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Philadelphia Bar Association Unveils October 2017 Pro Bono Task Force Report

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:10am

Philadelphia Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force Report coverThe Philadelphia Bar Association's Pro Bono Task Force has  unveiled its 15-year update to a report on the state of pro bono, that was issued in 2002 under Chancellor Allan H. Gordon's leadership.

Fifteen years later, in December 2016, Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross convened the present Task Force. Their charge was to examine the state of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia, to report on how far they had come in the intervening fifteen years, and to provide recommendations to encourage and expand pro bono work.

As in 2002, the Task Force was composed by the Chancellor to reflect the diversity of perspectives in the Philadelphia legal community. The 18 members of the Task Force included representatives from private practice (ranging from large firms to solo practitioners), public interest organizations, corporate legal departments, law schools and the judiciary.

The current report found while much progress has been made over the past fifteen years, there is still much to be done. The legal needs of those members of our community who cannot afford to pay for legal representation have only grown, and will continue to grow.

Moreover, an unforeseen widespread gap in legal assistance can develop rapidly from economic forces, shifts in governmental priorities or a natural disaster. Pro bono legal services are an essential part of addressing these needs.

It is hoped that this report will help identify measures that can be taken to encourage and expand pro bono work in the unending effort to better serve the needy, disadvantaged and disenfranchised in Philadelphia, and will help to foster conversations about how to improve access to justice.

The Full Report is available from the Philadelphia Bar Association at www.philadelphiabar.org/WebObjects/PBA.woa/Contents/WebServerResources/CMSResources/ProBonoTaskForceReport.pdf

Pro Bono Volunteers and Aid Sought to Assist Hurricane and Earthquake Victims

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:08pm

Efforts are underway to provide legal assistance to the victims of recent hurricanes which struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as persons affected by the major earthquake that struck Mexico.

The American Bar Association, among its other efforts, has been working closely with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center (LCJC) to create a hotline that can provide needed information and services through pro bono volunteers. LCJC has long experience in providing disaster legal services to callers. Because there is such severe devastation on those islands, local lawyers will probably not be able to provide sufficient pro bono service to meet the growing need for legal help. Therefore:

  1. Lawyers who are active members of the USVI or Puerto Rico bars are urged to sign up to accept referrals of pro bono cases from the LCJC.
         
  2. Lawyers who are not licensed in USVI or Puerto Rico can also assist, by providing legal research or assistance with federal/administrative law questions.

Pennsylvania lawyers who are willing to provide legal research or assistance with federal/administrative law questions to Hurricane Maria victims are encouraged to complete the ABA Disaster Legal Service Volunteer Attorney Intake Form, which is online, in English and Spanish, at https://goo.gl/forms/yDYzE3h3NoFAQcfm1.

Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sharon R. López is also urging support for the Puerto Rican Bar Association’s Hurricane Maria relief effort, as well as earthquake relief efforts in Mexico and she has issued this letter urging Pennsylvania attorneys to support the efforts. The Hurricane Maria Emergency Legal Aid Fund of the Fundación Fondo de Acceso a la Justicia of Puerto Rico is also requesting donations.

López is also encouraging contributions to legal aid organizations in Texas and Louisiana for Hurricane Harvey relief. Read the letter.

PLI Launches New Pro Bono Practice Area Site

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 1:04pm

Practising Law Institute (PLI) announces the launch of a new Pro Bono practice area website dedicated to the important public service work of legal professionals. The comprehensive, easy-to-navigate site will offer access to PLI programs that provide the training critical to effective legal representation.

The new Pro Bono site is also accessible from the PLI homepage (www.pli.edu) and contains hundreds of hours of content encompassing many subject areas at all levels of experience. Areas of interest include timely access-to-justice issues such as housing, immigration, consumer bankruptcy, children's rights, civil rights, consumer protection, as well as disaster assistance, education law, elder law, and family law. The programs are presented in convenient Live, Webcast, and On-Demand formats.

"We are pleased to bring our Pro Bono content to a wider audience, now more accessible than ever through the new practice area site," said Janet L. Siegel, Director of Pro Bono Services. "As a nonprofit organization, PLI is committed to providing attorneys with the necessary training to assist individuals in need of legal representation."

