1) What is PIRC?
PIRC is the Public Interest Resource Center at Widener Law School in Wilmington, DE. On the Harrisburg campus, the Public Interest Initiative (PII) is PIRC's counterpart. PIRC was created to centralize and expand opportunities for public interest work at Widener.2) What is public interest law?
Public interest law is defined broadly by the American Bar Association to include all work dedicated to help the disadvantaged and/or to promote the pursuit of justice. It includes work for traditional public service agencies like legal aid offices, for advocacy groups like the ACLU, and for government agencies. It does not include judicial clerkships.3) What services does PIRC offer?
PIRC connects students with opportunities to do public interest work throughout the summer and during the academic year. PIRC provides assistance and information to students who seek public interest careers. PIRC also provides recognition for students and faculty who provide an exceptional amount of service before they graduate.4) What type of volunteer work can students do?
Each placement varies in what it requires of its student volunteers. Some need students to work directly with clients, both obtaining information from them and providing information to them. Other placements need research and writing assistance from students so that their attorneys can better represent clients. In some placements, students in their third year of law school can sometimes provide in-court advocacy for clients under attorney supervision.5) Where can students work?
PIRC has developed opportunities for students to work in agencies and offices throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. There are opportunities to work on campus, and there are some opportunities for students to do remote research projects from home.6) How much time does PIRC require?
Placements vary in the number of hours they seek. PIRC maintains a variety of opportunities that range from low (2-4 hours/week) to high (10+ hours/week) time requirements.7) Who can participate in PIRC?
All students in good academic standing are encouraged to perform volunteer service through PIRC at some point after the first semester of law school. Although most PIRC opportunities are pro bono (students receive neither money nor academic credit), all students can benefit from doing volunteer work. It is a way to get hands-on legal experience, to try out a new area of law, to help build a resume, and to help those who most need legal assistance.8) What recognition does PIRC offer?
Students who perform an exceptional amount of public service in law school are awarded with pro bono
distinction at graduation. Sixty (60) hours are required.9) How can I learn more about PIRC?
Professor Sydney Howe-Barksdale, PIRC's Director