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Thank You!

PILF Grant Recipients

The 2019-2020 year has been special for the California Western Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Chapter.

Their flagship event, the PILF Silent Auction, was revitalized and raised a record-breaking amount to help students cover Bar-related expenses.

“We decided a Bar Study Grant was the best option because the Grant recipients were graduating students,” said the PILF Board in a statement. “We wanted to do something to convert any financial stress into a boost toward preparing for the Bar.”

PILF is an organization dedicated to supporting students who desire a career in public interest law. Public interest is a large area of law that covers a wide range of issues such as: HIV/AIDS, immigration, criminal law, military and veterans, domestic violence, and more. Public interest attorneys work for charities, government agencies, international organizations, private law firms performing pro bono work, and other practice settings.

At the time, no one could have predicted what was going to unfold during the following months and with the postponed Bar exam and other uncertainties, these grants could not have come at a better time.

Recognizing the generosity of fellow students, professors, businesses, and organizations, this year’s seven grant winners wanted to show their thanks and appreciation to all their benefactors.

They produced a thank-you brochure aimed at all the PILF grant benefactors, where each winner told their story and why the PILF grant was so important to them.

Acknowledging the winners, Cory Schaller, Career Advisor, Pro Bono & Public Service, in the Career & Professional Development Office at California Western said, “It has been an honor to work with this year’s PILF Board to promote our students’ participation in public interest work in the San Diego community and beyond.”

“Being able to award these seven outstanding students with a Bar Study Grant was so rewarding,” continued Schaller. “Not only because it will help them during this unusual Bar study period, but also it serves to highlight all of their amazing accomplishments at California Western and in the community.”

Below are extracts from each of the winner’s statements:

“I was incredibly honored to be awarded with the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Grant Award this past March. Being presented with this award has given me hope during a time of great uncertainty and has affirmed my commitment to continuing to be of service to my community.

The uncertainty of our graduating class is unprecedented. The Bar has been postponed and job opportunities are scarce. This is a very difficult time historically and globally. This Grant has provided me with financial certainty during a time where there is none, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Regina Calvario


“I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), for your extraordinary contributions to the Foundation’s Bar Grant. Your generosity and financial support truly mean a lot to me in providing an extra boost to advance my career goals.

The money received from your donations has had a direct impact toward each of the students’ long-term goals, making their dream one step closer. I especially, look forward to instilling the value of public service locally and beyond throughout my legal career.”

Sasha Jamshidi


“This Grant gives myself and others interested in public interest law an important sense of peace while studying for the bar, especially during these strange times. For this, I am forever grateful.

Your support inspires me to further my public interest work, and to give back to PILF and other public interest organizations so that future students will have the same opportunities to follow their career goals.”

Samantha Sneen


“One of the reasons I pursued law school was to pay it forward to my community and help guide them through the complex education and legal system. I want to thank you for having confidence in me and awarding me the 2020 Josi Dixon PILF Bar Study Grant.”

Erika Rivas


“I am incredibly honored to be awarded the PILF Bar Study Grant. This grant has affirmed my commitment to public service.

Being a part of PILF was one of the most rewarding experiences of law school. Not only was I surrounded by like-minded people, but I also felt like I was giving back to our community. I am so proud to be a member of this organization, and again, I am extremely honored to receive this grant.”

Rayna Kim


“I cannot express how truly grateful I am to receive the PILF Bar Study Grant. Throughout my time in law school, PILF has been a student organization I could count on and look toward for guidance and inspiration.

I continue to be inspired by work experiences that connect with the public, and being part of the LGBTQ+ community strengthens my desire to be part of the legal profession in a way that reflects the diverse community of which we are a part.”

Elizabeth Dimaano


“Thank you so much for your generosity in giving back to the students of California Western School of Law. I am beyond grateful and humbled to have been awarded funds through the PILF Bar Grant.

Prior to starting law school, I knew that I wanted to specialize in Family Law. It was my dream and purpose for enrolling in law school and now that my dream is almost a reality, I feel that my purpose is stronger than ever. I will be especially focused on giving back to my community as much and as best as I can.”

Deveney Wells-Gibson