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NLADA to Honor Ford General Counsel Bradley Gayton With 2018 Exemplar Award

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:10am

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) will present Bradley Gayton, Group Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at Ford Motor Company, with its prestigious 2018 Exemplar Award. This award recognizes a corporate leader for outstanding commitment to advancing equal justice for low-income citizens. Gayton will be honored at the organization’s annual Exemplar Dinner on Wednesday, June 13, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

“Bradley’s work is helping to ensure that everyone, regardless of economic resources receive legal representation,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, NLADA president & CEO. “Bradley is a passionate voice for civil legal aid. His work has provided legal aid access to many low-income people in the U.S. and across the globe who would not be able to access such assistance otherwise.”

Reflecting on Ford Motor Company’s legacy as founder of NLADA’s Corporate Advisory Committee twenty-five years ago, Gayton said he was honored to receive this award on behalf of the men and women on Ford’s global legal team.

“We believe it is a tremendous privilege to practice law and that lawyers have an obligation to use our talents to help improve access to justice,” said Gayton. “I’m proud that NLADA and Ford’s storied pro bono program has not only endured, but also become a deep seated part of our culture.  We have expanded the program internationally and every lawyer at Ford has committed to provide 30 hours of pro bono work annually.”

Gayton’s service has not only impacted the national efforts, but has greatly enhanced the work of equal justice work in Michigan.

"What is remarkable about Bradley is that his support for legal services operates on both a system and an individual level,” said Bob Gillett, co-executive director of the Michigan Advocacy Program. “For more than a decade, I have watched Bradley personally handle immigration rights pro bono cases with great compassion and skill. In one case, Bradley helped a 12 year-old crime victim obtain a visa to legally stay in the United States. She has now become a U.S. citizen, completed her undergraduate degree and will begin medical school this year."

“Bradley Gayton is a proud and vocal advocate for legal services,” said Janet Welch, executive director at the State Bar of Michigan. “He regularly participates in the State Bar of Michigan's ABA Day trip. I am delighted that NLADA is recognizing Bradley and Ford Motor Company’s impact on equal justice with the 2018 Exemplar Award.”

“One of the most valuable qualities Bradley Gayton has demonstrated over the years is his leadership on access to justice issues on behalf of the legal aid community,” said William R. Knight, Jr., executive director of Lakeshore Legal Aid. “Through both his encouragement and example, he has instilled a culture of pro bono enthusiasm throughout Ford Motor Company’s legal department. Bradley and the Ford legal team are constantly lending a hand to help our clients and our cause.”

Gayton joins a distinguished list of former honorees, including Rick Cotton, NBC Universal (formerly); Michael Holston, Hewlett-Packard (formerly); Bruce Kuhlik, Merck & Co., Inc. (formerly); Louise Pentland, PayPal Holdings, Inc.; Teri Plummer McClure, UPS; John F. Schultz, Hewlett-Packard Company (formerly); Brad Smith, Microsoft; and Laura Stein, The Clorox Company.

More than 500 advocates for equal justice, including public interest lawyers, private attorneys and general counsel come together at this annual spring event to pay tribute to individuals and law firms making a critical impact on the lives of innumerable disadvantaged Americans.

“NLADA is grateful to have leaders like Bradley working alongside us to expand access to counsel for every person regardless of circumstances,” said Wallace.

For more information on Bradley Gayton, NLADA or the 2018 Exemplar Dinner, please visit

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approves Emeritus Status Allowing Retired Attorneys to Perform Pro Bono Services

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 7:54am

On May 9, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court entered an order adopting Rule 403 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement which provides that an attorney admitted in Pennsylvania who is registered as retired and who seeks to provide pro bono services can transfer to emeritus status and be authorized to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an eligible legal aid organization.

To obtain emeritus status, eligible attorneys must submit an Application for Emeritus Status to the Attorney Registration Office for review and approval, along with a registration fee of $35.00. After approval, an emeritus attorney is authorized solely to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an eligible legal aid organization and without charge or an expectation of fee by the attorney.

Under the rule, an “eligible legal aid organization” is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal services. Prior to the commencement of services, the emeritus attorney shall submit an Eligible Legal Aid Organization Form to the Secretary of the Board for approval. A separate form must be submitted by the emeritus attorney for each eligible legal aid organization for which the attorney expects to perform pro bono services.