Nominations Sought for 2018 PA Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:31pm

Photo of PLAN Excellence AwardsPennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. is currently soliciting nominations for its 2018 Excellence Awards. This year, the awards dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel. A social hour will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., immediately followed by a buffet dinner.

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards honor members and friends of the legal aid community who exemplify excellence in their commitment and accomplishments as advocates for low-income people. A media presentation highlighting the accomplishments of each award recipient will be incorporated into the program. You are encouraged to submit worthy nominations for the following categories:

  • Legal Services Staff. We are seeking nominations for employees for all staff positions who exhibit excellence and commitment in the performance of the duties of their jobs;
     
  • Private Bar. We are seeking nominations for members of the private bar who display an outstanding commitment to legal aid and the legal needs of low-income Pennsylvanians;
     
  • Community Services. We are seeking nominations for volunteers and friends who demonstrate exceptional dedication to legal aid and the needs of low-income people. It may include legislators or government officials, community leaders, or others who help promote the mission of legal aid; and
     
  • Lay and Client Advocacy. We are seeking nominations for client leaders, organizational partners, or others who have donated significant time and energy to the mission of legal aid and the needs of low-income people.

Nominations are open to everyone, and there is no limit on the number of nominations you may submit. However, all nomination forms must follow the format on the attached form and should include supporting documents and information in order to be considered by the Awards Committee.

The Awards Committee will look for specific examples of excellence and will take into consideration commendation letters, relevant news clippings or other documents that strengthen the nomination.

Online nominations are encouraged but nominations can also be submitted by mail, fax, or e-mail to:

PLAN Awards Committee
118 Locust Street
Harrisburg, PA  17101
Fax:  717-233-4088
E-mail:  nbogerman@palegalaid.net

 

Nominations must be received no later than Friday, November 3, 2017.

If you have other questions, please contact Natalei Bogerman at (800) 322-7572 or (717) 236-9486, ext. 207 or by e-mail to nbogerman@palegalaid.net.

Online Nomination Form

Download Nomination Form (MS Word)

 

Jim DeAngelo Honored With PBA’s Jeffrey A. Ernico Award

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:46am

James DeAngelo, EsquireThe Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Legal Services to the Public Committee is pleased to honor Harrisburg lawyer James P. DeAngelo with its Jeffrey A. Ernico Award at the September 27, 2017 annual fall membership meeting of the Dauphin County Bar Association.

Attorney DeAngelo is Chair of the Litigation Group at McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC in Harrisburg. He joined the firm as a business litigator in 1992 after his clerkship with the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

A longtime champion of pro bono service  and the delivery of legal services to the poor, Attorney DeAngelo has served as Chair of the Dauphin County Bar Association’s Public Service Committee since 1997. He also is a veteran member and past leader of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Legal Services to the Public Committee. 

He has served on the Boards and in leadership of significant legal aid programs, including: the regional MidPenn Legal Services program, a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to providing equal access to justice and high quality civil legal services to low-income residents and survivors of domestic violence in 18 counties in Central Pennsylvania; the Community Justice Project, a statewide non-profit, legal aid law firm that fights for improvements to public benefits, increased access to affordable housing, better pay for workers, and many other issues; and the statewide Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, the umbrella organization for many of the legal aid programs in the Commonwealth.  He has dedicated numerous hours of pro bono legal advice to individuals and families in the central Pennsylvania community and beyond.

"Jim is a truly deserving recipient of this award as he not only ‘talks the talk but walks the walk’ because no matter how busy he is in his private practice he always has time to support legal aid and handle cases pro bono,”  MidPenn Legal Services Executive Director Rhodia Thomas said upon hearing of DeAngelo being honored.

Dauphin County Bar Association Public Services Coordinator Sandy Ballard added, “With Jim’s bold and creative leadership, the Dauphin County Bar Association continues to expand and improve its service to the community through our Pro Bono Program.”

The Ernico Award celebrates the pro bono accomplishments of Harrisburg attorney Jeffrey A. Ernico and his long-standing commitment to equal justice and serving those who have nowhere else to turn. The Ernico Award is an occasional award of the PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee that is to be given to such individuals and groups as the committee, from time to time, determines have provided unique service that has resulted in significant improvement in the provision of legal services to the neediest among us. 

