster care system by pairing attorneys and social workers together to provide the child with a holistic approach to representation.

"My work there will consist of representing children in the foster care system by representing the child's best interests in court," she said. "I will also assist the numerous pro bono attorneys who act as court-appointed guardians ad litem (best interest attorneys) through the support center by conducting legal research on pressing issues, assisting with home visits and client interviews, and assisting in court hearings."

Parker, who majored in elementary education in college, said the PILA grant will help her make a key step toward her longstanding goal of working with children.

"During my time as a student teacher, I realized that the children that I really wanted to work with were those children who didn't have anyone in their corner — particularly children with difficult issues at home," she said. "When I came to law school, this quickly evolved into a desire to work with children in the foster care system."
 

PILA Grantee Employment

Federal Government
Overseas Private Investment Corporation Washington, D.C.
U.S. Agency for International Development Washington, D.C.
U.S. Agency for International Development Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona Phoenix, Ariz.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland Baltimore
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland Baltimore
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland Baltimore
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada Reno, Nev.
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey Newark, N.J.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York Brooklyn, N.Y.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia Alexandria, Va.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pa.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California San Francisco, Calif.
U.S. Department of Energy Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Philadelphia, Pa.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Chief Counsel Arlington, Va.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch, FTCA Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, Envirtonment and Natural Resources Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division Washington, D.C.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia Dallas, Tex.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Washington, D.C.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Washington, D.C.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition   Washington, D.C.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Northeast Region New York City
U.S. Marine Corps, Judge Advocate General's Corps Quantico, Va.
U.S. Small Business Administration Washington, D.C.
White House, Office of General Counsel Washington, D.C.
International
ANT Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia The Hague, The Netherlands
International Press Institute Vienna, Austria
Local and State Government (Including Prosecution)
Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Arlington, Va.
Chittenden County State's Attorney's Office Burlington, Vt.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office Charlotte, N.C.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office Charlotte, N.C.
New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Trenton, N.J.
New York Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Albany, N.Y.
Orange County Commonwealth Attorney's Office Orange County, Va.
Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Orange County, Va.
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office Philadephia, Pa.
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office Philadephia, Pa.
San Francisco City Attorney's Office San Francisco
Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office Santa Barbara
Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Virginia Beach, Va.
Nonprofit Organizations
ACLU Immigrant Rights Project San Francisco
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Washington, D.C.
Center for Constitutional Rights New York City
Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Virginia Farm Workers Program Charlottesville, Va.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Richmond, Va.
Community Legal Services Philadelphia, Pa.
EarthRights International Washington, D.C.
Education Law Center Philadelphia, Pa.
Equal Justice Center San Antonio, Tex.
Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation Jamaica Plain, Mass.
JustChildren Charlottesville, Va.
JustChildren Charlottesville, Va.
Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Washington, D.C.
Legal Aid Justice Center Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center Richmond, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center Falls Church, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center, Immigrant Advocacy Program Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center, Immigrant Advocacy Program Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Justice Center, Immigration Clinic Charlottesville, Va.
Legal Aid Society Rochester, N.Y.
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia Washington, D.C.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund New York City
National Housing Law Project San Francisco, Calif.
New York Civil Liberties Union New York City
Pennsylvania Health Law Project Pittsburgh, Pa.
Providence Health & Services Renton, Wash.
Public Counsel of Los Angeles Los Angeles
South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense Columbia, S.C.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services New Orleans
Southern Environmental Law Center Charleston, S.C.
Support Center for Child Advocates Philadelphia, Pa.
The Community Tax Law Project Richmond, Va.
The Women's Law Project Philadelphia, Pa.
Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy Richmond, Va.
Public Defenders
Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender Charlottesville, Va.
Charlottesville-Albemarle Office of the Public Defender Charlottesville, Va.
Fairbanks Office of the Public Defender Fairbanks, Alaska
Federal Public Defender's Office, Western District of Virginia Charlottesville, Va.
Fredericksburg Public Defender Fredericksburg, Va.
Metropolitan Public Defender Portland, Ore.
The Legal Aid Society of New York New York City