An emeritus attorney who is registered to provide services under this rule may renew the status on an annual basis.

Rule 403 further provides that an emeritus attorney shall be subject to the annual CLE requirement. To address this issue the Supreme Court also issued an Order amending Rule 105 of the Pennsylvania Rule for Continuing Legal Education. The new Rule 105 states that lawyers with an Emeritus license shall complete an annual CLE requirement of eight (8) hours pursuant to the rules and regulations established by the CLE Board.

Both Orders relating to the new Emeritus Status provide that they shall be effective 30 days after they were entered on May 9, 2018.

Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement - Rule 403:        Order     Rule
Pennsylvania Rule for Continuing Legal Education - Rule 105:     Order     Rule


West Chester Attorney John McKenna to Be Recognized with 2018 Louis J. Goffman Award

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 8:29am

John McKenna, Esq.The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will present the 2018 Louis J. Goffman Award to John F. McKenna of MacElree Harvey Ltd. in West Chester on May 10 during the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in Hershey.

The Goffman Award is named for a late PBA president and recognizes individuals and organizations committed to outstanding pro bono service.

McKenna is being honored for his individual service to the poor and disadvantaged residents of West Chester, as well as his ability to bring others together to help make a difference in the lives of those in need of legal representation.

His dedication to pro bono work began while working as a psychiatric social worker for the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 1973 –1985. After graduating law school and moving to Chester County, McKenna became involved in the Chester County Bar Association and Legal Aid, joining the board of directors of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) three years into its existence.

At a time when LASP needed to strengthen its relationships and increase bar member participation, McKenna stepped forward to champion the organization and advocate for Chester County’s vulnerable and low-income residents. His impact on the local system of justice there is still evident today.

As a Chester County Bar Association leader and LASP board member, McKenna used his position, influence and own example to expand local legal access. Among his many accomplishments, he promoted pro bono volunteerism within the bar on behalf of LASP clients and is credited with increasing financial contributions to LASP.

In 2004, he created the Access to Justice Program, a then groundbreaking initiative to provide free legal assistance to those in need in the areas of family law, landlord tenant and estate planning, among others. With the help of the LASP Intake Unit, Chester County Bar Association and pro bono attorneys, the program has assisted hundreds of Chester County residents who didn’t qualify for LASP assistance. 

In 2006, McKenna spearheaded a collaborative effort that brought together the county bench, court administration, private bar and LASP to pass an administrative regulation allowing for “limited scope entry of appearance and withdrawal.” The regulation permits those agreeing to provide pro bono representation to low income parties in family court to limit their services to those low-income clients for a limited purpose and over a limited timeframe. As a result, the number of attorneys willing to volunteer in custody cases has grown.

McKenna heads the Trust and Estate Litigation Group at MacElree Harvey, representing clients in estate and trust matters, complex guardianships, will contests, trust termination and modifications, corporate and real estate disputes, consumer protection and broker liability litigation. His practice also includes private mediation.

McKenna chairs the Chester County Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, a post he has held for more than 10 years. In addition, he is a member of Chester County Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Litigation, Business Law, Probate and Estates, and Elder Law sections.

He is past president of the Chester County Bar Association and Chester County Bar Foundation. McKenna is a former member of the PBA House of Delegates and a current member of its Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section. He also serves as a treasurer of Chester County Estate Planning Council, a member of the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council and a charter and master level member of John E. Stively American Inn of Court.

Active in the community, McKenna belongs to the DNB First Wealth Management Advisory Board, Chester County Art Association Advisory Board where he served as board president and the American Cancer Society. He is a former president of the West Goshen Lions Club.

McKenna is a graduate of Farleigh Dickinson University and Temple University School of Law.

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.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approves Pilot Program Allowing CLE Credit for Pro Bono Service

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 1:26pm

Recognizing the importance of pro bono service, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has approved the creation of a new continuing legal education (CLE) pilot program aimed at increasing support for civil legal aid for low-income Pennsylvanians.

The pilot program will allow licensed Pennsylvania lawyers to earn CLE credit for approved pro bono service in the community through certified legal service providers.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is committed to providing access to justice for all and has a long-standing history of support for providing civil legal aid for those with limited resources,” Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy said. “This pilot program furthers our commitment to legal aid while providing opportunities for licensed attorneys to fulfill their annual CLE requirements.

“I am grateful for the efforts of former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Alan Feldman and former chair of the CLE Board Robert Heim for their tireless advocacy on behalf of the pilot program.”

