PILS Summer Fellows

This student organization works to continue funding fellowships for law students seeking public interest legal work experiences.

By supporting our 2022 auction, generous donors made it possible for:

25 law student fellows to provide

over 8,750 hours of legal aid

at 18 nonprofit and government agencies

valued at over $1,093,750.


PILS Fellows work is done in service to individuals or groups of limited means. Fellows are supported by the annual PILS Fest Celebration & Dinner for members of the Eckstein Hall community and the Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders' Auction attended by over 400 guests who bid on over 200 items donated by local businesses and alumni. 

Summer Fellows, 2022

Pils Summer Fellow

Hannah Baldus
Office of the State Public Defender, Trial Division - Milwaukee, WI

I feel that besides all the legal work I performed, I had the opportunity to really get to know the clients and their stories. I learned a lot, including about the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act when a deaf man was not provided interpretation services while in custody.

Pils Summer Fellow

Alexis Bauer
Legal Action of Wisconsin - Racine, WI

I did a variety of things, including working on an article about how defamation suits may impact victims of sexual or domestic abuse in light of the Depp-Heard case. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Jessica Birmingham
Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office - Milwaukee, WI

I learned more though this hands-on experience than I could possibly learn in any class. Being able to experience a case from start to finish and prep the materials for it and look at the evidence helped me to visualize and understand how criminal courts actually run.

Pils Summer Fellow

Lauren Boos
Legal Action of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

My worked focused on Reentry Legal Services which refers to the time when people are being released from incarceration and returning to their communities. I learned that with legal aid services, people going through reentry can have reduced likelihood of economic instability, homelessness, and relapse of criminal behavior. I worked closely with two clients in need of disability benefits. One was approved and the other denied. It was a difficult event to process the denial. The approval on the other hand was a profound and positive experience because I was able to see my work have an immediate and direct impact on someone else's life. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Sienna Borchardt
Kids Matter, Inc. - Milwaukee, WI

I made a difference this summer when I assisted clients in obtaining guardianship of children they are caring for that are not their own.

Pils Summer Fellow

Allison Childs
Pisgah Legal Services - Asheville, NC

I participated in client phone calls and meetings, wrote numerous letters to clients and opposing parties, and even did some estate planning work. I know that a lot of the questions I was answering in my research would determine whether our clients could file for and receive important tax benefits or apply and qualify for food assistance or Medicaid. Thus, they were really important to the lives of the clients.

Pils Summer Fellow

Abigail Doweiko
Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office - Milwaukee, WI

I made a difference this summer when I supported individuals in a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and worked with victims to make sure they were made whole again. I learned that DPAs offer low risk offenders the opportunity to avoid being charged by meeting various conditions. This allows individuals a second chance, keeps them out of the system, and gives people access to treatment instead of jail if that is one of their needs. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Michael Dubinski
Office of the Governor - Madison, WI

I learned that in Wisconsin, persons convicted of felonies - though they still can vote - cannot own a firearm or run for public office. Moreover, these persons often face serious difficulties with securing and sustaining employment or housing due to prior convictions. These challenges effectively disappear for people who receive a pardon from the Governor, helping them to live more fulfilling lives for themselves, their families and friends, and their communities. I made a difference in someone’s life when the pardon application I worked on was approved by the Wisconsin pardon board.  

Pils Summer Fellow

Elizabeth Eickelberg
Catholic Charities, Refugee & Immigration Legal Services - Milwaukee, WI

What I found during my fellowship is that, aside from filling out complex immigration paperwork and forms accurately, the most important thing I could do was to reassure the clients I met with and make sure they understood the process they were undertaking. Once a client had their questions answered and were armed with information instead of hearsay, they generally seemed less scared and more hopeful. While the immigration process can be unsympathetic and inflexible, I hope my work at Refugee & Immigration Services made a small difference by making the clients feel capable, protected, and valued. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Taylor Forman
Legal Action of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

My work included using appropriate ethical principles in conversing with clients; drafting affidavits, briefs, pardon applications, and cover letters; and reviewing court records and criminal reports for pardons and expungements. I worked directly with clients and I could tell I was improving the world by just giving people hope. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Morgan Kaplan
Milwaukee Justice Center - Milwaukee, WI

I independently helped countless clients fill out family law forms including modification motions, stipulations, divorces, and name changes.  The Milwaukee Justice Center (MJC) is absolutely improving the world around us. This organization is critical for helping pro-se litigants in Milwaukee get assistance with civil legal issues. And I worked to get the Mobile Legal Clinic back in action. It is an expansion of the MJC and brings access to justice to the greater Milwaukee area by reaching out to those clients who would not otherwise be able to come in to receive services.  