DeAngelo is the eleventh recipient of the Ernico Award since it was created in 2006.  His award reads:

“A champion of justice for those in need, James P. DeAngelo has been dedicated to public service throughout his legal career. His outstanding community service through pro bono contributions works to balance the inequality for those without adequate access to justice.”

Jim Carroll, Elizabeth Price, Kathleen Smith, Cary Flitter, Michael Paul Malakoff , Kenneth Jewell, Jon McKenna, Deborah Freeman, Larry Young, and Carol Mills McCarthy are past recipients of the Ernico Award.  Please see http://www.pabar.org/site/Probono/Ernico-Award.

LSC Awards Fourth Round of Pro Bono Innovation Grants to Assist Low-Income Americans

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:14am

Legal Service Corporation logoThe Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has announced that 15 legal aid organizations will receive grants to expand pro bono legal services for low-income clients.

Many of the projects the grants will fund focus on building new partnerships between legal aid programs and law schools, law firms, and other local service providers. The projects will engage more pro bono lawyers and other volunteers, to leverage LSC’s federal funding and  increase the legal resources available to meet the civil legal needs of low-income Americans. The projects offer effective, replicable solutions to persistent challenges in current pro bono delivery systems.

For example, Legal Services NYC will use its grant to support its Military Monday project, which brings together corporations, law firms, and legal services to assist low-income veterans. Through a combination of monthly legal clinics and ongoing representation, pro bono attorneys and Legal Services NYC staff will help veterans with pressing legal issues including disability benefits, safe and affordable housing, and child support.

“We are grateful to Congress for establishing the Pro Bono Innovation Fund to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid,” said Jim Sandman, President of LSC.   “This grant program stimulates more volunteer participation in legal aid and allows our grantees to serve more people.”

The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. Congress allocated $2.5 million for it in LSC’s FY 2014 appropriation and increased that allocation to $4 million in subsequent years, beginning with LSC’s FY 2015 appropriation.

The recipients of 2017 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants are:

California
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles - $176,379
    Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles will expand data collection and evaluation tools for California’s Pro Bono Training Institute, a statewide resource for pro bono lawyers assisting low-income people.
     
  • California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. - $232,525
    California Rural Legal Assistance will enhance its pro bono program by streamlining internal processes expanding external connections to create a detailed inventory of pro bono resources and implementing a training campaign for pro bono lawyers.
Colorado
  • Colorado Legal Services - $132,416
    Colorado Legal Services will expand and improve existing pro bono clinics that focus on connecting urban attorneys with rural communities in need.
Florida
  • Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. - $307,573
    Bay Area Legal Services will collaborate with the Florida Bar on disaster preparedness, including training pro bono volunteers to assist disaster victims with FEMA assistance, insurance claims, ID and document replacement, and other disaster-related issues.
Louisiana
  • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation - $250,515
    Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation will enhance its pro bono program by centralizing its volunteer lawyers program and undertaking an in-depth assessment of how it engages in and can improve pro bono activities.
Massachusetts
  • Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association - $295,822
    Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association will engage pro bono lawyers to address two significant legal problems —wage theft and unfair debt collection. Partnering with the state Attorney General’s Office, the goal is to provide more assistance to clients, train volunteers to provide effective representation, and create replicable materials to better educate low-income clients about their legal rights.
     
  • Community Legal Aid, Inc. - $194,298
    Community Legal Aid will develop new resources and expand pro bono assistance in education and employment cases in its medical legal partnership with UMass Memorial Medical Center, one of the largest medical providers in the state. The project will include a study of the extent to which improved client health and cost savings can be attributed to legal aid and pro bono efforts.
Missouri
  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri - $190,420
    Legal Aid of Western Missouri will expand its Adopt a Neighborhood program to two more neighborhoods to engage new law firms in pro bono cases. It also plans to improve data collection and continuing legal education for pro bono volunteers.
New Jersey
  • Legal Services of Northwest Jersey - $299,501
    Legal Services of Northwest Jersey will hire a Director of Pro Bono Innovation to perform a comprehensive analysis to improve its pro bono program, seeking input from the client community, courts, attorneys, and service providers in New Jersey and nationally.
     
  • Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Corporation - $342,034
    Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Corporation will expand its pro bono program to include volunteers with unique language and cultural skills to assist LEP (Limited English Proficient) clients. The project will strengthen the program’s ability to provide client-centered legal services across all practice areas in a diverse service area.
New York
  • Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. - $272,758
    Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York will expand its current pro bono eviction defense program to town and village courts. It will staff the City Court Program with a rental housing counselor to meet with tenants after court appearances to provide counseling, referrals, and follow-up services.
     
  • Legal Services NYC - $351,387
    Legal Services NYC will partner with global law firms and several Fortune 500 companies to provide legal assistance to low-income veterans on matters including disability benefits, safe and affordable housing, and child support.
Ohio
  • The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland - $165,525
    The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will increase pro bono efforts by recruiting late-career and retired attorneys to take on a variety of pro bono roles, including as in-house volunteers working alongside staff and as mentors to staff.
Virginia
  • Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc. - $290,283
    Legal Services of Northern Virginia will assist veterans in need of discharge upgrades and Veterans Administration disability compensation. The program will begin with “legal check-ups” performed by law students to assess veterans’ legal needs, followed by referrals to volunteer attorneys for further assistance.
Washington
  • Northwest Justice Project - $298,564
    Northwest Justice Project, replicating Atlanta’s highly successful Pro Bono Innovation Fund project, will follow up with clients who received advice and use the results to make improvements in practice and address external barriers to self-represented clients.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
 

Original Press Release

 

On-Demand Program: Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: Disaster Assistance

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 2:26pm

The Practising Law institute is offering a free on-demand one-hour briefing entitled Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: Disaster Assistance recorded from the original briefing offered on September 2017 in New York.

Historic rainfall and devastating destruction has left many in dire need of assistance. Register now for PLI’s On-Demand One-Hour Briefing and learn what resources are available and how you can help. Information provided in this program will in large part also be applicable to victims of Hurricane Irma as well. 

Lecture Topics  [01:06:50]

Expert faculty from FEMA and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services will address:

  • An overview of federal disaster assistance
  • Eligibility criteria for the Individual and Household’s Program
  • Broad overview of the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Sale of flood insurance
  • Mapping flood hazards
  • Floodplain management
  • Flood mitigation assistance
  • Understanding the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) and claims
  • Terms and conditions in the SFIP
  • Proof of Loss and timelines for filing claims –building and contents
  • When experts are needed
  • Appeal and judicial review regarding a denial of a flood insurance claim
  • How to appeal a claim
  • Filing suit
  • Most common reasons for FEMA denials
  • Practice tips to help survivors overcome FEMA denials

Faculty:

  • Mary Ellen Martinet ~ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Barbara Montoya ~ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Benjamin Rajotte ~ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Laura Tuggle ~ Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

Presentation Materials, Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: Disaster Assistance and Appealing EMA IHP Decisions, will be available to those attending the briefing on-demand.

One hour of substantive Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education distance learning credit is available for this program.

More Information and View the Briefing

Critical Legal Assistance on the Approaching End of DACA

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:57am

On September 5, 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) over a period of two and a half years.

On Friday, September 15, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. ET, Practising Law Institute (PLI) will host a free online live One-Hour Briefing, The End of DACA: What You Need to Know Now, for anyone interested in providing pro bono legal assistance to individuals affected by the planned expiration of DACA. The On-Demand version of this program will be available on Monday, September 18, 2017.

During this One-Hour Briefing, expert faculty will address how the approaching expiration will impact individuals who currently have DACA status, those who have filed for DACA status as well as those considering filing a DACA application. Faculty will also provide an overview of what steps can be taken now, as well as guidance on how advocates and pro bono attorneys can get involved in supporting these individuals.

"PLI's mission as a nonprofit institution is to provide attorneys with the necessary training to represent individuals in need of legal representation. We are committed to ensuring that attorneys, advocates, pro bono volunteers and the legal community as a whole has the most current training opportunities in order to assist individuals concerned with the approaching expiration of DACA," said Anita C. Shapiro, President of PLI. "We remain committed to creating timely programming around late-breaking topics to ensure our community has the needed education and guidance to best serve their clients."