Developed in conjunction with the Continuing Legal Education Board, the three-year pilot program will allow registered Pennsylvania lawyers to receive one CLE credit for every five hours of pro bono legal work completed.

On an annual basis, registered Pennsylvania lawyers are required to earn 12 CLE credits, including two hours of ethics credit. Lawyers participating in the new pilot program can earn up to a maximum of three credits per year toward their annual requirement.

“This pilot will serve as a continuation of the CLE Board’s ongoing efforts to blend legal education initiatives with assistance for Pennsylvania’s legal service programs,” CLE Board Chair Anthony Aliano said. “The Board considers this a win-win situation for volunteer lawyers and legal service providers.”

The Supreme Court will work closely with the CLE Board and participating legal service providers on the mechanics of recording, reporting and tracking of CLE credits earned through this pilot.

Participation in the program by legal services providers is voluntary. Those seeking to participate in the program need to apply for Approved CLE Provider status from the CLE Board.

The Court anticipates the program to be available by early 2019.

The CLE Board is responsible for administering the rules pertaining to continuing education for attorneys. This responsibility includes monitoring each attorney’s compliance with the requirements, notifying attorneys of CLE status, and accrediting CLE providers and activities.

More information about the pilot program will soon be available on the CLE Board’s website:

ABA President Hilarie Bass testifies to need for greater legal aid funding

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:35am

American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass filed written testimony with the House of Representatives supporting increased funding for the Legal Services Corporation to close America’s “justice gap.”

LSC supports more than 800 legal aid offices across the country, serving every congressional district. Its current federal funding is $410 million. The ABA is asking Congress to restore funding to 2010 levels, which would be $482 million, after adjusting for inflation.

In her testimony, Bass cited the great unmet need for legal aid services nationwide. A 2017 analysis by the University of Chicago found that 86 percent of all civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans receive no legal help or inadequate legal help.

“The ABA has long been committed to the realization of Equal Justice Under Law in our country,” Bass wrote. LSC-funded legal aid offices try to fulfill the promise of equal justice by helping Americans who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers, including many older Americans, rural Americans, domestic violence survivors and natural-disaster victims, Bass wrote.

The Legal Services Corporation was created in 1974 under President Richard Nixon. The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia praised the Legal Services Corporation at its 40th anniversary in 2014, saying legal aid is crucial to maintaining the concept of equal justice. “This organization pursues the most fundamental of American ideals, and it pursues equal justice in those areas of life most important to the lives of our citizens,” Scalia said.

Full Text of Bass’ written testimony, submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

New comprehensive ABA report details lawyer involvement in providing pro bono services

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 12:23pm

April 26, 2018

Results from a comprehensive survey released by the American Bar Association show that 4 out of 5 attorneys believe that pro bono services are important although finding the time to provide free or low-cost legal services to the needy and charitable groups remains the biggest challenge for many.

The new study, Supporting Justice: A Report on the Pro Bono Work of America’s Lawyers, represents the fourth of a series — and first since 2013. The survey reached out to more than 50,000 attorneys in 24 states, seeking data in such areas as their interest, time spent and key influencing factors related to pro bono work to determine how the culture of volunteering manifests itself in the legal profession.

The survey asked lawyers about their pro bono activity during 2016 as well as their most recent pro bono experience, using a definition that tracked pro bono in Rule 6.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The survey then asked about motivations and attitudes as well as public service activity. Rule 6.1 defines pro bono as free legal service to the poor and organizations serving the poor and substantially reduced-fee work for such groups, as well as civil rights, civil liberties, public rights, charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations.

The results showed that 81 percent of attorneys believe that pro bono services are important and that most lawyers perform some type of pro bono work during their career. Just over half of the attorneys surveyed had provided some pro bono legal services in 2016, with a lack of time cited most often as the single most important challenge to pro bono participation. Just over half of the attorneys providing pro bono services did so on a limited scope basis, meaning their efforts were directed at specific tasks or services. Approximately 20 percent of surveyed attorneys reported that they had never provided pro bono legal services.

“The 2017 Justice Gap Report of the Legal Services Corporation found that 86 percent of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said. “Legal services programs, with their limited resources, are able to provide assistance in only half of the matters brought to them. So the justice gap is real. Private attorneys play a critical role in addressing these legal needs through pro bono legal services. This new ABA report helps to better understand pro bono in a comprehensive way and will allow us to develop more effective strategies to better meet the legal needs of the poor.”

