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IAN and NCLR Launch New Immigration Mobile App

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 1:41pm

The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in partnership with Pro Bono Net and Verizon, are pleased to announce the lunch of Immigo, a new mobile app designed to provide the most up-to-date information about changing immigration laws and policies. Launched at the 2014 NCLR Annual Conference and National Latino Family Expo in Los Angeles, this cutting-edge, comprehensive resource for anyone who works with immigrant communities is currently available for free for Apple devices and for Android smart phones and tablets.

"Day in and day out, our Affiliates and allies are working with individuals and families who have questions about immigration policy and reform. This is an easily accessible resource that provides access to the latest information, updates and resources for those assisting immigrants in this country," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO, NCLR. "Immigo will be a valuable tool not only for our NCLR Affiliates, but for all organizations working within the immigrant integration arena."

Immigo provides users with information about state and federal regulations and resources associated with immigration, as well as changes and updates to immigration law and policy. Additional features include a daily immigration news feed, national trainings calendar, and geolocation technology that allows users to find nearby, trusted providers of free or low-cost immigration legal services.

"Immigo is the first-ever mobile app designed to connect individuals working with immigrants to comprehensive trainings, resources and legal referrals," said Matthew Burnett, Director of the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN). "As the largest network of nonprofit and pro bono immigration advocates in the country, IAN is proud to partner with NCLR, Verizon and Pro Bono Net to ensure that advocates anywhere in the country have ready access to timely, relevant information about this complex and ever-changing area of law."

To download the app for Apple devices, visit http://bit.ly/1njYzsn or search for "Immigo" in the iTunes App Store. To download the app for Android devices, visit http://bit.ly/1twNVQl or search for "Immigo" in the Google Play Store. If you have questions or comments, please diret them by email to support@immigrationadvocates.org.

NLADA Seeks Nominations for Annual Conference Awards

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 7:40am

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association is currently accepting nominations for its Annual Conference Awards which will be presented at the 2014 annual conference which is being held on November 12 -15, in Arlington, VA.

The NLADA Annual Conference Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding work within the legal community serving persons who cannot afford to pay for legal representation in either civil or criminal matters. NLADA members are invited to nominate their exceptional colleagues. Nominations are now being accepted for the following awards:

  • The New Leaders in Advocacy Award honors the accomplishments of rising attorneys who exhibit extraordinary leadership early in their careers as civil legal aid or indigent defense advocates.
     
  • The Reginald Heber Smith Award recognizes the dedicated services and outstanding achievements of a civil legal aid attorney or an indigent defense attorney while employed by an organization supporting such services.
     
  • The Denison Ray Award, awarded biennially, honors an individual who has provided exceptional service to the legal aid community as a staff member, client board member or volunteer of a provider program.
     
  • The Arthur von Briesen Award, given biennially, honors a private attorney who has made substantial volunteer contributions in support of the delivery of civil legal aid or indigent defense representation.
     
  • The Mary Ellen Hamilton Award honors a legal services client or low-income community leader who, on a compensated or volunteer basis, has provided extraordinary service or support to the delivery of legal assistance to low-income people.
     
  • The Emery A. Brownell Award gives national recognition to newspapers, magazines, online/digital publications, filmmakers, and television and radio stations that have informed the public about the crucial role played by civil legal aid or defender organizations in ensuring equal justice.

Download the Awards Criteria and Nominations Packet

All completed awards nominations and submission materials must be received by Friday, August 15, 2014 via email (PDF format is preferable) to m.soto@nlada.org or regular mail to: Maria Soto, NLADA, 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 500, Washington, DC  20006.
 

Pennsylvania Bar Association Video Offers Insights on Courtroom Interviews of Children in Custody Cases

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 8:33am

A first-of-its-kind educational tool is now available to help Pennsylvania Family Court judges, lawyers and families reduce the anxiety caused by the courtroom interviews of children at the center of custody disputes.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section has produced a 73-minute video program, “Judicial Interview of the Child,” that will be distributed statewide to family court judges and posted on YouTube. The video is being premiered to PBA Family Law Section members on Friday morning, July 11, during the section’s summer conference in Cambridge, Maryland.

