Sam Milkes, Executive DirectorThis BLOG began with the release of our newly designed website. The purpose of the BLOG is to convey information from the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network about activities of interest to the staff, clients, and board members of legal aid programs, as well as the general public. The BLOG is a posting of information. However, those who want to respond can do so. Posted comments are reviewed, and some of these comments will be posted, with consent.

Postings to the BLOG cover many subjects, including the work of legal aid programs, and issues affecting poor people. Also of importance to the vitality of legal services is the budget situation of the governmental bodies supporting our work, and budget and funding information will continue to be covered in future postings.

Featured Post

Sam Milkes

PLAN, Inc. applauds Pennsylvania’s Chief Justice, Ronald Castille, for his public plea today to Pennsylvania’s lawyers, encouraging them to support civil legal aid programs by handling pro bono cases for those unable to afford legal representation and by making financial contributions to the legal aid programs that represent low income clients. We also applaud PBA President Forrest Myers for joining with the Chief Justice in making this plea.

The Chief Justice points out that today, only about one in ten low income individuals in need of civil legal aid are able to be represented through legal aid programs and through the pro bono efforts of Pennsylvania attorneys. Both the Chief Justice and the PBA President testified in last year’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that explored the question of whether equal access to justice had been achieved for low income Pennsylvanians and both expressed concern then that it had not. Funding for legal aid is low due to low interest rates on attorney escrow accounts, which help to support civil legal aid, and due to reductions in state and federal funding for legal aid.

Pointing out that “The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is the state’s coordinated system of organizations providing civil legal aid for those with nowhere else to turn,” the Chief Justice mentioned ways in which the Supreme Court has helped PLAN strive to achieve the goal of equal access to justice. This is through a $35 portion of attorney registration fees, which are directed to PLAN programs, the IOLTA program, which is funded through interest generated on attorney escrow accounts, and a fee on out-of-state lawyers who enter appearances in individual cases. That fee is used to fund a loan repayment assistance program to allow public interest lawyers to be able to work for legal aid programs, through assistance with their law school debt.

These actions by the Supreme Court, in support of PLAN and in support of access to justice, and the action today in making this public plea, represent real steps by the Chief Justice and by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in support of access to justice.


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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On Tuesday July 1, I had the pleasure of appearing, along with Senator Stewart Greenleaf and Judge Chester Harhut, on...

Access to Justice
Sam Milkes

Friday, September 27, 2013

The PA House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing on September 26 to examine how to better fund fair trials in Pennsylvania.  State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks),...

Sam Milkes

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I am pleased to announce that as its first vote, upon returning from summer recess, the State House passed...

Access to Justice, Legal Services Funding
Sam Milkes

Friday, September 6, 2013

The following was released today for immediate publication by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts:

Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille said...

Sam Milkes

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fifty years ago today, our country witnessed the remarkable March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. We celebrate that today. In the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, we especially celebrate that...

Sam Milkes

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in the case of ...

Sam Milkes

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, along with other judges, low-income Pennsylvanians and the lawyers who help them, as well as  community and business leaders,...

Access to Justice, Legal Services Funding, Pro Bono
Sam Milkes

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An article entitled A poor excuse for justice by Philadelphia...

Access to Justice, Legal Services Funding, Pro Bono
Sam Milkes

Monday, March 18, 2013

On this week's 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, I commend to you Sunday's Opinion page of the New York Times, which contains a thought...

National Support Centers
Sam Milkes

Friday, February 22, 2013