Until 2019, PILnet hosted graduates in public interest law and related fields in its International Fellowship Program. The fellowship program was an experiential learning opportunity in which fellows worked with the organization to connect its global pro bono network of lawyers and law firms with local civil society organizations and social enterprises needing free legal assistance. Through workshops and classroom-style training, fellows also learned about all facets of the work of a global nongovernmental organization. They also benefited from formal learning sessions with advocates and lawyers in New York City.
Some areas of learning and practice covered by the fellowship included: risk management, negotiation, and compliance, business and human rights, impact financing for social change, management and leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship, new business models for NGOs, and technology and human rights.
Over 20 years, the fellowship has cultivated more than 150 public interest lawyers, who together form a network that is as global as PILnet itself
The fellowship program is one piece of PILnet’s global leadership in this field of public interest law. Large multinational corporations wield significant influence, and their interests have been advanced and protected by private sector lawyers using negotiations, drafting contracts, and helping to structure transactions. With innovation, these tools can also be used to advance the public interest. At a time when traditional rights-based approaches are being challenged more than ever, these tools can provide public interest lawyers with a new approach to advancing the public good.