A video trailer that highlights the purpose of the program and includes partial interviews with some of the participating judges can be viewed here and found at this web address: http://youtu.be/Z7JaO_MTj9o. For a DVD of the full video program, contact PBA Communications Director Marcy Mallory at 1-800-932-0311, Ext. 2247, or PBA Communications Manager Jeff Gingerich at 1-800-932-0311, Ext. 2216.

"Given the enormous impact that courtroom interviews have on children, it is surprising that, to this point, there were no educational tools to guide all of the custody participants, including parents, lawyers and judges,” said Dan Clifford, chair of the PBA Family Law Section, who spearheaded the project.

"Imagine the anxiety of a child who has to enter a courtroom, walk past his or her parents and face a judge that the child has never met before,” said Clifford. “A major goal of the video program is to offer guidance to Family Court judges, often new to the bench, on how to put children at ease during courtroom interviews when important custody decisions are being made. It also demonstrates to parents what’s in store for their children during these interviews."

The video includes two mock interviews between judges and child actors. There also are interviews with the following judges, who have more than 100 years of combined judicial experience, who represent the leadership of Pennsylvania’s Family Courts and who are known for their skills in talking with children:

  • Senior Judge John L. Braxton, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas
  • President Judge Thomas J. Doerr, Butler County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Barry C. Dozor, Delaware County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Kim D. Eaton, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Holly J. Ford, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas
  • President Judge Thomas King Kistler, Centre County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Katherine B.L. Platt, Chester County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Kelly C. Wall, Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas

Carolyn Moran Zack, Chester County Court of Common Pleas’ Family Masters Unit appears in the video to provide some of the legal criteria involved in the interviews of children.

Ann M. Funge of Philadelphia served as director and Clifford served as producer of the project.

Mailed along with the videos will be written support materials, including findings of a survey completed more than 150 judges across the state. Family Law Section member Christina M. DeMatteo of Blue Bell compiled and analyzed the survey results.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section focuses on the development and practical working of laws related to marriage, divorce, non-support and domestic relations, as well as laws related to adoption and to juvenile delinquency.

 

PLI Launches Free Pro Bono Open Interactive Course: Effective Communication with the Legal Services Client - Aug 4-8

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:17am

The Practising Law Institute is launching its first Pro Bono Open Interactive Course, Effective Communication with the Legal Services Client, on August 4-8, 2014. The course will run for five days (varying between 10-45 minutes each day), from August 4-8, 2014. It is open to all, without cost, and blends traditional course materials with videos, discussion forums (to which you will be asked to contribute your observations) and other activities that can be viewed at any time of day or night.

The course will be held exclusively online from Monday through Friday. Participants are expected to participate each day but may attend each daily segment any time, day or night. This course will teach new attorneys and seasoned professionals how to work effectively and cooperatively with their pro bono client.

PLI's Open Interactive Courses are designed to encourage collaboration and meaningful discussions between participants and the instructor.

The program shows how to create an environment in which you can educate and empower your clients — and achieve the best possible outcomes in pro bono cases.

You will learn:

  • Techniques for getting to know your pro bono client
  • Strategies for establishing a trusting and productive relationship
  • Tips for effective communication with your client
  • Strategies for helping your client make informed legal choices

Effective Communication with the Legal Services Client will be of particular interest to attorneys assisting pro bono clients through representation or in clinical settings, firm pro bono coordinators and partners, corporate law department pro bono managers, law clinic students and faculty, and public interest and non-profit organization attorneys and staff. 

More Information and Registration

Newly Launched PA IOLTA Website Supports Pennsylvania’s Attorneys and Civil Legal Aid

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 7:37am

A website redesigned to better serve attorneys, financial institutions and others who support civil legal aid for the state’s poorest individuals and families has been launched by the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account, or IOLTA, Board.

