The Challenge Ahead: Access to Justice

About the Program

As many members of Philadelphia’s legal community have been asking what they can do to help the community-at-large, “The Challenge Ahead: Access to Justice” pro bono volunteerism initiative provides opportunities for Association members and beyond to help people in need by providing limited legal representation, education, advice and advocacy. This one-stop-shop allows the city’s legal aid non-profit organizations to know who is interested in assisting by giving volunteers the opportunity to add their name to a list for these groups to access if they need additional support for a particular cause. With volunteer opportunities ranging from immigration/due process to civil rights to health benefits, housing and more, there will be no shortage of support that the legal community can provide.

Deborah Gross photo

"We are embarking on unchartered waters where there are real concerns for the rule of law, due process, individuals' constitutional and civil rights, as well as the threat of decreased federal and state funding. Regardless of our personal politics, none of us wants to see constitutionally protected rights of individuals and families compromised by new state or national reforms. The legal aid nonprofits are on the frontlines addressing these sorts of reform efforts and they need our help."

2017 Chancellor
Deborah R. Gross
Philadelphia Bar Association
 

Volunteer Opportunities

November 2017

New Volunteer Orientation

When:

November 14, 2017
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Where:

Philadelphia VIP
1500 Walnut Street Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

Are you new or newish to VIP? We encourage volunteers who have not yet taken a case, and those who have taken their first one, to attend our New Volunteer Orientation. This session provides an informal opportunity to learn more about VIP cases, chat with our staff of attorneys and pro bono case managers, and enjoy a light breakfast. All volunteers welcome!

December 2017

Simple Divorce Training (No Assets, Debts, or Economic Relief)

When:

December 8, 2017
8:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Where:

Duane Morris LLP 30 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
United States

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

Thursday, December 8, 8:30-11 a.m., Philadelphia VIP will host a Divorce Practice Training Program called “Simple Divorce (No Assets, Debts, or Economic Relief)” at Duane Morris LLP, 30 S. 17th Street, Philadelphia. This free training event is a great overview for attorneys who would like an introduction to divorce, an area of high need for pro bono service. The training includes a step-by-step walk-through of the divorce process, including filing, service, and obtaining a final decree.

Ongoing

Elder Justice & Civil Resource Center

When:

Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Where:

Room 278, City Hall
Philadelphia , PA 19107

Host(s):

First Judicial District of Pennsylvania

Contact the manager, Erica Bray, if interested in volunteering on a limited representation basis.
The Elder Justice & Civil Resource Center (EJCRC) in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board (CLE Board) will grant continuing legal education (CLE) credits for attendance at its training programs to lawyers who volunteer for a minimum of six (6) hours in the EJCRC. There is no charge to the volunteer for the training program or training materials. Volunteers who participate must meet all of the other requirements of the CLE Board.

Description:

The EJCRC provides assistance to self-represented litigants who want help navigating the legal system. The Center emphasizes Elder Justice issues, but all ages are welcome. Help may involve initiating a legal action or responding to civil case filed against them within the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. The office assists litigants by offering procedural information, legal resources and referrals, and offers free legal advice from volunteer attorneys and law students by appointment or on a walk-in basis if available. The Center does not provide in-court representation.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

When:

Date(s) and Time TBD

Where:

Location TBD
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

For further information about joining the prisoner civil rights panel, please contact Panel Coordinators Stephen D. Brown Esq. at (215) 994-2240 or Samuel W. Silver Esq. at (215) 751-2309. To learn more about the employment panel, please contact Panel Coordinators Alan B. Epstein Esq. at (215) 241-8832 or Ari R. Karpf Esq. at (215) 639-0801. The Court's Volunteer Panel Administrator, Elaine Battle, can be reached at (267) 299-7034.

Description:

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania invites you to join one of its prisoner civil rights and employment panels.

The members of the prisoner civil rights panel provide legal representation to prison inmates for constitutional violations by law enforcement officers before the inmate was incarcerated that relate to the matter(s) for which the inmate is then incarcerated.

The employment panel members represent plaintiffs in cases that are brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Employment Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and state claims which can be properly appended to federal employment claims.

Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project

When:

Ongoing

Where:

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP), 123 South Broad Street, 24th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19109

Host(s):

Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project

Email: info@ysrp.org
Phone: (215) 804-9093
Fax: (267) 543-7939

For news and events, please visit ysrp.org/news-events/

Description:

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive support to kids prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system, including individuals who were sentenced to life without parole as children (“juvenile lifers“).

We have four goals:

  1. Aiding lawyers with low-income clients to get their cases transferred from the adult criminal justice system to the juvenile justice system or to get more favorable sentences; and providing mitigation for juvenile lifers as they face resentencing in front of a judge and/or parole board;
  2. Connecting youth, juvenile lifers and their families with existing community resources and programs, so they have access to education, healthcare, stable housing and job placement;
  3. Training lawyers, judges and other advocates to increase the level of representation provided to youth facing adult jails and prisons, and juvenile lifers facing resentencing and parole hearings; and
  4. Advancing policy reform that is rooted in the experiences of young people, juvenile lifers and their families.

Take a Stand - Become a Child Advocate Attorney

When:

Ongoing

Where:

1617 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1200
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Host(s):

Support Center for Child Advocates

For more information, please visit sccalaw.org or contact Jodi Schatz at jschatz@SCCALaw.org.

Description:

Thousands of children in Philadelphia experience the trauma of abuse, violence and neglect. Support Center for Child Advocates’ teams of volunteer lawyers and staff social workers provide legal representation and social services advocacy to children who need our help. Each year the need is greater. As a Child Advocates Volunteer Attorney, you can change the story.

THIS COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT CLIENT OF YOUR CAREER.

Family Court Help Center

When:

Ongoing, Weekdays, 12 - 3 p.m.

Where:

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Family Court
1501 Arch Street
11th Floor, PA Philadelphia

Host(s):

Phila. Legal Assistance, Women Against Abuse, and the Family Law Section of the Bar Association

Contact Lee Schwartz, Esq.
Attorney/Mediator/Collaborative Lawyer
Prior Chair, Philadelphia Bar Association, Family Law Section
Prior President, Nicholas Cipriani Family Law, American Inns of Court
SchwartzJordan Law Group LLC
1801 Market Street
Suite 1845
Philadelphia, PA 19103
O: 215-967-9070
F: 215-967-9415
Lee@schwartzjordan.com

Description:

The Family Court Help Center ("FCHC") assist litigants in custody matters with preparing pleadings and provides important procedural information and options counseling for litigants. The FCHC is open every day the Court is open from noon to 3 pm. Volunteer attorneys assist litigants with determining what pleading, if any, is appropriate to file in the litigant's custody matter, help the litigant prepare the pleading, explain the court's procedures for custody matters, and provide information and referrals for other services.

Volunteer with Philadelphia VIP

When:

Ongoing

Where:

1500 Walnut Street Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

To register, please visit our website www.phillyvip.org and fill out the Volunteer Enrollment Form: www.phillyvip.org/volunteer-form/

Description:

As the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, our job is to ensure you have a rewarding volunteer experience while assisting one of the thousands of low-income clients who needs your skills and expertise to access justice. When you choose to volunteer with VIP, you are supported with a strong scaffold of staff experts, external mentors, trainings, materials, and other resources to ensure you can achieve the best outcome for your client. We are with you every step of the way.

The benefits of volunteering with VIP go far beyond the priceless value of helping someone in need. Our volunteer experiences offer the opportunity to build connections, gain new transferable skills, and expand your practice. Your service inspires others and exemplifies the meaning of “Philadelphia Lawyer.”

Face to Face Germantown Legal Center Intake Hours

When:

Ongoing, Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Where:

Face to Face 109 East Price Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Host(s):

Face to Face

Interested attorneys should email Anna Brickman, Legal Center Director at anna.brickman@facetofacegermantown.org.

Description:

Conduct legal intake for clients at Face to Face Germantown. Face to Face offers a variety of services in addition to the Legal Center including, hot meals, social services, and a small health clinic. Volunteer attorneys can have a background in any area of law -- subject matter expertise is not required. Volunteers interview clients and write up summaries of the interviews for the Legal Center director.


For more information about other ongoing pro bono opportunities at Philadelphia public interest legal organizations, please review the Philadelphia Bar Association's Pro Bono Opportunities Directory and the Directory of Public Interest Legal Organizations.