“Bid Out Loud!”- STL holds Fifth Annual PILF Auction

The 5th Public Interest Auction was held in the STL building on April 13th. Considered to be one of the biggest events at Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL), the annual auction offers everyone a short break from the stresses of school and brings together students, alumni, and faculty to support the next generation of public interest lawyers.

PILF refers to Public Interest Law Foundation, which is a student administered group that is based in STL to promote the practice of public interest law among students. All the funds raised from the auction are used to finance student participation in public interest projects in organizations around the world.

The theme of this year’s auction was “BID OUT LOUD”. There were three parts of the auction: silent auction, live auction and “Bid for a Song”. To really set the atmosphere for the evening, Professor Sang Yop Kang gave a splendid piano performance. The auction portion of the evening began after STL Dean Philip McConnaughay, gave a welcome speech reiterating the importance of supporting students who go on to have rewarding and formative experiences in public interest law.

Dean Philip McConnaughay speaking

The majority of items in the silent auction were from students. Most items were interesting, novel and creative: for instance, eating super-spicy Chongqing hot pot together, posting marriage advertising on moments, piano courses, and so on. The most popular items were a set of pictures taken by a 1L student, which was sold for 800RMB and a signed copy of US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s biography, My Beloved World.

The live auction portion of the night was even more exciting and fascinating. Students had the chance to purchase unique experiences curated by STL professors and distinguished lawyers. For example, a cocktail party at Professor Ray Campbell’s place, a traditional Irish meal with Prof. Stephen Minas, game night with Prof. Junchi Zhou, and buffet dinner at the Four Seasons with Prof. Norman Ho and his family… There was something attractive and appealing for everyone!

The biggest items ended up being much more practical: the advanced IP lawyer training course of University of Hong Kong, donated by lawyer Zhou Lisi from ZHONGLUN W&D Law Firm, reached the 5000RMB before being snatched by a student. The second item was a legal research class for Chinese law for three hours provided by alum, Qi Xin, who works in a famous law firm; the item was sold for 3500RMB.

The special event of this auction is “Bid for a song!” In this event, students could bid for the professors whom they were the most eager to listen to. The winners were Prof. Nicholas Frayn and Prof. Danya Reda. They sang the classic song Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

To date the PILF auction has been successfully held five times and raised more than 400,000RMB. At the end of the live auction, the total amount of the money donated was over 50,000RMB. PILF has funded more than twenty student internships around the world, including opportunities at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Regional Center for Asia and Pacific (UNCITRAL-RCAP), and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Los Angeles.

“ It seems to me that PILF embodies participation, interaction, love and fellowship. Organizers devote their time. Donors contribute by donating beloved items. Bidders give money. The money raised will fund STL students’ dreams to practice public interest law where their professional knowledge can help people in needs the most. That is an interaction of love, by love and for love. It also reminds us that we live in the same world and share the same fortune. Only when united, can we break the obstacles and build a better world. ”

-Professor Mao Shaowei

By Daisy Xia


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