PA Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Final Public Hearing on Civil Legal Representation of the Indigent in Pittsburgh

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The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee held its third and final Public Hearing on Civil Legal Representation of the Indigent: Have We Achieved Equal Access to Justice? on October 29, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Prior hearings were held on May 7 in Harrisburg and on May 23 in Philadelphia. All of the hearings were chaired by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks). Information on the prior hearings is available here.

Those appearing and testifying at the hearing included:

  • Honorable Max Baer 
    Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court 
     
  • Forest N. Myers, Esq.
    President, Pennsylvania Bar Association 
     
  • Kathryn M. Kenyon, Esq. 
    Chair, Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership
    Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP 
     
  • Honorable Gary Caruso
    President Judge, Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas 
     
  • Ken Gormley, Esq.
    Dean and Professor of Law, Duquesne University School of Law 
     
  • Honorable Kathryn Hens-Greco
    Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division 
     
  • John Lovelace 
    President, UPMC for You 
     
  • Sonya Butts Rainey
    Client of Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Medical Legal Collaborative for Patients 
     
  • Shirl Q. Regan 
    President/CEO, Women’s Center & Shelter of Pittsburgh 
     
  • Heather Arnet
    Chief Executive Officer, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania
     
  • David Spurgeon, Esq. 
    Allegheny County Deputy District Attorney 
     
  • Michelle DeBord, Esq. 
    Managing Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Association 
     
  • Andrew Scherer, Esq. 
    Senior Fellow, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University Law School and Wagner School of Public Service 
    Principal, Andrew Sherer Consulting 
     
  • Steve Grumm, Esq. 
    Director, Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, American Bar Association

The hearing concluded with the tri-chairs of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition, Jennifer R. Clarke, Esq., Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia; James W. Creenan, Esq., Creenan & Baczkowski, PC; President-Elect of the Allegheny County Bar Association; and Samuel W. Milkes, Esq., Executive Director, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, presenting a list of recommendations to the committee.

Those recommendations included quantifying the need for civil legal services funding in Pennsylvania and establishing an "access to justice commission," which 30 other states currently have, to address the expansion of access to civil justice at all levels for low-income and disadvantaged people in the state.

Written testimony was also addressed to the Committee from a number of individuals who could not attend the hearing in person to testify, including the Honorable Dick Thornburgh, former Governor of Pennsylvania and former United States Attorney General.

A full agenda and transcript of testimony, as well as the full recommendations of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition appear at the link below.

Hearing Agenda and Testimony