Among other things, the new website (www.paiolta.org) highlights the “I Bank on Justice” Campaign — an initiative to recognize attorneys and firms that use a “Platinum Leader Bank,” or one that pays a 1 percent premium yield on IOLTA accounts.

Revenue on IOLTA accounts has dropped by 75 percent since 2007 when interest rates fell with the economic downturn. Platinum Leader Banks — and the law firms that bank with them — make a significant difference in the amount of funds available for IOLTA’s charitable purposes.

An attorney compliance section of the newly revamped website provides lawyers with instructions for opening an IOLTA account and applying for an exemption, and offers quick links to the rules and regulations governing those accounts. Attorneys may also browse the list of IOLTA grantees to find volunteer opportunities or donate to IOLTA’s Pro Bono Initiative Fund, which supports local efforts to coordinate pro bono activities. Financial Institutions serving attorneys’ IOLTA needs may quickly access interest rate certification forms and other bank resources.

The IOLTA board monitors more than 14,000 IOLTA accounts at more than 200 financial institutions approved by the Supreme Court to offer such accounts; processes more than 1,500 pro hac vice admission applications annually for out-of-state attorneys making appearances in Pennsylvania courts, and supports more than 35 legal aid providers, eight law school clinical programs and six local pro bono projects. The board also administers a loan repayment assistance program, which benefits attorneys employed by IOLTA-funded organizations.

The IOLTA board is a not-for-profit organization operating under the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that awards grants to legal services agencies, pro bono programs and law schools to support civil legal assistance for those without the financial means to retain counsel. Its sources of revenue include the collection of interest earned on IOLTA accounts and a portion of fees on court filings and attorney registrations.

Clients and others frequently transfer moneys to attorneys to hold. When the amount is large or if the funds will be held for extended periods of time, attorneys invest the funds for the benefit of the client. When the funds are small or expected to be held for a short time, however, they cannot practically be invested. Pennsylvania Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15 requires attorneys to deposit these smaller and short-term funds into interest-bearing IOLTA accounts. The attorneys’ banks transfer the interest earned on these accounts to the IOLTA board.

Every state, along with the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, operates an IOLTA program.

 

22nd Annual ACBA Golf Tournament Online Auction - Bidding Now Open!

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:28am

In conjunction with the 22nd Allegheny County Bar Association Golf Tournament that is being held on July 18 at the Longue Vue Club, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation is auctioning off a number of fun and unique items to raise funds for the ACBF and Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

Help raise funds for pro bono legal services by participating in this online auction. Funds raised by the auction will benefit the pro bono programs of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation and Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

These programs provide crucial legal services to low-income individuals and families facing legal issues ranging from housing to domestic abuse. Your support will make a difference in the lives of so many in our community!

Some of the Top Items up for bid include:

  •     Omni William Penn Hotel & The Carlton - Pure Luxury
  •     Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa
  •     Fairmont Pittsburgh - Stay in Luxury
  •     Bose® - SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth Speaker
  •     Basket of Good Spirits! 3 Bourbons, 1 Whiskey
  •     Two Extraordinary Wines plus Wine Accessories
  •     BEER! Hop Farms Brewing Co. & Penn Brewery Gift Certificates
  •     GoPro - Hero3+ Silver Edition Camera + SkanDisk 32GB Card
  •     Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel - Overnight Plus Two for Breakfast
  •     Shadyside Inn - One Free Night

Visit the Auction website to bid on one of these items or to view all 42 items that are available.

The auction ends on July 16, 2014 at  3:00 pm Eastern, so DON'T DELAY!

22nd Annual ACBA Golf Tournament Online Auction website

Nominations Sought for 2014 ACBA Pro Bono Achievement Awards

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 11:44am

The Allegheny County Bar Foundation and the Public Service Committee are currently accepting nominations for the 2014 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 17th Annual Fellows Reception on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the LeMont in Pittsburgh. The award winners and the nominators will receive complimentary tickets to the event, which will feature guest speaker Detective Deirdri Fishel, a court-recognized expert on domestic violence. 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 20-24, 2014.

