College of Law > About > News > CPIL expands mentorship programming for students
Cindy Bedrosian (JD '14) / 7/23/2014 / Twitter / Facebook
In a rapidly changing legal market, the role of mentors is all the more critical. With this need in mind, the Center for Public Interest Law
(CPIL) launched several new programs this year, in addition to
introducing new changes to the longstanding attorney-to-student Public
Interest Mentor Program.
CPIL started the school year by continuing the traditional
student-to-student mentoring program. Incoming first-year public
interest students are matched with second and third-year public interest
students who serve as a resource to learn more about law school and
DePaul’s extensive public interest programming. Mentors helped new
students prepare for classes, connect with other students, and even
shared an outline or two. Maggie Miller connected with many mentors
through CPIL and found the program to be particularly useful in making
the transition to law school.
During February, CPIL connected students and alumni for a
professional mentorship program. Students had the opportunity to meet
alumni at the Annual Public Interest Mentorship Reception. This year’s
reception featured speed networking, students rotated in small groups
among several tables of attorneys. They were able to meet every attorney
at the event, learn a bit about their respective practice areas, and
spend the remainder of the reception continuing conversations on a
After the reception, groups of two to three attorneys were matched
with six to eight students for the yearlong meeting three times over the
course of the year with the mentorship program. The small groups commit
to goal of helping students learn more about the legal profession.
Assistant Appellate Defender Gil Lenz (JD ’05), who participated in the
mentorship program and reception, finds mentoring law students to be
“As a practicing attorney, I think the best way you can help students
who want to do public interest work is to meet with them face-to-face
and really get into the specifics of what these jobs entail,” Lenz said.
“I also believe that the program benefits my agency, the State
Appellate Defender. I know that we have had many excellent interns from
DePaul over the years, some of whom are now my colleagues. Helping
students who are interested in this work find the Appellate Defender is a
Margaret Kuzma (JD ’12) a Skadden Fellow with LAF who provides
general civil legal services to veterans and their families, also found
the mentorship program valuable. Kuzma stated, “I think CPIL students
give more to me than I can ever impart to them. Seeing their enthusiasm
for public interest law is tremendously motivating. Mentoring them is an
In addition to these programs, CPIL continued to host small group
lunches to connect students and attorneys in specific practice areas.
The practice areas this year included immigration, veterans’ legal
service and juvenile law. The lunches are limited to 20 students and
allow the students to have informal conversations with practitioners as
opposed to the traditional panel presentation. CPIL is committed to
strong mentorship programing to help public interest law students on
their path to becoming attorneys.