Auction Time: PILA Approaches

Jason Boyle '18
Lead Auction Director

Photo courtesy of Jason Boyle.

Photo courtesy of Jason Boyle.

On Saturday, November 4 at 9 p.m., law students from each class—ranging from fresh 1Ls to seasoned 3Ls—will get dressed up and come together at the Omni Hotel on the Downtown Mall to attend the annual Public Interest Law Association (PILA) Auction.

The event is promising to be a great one, complete with hors d’oeuvres and with bar services provided by the Omni. There will be a dancefloor with a DJ. There will be items and services available in the silent auction that were donated from a wide variety of sources, including faculty members, current students, student organizations, and local businesses. Professors George Geis and Cale Jaffe will host a live auction starting at 10:30 p.m. to auction off some select special items. There will even be a mystery item in the silent auction which is only revealed after the event to the winning bidder. The auction date is approaching fast, but with less than two weeks until the event, there are still opportunities to get involved and to attend. 

But what exactly is the PILA Auction and how can you get involved? Below are some basic questions with answers to explain this traditional event and how you can help to make an impact on future law students and support service to the public.

What is PILA? PILA is a student-run organization that got its start at UVa in 1981 as a student-funded fellowships sub-committee of the Student Bar Association, which raised enough money to cover expenses for six students to work in public service that summer. Since then, the sub-committee broke away from the SBA and formed its own organization known as the Public Interest Law Association. PILA kept its goal of raising funds to provide law students with grants to allow them to pursue public interest careers during their summers and beyond. The organization also provides networking opportunities and mentorship programs for students interested in careers and opportunities focused on service to the public.

Why is the PILA Auction important? While PILA organizes multiple forms of fundraising, including trivia nights and book sales, the auction is the primary source of funds that PILA raises for the summer grants. PILA has been raising funds for grants for decades, but with support from the Law School Foundation, PILA has now guaranteed that every student who applies for a summer grant to work in public service will receive one. PILA has the responsibility to raise funds for these grants, while the Law School Foundation provides support to help make the grant guarantee a reality. Therefore, the annual auction is just as important as ever to ensure that future UVa Law students will be able to pursue careers in public service and make a much-needed difference in the lives of many.

How do I attend the PILA Auction? Tickets are being sold at a PILA table in Hunton & Williams Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. until Monday, October 30. Tickets cost $35, which covers admission to the event and bus transportation from the Law School D3 lot to the Omni Hotel Water Street bus stop from 8:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.

How can I get involved with the auction? We encourage everyone to donate to the auction. And you can donate pretty much anything. Examples of items include your own artistic creations, autographed books, or a homemade meal during exam time. Examples of donated services range from babysitting and dog-walking to singing happy birthday to someone or even providing a journal cite check. There are some items and services that are consistent year-to-year, but there are always creative students who come up with unique ways to participate and support PILA. The possibilities are endless. Contracts for donations are available on the bulletin board by the PILA office SL158d and by PILA’s organization board in Hunton & Williams Hall. SBA sent out a copy of the donation contract attached in a school-wide email announcement last week. And PILA volunteers will be tabling in Hunton & Williams this whole week with contracts for donations. The deadline for receiving donations to the PILA Auction is this Friday, October 27.

How can I get involved with the PILA Auction leadership next year? Running the annual auction event is a lot of fun. From getting to work with great people on the auction team to seeing all of the donated items arrive in the PILA office, being involved with the auction is a unique and personally rewarding experience. If you have any interest in organization or event logistics, I highly recommend applying to be on the auction team next year when the PILA board applications are open. There is no requirement that you have to be a PILA grantee. We only ask that you bring a passion for the work of PILA to ensure that our track record of success continues to change the lives of public interest law students and the greater community they serve.

How can I ask more questions? Please reach out to me (Jason Boyle) at with any questions or concerns. 

We would love to see you at the PILA Auction on November 4 and thank you for supporting PILA and the vital work of our public servants!