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 disadvantage through her work at Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

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.

CLICK HERE to see a list of past award winners.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 25, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

Online Nomination Form

NLADA Announces 2014 Beacon of Justice Award Winners

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 1:44pm

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) has announced the 2014 Beacon of Justice Award winners. The exceptional law firms listed below have all devoted significant time and resources to creating and implementing innovative strategies to improve life outcomes for low income individuals.

Each winner has been carefully selected by criteria assessing increased access to representation through the utilization of groundbreaking and original ideas, tools, and technology to create new delivery models and initiatives. These outstanding law firms are advancing policies and practices that provide pathways to justice and opportunity, while also enhancing the representation provided to clients.

A small sample of these successes includes the resourceful use of online services in remote areas to provide legal aid or connect with pro bono attorneys; the investment of time and services in pro bono legal clinics for families, non-profits and small businesses in impoverished communities; and the dedication of tens of thousands of pro bono hours to ensure that individuals have access to competent counsel and fair treatment under the law.

The critical value of this work was articulated by one award winner, who stated, “hope” is transformative and “access to justice is vital to the rule of law, a premise that is of the utmost importance to the legal profession in our society.”

The full list of 2014 Beacon of Justice winners is as follows:

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
  • Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
  • Callister Nebeker & McCullough
  • Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway
  • Dechert LLP
  • DLA Piper
  • Fenwick & West LLP
  • Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Kaye Scholer LLP
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Locke Lord LLP
  • Lowenstein Sandler LLP
  • Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
  • O'Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Polsinelli
  • Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Robins, Kaplan, Miller, Ciresi L.L.P.
  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
  • Stinson Leonard Street LLP
  • Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
  • Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

The Beacon of Justice Award winners will be formally honored at the NLADA Exemplar Award Dinner on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. 

The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Exemplar Award to Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck & Co. Inc., and the Kutak-Dodds prizes to Ellen Katz, litigation/executive director at the William E. Morris Institute for Justice and Edward Ungvarsky, capital defender at the Office of the Capital Defender for Northern Virginia.  For ticket and sponsorship information, please visit www.nladaexemplardinner.org
 

Founded in 1911, NLADA is America's oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to ensuring excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. For 100 years, NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of many of the first public defense systems in the country, creation of the concept of a national center to protect the right to counsel, development of nationally applicable standards for legal representation, and groundbreaking legal legislation. NLADA serves as the collective voice for our country's civil legal aid and public defender services and provides advocacy, training, and technical assistance. For more information, visit www.nlada.org.

LSC Seeking Applications for Pro Bono Innovations Fund

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 9:49am

Legal Services CorporationThe Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has released the 2014 Notice of Funds Availability for LSC’s new $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, and is currently seeking applications from LSC grantees to support the development of new and more robust pro bono efforts and partnerships that effectively serve more low-income people. 

In March 2011, LSC’s Board of Directors formed a Pro Bono Task Force to identify how to engage pro bono lawyers and other volunteers to leverage LSC’s federal funding and increase the resources available to serve low-income people. The Task Force issued a comprehensive report with recommendations urging the creation of a new Innovation Fund.

On January 17, 2014, the President signed P.L. 113-76, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which included $2.5 million for LSC to establish a new competitive grant called the Pro Bono Innovation Fund to encourage innovation and replication of effective practices in pro bono legal service delivery.

To guide interested organizations through the Pro Bono Innovation Fund application process, LSC will be conducting free webinars to provide information on the process. Click on one of the following dates to register for the webinar.

More Information from LSC

IRS Accepting Applications for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grants

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 9:43am

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the opening of the 2015 Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) grant application process.

