he Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (PILP) seeks to ensure equal access to justice for indigent institutionalized persons in Pennsylvania. PILP provides civil legal services to over 100,000 persons housed in jails, prisons, state hospitals and state centers. There are three offices located in Philadelphia, Lewisburg, and Pittsburgh, PA. We engage in direct representation, legislative and administrative advocacy, as well as providing institutionalized persons with legal reference materials and referrals. The Pittsburgh office engages in litigation primarily in the federal courts.
PILP's litigation docket includes cases involving disability rights, transgender rights, women's issues, freedom of religion, and mental health and medical care, as well as other conditions of confinement. PILP is currently involved in class actions relating to a deteriorating nineteenth century county jail and the placement of individuals with serious mental illness in solitary confinement at one of the most secure federal prisons in the country. Other cases currently active in the Pittsburgh office include the shackling of a pregnant woman during labor, sexual assault of an incarcerated woman by a guard, and PA DOC's current legal mail policy that eradicates attorney-client confidentiality, and denial of religious accommodations to Native Americans, and those of the Santeria and the Nation of Islam faiths.
The Pittsburgh office of PILP welcomes student volunteers/interns throughout the school year. Students may volunteer for a brief period over their semester or spring breaks, or throughout the semester. Students volunteering during the school semester may volunteer for limited time specific research or discovery projects, or volunteer a set number of hours each week.
Law student interns will be responsible for legal research and writing, reviewing and answering intake, case development and investigation, assisting with discovery and other related duties. The intern will be supervised by one of the staff attorneys, and taken to client meetings, depositions, and court whenever appropriate. The Pittsburgh office accepts applications for both part-time and full-time summer interns.
PILP is unable to offer paid internships. Thus, PILP asks that students either volunteer or seek outside funding through work study, law school or foundation public interest fellowships or similar programs. PILP has previously been an approved site for credit-based internships at some law schools.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample (only for summer applications, preferably not from legal writing class) to Alexandra Morgan-Kurtz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are due by January 25, 2019.
The Barco Law Library is open during regular library hours for Pitt Law faculty and students only. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are not open to Pitt users outside of Pitt Law; and we are not open to the public.