Public Interest Resource Center (Delaware)
word icon PIRC Student Log Form (doc) - students should use this form to track volunteer hours

Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) Student Group

The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) opened in January 2005 in order to coordinate student public interest work at Widener Law’s Delaware Campus. PIRC does not provide direct client services. Instead, it teams students with public interest agencies and lawyers to help those in need. If you are interested in putting your classroom education to the test while helping clients who could really use your expertise, then PIRC can help you find an opportunity that suits your interests and your schedule.

PIRC houses a library of information about public interest agencies and the resources available to find public interest work. It has a growing list of placements, currently 80 different placements which allow for 200 students, at any given time, to participate in pro bono service. In 2005, 13 students in the graduating class were given the honor of Pro Bono Distinction at graduation. At the 2012 Commencement, 96 students were bestowed with Pro Bono Distinction at Graduation. These students performed 14,650 hours of pro bono service during their tenure in law school. In addition to recognition at the graduation celebrations, there were students honored for their distinguished service at the Law School’s student awards ceremony, the PIRC Annual Reception, and local and state bar associations’ receptions for their pro bono service.

How Public Interest Work Can Benefit You
You can put your legal skills to practical use while learning from experienced professionals eager to share their expertise with you. Public Interest placements help build your résumé and give you the opportunity to network with legal professionals. PIRC also tracks your volunteer hours and recognizes exceptional service. Although non-paying, non-credit placements, PIRC opportunities will provide you with a number of exciting benefits.

The Opportunity to Make a Difference
Public Interest Law encompasses legal services that benefit charitable, civic, community, religious, educational, or government organizations that assist those of limited means, as well as legal services offered to groups that protect civil liberties or public rights. If you have completed your first semester of law school in good academic standing, PIRC can offer you an opportunity to get hands-on experience while helping those in need. For example, PIRC students participated in the Katrina-Gideon Interview Project, and worked with pretrial detainees in New Orleans whose cases were delayed due to Hurricane Katrina. Locally, students provide a range of services, from teaching young children about finances and helping low income individuals apply for a much needed earned income tax credit, to helping Delaware residents apply for pardons and helping survivors of domestic violence navigate through the legal system.

Accessing the Resources of PIRC
PIRC offers many resources to students who are interested in public service. Students are invited to speak with PIRC’s Director for public interest career counseling. PIRC also provides information about fellowships and loan repayment assistance that can help fund summer internships and public interest careers. PIRC also offers opportunities to learn more about public interest and to meet and mingle with public interest practitioners at events like its Public Interest Law Lecture in the fall, and the Public Interest Reception in the spring. Finally, PIRC offers assistance to student groups that seek community service projects. If you and/or your student group want to learn more about or do more public service, PIRC can help you.

Contact Us
Office Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm or by appointment
Email: PIRC@mail.widener.edu

Sydney Howe-Barksdale, Director
4th Floor
Email: sthowe-barksdale@mail.widener.edu
Phone: (302) 477-2214

Vanessa Gosa, Secretary
Phone: (302) 477-2174
Fax: (302) 477-2227
Email: vngosa@widener.edu