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Public Interest Law Project

Award Details

ballpoint penThe PILP award opens the doors to summer public interest work for all students regardless of their ability to afford to take on volunteer work.

Up to $5,000 of support for full-time and up to $2,500 of support for part-time summer public interest work.

The minimum award is $3,500 and the maximum $5,000 for students who commit to complete at least 350 hours of work over the summer. Additionally, a student may work part-time, making the award a minimum of $1,750 and a maximum of $2,500 for students who commit to completing at least 175 hours of work over the summer.

Award amounts may vary based on special circumstances including the distance to the host and the cost of living where the host is located. Awards may be less than requested. Once awards are announced, student may decline to accept.

If the host or a third party supplies partial funding, PILP will not provide funds beyond the amount that increases the recipient’s total funding to $5,000 for a full-time position or $2,500 for a part-time position.

Recipient Obligations

  • Recipients must chair a PILP Fundraising Committee the year following receipt of the PILP Stipend.
  • Recipients must submit a photo and one-page essay in September describing their work.
  • Additional PILP volunteer hours may be required. See Student Eligibility.

Student Eligibility

  • Must be a Lewis & Clark Law School student with a 2.0 GPA or higher.
  • Must have completed at least one year of law school by June of the application year.
  • Must be enrolled in Lewis & Clark Law School at least one semester during the school year following the summer work.
  • Must have completed at least 20 hours of volunteer fundraising work for PILP during the current school year.
  • Must have completed at least 20 hours of Pro Bono, Community Service, or both types of volunteer work between April of the prior year and the Stipend Application due date.  Hours toward the PILP Auction do not count toward this requirement. (This work need not be legal.  Any work that qualifies for either the Pro Bono Honors Award or the Community Service Honors Award will qualify and count for both the PILP Award and the Honors Awards.  Law review, SBA, and many student groups do not qualify.  Please check with PILP’s Director of Award Board Relations and/or the Career & Professional Development Center to ensure that your volunteer hours will qualify.)
  • Must not be a previous recipient of a PILP Award.

Host Eligibility

  • Must be a non-profit or non-governmental organization, governmental office, or tribal entity.
  • Must provide attorney supervision to the student if legal work is to be completed.  If policy or other law-related work is to be completed, a supervisor with a JD is strongly preferred.

Decision Criteria - applications are evaluated based on:

The Work:
  • How well-defined the work is
  • How great the public interest need is that the work is filling
  • Whether the work will make a measurable contribution to the student’s legal education
  • Whether the work is unique and creative
The Student:
  • The suitability of the student for proposed work (e.g., experience, coursework, etc.)
  • The student’s demonstrated commitment to public service or public interest law
  • The total number of volunteer hours contributed to PILP fundraising
  • The total number of pro bono/community service hours, both in general and related to the field pursued
The Host:
  • The quality of supervision provided to the student (typically, supervision by a practicing attorney is required)
  • The host’s contribution to the public interest
  • The host’s financial need, the host’s inability to pay, and the anticipated benefit to the host
    • In case of more than one applicant for the same host, greater financial need and benefit must be shown

Payment and Taxes

Awards are taxable income paid as a Prize or Award. There is no tax withholding on PILP Awards and Lewis & Clark must report payment via IRS Form 1099-MISC; recipients will be responsible for saving funds to pay state and federal income tax if any is due.

The Power to Revoke and Recoup

The PILP Executive Board retains the power to revoke and recoup an award at any time upon a finding of a substantial misrepresentation in the application. The PILP Executive Board shall have the power to resolve all disputes regarding PILP Award eligibility that arise during the academic year.


PILP will not knowingly fund positions with hosts who discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, disability, sexual orientation, marital, premarital, or veteran’s status or the prejudice of clients.