Fostering Advocacy Across Miami Law - Student Public Interest Leadership Board

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The Public Interest Leadership Board (PILB) recently wrapped up an incredibly active year filled with initiatives that increased opportunities for public interest engagement on campus and in the community. PILB’s core initiatives are based out of three committees: Advocacy/Programming/Curriculum, Fundraising, and Mentoring/Alumni Relations.

Students in the Public Interest Leadership Board

Law Students Lead the Way to Advocacy

PILB, a student-run leadership board overseen by the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center, allows students to play a key role in fostering the public interest mission at Miami Law. Comprised of 2Ls and 3Ls, PILB welcomed 15 1Ls in to the group in April, as they transitioned into planning for next year’s programs.

"Joining PILB is an opportunity to not only contribute to the public interest focus at Miami Law but also a way, as a student, to contribute to my school," said rising 2L Alexis Bay, who will serve as a co-chair of the Advocacy Committee next year.

"I look forward to collaborating with others to create opportunities for law students to learn more about public interest issues and help them to find ways to engage in pro bono and community work."

Focus on Voting Rights in FL

This past fall, PILB’s Advocacy/Programming/Curriculum committee partnered with ACLU of Florida to focus on training and engaging students around the Second Chances Campaign: a grassroots movement to restore voting rights in Florida.

Outgoing Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee, rising 3L Miami Scholar Dave Pringle, said, “the Advocacy Committee felt that the Second Chances campaign was an important initiative for PILB to take on because it so directly involves much of the work that we will be doing as future practitioners of law.”

“These are our future clients who are having their ability to participate in our democracy stripped away regardless of their having paid their debt to society.”  The Second Chances Campaign successfully gathered one million signatures from registered Florida voters and will be featured on the ballot in November.

Mentoring Committee Matches 1Ls with 2Ls and 3Ls

The Mentoring Committee focused on building the public interest community on campus through the Public Interest Network (PIN), a mentoring program that matches incoming 1Ls with an interest in public service and pro bono with an upper class student and the Public Interest Picnic series. The picnics are informal lunch gatherings open to anyone interested in getting to know other students passionate about public interest.

Co-Chair of the Mentoring Committee, recent graduate Miami Scholar Christina Robinson, J.D. ’18, expressed her passion about the work she has done with PILB this past year.

“I am so proud of how we have found new ways to connect our public interest community. We started the Public Interest Picnics at the Farmers’ Market to connect students interested in public interest and pro bono work to one another, and right from the start they were a huge success. It was nice to see some familiar faces and even nicer to welcome new faces into the fold.”

Robinson and her co-chair, rising 3L Philip Papiasvili, also worked to expand the PIN program. “The program in its first year was relatively small, serving around 30 students. We were able to grow the program this year to almost 100 people. I hope to see the PIN program continue to expand next year by adding more programming for PIN participants throughout the year,” said Robinson.

Fundraising Committee – Dollars for Public Interest Fellowships

The Fundraising Committee plays an essential role in raising money for summer public interest fellowships for law students and hosting numerous fundraisers throughout the year, including HOPE’s annual auction.

The Fundraising committee, to be led by rising 3L Haley Cove and rising 2L Casey Soares, next year, will have its hands full as HOPE is planning the auction around its 20th Year Celebration.

With only one more year left at Miami Law, Pringle adds his hopes for what the group will do in the future. “I would love to see PILB continue to engage law students, the rest of the university, and community around issues involving the public interest and social justice. We plan to continue to support the Second Chances campaign, conduct voter registration drives and phone banking to contact elected officials, as well as create spaces where students and the community can learn about and take part in the development of a more just and fair society.”


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To learn more about the HOPE auction, or to donate an item or sponsor a Fellow, contact HOPE at umhope@law.miami.edu. 100% of all donations and proceeds raised from the auction are used to support public interest fellowships for law students.

To learn more about the Public Interest Leadership Board (PILB), email HOPE at umhope@law.miami.edu and stop by the bricks where PILB will be tabling once a week once school resumes in the fall.