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

May 2017

Pro Bono Training: "Divorce with Equitable Distribution- Helping Clients Move On with Financial Stability"

When:

May 25, 2017
12:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Where:

Fox Rothschild, LLP, 2000 Market St, 20th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

The training will focus on helping clients move on with financial stability by obtaining a divorce and dividing marital assets and debts.

June 2017

MITIGATION TRAINING for JLWOP CASES

When:

Thursday, June 8, & Friday, June 9, 2017
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Th); 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (Fri)

Where:

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP
123 S. Broad St.
28th Floor
Philadelphia, PA

Host(s):

The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project

Please apply here no later than May 23, 2017. Questions? Please email lfine@ysrp.org

Description:

Have you thought about working on a Juvenile Lifer case? Here's your chance to volunteer!

Join us for a 2-day mitigation training to prepare for resentencing hearings for individuals who were formerly sentenced to life without parole as children. Through the two days together, participants will learn about the role of mitigation specialists within legal defense teams in juvenile life resentencings, including how to obtain and review records, interact with clients and their family members, and craft effective advocacy documents for submission to lawyers and judges.

Philadelphia VIP Summer Pro Bono Program for Law Students

When:

June 19, 2017
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Where:

Peco Energy Hall
Lower Level
2301 Maret Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

This VIP signature event is for summer associates and law students in Philadelphia, to engage with pro bono in our city and discover the life-changing impact their efforts can have on individuals and families. Featured speakers will include Debbie Gross, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and convener of “Take Action Philly.” We will also include a session on poverty, and hear remarks from VIP volunteer attorneys and clients. Law students will enjoy a networking lunch with Judges of the First Judicial District, Board members, and other legal community leaders. To cover luncheon expenses, registration is $25 per person (unpaid legal interns/public service law clerks and those seeking employment are able to attend at no charge). For more information, please contact Joanna Volpe at 215-523-9567 or jvolpe@phillyvip.org

Philadelphia VIP New Volunteer Orientation

When:

June 28, 2017
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Where:

Philadelphia VIP, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

The program will provide an overview of Philadelphia VIP and the opportunities and resources available to volunteers.

September 2017

Pro Bono Training: Landlord/Tenant

When:

September 26, 2017

Where:

Blank Rome LLP
130 North 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

This training will foucs on representing a client in a landlord tenant dispute, including an overview of the law, strategies and defenses.

October 2017

Corporate Pro Bono Day

When:

October 24, 2017
4:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Where:

Morgan Lewis LLP
1701 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States

Host(s):

Philadelphia VIP

Register

Description:

Philadelphia VIP's annual Corporate Pro Bono Day will be held at Morgan Lewis LLP. This event is limited to corporate counsel and includes a Small Business Counseling Clinic and Training. Volunteer in-house counsel will provide free legal advice to Philadelphia micro-entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.phillyvip.org or contact Alison Merrick americk@phillyvip.org.

Ongoing

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
United States

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
United States

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.”


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.