About PLI – www.pli.edu

Practising Law Institute is a nonprofit learning organization dedicated to keeping attorneys and other professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise. PLI is chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, and was founded in 1933 by Harold P. Seligson. PLI provides the highest quality, accredited continuing legal and professional education programs in a variety of formats. This content is delivered by more than 4,000 volunteer faculty, including prominent lawyers, judges, investment bankers, accountants, corporate counsel, and U.S. and international government regulators. PLI publishes a comprehensive library of Treatises, Course Handbooks and Answer Books, also available through the PLI PLUS online platform. The essence of PLI's mission is its commitment to the pro bono community, with over 78,000 program scholarships awarded last year.

Nominations Sought for 2017 ACBA Pro Bono Achievement Awards

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 8:57am

The Allegheny County Bar Foundation and the Public Service Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association are currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Pro Bono Achievement awards.

The ACBA Pro Bono Achievement Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to pro bono service in our communities. The awards will be presented at the Fellows Reception on Wednesday, November 1, at the Fairmont Hotel. The award winners will also be honored at the Public Service Committee’s annual volunteer recognition event which will be held during Pro Bono Week, October 22-28.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, September 8, 2017, 5:00 pm.

Nominations may be made in the following categories:

Jane F. Hepting Individual Attorney Award: This award is given to an attorney who has shown exemplary commitment to or made substantial achievements in pro bono legal services. The ACBF Board of Trustees adopted a resolution in 2002 to name this award in recognition of Jane Hepting’s dedication to the delivery of pro bono legal services through her 26 years as an NLSA attorney, the many and varied pro bono programs that she helped create and implement, her recruitment initiatives and exceptional training programs to attract and prepare volunteer attorneys, her exceptional expenditures of time and energy on behalf of pro bono legal services, and her outstanding commitment and dedication to public service, the legal profession, and the community.

Lorraine M. Bittner Public Interest Attorney Award: This award is given to an outstanding and dedicated attorney who is employed by an entity or program whose primary function is the delivery of civil legal services to low-income individuals or organizations that serve the poor or disadvantaged. The award is named in honor of the first attorney to receive it when it was established in 2005, in honor of her exceptional and career-long commitment to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged through her work at Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

Kathryn M. Kenyon Leadership Award: This occasional award is given to an individual who has demonstrated commitment and exceptional leadership in pro bono efforts benefiting the most vulnerable in our communities.   The award was established in 2015 and is named in honor of Katie Kenyon, who has provided pro bono legal services throughout her legal career and has shown outstanding initiative and leadership as volunteer chair of organizations assisting individuals with low incomes including the ACBA Public Service Committee, the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, and Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

Organization Award (law firm, corporate legal department, government legal department, or other entity or group): This award recognizes groups of individuals who collectively or as an institution have shown exemplary commitment to or made substantial achievements in the delivery of pro bono legal services.

Special Service Awards: Individuals or organizations who do not fall into another category and who have made substantial contributions to the delivery of free legal services may be nominated and recognized in this category. Such nominees might include attorneys, judges, paralegals, law students, and others.

Volunteers Needed for Elder Law Clinics in Lackawanna County

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 2:46pm

LBP - Lackawanna Pro Bono logoLackawanna Pro Bono and the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging are seeking volunteer attorneys to serve low income Lackawanna county residents aged 60 and above at periodic Elder Law Clinics.

The clinics will be held several times per week at the Area Agency on Aging Offices. Volunteers will prepare simple wills, powers of attorney and living wills and may be asked to provide brief advice on other civil legal matters.

Training and ongoing support will be provided by Lackawanna Pro Bono, Inc.

To volunteer or for further information, please contact Pam at Pam.probono@gmail.com or call Lackawanna Pro Bono at 570-961-2714.

ABA President-Elect Hilarie Bass kicks off initiative to meet legal needs of homeless youth at ABA Annual Meeting

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 3:40pm

One of ABA President-elect Hilarie Bass’ major initiatives, focusing on the Legal Rights of Homeless Youth, was launched at The Door, a youth drop-in center in New York City on Aug. 10 during the ABA Annual Meeting. The event was hosted by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the Commission on Youth at Risk and the Section of Litigation’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee.