The report will be discussed at the upcoming Equal Justice Conference in San Diego May 10-12. The conference is co-sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service, which issued the report along with an affiliate, the ABA Center for Pro Bono. The other co-sponsor of the San Diego conference is the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

“This is the most recent in a series of surveys to poll lawyers in every practice area, in every practice setting and of every age and experience level about their pro bono activity,” said George (Buck) T. Lewis, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service and a lawyer at Baker Donelson in Memphis, Tenn. “It is influential in informing strategies to encourage pro bono work and to develop new pro bono opportunities with the goal of increasing access to the legal system.”

Full Report

ABA Members Come to Capitol Hill to Convince Lawmakers to Fund Legal Services, Loan Forgiveness

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:02am

The American Bar Association will hold its annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession this week during its ABA Day 2018, April 11 and 12.

Lawyers from 48 states will come to Washington to speak to members of Congress and their staffs and inform them of the importance of funding Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which provides civil legal aid to nearly 1.7 million low-income people annually. These people desperately need help to navigate the legal process so they can get equal access to justice and yet far too many are turned away due to lack of resources. LSC serves the most vulnerable individuals and families in every congressional district. That includes children, seniors, veterans, victims of domestic violence and victims of disasters.

Efforts at ABA Day last year helped achieve a $385 million appropriation for LSC. This year, the goal is to convince Congress to restore funding to the inflation-adjusted Fiscal Year 2010 level of $482 million.

Lawyers also will be advocating for the preservation of the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). This program provides student loan forgiveness after 10 years of public service when applicants meet certain conditions. The ABA opposes efforts to repeal or end the program, such as in H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, and believes there should be some government incentive to help people who choose careers in public service.

The ABA will also present four members of Congress with its annual Congressional Justice Award on April 11 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to acknowledge their leadership on issues critically important to the legal profession and the ABA. 

This year’s awardees are: 

  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): The ABA honors Cornyn for his efforts to improve the American justice system, particularly for his leadership in securing funding for the Legal Services Corporation. He also is being honored for his commitment to ensuring access to justice for domestic violence and trafficking survivors and for his co-sponsorship of the Veterans Treatment Courts Improvement Act of 2017.
  • Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.): Feinstein is being honored for her support of LSC, her decades-long effort to enact sensible gun safety legislation and her commitment to ensuring that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have an opportunity to consider the ABA’s peer assessments of the professional qualifications of federal judicial nominees prior to their confirmation hearings.
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa. 8th); The ABA honors Fitzpatrick for his efforts to increase LSC funding  and his leadership in efforts to increase access to the civil justice system. Since joining Congress in 2016, he has been a staunch supporter of increased funding for LSC and has led the efforts to increase Republican support for it. In 2017, he joined with Rep. Steve Cohen (D, Tenn.) to sponsor the first-ever bipartisan amendment to increase LSC appropriations.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif. 12th): Pelosi has spent more than 30 years in the House of Representatives serving as a powerful voice for equal justice for all and championing issues of importance to the ABA including transgender rights, marriage equality, pay equity, and immigration reform. This past year, she has strongly advocated for a path to citizenship for the so-called “Dreamers,” undocumented persons who were brought to this country as children and have grown up here. She has also been a leader in opposing legislation that would restrict access to our civil justice system.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to legal questions and issues. Go to and follow us on Twitter @ABAFactCheck.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.


Chief Justice Saylor Supports and Encourages Pro Bono Efforts to Serve the Civil Legal Needs of the Poor

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 8:22am

Chief Justice Saylor's Letter to the BarChief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor has prepared a letter to all licensed attorneys in Pennsylvania expressing support for efforts to serve the civil legal needs of our poorest citizens.

He expressed a steadfast commitment by the Court to the mission of serving the legal needs of the poor and outlined some of the ways the the Pennsylvania Supreme Court supports civil legal. He also recognized the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network for providing the framework and structure for legal assistance for the poor. 

Chief Justice Saylor cited the contribution to this effort attorneys in Pennsylvania make through the IOLTA portion of their annual licensing fee, but cited the volunteer efforts of the bar for most greatly impacting those in need.