The LITC grant program is a federal program administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS, led by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. The LITC program awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand or maintain a low income taxpayer clinic. The LITC program funds organizations to represent, advocate, and educate low income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS (i.e., a “controversy clinic”) and taxpayers who speak English as a second language (an “ESL clinic”). Although LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS, LITCs, their employees and their volunteers operate independently from the IRS. Examples of qualifying organizations include:

  • Clinical programs at accredited law, business or accounting schools whose students represent low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS; and
  • Organizations exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(a) that represent low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS or refer those taxpayers to qualified representatives, or that provide outreach and education for ESL taxpayers.

The IRS welcomes all applications and will ensure that each application receives full consideration. The IRS is particularly interested in receiving applications from organizations that will operate in areas that are currently underserved.

Currently underserved areas are as follows:

States and Territories

  • Alabama,
  • Alaska,
  • Georgia,
  • Kansas,
  • Mississippi,
  • North Dakota,
  • South Dakota,
  • Puerto Rico

Metropolitan Areas

  • Los Angeles, Calif., including the following counties: Los Angeles, Kern, Riverside, Ventura
  • Sacramento, Calif., including the following counties: El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus
  • Northern Virginia, including the following counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William

Copies of the 2015 Grant Application Package and Guidelines, IRS Publication 3319, can be downloaded from IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

The IRS is authorized to award a multi-year grant not to exceed three years. For a new clinic or a clinic applying for the first year of a three-year grant, the clinic must submit the application electronically at www.grants.gov. For an existing clinic requesting funding for the second or third year of a multi-year grant, the clinic must submit the application electronically at www.grantsolutions.gov. All applicants must use the funding number of TREAS-GRANTS-052015-001 and applications must be submitted electronically by June 20, 2014.

Questions about the LITC Program or grant application process can be addressed to the LITC Program Office at 202-317-4700 (not a toll-free call) or by email at LITCProgramOffice@irs.gov.

More information about LITCs and the work they do to represent, educate, and advocate on behalf of low income taxpayers and a listing of 2014 funded programs is available in IRS Publication 5066, the LITC Program Report.

Statewide Coalition Report Details Growing Crisis In Meeting Critical Legal Needs Of Low-Income Pennsylvanians

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 1:51pm

Coalition Urges Creation of New Commission

A report released by the Pennsylvania Civil Legal Justice Coalition on May 6, 2014 concludes that the staggering number of unrepresented low-income litigants in civil legal matters adversely impacts the quality of justice for all parties in Pennsylvania courts, negatively impacts the courts’ administration of justice and undermines the rule of law.

The report, which was released at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recommends the creation of a first-ever Access to Justice Commission to serve as a vehicle for studying and implementing measures to expand access to justice in the state.

In Toward Equal Justice for All: Report of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition, the 30-member coalition documents evidence presented at three statewide hearings held in 2013 by the Senate Judiciary Committee to explore the state of access to justice in Pennsylvania.

The report shows that access to civil legal services in basic human needs cases provides significant economic and social benefits for litigants and their communities. It also showed that the unmet need for civil legal assistance is profoundly impacting vulnerable Pennsylvanians and costing taxpayers millions of dollars by increasing homelessness, failing to prevent domestic violence and increasing poverty. It cites one recent study that found that for every dollar spent on legal aid in Pennsylvania, there is an $11 return to the state and its residents.

“Equal access to legal representation is one of the most critical justice issues we face today,” said Senator Stewart Greenleaf.  “I am pleased to see the legal community come together to offer their insights and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee.”

Demand has surged for civil legal representation on behalf of the poor, whose ranks have swelled following one of the worst recessions in the nation’s history. Those needs have been largely unmet due to a “perfect storm” of sustained and severe cuts in federal and state funding and a tight private fund-raising environment that has resulted in layoffs of legal aid staff and office closings. The gulf between client need and availability of legal help has been termed “the civil justice gap.” State and national studies estimate that 80 percent of critical legal needs of low-income people go unmet due to insufficient funding and support.