Speaking at the event, Bass referred to the initiative as an outgrowth of when she represented foster children pro bono, a case that led to the end of Florida’s ban on gay adoption.  She said she expects to look back on her career one day and see that case as “the most significant thing that I did as a lawyer.”

The Legal Rights of Homeless Youth Initiative aims to meet the legal needs of homeless youth throughout the United States by matching lawyers with shelters, drop-in centers and other homeless youth providers. Bass says she wants law firms, bar associations, law schools and in-house counsel to agree for the next year to pair with a homeless shelter and to commit one day a month to come to a shelter and provide ongoing direct legal representation.

Her goal is to match lawyers with more than 350 homeless shelters across the country, and said tool kits are available to help lawyers, as well as “a motivated staff and volunteers.”

Eve Stotland, director of legal services at The Door, said the center serves about 10,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 24 a year. She is frequently asked, “Why do young people need a lawyer?”

Homeless youth, Stotland said, are usually destitute, disproportionately black or brown, disproportionately face mental illness and are often undocumented.

She cited examples of Door clients with legal issues: one young man with nowhere to sleep spent the night on a subway and was given a ticket by the transit police. Another, who found a supportive program and place to stay while he worked on his mental health issues, was shot and killed by police for stealing a purse. Yet another fled West Africa and forced marriage. With help from her pro bono attorneys, she’s now in college and working in a restaurant.

“And that is why homeless youth need attorneys,” Stotland said. “We have been training for this role our entire careers.”

Executive Director Julie Shapiro listed the integrated, free services The Door provides:

  • health, dental and vision services
  • mental health services
  • art therapy
  • career and education programs
  • job training, including a partnership with The Gap and Old Navy
  • an arts program that includes dance, music, visual art and fashion
  • a culinary training program in which young people make about 140 dinners for clients each night.

“We think it is critical to see all young people holistically,” Shapiro said, and to meet their needs comprehensively. She added that partnerships, such as the one now beginning with the ABA, are key to their success.

Bass’ initiative offers several ways lawyers can get involved:

  • Direct representation of individual youth with urgent legal needs, such as questions about criminal cases, denial of public benefits, school expulsion, etc.
     
  • Live legal clinics to represent groups of youth who all have similar legal needs, including obtaining identification documents, applications for college funding, expungement of records, immigration status, consumer issues, etc.
     
  • Live legal education or “Know Your Rights” presentations to teach youth about important issues such as rights in foster care, rights as employees/job applicants, options for federal funding for college, etc.

American Bar Association and Jones Day launch website to support legal services for veterans

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 3:29pm

VetLex.org ScreenshotThe American Bar Association and the law firm Jones Day have announced their partnership in VetLex, a web-based platform that matches attorneys who can provide pro bono legal services with veterans in need of such services. The platform is now available at VetLex.org.

VetLex is open for interested attorneys, law firms and legal organizations to register. By Veterans Day, the platform will be available to accept veterans’ cases and rolled out in key cities and states for pilot operation and testing. The national platform will be fully operational in 2018.

The goal of VetLex (“Vet” for veteran, and “Lex” for law) is to make the process of attorneys finding veteran clients and vice-versa more efficient. VetLex will aid groups in multiple ways:

  • For veterans, the VetLex platform provides an online tool for obtaining pro bono counsel for their specific legal needs, including civil, criminal or administrative (benefit claims, for example) matters. It also provides educational information on basic legal concepts, as well as a convenient repository for paperwork (like DD 214s) that are required by various service providers.
     
  • For veteran-serving organizations, VetLex will provide a means by which an expanded number of lawyers can be called upon to assist the veterans these organizations serve.
     
  • For lawyers wishing to represent veterans, Lawyers can sign onto VetLex and create a profile that limits the kinds of cases they are willing to take on. For example, many in-house corporate attorneys have difficulty finding pro bono opportunities because they live and work in a place where they are not members of the local bar. Those attorneys can be trained through VetLex to become accredited with the Department of Veterans Affairs and take on veterans benefit cases. Or an associate at a large firm looking for pro bono opportunities can register with VetLex and take on a family law case, for example.
     
