Law fund auction breaks records, raising over $21,000

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After selling so many tickets that it had to be moved to a larger venue, this year’s Public Interest Law Fund (PILF) Auction raised more money than any other auction in the event’s history at Penn State Law: more than $21,000.

PILF auctions are held annually at law schools across the country, and this year marked Penn State Law’s 10th auction held on the University Park campus. The purpose is to raise money for students pursuing public interest internships over the summer, as most of these opportunities are unpaid. Funds awarded to students help to cover housing, food, transportation and general living costs. The Penn State Law PILF Fellowship Fund has offered aid to students working in Miami, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

When Vanessa Miller joined the PILF Auction Committee last year, she just wanted to offer help to a cause that meant a lot to her. After a successful event, she decided to run for auction chair in 2016-17. “A lot of effort went in to making this event everything we wanted it to be,” said Miller. “I am beyond thankful for every one that helped to make it such a success.”

In addition to being moved to a larger venue within the Nittany Lion Inn, the organizers also had to establish a waiting list for additional guests. There were so many donated items that both a live and a silent auction were held.

Items up for bids included dinner and drinks out with various professors, a theme dinner at Interim Dean James W. Houck’s house, an “insect appetizer” from dean designate Hari Osofsky, and “specialty” items from Professor Thomas Carbonneau, like a book signed by President Donald Trump. Alumni and local businesses also made generous donations; fan favorites were a winery tour and the always popular bar prep courses.

In addition to raising money, the auction also raises awareness of public interest opportunities in the legal profession.

“After the event, everyone was coming up to me to say ‘thank you’ and ‘congratulations on the event,’ which was awesome,” said Miller. “But greater still were the students coming up to ask me more about public interest. That made it all worthwhile.”

The application for summer 2017 funding through the PILF Fellowship Fund is now open. All first-year students who will have completed at least 21 credits prior to summer 2017 and second- and third-year students who are not graduating in May 2017 are eligible for the funding. Other eligibility requirements can be found online. The deadline to apply is April 7.

Last Updated March 07, 2017