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PILP Turns 20

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This spring the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) at Lewis & Clark Law School celebrated a milestone when it held its 20th annual fund-raising auction. Since 1990, PILP has raised money to provide stipends to students who spend their summers working with public interest organizations and agencies, many of which could not otherwise afford legal aid.

From PILP’s inception, the auction has been the organization’s primary source of fund-raising. The dollars raised not only help clients obtain representation, but also help students gain experiences so they can pursue public interest work after graduation.

It’s estimated that at least 36 percent of PILP stipend recipients pursue careers in governmental, nonprofit, education, or tribal work after graduation. This dwarfs the national average of 19.5 percent of 2008 law graduates, and even eclipses Lewis & Clark’s remarkable 29.5 percent for 2008.

In the last two decades, PILP has awarded nearly 250 stipends and helped students take jobs at more than 120 different organizations in 14 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 foreign countries. Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Earthjustice Legal Defense (formerly Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), Juvenile Rights Project, Native American Program of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, and WaterWatch are at the top of the list for hosting PILP students.

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