  • For all, VetLex offers information about social service providers who can address issues (e.g., employment, housing, medical, etc.) that often occur in tandem with legal issues. While VetLex may not conduct direct referrals to these “wrap-around” services, it provides a convenient and accessible way for veterans and their counsel to see what other services may exist in their community that would benefit the veteran.

UniteUS, whose software focuses on improving access, collaboration and coordination among entities and who has created other platforms for veterans, is building the platform. To learn more, visit VetLex.org.

ABA Military Pro Bono Project – Summer 2017 Newsletter for Volunteer Attorneys

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 6:33pm

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PRO BONO ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER Summer 2017 News

Case Spotlight: Sailor Divorces Abusive Husband with Pro Bono Legal Help

Read here about a pro bono attorney who assisted a domestic violence victim in obtaining a judgment for dissolution of marriage against her abusive spouse. 

Find additional case stories on our blog to see how you, our volunteers, are successfully helping military families.
 

Florida Pro Bono Matters

This spring the Military Pro Bono Project partnered with The Florida Bar Foundation’s new pilot program, Florida Pro Bono Matters. The goal of this program is to provide a statewide one-stop-shop for attorneys to find available pro bono cases throughout Florida. Through Florida Pro Bono Matters’ website, attorneys can search for open pro bono cases that match their interests in their areas that are offered from a variety of pro bono legal organizations. The Military Pro Bono Project’s open cases in Florida are now included and kept updated on this website.


Veterans Legal Checkup

Veterans can now access a new online tool to help identify legal needs and take action to resolve them thanks to a partnership between the American Bar Association, CuroLegal and ARAG Legal Insurance. Read more about this new legal resource for veterans here


Website Redesign

This fall the Military Pro Bono Project’s public website will be revamped and modernized. Look forward to the facelift!

Stay updated about other news and events.


Get Involved

ABA Military Pro Bono Project: Pro Bono Representation

The ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military legal assistance offices anywhere in the world on behalf of junior enlisted servicemembers facing civil legal issues, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed in the U.S.

Explore pro bono case opportunities on our website, which is updated daily. 
  

Operation Stand-By: Providing Legal Guidance to Military Attorneys

Through the Military Pro Bono Project’s Operation Stand-By, you may offer to provide attorney-to-attorney guidance to military attorneys so they can further assist their servicemember clients. Join by logging onto the Project website to update your profile by clicking on “I am registering to join the Project's Operation Stand-By."

Already signed up with Operation Stand-By? Please log onto the Project website to ensure that your profile information is up-to-date.

 

Upcoming CLE

8/17 CLE Webinar: New Developments in Military Pension Division: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. ABA LAMP is hosting this CLE webinar which will focus on how the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act pertains to the division of pensions in family law cases.
 

Education

Useful Books in the ABA Web Store:

The American Bar Association Legal Guide for Military Families: Legal resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. 

The Military Divorce Handbook: Resource for representing servicemembers and spouses.

Ripped Off!: Guide for military personnel about certain types of sales, scams and abusive commercial practices.

Veterans Appeals Guidebook:
Guide to representing veterans in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. 
 

ABA Military Pro Bono Project’s Online Library:

The ABA Military Pro Bono Project has an online library filled with resources that focus on legal issues faced by servicemembers, veterans, and military family members. Log onto the website and visit the Library.


Support

The ABA Military Pro Bono Project is made possible with donations from:

BAE Systems
Holland & Knight LLP
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Magellan Health, Inc.

ABA Sections of Antitrust Law, Business Law, Public Contract Law and Litigation

View our Star Ranking Supporters.



 

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation Announces 2017 Award Honorees

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 8:51am

Every year at the Access to Justice Benefit, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation presents Awards to recognize the volunteerism of leaders and innovators in the Philadelphia legal community. The award recipients have been announced and are listed below.