The Chief Justice closed the letter by stating:

"In my role as Chief Justice, I see the remarkable benefit provided by pro bono lawyers working to meet the civil legal aid needs of the community. These efforts reflect the model partnership promoted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association of local legal aid programs working with local Bars to facilitate private practice attorneys providing pro bono public service to those in need."

"Once again this year, I encourage you to make a personal commitment to provide pro bono service in whatever way you are able, whether through direct representation to the poor or financial support of our legal aid programs. "

"My sincere thanks to those who already contribute your time, your talents and your financial support to this most worthy endeavor."

Read Chief Justice Saylor's Letter


Chief Justice Saylor Expresses Supports and Encourages Pro Bono Efforts to Serve the Civil Legal Needs of the Poor

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 8:22am

Chief Justice Saylor's Letter to the BarChief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor has prepared a letter to all licensed attorneys in Pennsylvania expressing support for efforts to serve the civil legal needs of our poorest citizens.

He expressed a steadfast commitment by the Court to the mission of serving the legal needs of the poor and outlined some of the ways the the Pennsylvania Supreme Court supports civil legal. He also recognized the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network for providing the framework and structure for legal assistance for the poor. 

Chief Justice Saylor cited the contribution to this effort attorneys in Pennsylvania make through the IOLTA portion of their annual licensing fee, but cited the volunteer efforts of the bar for most greatly impacting those in need.

The Chief Justice closed the letter by stating:

"In my role as Chief Justice, I see the remarkable benefit provided by pro bono lawyers working to meet the civil legal aid needs of the community. These efforts reflect the model partnership promoted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association of local legal aid programs working with local Bars to facilitate private practice attorneys providing pro bono public service to those in need.

Once again this year, I encourage you to make a personal commitment to provide pro bono service in whatever way you are able, whether through direct representation to the poor or financial support of our legal aid programs. 

My sincere thanks to those who already contribute your time, your talents and your financial support to this most worthy endeavor."

Read Chief Justice Saylor's Letter


$10,000 Stipend Available for Summer 2018 Internship in Environmental, Energy Law

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 9:41am

The Environmental and Energy Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association is awarding one or more law students a $10,000 stipend to allow for a pro bono summer internship in the field of environmental and/or energy law ("EEL"). The selected law student recipient(s) will be awarded $10,000.00 (paid in three installments) starting with commencement of the internship in support of an unpaid, pro bono project of the student's choosing in the field of EEL performed during an 8-week period in the summer of 2018. First- or second-year law students or third-year night law students, who are residents of Pennsylvania or who indicate their intention to practice law in Pennsylvania, and who demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in the field of EEL, are eligible for consideration. 

The pro bono project proposed by an applicant for the internship must be supported by a not-for-profit public interest or charitable organization, educational institution, and/or a local, state or federal government agency that agrees to provide oversight and supervision of the student and an attorney mentor to assist the student in completion of a project in the field of EEL. Students applying must demonstrate that the organization or agency for which they are applying meets these criteria, that the organization or agency has an internship opportunity available, that the organization or agency will appropriately supervise the intern's work, and that the organization or agency would not otherwise provide a salary for the internship position.

In making its selection, the Section's Internship Committee may consider the following factors: academic achievement; the student's demonstration of interest in the field of EEL, as evidenced by his or her academic studies, work or volunteer experience and interests; commitment to working as an EEL lawyer in Pennsylvania; benefits of the proposed pro bono project to the candidate, organization, general public and field of EEL; and financial need.

The Internship Committee may also consider the following factors related to the proposed project: relationship of the organization's mission to the field of EEL; relationship of the proposed work to the mission of the organization; potential impact and longevity of the proposed work on the organization and/or its constituency.

The Internship Committee may also consider any other factors it determines are appropriate in making its selection. An interview may be required of finalists. 

Following completion of the internship, the student must prepare a 4-6 page report and evaluation of his or her internship experience. The report may be circulated to EELS section members and others. In addition, the student will be awarded a scholarships to attend the 2019 Environmental Law Forums presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and, at the discretion of the Section Chair, will give a brief (less than 5 minute)
presentation of his or her internship experience to the Section at the Annual Meeting and Dinner during the evening program of the 2019 Forum.

Applications are due on or before 5:00 pm on April 2, 2018.