Pils Summer Fellow

John Letsch
Legal Action of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

I worked in the Housing Unit and learned a lot. This unit of Legal Action helps tenants know their rights and protects them from predatory landlords attempting to take advantage of low income tenants. We assist tenants by representing them in small claims court and protect them from unnecessary damages, unlawful evictions, and any other unlawful activity that landlords attempt to get away with. And when eviction and damages are appropriately pursued by landlords, we assist the tenant by helping them navigate their next steps in the legal process. Finally, we can help tenants seal evictions records when appropriate so they no longer have an eviction on their rental history and can have an easier time finding a new rental property.

Pils Summer Fellow

Madeline Lewis
Office of the State Appellate Defender - Chicago, IL

I made a difference this summer when I represented indigent persons with their appeals in criminal cases. This entails working directly with indigent criminal defendants through their appeal process. The work requires legal research, writing briefs, speaking with clients, and in some cases an oral argument. This work directly impacts the lives of criminal defendants to ensure effective representation through their right to appeal. Many of the cases I worked on this summer were focused on sentence reduction for persons who offended as a teen or emerging adult. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Connor Mathias
Office of the State Public Defender - Milwaukee, WI

I made a difference this summer when I wrote a sentencing memorandum that led to a probation sentence for a client who needed help, not prison. Working for the Wisconsin State Public Defender is about serving those who often feel like they have no one. My office represented clients who did not have the money to hire a private attorney and were accused of felonies. Many of the clients I worked with did not need to go to prison, but actually needed support in their lives and someone to advocate for them. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Samantha Mitchell
Federal Defender’s Office of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

I made a difference this summer when I drafted sentencing memoranda to judges addressing adverse life experiences and traumas that clients suffered before committing their present offense. As an intern, I was able to observe all different kinds of criminal hearings, sit in on attorney-client meetings, and I did a lot of writing/ research projects. From my perspective, interns’ greatest impact on the community is in the relationships we form with clients and their families. I worked closely with one client who was initially charged with an offense that carried a 30-year mandatory minimum which was the result of a questionable police stop. I sat in on several meetings with him and his attorney, during which we discussed all possible outcomes and options; drafted and shared with him a potential motion to suppress; talked through and wrote his complete social history; and eventually turned that information into a pitch letter to the prosecutor on his case which resulted in a plea deal to nine years. The impact of defense agencies on the justice system is to ensure just and fair trials but I truly believe the greatest impact that defense attorneys have on the world around us is to restore a sense of agency to marginalized people and to help criminal defendants feel like valuable members of society.

Pils Summer Fellow

Abigail Phillips
Legal Council for Health Justice - Chicago, IL

One client I assisted this summer was diagnosed with lupus, and it was severely impacting her physical functioning to the point that she needed assistance getting out of bed. Despite this client wanting to work, she was forced to close down her childcare center because there was too much risk that the children would bring in illness that her body could not fight off (due to her autoimmune disease). It was not realistic for anyone to expect her to work given her joint pain and her physical impairments. She was denied for SSDI and was referred to my agency. She and I spent hours on the phone going through the SSDI appeal, where we had to list every doctor she has, every hospital/clinic she had visited, and every medication she took. She had a positive attitude, despite the pain she was in and the many appointments and services she had to manage. Although I do not know what the outcome of her appeal will be, I am happy that I was able to help her complete the long process of (hopefully) obtaining much-needed SSDI benefits.

