Delivery of Legal Services Committee
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Joseph A. Sullivan
Pepper Hamilton LLP
3000 Two Logan Square
Eighteenth and Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Delivery of Legal Services Committee (DLSC) was formed in 1977 as a standing Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association. In 1994, the Philadelphia Bar Association, in its by-laws, charged the newly created Public Interest Section with "promot[ing] the interests of the members who address the legal needs and rights of the poor, minorities, victims of abuse, persons with disabilities, the homeless and other disadvantaged populations." The section was to provide a "forum for the Bar to work together on issues of mutual concern that affect the public interest… and to educate and involve the entire Bar in issues affecting the public interest." In order to accomplish this, the by-laws required that there be three standing committees of the Public Interest Section: "a Civil Rights Committee, a Delivery of Legal Services Committee, and a Women's Rights Committee," in addition to other committees created by the Section. Thus the Delivery of Legal Services Committee, in its current form, was born.
The DLSC consists of a wide cross section of leaders from all sectors of the legal community who come together regularly in an effort to identify, and provide for, the civil legal needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the Philadelphia community. The Committee includes executive directors from over thirty nonprofit public interest law firms as well as representatives from Philadelphia-area law schools operating public interest clinical programs, leaders of the Bar Association and the private bar, foundation directors and others committed to expanding equal access to justice.
The Committee's goals include creating and expanding legal services for the poor; improving the quality of those services; developing and providing continuing legal education for public interest lawyers; sharing and expanding the collective knowledge of experts in various areas of public interest law; raising public awareness of legal and social issues affecting the poor and disadvantaged; and leveraging the work of public interest law firms by forging partnerships with the private bar to expand delivery of legal services to those in need.
The DLSC's Directory of Public Interest Legal Organizations contains information about each of the participating organizations, and reflects their diverse talents and collective expertise to expand individual access to the courts and highlight issues broader than the focus of their individual agencies.
In short, the DLSC is a unique Committee of extraordinary individuals who take the time, in addition to fulfilling their own daily public interest obligations, to come together to address projects in the public interest. Such collaboration not only vastly improves the delivery of legal services to Philadelphia's poorest community, but also has created a culture of inclusion within the Philadelphia Bar Association regarding issues that affect and concern the poor. As the largest Bar Association team of public interest and private lawyers working to improve justice in Philadelphia, DLSC epitomizes the fulfillment of the Philadelphia Bar Association's mission to serve both the profession and the public by promoting equal access to justice, professional excellence and respect for the rule of law.