At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, people with serious legal problems shared their personal stories of struggle:

  • A veteran, after a lifetime of employment, became unable to work after collapsing from a heart condition. Without income he fell behind on his mortgage payments and was served by the sheriff with foreclosure papers on the small trailer he called home. He did not have the information or skills needed to obtain disability benefits that could have helped with the mortgage payments or to stop the foreclosure.
     
  • A woman, subject to vicious abuse at home, appeared in court on her own, trying to obtain a protection from abuse order against her child’s father. She did not know to bring witnesses or that she could subpoena people to testify about the abuse, and her plea was rejected.

In each case, it was only after assistance from lawyers that these individuals were able to achieve positive outcomes for themselves and their families. 

To address the growing crisis and gap between client need and the availability of legal help, the coalition’s report recommends that:

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court establish an Access to Justice Commission to serve as a vehicle for studying and implementing measures to expand access to justice, including proposing and promoting strategies to adequately increase levels of public, private and volunteer resources and funding for civil legal aid providers in Pennsylvania. Thirty-two states currently have such commissions.
     
  • Pennsylvania’s legislature annually appropriates an additional $50 million for civil legal services to adequately address the immediate crisis in access to justice.
     
  • Pennsylvania work toward establishing a right to counsel in civil legal matters in which fundamental human needs are at stake.

The Pennsylvania Civil Legal Justice Coalition is a statewide coalition of leaders from the Philadelphia, Allegheny County, Dauphin County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations; representatives of the public interest community; and other key stakeholders who work to explore and implement strategies to improve access to justice for low-income Pennsylvanians.  Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille is the coalition’s honorary chair.

A copy of the coalition’s report, video and audio recordings, complete witness lists and copies of the testimony presented at the statewide hearings are available at the Civil Gideon Corner page of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s website at www.philadelphiabar.org/page/CivilGideon and on the website of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.

  CONTACT:

PA Civil Legal Justice Coalition Co-Chairs:

  • Jennifer R. Clarke, cell 215-870-3797; office: 267-546-1302; email: jclarke@pilcop.org
  • James W. Creenan, cell: 412-310-7669 
  • Samuel W. Milkes, cell 717-805-1805; office: 717-236-9486 Ext. 208 or 800-322-7572 Ext. 208; email: smilkes@palegalaid.net

Butler County ‘Credit Crunch Collaborative’ to be Honored with 2014 Louis J. Goffman Award

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 8:43am

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will present its 2014 Louis J. Goffman Award to volunteers of the Butler County Consumer Credit/Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, also known as the Credit Crunch Collaborative.

The award will be presented May 15 during the Pennsylvania Bar Association Annual Meeting awards luncheon at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey. Accepting the award will be Butler County Court of Common Pleas Judge Marilyn Horan, who has overseen development and implementation of the program.

The Goffman Award is named for a late Pennsylvania Bar Association president and recognizes individuals and organizations committed to pro bono support and service.

Since 2010, defendants involved in the program are offered free education seminars, credit counseling, legal counsel, communications with lenders and guidance to apply for appropriate loan modifications and work-out arrangements to prevent foreclosure and consumer credit judgments. Many of the defendants in mortgage foreclosure cases have lost jobs, experienced reductions in income or suffered major life events that have interrupted their ability to meet their financial obligations. Last year alone, more than 60 Butler County residents avoided losing their homes to foreclosure thanks to modification of loans, refinancing, deferment or other steps.

The program is a collaborative effort that includes volunteers from these agencies and organizations: Butler County Bar Association, Butler County Community College, Center for Community Resources, Housing Authority of Butler County, Neighborhood Legal Services Association and United Way of Butler County.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, improves the public's understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strives to ensure that citizens, particularly Pennsylvania's most vulnerable, have full access to our legal system. The foundation accomplishes its mission by making grants, seeking financial support from individuals and organizations both within and outside of the legal community, and encouraging bar members to donate their time, talent and expertise in service to the public.

