Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF)

The Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation is dedicated to creating and supporting opportunities for the Public Interest Community to engage in innovative public interest work. Led entirely by students, SPILF raises money to provide financial support to members of the Stanford Law community working to further the public interest.

If you are

  • A student seeking funding for a public interest initiative, please select “Student Initiative Grants.”
  • A community member seeking to support our efforts, please select “Support SPILF.”
  • Attending the 2022 Auction, please select “The Auction.”
  • Interested in learning more about our organization, please use the menu to explore our mission, funding process, history, and impact.

Thank you for supporting public interest at SLS!

Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF) 2

Our Mission

The Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation is dedicated to creating and supporting opportunities for the Public Interest Community to engage in innovative public interest work. Led entirely by students, SPILF raises money to provide financial support to members of the Stanford Law community working to further the public interest. SPILF’s goals are to:

  1. Bring legal services to those groups that would otherwise lack access to adequate legal representation;
  2. Strengthen the network of students and alumni involved with public interest;
  3. Provide training and support to students interested in pursuing public interest work at Stanford Law School and after graduation; and,
  4. Increase participation in and the visibility of public interest initiatives at Stanford.

How We Work

  • SPILF impacts public interest initiatives at SLS in two main ways.
  • First, we fund student-led, service-oriented groups who organize clinics and trips to provide legal services to specific communities and constituents, as well as individual student projects in the public interest realm. SPILF has provided funding to public interest causes for over 25 years. (Click here to learn more.) 
  • Second, we provide bar study grants to graduating public interest students, to mitigate the substantial costs of bar study and registration for those without a private sector salary.
  • Supporting these initiatives requires significant financial resources. SPILF gives tens of thousands of dollars to support public interest initiatives every year, yet demand for resources always exceeds our supply. We depend on donors like you to help us grow the public interest community.
  • SPILF’s two sources of income are direct monetary donations from firms and individual donors, and revenue from our annual Bid for Justice Auction. Revenue from the Auction comes in the form of bids on donated items. Firms and businesses can donate anything from tickets to a sporting event or concert, to high-value electronics, to a weekend travel package. To learn how to donate Auction items, please click on the “Support SPILF” tab above, and click “2021 Auction” to learn more about this year’s event.
  • Firms and businesses also have the option to give at one of our pre-arranged sponsorship levels. Sponsorship provides significant exposure at the Auction, which will be held virtually this year via an online bidding platform.
  • This year’s Auction will take place on April 22nd, 2022. We hope you’ll join us!

Sponsorship Tiers

Bronze ($500+): Firm listed on the “Sponsors” page of the Auction bidding website and the Auction program.

Silver ($1,000+): Firm thanked by name during the live event. (Also includes Bronze level recognition.)

Gold ($2,000+): Firm gets to “name” a table at the Auction. (Also includes Bronze and Silver level recognition.)

Platinum ($4,000+): Firm gets five tickets for guests of its choosing to sit at a table at the Auction. (Also includes Bronze, Silver, and Gold level recognition.)

Diamond ($6,000+): Firm gets to “name” the cocktail hour. (Also includes Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum level recognition.)

Our Impact

  • Interested in learning more about the initiatives we support? Check out our 2020 Impact Statement.
  • Impacting communities.
    • During Fall 2021, SPILF gave grants to five student initiatives. These initiatives collectively engaged dozens of SLS students in public interest work providing direct services to communities in need. SPILF-funded projects this year included an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Yurok Reservation with the Native American Law Students Association, reading and creative writing groups for incarcerated people with the Stanford Prisoner Resources and Advocacy Coalition, and the Black Law Students Association’s Day of Service in the East Bay. Plus, SPILF funds enabled SLS students to attend on- and off-campus public interest programming like a progressive legal conference hosted at Stanford.
  • Impacting students.
    • “Because of SPILF, the pro bono organization I co-founded, the Election Law Project, was able to connect more than 50 students with opportunities to serve as election officers and poll monitors during the 2018 election. That experience is what solidified my drive to pursue a career in voting-rights litigation.” – Tyler Bishop, JD 2020
  • Impacting public interest graduates.
    • SPILF awarded bar study grants to 38 students in the Class of 2021 pursuing careers in the public interest. These grants covered registration fees and bar study costs for individuals without firm sponsorship. We gave $24,996 to support these graduates, with an average award of $660 per student.

