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Public Interest Low Income Protection Plan

Public Interest Low Income Protection Plan (PILIPP)

In an attempt to help law students who obtain employment in public service or public interest law, Cornell Law School has established a low income protection plan for graduates who take low income public interest jobs. The plan will cover graduates who have clear law school honor code records, are members in good standing with the relevant bar authorities, and are working in the public interest area.

Read more about the PILIPP details

Qualifying Employment


  • Full-time employment requiring a J.D. Degree
  • Jobs with the federal government
  • Jobs with the state or local government
  • Qualified not-for-profit jobs
  • Legal Services jobs
  • Legal Aid jobs Jobs with Public Defender or Prosecutor

*Half-time employment will be considered on a pro-rata basis.*
Please note that positions at private law firms generally do not qualify.

Eligible Loans


  • Federal Loans used to cover published standard budget
  • Private and alternative federal loans used to cover published standard budget
  • Cornell Loans used to cover published standard budget
  • Loans taken to cover expense of public interest job search up to $2500
  • Bar Study Loans

Calculating Annual Awards

Participants contribute an amount of money towards their loan payments as determined by a formula, and Cornell Law School contributes the balance. A four-part formula is used to determine the participant’s contribution:

  • Participant’s gross annual income figure is determined
  • The figure is adjusted for cost of living using a Standard Maintenance Allowance (SMA)
  • Appropriate deductions are made to determine net income
  • Participant’s contribution is 50% of net income

*For sample calculations, please download the PILIPP detail*
Please note that assets are calculated into the formula as well.

Required Documentation

To be considered for the program, the following must be received by January 12, 2015:

  • A complete PILIPP application (pdf) with supporting materials.
    A checklist is provided on the last page of the application.

Once you have been accepted and have received your first payment the following must be received by June 15, 2015:

  • Updated salary letter from employer
  • Current year tax return