Butler County ‘Credit Crunch Collaborative’ to be Honored with 2014 Louis J. Goffman Award

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 8:43am

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will present its 2014 Louis J. Goffman Award to volunteers of the Butler County Consumer Credit/Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, also known as the Credit Crunch Collaborative.

The award will be presented May 15 during the Pennsylvania Bar Association Annual Meeting awards luncheon at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey. Accepting the award will be Butler County Court of Common Pleas Judge Marilyn Horan, who has overseen development and implementation of the program.

The Goffman Award is named for a late Pennsylvania Bar Association president and recognizes individuals and organizations committed to pro bono support and service.

Since 2010, defendants involved in the program are offered free education seminars, credit counseling, legal counsel, communications with lenders and guidance to apply for appropriate loan modifications and work-out arrangements to prevent foreclosure and consumer credit judgments. Many of the defendants in mortgage foreclosure cases have lost jobs, experienced reductions in income or suffered major life events that have interrupted their ability to meet their financial obligations. Last year alone, more than 60 Butler County residents avoided losing their homes to foreclosure thanks to modification of loans, refinancing, deferment or other steps.

The program is a collaborative effort that includes volunteers from these agencies and organizations: Butler County Bar Association, Butler County Community College, Center for Community Resources, Housing Authority of Butler County, Neighborhood Legal Services Association and United Way of Butler County.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, improves the public's understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strives to ensure that citizens, particularly Pennsylvania's most vulnerable, have full access to our legal system. The foundation accomplishes its mission by making grants, seeking financial support from individuals and organizations both within and outside of the legal community, and encouraging bar members to donate their time, talent and expertise in service to the public.

PA Bar Association Pro Bono Conference - May 13, 2014

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:25am

Pennsylvania Bar Association - Your Other PartnerThe Pennsylvania Bar Association’s annual Pro Bono Conference will be presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on May 13, 2014 from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm. The course will be live from Philadelphia (morning session) and Mechanicsburg (afternoon session) and simulcast to a number of sites around the state. It will also available at a later date in one hour blocks for video replay.

The annual Pro Bono Conference is the legal community’s foremost pro bono event and the only CLE seminar specifically tailored to the interests, needs, resources, and issues attorneys encounter when fulfilling their obligations to provide pro bono legal services. 

Join Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and public interest attorneys and advocates from around the Commonwealth as they lay the groundwork to enable you to best use your experience to contribute to those less fortunate.

Learn about:
  • From Senate Hearings to an Access to Justice Commission
  • The State of Pro Bono in Pennsylvania
  • Immigration Law Pro Bono for the Non-Immigration Lawyer
  • Don’t Shut Me Off: the PUC Utility Clinic
  • Pro Bono Week 2014: Serving Those Who Serve (ethics)
  • Job Readiness: Establishing a Statewide Pro Bono Expungement Program
Live Locations:
  • The CLE Conference Center
    Wanamaker Bldg (now Macy's), 10th Floor, Ste. 1010, Philadelphia, PA
     
  • PBI Conference Center
    5080 Ritter Road, Rossmoyne Exit, Rt. 15, Mechanicsburg, PA
     
Simulcast Locations:
  • Chester County Bar Association
    15 W. Gay Street, West Chester, PA
     
  • Clinton County Cooperative Extension
    Resource and Education Center, 47 Cooperation Lane, Mill Hall, PA
     
  • Lebanon County Bar Association
    242 South Eighth Street, Lebanon, PA
     
  • Lycoming Law Association
    25 West Third Street, Suite 601, Williamsport, PA
     
  • Monroe County Bar Center
    913 Main Street, Stroudsburg, PA
     
  • PBI Professional Development Conference Center
    Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Ave., 7th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA
     
  • Penn State University Fayette Campus
    112 Eberly Corporate Training Center, Rt. 119 N, Uniontown, PA
Cost:
  • Early Registration (Ends 3 business days before presentation): $169
  • Regular Registration: $194

Program Brochure

More Information and Registration