The University of Washington Public Interest Law Association (PILA) is a student-run organization dedicated to the promotion of legal work that serves the public and improves the quality of life for individuals in the Washington community and elsewhere. PILA aims to grow and strengthen UW Law’s public interest community and empower public interest law students at UW Law to better serve any community they practice in after graduation. Within this, PILA also recognizes the need for students to receive cultural competency and diversity training in preparation of future work in vulnerable communities. In all its endeavors, PILA advocates for UW Law students so that these students reach their potential as advocates. To these ends, PILA’s programming focuses on:
1. Raising awareness about the need for and rewards of pro bono and full-time public interest legal work,
2. Connecting UW Law students with the greater Seattle area’s network of pro bono and full-time public interest practitioners,
3. Providing mentorship, diversity and inclusion, and volunteer work programming,
4. Advocating for public interest legal training during students’ degree candidacies, and 5. Creating opportunities for law students and attorneys to combine their legal skills with
passion and optimism in jobs that exemplify lawyers’ capacity to make a difference.
Definition of Public Interest: PILA conceives “public interest” legal work as providing legal services that address social justice issues and expand access to justice for historically marginalized communities.