The awards will be presented at  the Access to Justice Benefit on Saturday, November 4 at the Mütter Museum from 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm. Registration for sponsorships or tickets to the event is available at https://www.philabarfoundation.org/events/37/register

Honorable Louis H. Pollak of the Champion of the Public Interest

Richard C. Glazer, Esq. was a member of the working group that transformed the idea of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project into reality. He is a founder of Cozen O’Connor, one of the 100 largest law firms in the U.S. where he served as Regional Managing Partner and Department Chair from 1972 through 2003. His history of supporting the public interest and carving a niche for the Innocence community makes his recognition with the Pollak Award beyond fitting. Learn more about Mr. Glazer and the Award

Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award

Ayodele “Ayo” Gansallo, Esq., is a senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania, an organization that aims to open doors for new Americans. She has devoted her career to representing victims of persecution, abuse, and discrimination seeking asylum in the United States. Ms. Gansallo was selected to receive this year’s award in recognition of her years of tireless service on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our population – immigrants and refugees. Learn more about Ms. Gansallo and the Award.

Pro Bono Award of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP was selected to receive the Pro Bono Award of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation for its thousands of hours of pro bono service and investment of time and dedication from its attorneys in providing direct service through legal aid agencies. Pro bono service is part of who they are and what they do, every day. Recognizing their efforts is a testament to their example of excellence in the legal community. Learn more about Drinker Biddle and the Award.

Debra Parrish Selected for ABA Pro Bono Publico Award

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:46am

Debra ParrishDebra Parrish of Parrish Law Offices of Pittsburgh has been selected as one of the five recipients of the prestigious American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award for 2017.

Attorney Parrish received the award for her work with helping to secure access to medical treatments and technologies for Medicare beneficiaries. She regularly takes on pro bono cases to help Medicare beneficiaries gain access to medical treatments that are reasonable and necessary for their treatment and care, including access to treatments, tests and devices for various diseases and illnesses including cancer, depression, hypertension and diabetes.

Others recognized by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service with 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award are:

The 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award Recipients have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation’s poor and disadvantaged. These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who are in need of legal representation to improve their lives.

The Awards will be presented at the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting in New York on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at the New York Hilton Midtown. 

Amendments Proposed to the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement Creating an Emeritus Status for Pro Bono Legal Representation

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 1:53pm

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is considering recommending to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that it adopt new Rule 403 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement creating an emeritus status for attorneys who retire from the practice of law and seek to provide pro bono services to legal aid organizations.

The proposed new Rule 403 has been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and interested persons are invited to submit written comments by mail or facsimile regarding the proposed amendments to the Office of the Secretary, The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on or before August 24, 2017.

Currently, thirty-eight jurisdictions have emeritus programs in place. A review of these programs reveals that there is a great degree of variability in how states design their rules. The Disciplinary Boards' primary goal in establishing an emeritus program in Pennsylvania is to balance encouraging pro bono work with protecting citizens of the Commonwealth.

Emeritus programs create a pool of qualified volunteer attorneys to provide services to those in need. Emeritus attorneys perform valuable roles in the community by bolstering legal aid and other nonprofit programs to help close the gap between the need for and the availability of free legal services.

The proposed rule addresses qualifications, application procedure, transfer to emeritus status, limitation on practice, eligible legal aid organizations, renewal of emeritus status and continuing legal education requirements.

Some key requirements include:

  • In order to transfer to emeritus status an attorney must be on retired status;
  • The emeritus applicant must complete twelve hours of continuing legal education within one year prior to the application date as a prerequisite to transferring to emeritus status;
  • The emeritus applicant must verify that he or she is authorized solely to provide pro bono services, is not permitted to handle client funds, and is not permitted to ask for or receive compensation;
  • The emeritus applicant, at the time of application, must pay a registration fee of $35, an amount less than the current $225 for active attorneys and $100 for inactive attorneys;
  • Once approved for emeritus status, the attorney will be eligible to provide pro bono services only through an eligible legal aid organization;
  • The emeritus attorney is required to submit an eligible legal aid organization form to the Secretary of the Disciplinary Board for approval of each organization for which the attorney expects to perform pro bono services;
  • An emeritus attorney may renew the status on an annual basis between January 1 and January 31 of each year with the payment of the annual fee.

Comments may be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 5600, PO Box 62625, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2625, Facsimile number (717-231-3382), Email address Dboard.comments@pacourts.us on or before August 24, 2017.

Notice, Pennsylvania Bulletin, 47 Pa.B. 3488, Saturday, June 24, 2017.