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Two Mizzou Law Students Receive Public Interest Grants

April 10th, 2013

Mizzou Law Career Cafe Coffee cup

Jamihlia Johnson, a second-year law student from North Carolina, received a grant from the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) to work for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund this summer in Chicago.

Ki’ara Cross, a second-year law student from the St. Louis area, received a similar grant from PILI to work for the Coalition for the Homeless Law Project, also in Chicago.

The PILI Law Student Internship Program is a $5,000 grant given to 27 specific non-profit public interest agencies in the Chicago area to award to one summer intern. This is a much sought after internship program, as the public interest agencies do not pay their interns and each agency usually only has one PILI to award. The students will work for 10 weeks with their agency and also have the opportunity to participate in the PILI educational, networking and mentoring opportunities.

According to PILI, these interns “provide low-income and disenfranchised clients with critically needed direct legal assistance. Other PILI Interns conduct advocacy, policy-based work or impact litigation that enhances the health, safety and welfare of the disenfranchised. All PILI Interns gain valuable work experience that distinguishes their education and ultimately their careers.”

Both Johnson and Cross attended the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference, held at Northwestern University School of Law, as part of a trip sponsored by the Office of Career Development and Student Services. Cross interviewed with representatives of PILI while in Chicago.

The Office of Career Development and Student Services organized six site visits at various public interest agencies in the Chicago area. Each of the 13 students who participated chose three agencies to visit and all students attended an alumni networking event.

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