Pils Summer Fellow

Mitchell Rickmeier
Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee - Milwaukee, WI

A lot of my work this summer focused on the EvictionFreeMKE project, an initiative that provides legal representation to low-income individuals facing eviction. I was assigned various research projects about eviction nuances. Multiple times, an attorney would inform me that my research was helpful in having a case end more favorably for our client. Perhaps the biggest assignment that I received this summer was working on writing a brief arguing against current Wisconsin eviction law. If the law is changed as the brief suggests, the eviction process would be made significantly more equitable as opposed to the current system which heavily favors landlords. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Cameron Rink
Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office - Waukegan, IL

I worked within the Felony Review division. There, all potential felony claims are evaluated. The division also conducts grand jury hearings to secure indictments for felony crimes. I primarily drafted criminal complaints as well as arrest and search warrants. The Illinois student practice rule allowed me to conduct over 25 grand jury hearings. One anecdote from my internship came after the Highland Park 4th of July shooting, which happened in Lake County. I worked closely with the prosecutors after the shooter was apprehended to evaluate potential charges. The office worked nonstop that week to ensure that the case was handled with the highest level of care. Having prosecutors willing to work thoroughly in order to get violent offenders off the streets makes the world a safer place. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Zachary Semancik
Milwaukee Justice Center - Milwaukee, WI

I remember working with a person to complete some complicated forms. When we were done, it was like a weight was lifted off his shoulders, knowing that he was taking a step towards him and his family getting what was best for them.

Pils Summer Fellow

Johanna Shinners
Jefferson County Corporation Counsel - Jefferson, WI

Working with corporation counsel allowed me to gain experience in many different areas of law. Over the summer I had the opportunity to draft memorandums of understanding, research zoning ordinance regulations, draft small claims complaints, review termination of parental rights petitions, observe court, jury trials, and other hearings, attend county board meetings, and appear on the record in front of a judge.

Pils Summer Fellow

Candice Sobczak
Milwaukee Justice Center - Milwaukee, WI

The MJC helps unrepresented litigants navigate family court processes. I served people facing many different legal issues and worked alongside attorneys providing legal advice. My favorite part of the MJC was being able to work one on one with clients to help fill out family forms paperwork.

Pils Summer Fellow

Thomas Tarver
Disability Rights Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

I worked primarily with the Investigations Team (IT) at Disability Rights WI (DRW) this summer.  The IT primarily investigates allegations of abuse or neglect in residential facilities that serve people with disabilities. After reviewing allegations, DRW decides how it should respond. Typical responses consist of informing the resident's managed care organization about the incident, informing the resident's guardian about potential legal remedies they can pursue, or requesting further records from the facility.  I think the most important impact my work with the IT had for people with disabilities was to ascertain common factors leading to abuse or neglect in Wisconsin. With that knowledge, we are able to make policy recommendations to the Department of Health Services about how to reduce or prevent instances of abuse or neglect for people with disabilities. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Aimeé Treviño
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. - Washington, D.C.

As a litigation intern, my work largely entailed working on research and memo writing. My favorite case work was one that will be heard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court involving affirmative action. I did research highlighting the importance of diversity which ended up being used in the final brief! Additionally, I helped work on a voting rights case in the 5th Circuit which brought vote denial claims under the Voting Rights Act on behalf of voters in Houston. I had a great summer.

Pils Summer Fellow

Abby Tschimperle
Legal Action of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI

I wrote three memos, drafted two motions, conducted research to strengthen defenses, compiled evidence against a specific landlord, performed client intake, and organized documents. Through my work this summer, I was able to support the efforts Legal Action attorneys are making to stop unlawful evictions and hold landlords accountable. As a whole, Legal Action listens to the current needs of their clients and works with them to provide the best legal defense possible in an effort to prevent their client from becoming homeless. In just one summer, I observed the immoral tactics that are used against vulnerable tenants, contributing to the eviction crisis in Milwaukee. Legal Action is actively is fighting the housing crisis as displayed by the numerous client intakes performed everyday. 

Pils Summer Fellow

Liam Wilcox-Warren
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Madison, WI

I worked with the agency by helping the team of attorneys do legal research in many different areas of regulatory law like forestry, wildlife, drinking water, and remediation. Most of the time I would be finding prior case law to explain the scope of the Department's authority to make decisions within its express statutory authority. The DNR is an important part of the state government because of the amount of land it owns and its interactions with the community in deciding how to use the land to be sustainable for the future. One area of legal research that had an impact on the community was finding the standard for negligence when a public utility fails to take proper care to inspect its poles and someone gets injured. I was able to conduct case research to find the proper authority for utility negligence and when the Department can bring a case against the utility in order to keep the community safe.