Read below to find the answers to some of the most common questions about PILP. Click here to download the application, noting that applications for the 2019-2020 PILP class are due March 29, 2019.

What is PILP?

PILP, or the Public Interest Leadership Program, is a 14-month program through the Boston Bar Association that promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession and the Commonwealth. The program has four core concepts: 1) Development of community awareness and refinement of leadership skills, 2) Gaining a broader sense of legal services organizations and social services in Boston from their formation and administration to funding and development, 3) An introduction to the work of attorneys in public agencies and involved in public life, and 4) Engagement with the BBA’s pro bono and public service programs (and after completion of the program, helping to shape and further develop them).

What’s the time commitment?

We estimate that participation in PILP will include no more than 100 hours over the 14-month period beginning June 2019. This time includes bi-monthly meetings at the BBA, time spent planning meetings, engaging in service projects, and planning PILP’s year-end Symposium.

What are the bi-monthly meetings about?

Twice a month, PILP meets at the Boston Bar Association to hear from local experts who speak on topics chosen by the class. Based on interests gathered at the beginning of the class year, each month will be assigned a topic and those with a piqued interest in that topic will be assigned to help plan the meetings for that month. For your month, you and a small group will be responsible for identifying and securing a speaker to address the class on the applicable topic. Past topics have included human trafficking, education law, domestic violence, legislative issues, veterans affairs, and more. Speakers are generally attorneys, community leaders, or elected officials knowledgeable on the topic.

What’s the year-end Symposium?

The culmination of your time in PILP will conclude with an educational Symposium, a conference-style event that is similar to a BBA Continuing Legal Education program. In the past, PILP has hosted Symposia on the topics of #MeToo, constitutional issues, human trafficking, and juvenile restorative justice, welcoming speakers such as Senator Jamie Eldridge and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan. The class works to identify topics, an agenda, and the ideal speakers to address the issues at hand. The Symposium is a way for the PILP class to make their mark by connecting attorneys from different legal backgrounds and areas of expertise, bringing them together in a format that encourages civic discourse.

What happens after the PILP term ends?

Congratulations! After your PILP year, you’re now a part of an alumni network that’s over 200 attorneys deep. Our PILP alums go on to contribute to the fabric of the BBA and of the broader legal community. PILP alumni have gone on to serve in a number of ways, including on various BBA Committees, on the BBA Council and BBF Board of Trustees, in leadership positions in their firms and organizations, and in local government.

Are there any application restrictions?

To apply for PILP, you must be an attorney who was admitted to practice no more than 10 years ago. We also ask that each firm or organization only submit one application per office - exceptions can be made for large organizations, such as the Attorney General’s Office, where attorneys work in entirely different departments.

Who reviews the applications?

The PILP Subcommittee, composed of PILP alums, reviews the large number of applications each year, taking largely into account the personal commitment letter and employer recommendation letter. After interviewing candidates, the PILP Subcommittee makes a recommendation to the BBA President, who ultimately approves the class.

How do I apply?

Click here to download the application. Applications for the 2019-2020 PILP class are due by March 29, 2019.


Contact Cassandra Shavney at or 617-778-1918.