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Student Externship

Law Student Opportunities

The Public Interest Law Project (PILP) is currently seeking law students for the Summer 2024 term.

The Public Interest Law Project (PILP) is currently seeking externship applications for the Fall 2023 term.

PILP advances racial and economic justice for low income people and communities by building the capacity of legal services organizations through impact litigation, training, publications, and by advocating for low income communities and communities of color.

Since 1996, the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) has fought and continues to attack the systems and policies that have unjustly denied low income communities and communities of color in California government benefits, housing, and security. When Congress prohibited local legal services from engaging in class action litigation, legislative advocacy, and representation of undocumented immigrants, PILP was established to ensure local legal services continued to receive crucial litigation and advocacy support and low income communities and communities of color continued to participate in critical legal advocacy to fight for racial and economic justice.

Through impact litigation and advocacy support with local partners, we work to increase and preserve affordable housing, fight displacement, eliminate discriminatory zoning, support unhoused communities, and protect and expand peoples’ entitlement to public benefits, income supports, and supportive services.

Mentorship: Law students at PILP receive mentoring and training from our highly skilled staff attorneys and gain exposure to the mechanics of litigation and state and local systems change advocacy while developing a better understanding of the legal barriers facing low-income and other underrepresented communities in California.

Legal Training: PILP engages our law students in many phases of complex litigation. For example, we have involved students in all aspects of preparing an affordable housing/fair housing case for trial, including drafting discovery motions, participating in strategy sessions with co-counsel, and settlement negotiations with opposing counsel. Other law students have researched the legislative history and case law related to various provisions of affordable housing and public benefits laws; drafted portions of trial court and appellate briefs; assisted taking depositions; and drafted procedural and substantive legal memoranda, motions, and stipulations. Law students have also gone into the field, interviewing clients and drafting declarations for submission to the court.

Externs may be able to receive academic credit through their schools. Since 2020, we have been able to adapt to remote work for our law students and we will continue to make this option available for those who are interested.

Application Materials: Please provide a cover letter that includes a brief statement of interest, résumé, writing sample, and at least two professional references. In your cover letter, please also indicate the term you are interested in (Fall 2023), your law school year, and any past or current public interest law experience. Candidates should email application materials as Word or PDF attachments to If you prefer an alternative method of submitting these materials, please contact us at the above email address.

The Public Interest Law Project (PILP) is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse workforce and a respectful and inclusive culture. We strongly encourage people of color, people with disabilities, people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexualities, older adults, and individuals from other traditionally underrepresented and historically oppressed groups to apply. It is PILP’s policy to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to establish and maintain equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, disability, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, medical condition, veteran status, national origin, marital status, familial status, or any other protected status.