MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University College of Law will again host the Public Interest Advocates auction and dinner on March 23 to raise money for summer and full-time fellowships for its students at public interest organizations throughout the state.  

“The PIA annually sponsors summer public interest fellowships that permit first- and second-year law students to work in the offices of public interest law firms throughout the state,” Jennifer Powell, adviser for PIA at the WVU College of Law told The West Virginia Record.


Specifically, Powell said fellows work in the offices of legal aid, public defender, environmental and other organizations.


The PIA, through the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest, also offers post-graduate fellowship in public interest law.


Powell said this public interest work benefits everyone involved.


“The community benefits by having additional legal help for those who need legal services but cannot afford them,” she said. “Our summer fellows and our post-graduate fellows provide thousands of hours of legal services to those in need in West Virginia.”


Powell said the Spring Auction, which is in its 29th year, is the biggest fundraiser for PIA, generally yielding about $25,000 for student fellowships.


“Each summer fellow is paid $5,500 for a full-time, 10-week fellowship,” Powell said.


In addition to the auction, Powell said the PIA holds an annual concert, host a book sale and does “miscellaneous other fundraisers” throughout the year.

According to a WVU Law news release, the auction and dinner are open to the public and include a buffet dinner in the College of Law lobby. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased for $10 at the door.


The auction component, which is held in the college’s event hall and includes live and silent auction items, as well as raffle items and a door prize, begins at 7 p.m.


“Some of the auction items include Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates tickets, golf packages, signed WVU basketball memorabilia, tickets to concerts and theater performances, a week’s stay at a Myrtle Beach condo and weekend getaways,” the release said.


“Organizations that provide free legal services for low income citizens can’t always fund fellowships for students interested in public interest work.” Powell said in the college’s release. “In this way, PIA helps to support and create the next generation of public interest lawyers who will serve West Virginians in need.”


Powell said PIA is grateful from the support it has received from the law school community, the legal community and the Morgantown community over the years.

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