The 2019-2020 PIFP Board would like to extend our warmest thanks to everyone who helped make our 23rd Annual Public Interest Auction a huge success! In total, we raised $36,795 at this year's auction. Thank you for continuing to support students who pursue public interest legal work.
Public Interest Fellowship Program
The Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides financial support to students who commit their summers to public service legal work. Many law students, dedicated to helping the less fortunate, are limited by financial constraints. Similarly, public interest legal organizations often cannot afford to hire much needed summer interns. Through fundraising, PIFP, an entirely student-run organization, provides summer fellowships to Villanova Law students, who in turn aid the larger community by working with various public interest organizations throughout the region, nation and world to deliver volunteer legal services to those in need.
Since its founding in 1998, PIFP has raised over $800,000 through a variety of creative fundraising endeavors and awarded over 200 summer fellowships (each now valued at $5,000). In addition, 2015 marked the tenth consecutive year that PIFP provided $12,000 to fund its Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). LRAP provides a $12,000 award, paid over three years, to a recent graduate committed to working for a public interest organization or governmental agency.
The highlight of PIFP’s fundraising efforts is its annual spring auction, which in recent years has featured 250 to 300 silent and live auction items donated by individuals and businesses throughout Greater Philadelphia and across the country. Last year's auction took place on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at Villanova Law School. To learn more about the Walter A. Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program’s 23rd Annual Public Interest Auction click here.
Please join PIFP in helping public interest organizations to deliver volunteer legal services to those in need. Click on the links above to learn more, and thank you for your support of public interest!
2020- 2021 PIFP Board
THE 23RD ANNUAL AUCTION
THE 2018 PIFP AUCTION
was held on March 23, 2018 and was a huge success. We raised a lot of money to support public interest fellowships!
Comprised of both silent and live auctions, the event in recent years has featured 250 to 300 items donated by individuals and businesses throughout Greater Philadelphia and across the country including: lunch and golf foursomes with distinguished Villanova Law alumni, vacation stays, tickets to cultural and sporting events, and much more; and all proceeds go toward providing $4,500 fellowships to current students who commit their summers to performing public service legal work. PIFP also awards one $12,000 fellowship each year to a recent graduate who has committed to working full-time for a public service organization or governmental agency.
Founded in 1998, PIFP is a student-led organization dedicated to supporting student legal work in the public interest sector. Each year, volunteers work tirelessly to raise money to provide summer fellowships for their fellow students who otherwise would work in unpaid public interest positions. This work is critically important, not only to the public interest organizations with whom the fellows serve, but especially to the lives of low income individuals, the elderly, abused and neglected children, victims of discrimination, people with disabilities, and other members of our society in need of legal advocates. See the Recipients tab for a list of this year's Fellows and their positions.
Please join PIFP in helping public interest organizations deliver volunteer legal services to those in need throughout the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond!
We appreciate donations in any amount. Please consider sponsoring a fellow for an hour ($11.25), a day ($90), a week ($450), a month ($1800), or an entire summer ($4500).
You can make a monetary donation online by clicking here and designating your gift to the Walter A. Lucas '88 Public Interest Fellowship Program, or by sending a check payable to "Villanova University" with "PIFP" in the memo line to:
Public Interest Fellowship Program
Villanova University School of Law
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
The 2019 Deans' Cup at the Villanova University
The Philadelphia Deans’ Cup is an annual charity basketball tournament designed to raise funds for the public interest organizations of participating schools. The 2019 tournament will feature Drexel Law, Penn Law, Temple Law and Villanova Law.
The 2019 Dean's Cup was held at the Jake Nevin Field House (800 E. Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085) at Villanova University on Friday, March 29, 2019 at 6:00pm. Game 1: Drexel vs. Temple and Penn vs. Villanova; Game 2: Winners competed for the championship with Villanova coming out on top as 2019 champions!
Villanova won the inaugural Dean's Cup game in 2011, Temple was victorious in 2012, and Villanova took the Cup in 2013, 2014 & 2015. Temple won the Dean's Cup in 2016 and again in 2017. Let's keep that trophy in 2020!
Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo Public Interest 5K Run/Walk
2020 PIFP Fellows
“My time with the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Office has shown me how passionate and dedicated a public defender is in representing their clients. This experience has made me hopeful for my own goals and ambitions as a public defender.”
“I primarily assisted attorneys by writing briefs and memoranda concerning complex issues of federal law including the Savings Clause of the Federal Tort Claims Act, enhancements under the Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines, and the use of the Controlled Substances Act and False Claims Act to prosecute doctors for unlawfully prescribing opiates. This internship was truly an invaluable experience that allowed me to work directly with federal prosecutors, learn more about government work, and hone my legal advocacy skills.”
“This summer I had the pleasure of working at two incredible organizations. At the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, I wrote an investigative report for a client seeking to be exonerated for a third-degree murder charge. At South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, I was able to help the Hunger team administer a new federal program called Pandemic EBT (“P-EBT”). P-EBT is a one-time food assistance benefit, meant to reimburse families for food assistance lost during the months that schools would have been in session.”
“I primarily participated in intensive trial training to improve my legal writing, argument, and examination skills. Throughout a simulated trial training, I participated in team trial strategy development. Within this training, I also gained experience with drafting preliminary motions, arguing preliminary hearings, interviewing clients and witnesses, and cross-examining witnesses.”
“This summer I learned about trial advocacy from the public defender side and was able to practice both my oral advocacy as well as my writing skills. As a research assistant, I was able to practice my critical research skills, focusing on fair housing and racial discrimination ordinances and other obstacles minorities have faced in the housing market.”
“I had my own caseload where I interviewed clients, collected and complied documentation for cases, and did relevant legal research. I was able to meaningfully interact with clients, helping guide them through their tax issues and advising them on options for resolving their cases.”
“I worked closely with a variety of Assistant District Attorneys specializing in the Juvenile Unit, the Special Victims Unit, and the Major Crimes Unit and completed discovery redaction on over twenty cases. The Lancaster DA’s office also has an expansive Victim/Witness Advocate Unit which allowed me to compassionately interact with many victims who have experienced trauma.”
“This summer I worked for the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office in the Domestic Violence Section. I had the opportunity to observe/hear about many different matters regarding issues such as sexual assault, drug-induced death, and child endangerment. Court proceedings were somewhat limited due to COVID-19, but I was able to watch many detention hearings live via Zoom. I improved my legal research and writing skills by writing several briefs, motions, and memoranda over the course of the summer. My research assignments included the use of protective orders to suppress information on a victim’s phone to prevent undue harassment, reconsideration of detention orders under the federal bail system, the admission of a statement after an ambiguous assertion of the right to counsel, the admittance of a recent conviction, clerical errors in judgment of convictions.”
“The State, Local, & Tribal program works with Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) or the state and local equivalents of the EEOC. My job performed substantial weight reviews of charges dismissed by the FEPA or when the FEPA found no probable cause. It was an opportunity to not only learn the legal analysis behind these claims but also to provide charging parties with relief. Overall, my job showed me the commitment to the law my agency has which felt necessary to experience in my first law school summer internship. Additionally, to work at the EEOC with the COVID-19 Pandemic and Supreme Court rulings that impacted our law was a unique experience in real time.”