Our History

  • SPILF is a student-run, community-funded foundation that enables students to pursue public interest work at Stanford Law School, both during their three years of study and after graduation. SPILF was formed in 1978 by a group of SLS students and alumni. The Foundation has been supporting public interest work at SLS for over 40 years.
  • Since its inception, SPILF has played a pivotal role in growing the public interest community at Stanford Law. One of SPILF’s first initiatives was to raise money to provide summer funding for students who wished to pursue public interest opportunities over the summer. Before the Levin Center was founded in 2007, SPILF consistently provided students with this crucial funding to support their career goals. Eventually, the Levin Center began providing this funding to students, and still does today. Now, the majority of SLS students pursue public interest work during their 1L summer, thanks in large part to this generous grant system. The Levin Center further supports students pursuing PI work by providing similar grants for their 2L summers. 
  • SPILF has also played a central role in supporting students pursuing public interest work after graduation. From 2008 to 2014, SPILF co-funded the SPILF-SLS Public Interest Fellowship, which provided funding for recipients to work full-time for one year in a law-related endeavor designed to further the public interest. The fellowship included a one-year salary, benefits that the sponsoring organization would ordinarily provide to an employee at the recipient’s level, and a free bar course in the recipient’s state of choice. You can read more about past fellowship recipients here
  • In 2014, Stanford Law School adopted this fellowship program. SLS now provides funding for several public interest fellowships to graduating 3Ls. You can read more about SLS’s public interest fellowships here, at the Levin Center’s website.

Support SPILF

SPILF is able to fund student-run public interest initiatives at the law school because of the generosity of donors like you. If you would like to support our efforts, please make a donation today via the SLS Giving Portal.

Once at the portal, please take the following steps to contribute:

  1. Select “Stanford Law School” from the first dropdown menu.
  2. Select “Public Service and Public Interest Law” from the second dropdown menu.
  3. Enter “SPILF” in the “Special Instructions” box.
  4. Enter your gift amount and follow the remaining instructions.

You can also support SPILF by donating an item to the 2022 Auction, and by registering for the Auction and bidding on items! Click on “The Auction,” above, or check out our online bidding site for more information.

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The Auction

SPILF’s Annual Charity Auction is the single largest source of funding for our public interest grants. This annual community-wide event brings together students, alumni, faculty, staff, and special guests for an evening of entertainment and fundraising for the public interest. The Auction is a semi-formal event complete with a silent and live auction.

The 30th Annual Bid for Justice Auction will take place in-person from 7-9pm PT on April 22, 2022. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour in Cooley Courtyard starting at 7pm. The live auction, led by auctioneer extraordinaire Professor Ron Tyler, will begin in Crocker Courtyard at 8pm. Students are welcome to stay for an after party following the auction in the Law Lounge.

Leading up to the live event, we will have silent bidding via our virtual platform from 6pm on Friday, April 15, 2022 through 8pm on Friday, April 22, 2022. Register today at the 2022 Bid for Justice Auction website and check out our official program.

Student Initiative Grants

  • SPILF provides Student Initiative Grant (SIG) funding to public interest organizations and activities at the law school in two funding rounds each year. The Fall funding round disburses funds for activities to occur the following winter and/or spring quarter, and the Spring funding round disburses funds for use the following fall quarter.
  • If you are leading a student organization that is seeking funding for a project or pro bono work, look out for an email from the SPILF SIG team soliciting applications for funding.

Our Sponsors

Thanks to this year’s corporate and law firm partners for their generous support!

All Events

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