Fundraiser to advance PILS mission to help students pursue public interest careers

students at casino night The KU Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will host its 8th annual Casino Night fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, to benefit PILS and KU Endowment. This year’s event at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., will have games, food, drinks and live music. It’s sure to be a good time. But in the excitement it is easy to forget what this event is all about. In the end, Casino Night is not only about playing poker or blackjack; it is also about raising money to support students who wish to spend their summer serving the underrepresented and underprivileged who need legal help.

students at bingo tablePILS is an organization dedicated to encouraging law students to explore careers and opportunities in public interest law. We do this predominantly by giving stipends to students who do unpaid summer internships for an organization that practices public interest law. In past years, individually or with stipends from PILS, students have provided legal services in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and have worked at such places as Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and a legal aid clinic in Khartoum, Sudan.

kupils logoI have experienced the benefit of these stipends first hand. This summer, I was able to work at Legal Aid of Western Missouri because of a stipend I received through PILS and KU Endowment. Not only did I gain practical legal experience, but I also met some very inspiring people; people who have dedicated their lives to serving the public interest and who are constantly looking for ways to make a positive change in society. Even when the problems surrounding us feel overwhelming, it is uplifting to know there are so many people out there working to make a change. Some students may really want to obtain a public interest internship but simply cannot afford it. Face it: We all have bills to pay. A stipend makes this more possible and provides students with great opportunities. So join us tonight for a good time and a good cause. Let the games begin!

Bri Harris, 2L