Award Details

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The Public Interest Law Project Executive Board voted unanimously in September 2020 to modify the PILP Summer Award criteria to be more accessible, more equitable, and less prone to biases. In addition, PILP is working towards continued transparency about our policies and practices. For any questions please reach out to


What is it? A PILP Summer Award is a stipend which allows law students who are working in unpaid public interest externships or jobs to financially support themselves during the summer months.

What does it do? The PILP award opens the doors to summer public interest work for all students regardless of their ability to afford to take on volunteer or unpaid work.

How much does it provide? 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.

What if I have other funding? 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.

If I meet the eligibility criteria will I automatically get a PILP Summer Award? While PILP works hard to raise as much money as possible to fund summer awards there is always the possibility that more people are eligible than PILP has available funds for. To learn more about how award recipients are selected see “Decision Criteria” below.

If I receive a PILP Summer Award what are my obligations? Recipients must chair a PILP Fundraising Committee the year following receipt of the PILP Stipend, typically dedicating 10-15 additional hours to PILP. In addition they must submit a photo and one-page essay in September describing their work.

Can I receive a PILP Summer Award each summer? No you are only eligible to receive an award one time.


  • 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 1L, 2L, 3L (evening students are eligible to apply).

  • Must be enrolled in Lewis & Clark Law School at least one semester during the school year following the summer work (cannot transfer away)

  • Must have completed at least 12 hours of volunteer fundraising work for PILP during the current school year.

    • To earn PILP hours you will want to join the PILP listserv and look for emails from Volunteer Coordinator, ‘Ilima Umbhau, who will notify folks of opportunities to earn PILP hours

  • Must have completed at least 15 hours of pro bono or community service hours during the current school year.

Host Eligibility

  • Must be a nonprofit 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

In year’s past, applicants were judged on a series of criteria generally in the category of “the work,” “the student,” and “the host.” Applicants would then be anonymously evaluated by a separate committee. The PILP Executive Board collected feedback from those familiar with the process, past award recipients, and individuals who chose not to pursue PILP.

PILP also met with an equity & inclusion consultant and decided to modify the decision criteria to move away from the prior system which remained too vulnerable to personal biases and replicated systemic inequities already present in legal education. The former system allowed folks with privilege to exceed the minimum requirements to better position themselves to earn an award. We do not wish for this to be a continued practice.

Moving forward, the decision criteria for receiving the PILP Summer Award will utilize a matrix system to evaluate individuals. This system is designed to not only reduce bias but to score applicants in a much more holistic manner, keeping in mind the unique situations of a wide variety of law students. The matrix is being designed by a professional equity consultant who is working with PILP to determine what values are important to the organization as a whole.

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, gender identity, marital, premarital, or veteran’s status or the prejudice of clients.