U.S. FELLOWSHIPS STATS: 10,687 hours | 35 Fellows

Sidley sponsors several fellowships that expand the capacity of legal nonprofits to advance their missions and serve the critical legal needs of clients. Through the Incoming Associates Pro Bono Fellowship Program (the Program) and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellowship Program, recent law school graduates are paid their full Sidley salary to work at legal nonprofit organizations for up to 10 weeks before joining the firm. Sidley also sponsors a year-long Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellowship in the Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. The work spans the range of subjects handled by Legal Aid, including evictions, custody and domestic violence issues, public benefits, and consumer protection. In addition, together with our corporate partners, KPMG and Microsoft, Sidley co-sponsored Equal Justice Works Fellows at Kids in Need of Defense and The Bronx Defenders.

“The PILI Fellowship was a very enriching experience. PILI allows upcoming lawyers to apply for some of the most impactful legal firms in Illinois. It gave me the chance to work within an organization that I care about, MALDEF, in an area of law, civil rights litigation, that I am passionate about. I found PILI to be a unique opportunity to learn, gain perspective, explore a new type of legal practice, and work with the Latino/a community in the United States.”

— Bernardo Lopez, Associate, Chicago, Commercial Litigation and Disputes

“The PILI Fellowship is an invaluable experience for any young attorney interested in merging public service and private practice. My summer working at the ACLU of Illinois provided me with insight on a diverse set of topics, including limiting qualified immunity for law enforcement officials, increasing COVID-19 protections for detained immigrants, and curbing state surveillance for individuals involved in the justice system. My exposure to incredibly talented and dedicated ACLU-IL attorneys has helped me understand the myriad issues facing our state and country. This has impacted how I choose to spend to spend my time at Sidley, whether through pursuing certain pro bono matters or leveraging firm connections to support public interest causes. I urge all incoming associates interested in the public good to seek out the PILI fellowship.”

Carl Jiang, Associate, Chicago, Commercial Litigation and Disputes  


Under the UK Fellowship Program, prior to commencing their roles as associates, all newly qualified lawyers in London are given the opportunity to take part in a fellowship secondment in the legal department of a charity or not for profit entity for up to 12 weeks.  Since the program was launched in London in 2019, Sidley has sent lawyers to a range of organizations, including Save the Children International, Just for Kids Law, and Big Society Capital.

“I was provided with the unique opportunity to join APPEAL as a Justice Fellow. Over a three-month period, I had the tremendous pleasure of working with APPEAL’s small dedicated team of lawyers, investigators, case workers and further staff members in their fight against miscarriages of justice in England and Wales. The Fellowship has provided me with an unforgettable experience and training.

— Niki Vischer, Associate, London, Banking and Financial Services

“Just for Kids Law is an incredible charity that represents and advocates for children and young people’s rights across areas ranging from school exclusion, criminal cases to public policy. During my fellowship, I worked with the charity’s immigration team and was given the responsibility to work directly with youths who were seeking asylum or were facing deportation. I was also able to work closely with the charity’s strategic litigation team on its legal challenge against the government for the use of children as spies. The fellowship was an extraordinary experience that revealed new lessons. It truly underlined the need and importance for both individual lawyers and law firms like Sidley Austin to continue providing crucial pro bono work to help close the justice gap for fair and equal legal representation.”

— Katie Chin, Associate, London, Banking and Financial Services

Pro Bono Prize

Each year, the London office awards a Prize for Pro Bono Services to recognize exceptional contributions. In 2020, Sidley trainee Bethany Wise won the award for her incredibly hard work on two extremely complex cases supporting the families of children with life-shortening conditions in relation to welfare benefits and housing law matters. Bethany also provided invaluable support to colleagues and partners working on other pro bono matters, including a modern slavery case, a significant COVID-19 pro bono matter for the Life Sciences team, and numerous other transactional pro bono matters.

“I’m delighted to have won the 2020 London Pro Bono Prize. My work with Sidley’s pro bono practice has been hugely rewarding, and I’m grateful to have been involved with such a variety of projects over the past year. The charity I have chosen to donate to is the Social Mobility Foundation, which strives to provide educational and professional opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

— Bethany Wise, Trainee Solicitor, London, Antitrust/Competition