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Public Interest Fellowship Program

Overview

 

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

Headshot of PIFP Director Katie Carden, Class of 2021
Headshot of PIFP Vice Director Catherine Kapples Class of 2021
Headshot of PIFP Treasurer Ron Avila, Class of 21
Headshot of PIFP Secretary & Solicitations Coordinator, Elisabeth Freer, Class of 2022
Headshot of PIFP Auction Coordinator Jerry Shaen, Class of 2022
Headshot of PIFP Fellowship & Volunteer Coordinator Meghan Rafter, Class of 2021
Headshot of PIFP Special Events Co-Coordinator Gabi Lipschitz, Class of 2022
Headshot of PIFP Special Events Co-Coordinator Tasha Stoltzfus Nankerville, Class of 2022
Headshot of PIFP Communications Coordinator Gianna Tomeo, Class of 2022
Headshot of PIFP Alumni & Development Coordinator Annie McDermott, Class of 2021
Headshot of PIFP  Auction Support Member Andy Simmons, Class of 22

24th Annual Public Interest Auction

Friday, March 26, 2021 at 6:00 pm

24th Annual Public Interest Auction Flyer Friday March 26, 2021 at 6 PM Registration link to follow

 

Join the Walter A. Lucas '88 Public Interest Fellowship Program for our 24th Annual Public Interest Auction! This year's event will take place virtually and include live programming featuring Villanova Law faculty and students, hosted by Professors Brogan and Juliano. Especially during this pandemic, it is important for our public interest students to support communities in need. We ask that the PIFP community come together once again to celebrate our program, the hard work our students have done and continue to do, and the tradition of public interest at Villanova.

Please note, registration is required. A link to the virtual event will be sent to all registered participants. When registering, you may purchase $5 raffle tickets for the chance to win Apple AirPod Pros, a Yeti cooler, or a $400 Airbnb gift card.

Visit our auction site to view some of the available auction items and to register for the auction platform to start bidding.

Register for the live event

Register for the auction (click sign in)

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THE 23RD ANNUAL AUCTION

23rd Annual Public Interest Auction photo of 2019-2020 board members

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. 

view of auction eboard from the back of the Commons
photo of individuals watching auction proceedings

 

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!

 

The 2016 Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program

The 2018 Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program Auction

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!  

Monetary Donations

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

 

2018 PIFP Auction
auction
VLS Students Compete in the Annual Cozen O'Connor Deans' Cup

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!

dean's cup

Meeting Dates

First 2015 -2016 PIFP Meeting

 

Upcoming Events

23rd Annual Public Interest Fellowship Auction Flyer Feb 20 2020 6 PM $10 for nonstudents $7 for students at door $5 in advance Under 14 free

Past Events

 

PIFP 5K Walk Run Flyer Oct 5 2019 9 AM
2019 PIFP Auction Save the Date February 23 2018

5th Annual Public Interest 5K

PIFP Public Interest 5K

A huge "Thank You" goes out to Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo for their continued, generous sponsorhip of the Public Interest 5K!

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law - October 20, 2018

Current students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members joined together on a 5K Race/Fun-Run through Villanova's campus. All proceeds from the run will be applied to 2018 PIFP Summer Fellowships. The Walter A. Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program at Villanova Law School provides funding for law students working in unpaid public interest positions during the summer.

2018 Dean's Cup at University of Pennsylvania

Friday, April 6, 2018

For more details, see the Dean's Cup tab above.

2018 PIFP Auction

The 21st Annual Villanova University
Charles Widger School of Law

Walter A. Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program Auction

Friday, March 23, 2018

PIFP 2017 5K Run

A huge "Thank You" goes out to Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo for their continued, generous sponsorhip of the Public Interest 5K!

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law - October 21, 2017

Current students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members joined together on a 5K Race/Fun-Run through Villanova's campus. All proceeds from the run will be applied to 2018 PIFP Summer Fellowships. The Walter A. Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program at Villanova Law School provides funding for law students working in unpaid public interest positions during the summer.

Good Grief! A Very Charlie Brown Trivia Night

Flip & Bailey's - November 17, 2016

All proceeds went to the Public Interest Fellowship Program. 

Krasno, Krasno and Onwudinjo Public Interest 5K Walk/Run

Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo Public Interest 5 K

November 5, 2016 - Villanova Law Front Lawn 
9 AM

PIFP TALENT SHOW

Talent Show


Wednesday, October 21, 2015
7 PM
Ardmore Music Hall 

 

 

 

 

Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo Public Interest 5K Run 2015
PIFP 5K October 2015

Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo Public Interest 5K Run/Walk

October 3, 2015
10 AM 
Villanova Law School
 
 

 

 

2020 PIFP Fellows

Ronald Avila profile with photo

“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.”

Elisabeth Freer profile photo

“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.”

Antionna Fuller profile photo

“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.”

Mary Jacob profile photo

“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.”

Gabi Lipschitz profile photo

“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.”

Matt Marchini profile photo

“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.”

Tasha Stoltzfus Nankerville profile photo

“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.”

Megan Rafter profile Picture

“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.”

Jerry Shaen profile photo

“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.”


2021 PIFP
Fellowship Application


Due: 4 PM, March 29, 2021

 

 

LRAP Application

Will be posted Fall 2021


Auction Items

If you have an item you would like to donate please complete the donation form below. Questions? Contact pifp@law.villanova.edu.

Monetary Donations

We appreciate donations in any amount. Donations can be made online. After entering the donation amount, please select the "Walter A. Lucas '88 Public Interest Fellowship Program" as your "Other Designation."

Please consider sponsoring a fellow for

  • an hour ($12.50)
  • a day ($100)
  • a week ($500)
  • a month ($2,000)
  • an entire summer ($5,000)

Contact PIFP

Villanova University School of Law
Public Interest Fellowship Program
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085

610-519-6163

pifp@law.villanova.edu

 

Volunteers