More Information and Application Process

Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Offers Birdsall Impact Grants Program to County Bar Associations

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 9:30am

The Birdsall Impact Grant program offered by the Pennsylvania Bar Founcation seeks to assist county bar associations in the furtherance of a charitable, educational or pro bono program or project or the enhancement of an existing charitable, educational or pro bono program or project that succeeds in making an immediate impact on the way a county bar operates in service to its members, its court and its community.

If your county bar association is interested in applying for grants funds, please complete the Birdsall County Bar Impact Grant Application. The deadline for submission is April 2, 2018.

A five-person grant evaluation committee comprised of Foundation members appointed by the Foundation president and the Conference of County Bar Leaders Executive Committee will evaluate submissions and select a recipient(s) to share in a grant(s) totaling not more than $1,000. The successful applicant(s) will be notified in writing on or before May 1, 2018 and the grants will be awarded during the Annual Meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors and Members on May 10, 2018 in Hershey, PA in conjunction with the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

The program is open to all bar associations, with consideration given to those with limited means.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Executive Director E. Marie Queen at 888-238-3036 or

2018 Birdsall Grant Application

ABA Military Pro Bono Project – Winter 2018 Newsletter for Volunteer Attorneys

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:55pm


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ABA Military Pro Bono Project Pro Bono Attorney Newsletter

Winter 2018

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Volunteer Attorney Helps Domestic Violence Victim

An Air Force servicemember was brutally attacked by her husband. She was physically abused, sexually assaulted, and threatened with weapons. Her husband was arrested and she was desperate to end the marriage. Because she was stationed in Europe, she struggled to get started with a divorce pro se in her home state.

To seek help, she visited a military legal assistance office on her base, which referred her to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The program connected the Airman with an attorney in her home state who offered pro bono help. The volunteer attorney promptly prepared and filed a petition for divorce, and the husband was served in prison. After the divorce proceedings where complete, the Airman received what she desperately needed—a divorce from the man who abused her.


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


Award Recipients

ABA Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Services Awards

The Project's success depends on its volunteers. Thank you to all the attorneys and pro bono coordinators who have registered with the Project and have accepted pro bono cases on behalf of our servicemembers!

Special thanks to the recipients of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Services Award—from the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP)—for their extraordinary pro bono services through the Project. View the 2017 recipients.



Military Pro Bono Project: Pro Bono Representation 

The 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.

View pro bono case opportunities, which is updated daily. 
Operation Stand-By: Guidance to Military Attorneys

Through the Military Pro Bono Project’s Operation Stand-By, you may offer to be on "standby" to provide attorney-to-attorney guidance to military attorneys so they can further assist their servicemember clients. Join by logging onto our 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? Login to ensure that your profile information is up-to-date.



March 21 - San Diego 

ABA LAMP is hosting a FREE CLE in San Diego that focuses on a variety of military legal assistance issues. This program is designed for military attorneys working in legal assistance as well as civilian lawyers whose practices involve military-connected clients or issues. Click here for more information and to register.




Register by March 16, 2018.
Note: Attendees without a military ID must register by March 2.


News & Events

View the latest news and events about military and veterans issues and CLEs.



To help ensure that military families receive the legal help that they need, support us!

Special thanks to our current Star Ranking Supporters



The Military Pro Bono Project is managed by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP). 

Learn more about LAMP and its mission. 


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American Bar Association


Progress continues in ABA’s efforts to serve legal needs of veterans

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:21am

Last year, the ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative, begun in 2016 under then-ABA President Linda Klein, received funding to continue its works for another year. At the recently held Midyear Meeting in Vancouver the group reported on the progress it is making in a number of areas, including:

Legal clinics for veterans: Antonia Fasanelli, executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore, reported that the working group is preparing to start VA Medical Center legal clinics in the following states that do not yet have one: Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

In addition, the group continues to work on expanding law school clinical programs serving veterans so that there is at least one in every state.

Veterans Treatment Courts: Barry Hawkins, partner at Shipman & Goodwin in Stamford, Conn., reported that his group made a presentation to the program committee of the National Conference of Bar Presidents to have a workshop on Veterans Treatment Courts at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Aug. 2-7, to encourage state and metro bar leaders to include such courts as part of their presidential initiatives. Although receptive to the idea, Hawkins thinks the presentation will most likely be merged with other ideas for serving veterans.

Technology: Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine, reported on the progress of VetLex, a system that links veterans, veteran service organizations and qualified pro bono or low-bono attorneys nationwide. The pilot project is underway in Illinois, with future expansion into Houston and Pittsburgh and potentially in Detroit and/or North Carolina.
The Legal Check-Up for Veterans is up and running, but the group continues to refine the program.

Jason Vail, staff counsel at the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, said interested lawyers can sign up for both VetLex and the Veterans Claims Assistance Project (VCAN).
He also discussed the Military and Veterans Legal Center, a mobile-enabled, comprehensive page on the ABA website with links to all the ABA military and veterans programs, which is expected to be available in the coming months. 

Government affairs: Ken Goldsmith of the ABA Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., reported that the ABA signed a Memorandum of Agreement in November with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium that seeks to improve veterans’ access to pro bono legal assistance, including expansion of VA-hosted free legal clinics and medical-legal partnerships.

He also reported that the Senate will be holding a hearing on the Veterans Homeless Prevention Act, which is supported by all the major veterans’ groups.

Goldsmith also discussed the passage of “sweeping reforms” at the VA, which include movement to clear up the backlog of an estimated 400,000 claims.

Fundraising: Linda Klein continues to fundraise, with the goal of raising enough money to make the commission a permanent entity. She welcomes ideas for donor prospects and is happy to travel anywhere to meet with potential donors.

She tweets about the commission’s work using the hashtag #lawyershelpingveterans.

Nominations Sought for the 2018 Louis J Goffman Award

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 10:18am

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Louis J. Goffman Award.

The Louis J. Goffman Awards program seeks to recognize and honor an individual and an organization whose commitments to pro bono have enhanced the delivery of legal services to Pennsylvania’s poor or disadvantaged, making a critical difference in the lives of those in need of legal representation. The recipients’ donations of time, talent and expertise serve as a model to be emulated by other legal professionals and organizations and since 1989, the Louis J. Goffman Awards have recognized and rewarded these exceptional people and organizations.

The 2018 Louis J. Goffman Awards will be presented in May during the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Annual Meeting scheduled for May 9-11, 2018 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA. Each recipient is presented with a commemorative plaque and a monetary contribution.

Award Criteria

Any Pennsylvania-based individual or organization involved in the provision of volunteer legal services is eligible. This includes large and small firms, corporate law departments, government attorney offices, county bar associations, law schools and other legal services entities whose members, either collectively or individually, have demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following categories over the past year:

  • Dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor through a pro bono program;
  • Significant work towards the development of innovative approaches to the delivery of volunteer legal services
  • Active participation in a program/project that satisfied a previously unmet or under served legal need of a particular group of Pennsylvanians.
  • Successful litigation of a pro bono case(s) that enhanced the delivery of other services to the poor.
  • Successful pursuit of legislation that significantly enhanced the provision of legal services to the poor.
  • Consideration will also be given to the length or intensity of service and the effort in context to the size of the organization/group.
Selection Process

The nomination deadline is April 2, 2018. No extension will be granted. The Louis J. Goffman Awards Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will review the nominations and select the award recipient(s). The award recipients will be notified no later than May 1, 2018. All committee decisions are final and binding.

For more information on the Nomination Process for the Louis J. Goffman Award please visit the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation website at

Nominations Open for 2018 ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:01am

The American Bar Association  Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is seeking nominations for the 2018 Pro Bono Publico Awards.

The Pro Bono Publico Awards program seeks to identify and honor individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments and other institutions in the legal profession that 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.

Each year the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. The 2018 Awards will be presented during a luncheon at the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting on Saturday, August 4, 2018 in Chicago, IL.

Nominees for the Pro Bono Publico Awards must meet criteria set forth by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The Committee is currently accepting nominations from the following two categories:

  • Individuals: Individual attorneys who do not obtain their income delivering legal services to persons of limited means are eligible. (Compensated pro bono coordinators are not eligible.)
  • Organizations: Small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, law schools and other institutions in the legal profession whose members have collectively made an outstanding contribution toward one or more of the criteria are eligible.

International pro bono work is eligible for nomination, but domestic pro bono work is given priority by the Committee. No more than five awardees will be selected from those who have excelled consistent with the criteria set forth in the nomination application requirements.

Nominations will be accepted now through March 2, 2018.

Although many groups (e.g. bar associations, legal aid programs and volunteer lawyer projects) and individuals do not meet the criteria for the Pro Bono Publico Award they may be eligible for a number of other ABA awards.

For more information on the awards and nomination process please visit