View the Pennsylvania Pro Bono Calendar of Events

View the Pennsylvania Pro Bono Opportunities Guide to search for volunteer opportunities

* * * *
 The following is a collection of articles on Pro Bono issues as published in The Legal Intelligencer.
 

Accepting Nominations for Pro Bono ‘Unsung Heroes’
The Legal Intelligencer Blog
January 24, 2012
As you may know, we at The Legal Intelligencer are putting together our upcoming Pro Bono supplement. A big part of that is our “Unsung Heroes” section, in which we spotlight some of the great work being done by those who deserve some special recognition. We would like each firm to nominate either one person or one group of persons for work done in the last two years (Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011). Read More

Young Lawyers Grew from Deferrals; Law Firms Did, Too
The Legal Intelligencer
November 23, 2011
No law school graduate wants the beginning of a promised job to be deferred — but the experience of several graduates shows that maybe they should. Read More

A Season for Being Thankful and Finding Ways to Give Back
The Legal Intelligencer
November 16, 2011

Tis the season of thanks and giving. Let’s look at the latter first as there are many creative ways to give that don’t involve money, or much extra time for that matter. Read More

Celebrating Pro Bono Efforts in Philadelphia and Beyond
The Legal Intelligencer Blog
October 19, 2010

In Philadelphia, the Delivery of Legal Services Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Public Interest Section invites members of the Philadelphia legal community to participate in a range of pro bono recruitment events, legal clinics for low-income clients and continuing legal education programs from October 18-29 in honor of National Pro Bono Week. Full Text

 

The ‘Clinic in a Box’ Model: The Benefits of Finite and Manageable Pro Bono Clinics
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

While many attorneys envision pro bono matters in terms of lengthy litigation cases or assisting nonprofits with various legal matters such as organizational set-up, negotiating a lease and advising the board of directors, there are many matters that can be handled by all attorneys – at all experience levels. Full Text

 

Pro Bono Practice Groups: Confronting the Challenge to Deliver
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

We face many challenges in running a law firm pro bono practice. Bearing in mind that a central — if not the central — objective of law firm pro bono programs is the delivery of legal services to individuals and organizations that cannot afford counsel, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that we are using the resources of the firm wisely in meeting that goal — and providing pro bono services in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Full Text

Creating a Win-Win Situation: New J.D.s Need to Gain Experience, Pro Bono Clinics Need Volunteers
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

The economy may be down, but some opportunities are looking up. Full Text

The Lawyer Who Says ‘Yes’
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

Six single parents were on the verge of losing their homes. Five senior citizens’ benefits were cut. Four victims of domestic violence needed to secure custody of their children. Three students required amended birth certificates to register for college courses. Two community groups sought to incorporate to serve their neighborhoods. Full Text

Mentorship Program Facilitates Pro Bono Participation
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

In my experience, both as coordinator of my firm’s pro bono activities and in conversations with colleagues, nearly every attorney wants, in his heart, to take a pro bono case. Despite the lawyer jokes that abound depicting avarice in the profession, most of us welcome an opportunity to provide service to those who could not otherwise afford it. Full Text

Businesses Need Pro Bono (or Low-Bono) Help, Too!
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

Blogs and advertising abound with tips for would-be entrepreneurs about starting new businesses. Many warn that 90 percent of new businesses fail in the first one to five years and suggest ways to avoid being at the wrong end of that statistic. Others advertise how to incorporate without a lawyer. Full Text

Unsung Heroes
The Legal Intelligencer
May 25, 2010

We at The Legal Intelligencer know that there are many attorneys across Pennsylvania who dedicate themselves to helping their communities through pro bono service, but it seems that too often, these people do not get the thanks and recognition they deserve. In an effort to give those outstanding attorneys a chance to be honored for their efforts, we asked law firms, public interest groups and bar associations from across the commonwealth to tell us about them, these “unsung heroes.” Full Text

Innocence Project Aims to Set Right Wrongful Convictions
The Legal Intelligencer

March 22, 2010

Since 1992, over 500 wrongly convicted people have walked out of prison, fully exonerated for crimes they did not commit. Every one of those people was represented by an attorney, most likely affiliated with a dedicated innocence project. Full Text

Local Firms Lending Hand to Haiti Relief Efforts
The Legal Intelligencer
February 26, 2010

Haiti remains in a state of turmoil more than a month after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped the region apart. Though the daily news coverage has died down, relief efforts of area law firms continue through donations and pro bono efforts. Full Text

Reaching Across the Table to Provide Legal Services ‘Face to Face’
The Legal Intelligencer
February 22, 2010

“Meeting basic human needs to reduce suffering and empower lives.” That’s the mission of Face to Face Inc., a Pennsylvania nonprofit located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, which pursues the mission through its variety of programs for the poor, including a free legal center. Full Text

Americans by Choice: Naturalization Provides Pro Bono Opportunities
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2010

Few matters in immigration practice are more rewarding than assisting a client to stand before the immigration service or a federal judge and take the oath to become a new citizen of the United States. Becoming naturalized as a citizen of the United States represents the culmination of a multiyear journey to a full membership in our American community for these immigrants.. Full Text

Recession Doesn’t Halt Law Firms’ Pro Bono Efforts
The Legal Intelligencer
July 29, 2009

Despite a mixed bag in terms of where they fell in the rankings, Pennsylvania law firms showed an increased commitment to pro bono work in 2008, according to The American Lawyer’s annual pro bono report, which found the Am Law 200 firms performed more pro bono work last year than any time since the magazine started tracking the data. Full Text

Tax Benefits Associated With Pro Bono and Other Volunteer Activities
The Legal Intelligencer
March 3, 2009

With the tax filing deadline looming on the not-too-distant horizon, you’ve probably begun to compile your 2008 tax information or have at least thought about it. However, there is one potential deduction that lawyers often miss. Full Text

Above-and-Beyond Pro Bono Service Honored by the Bench
The Legal Intelligencer
January 29, 2009

When Charles “Chip” Junod opened the letter from the court, he thought he was being asked to serve on another committee. Full Text

The Practice Group Model for Pro Bono Work
The Legal Intelligencer

January 20, 2009

Many large law firms are organized into “practice groups,” the benefits of which include providing an infrastructure for training lawyers, staffing new matters and developing substantive areas of expertise. As firms’ involvement in and commitment to pro bono programs have increased, their pro bono practices have likewise grown to span many substantive practice areas. However, in contrast to the organizational structure for firms’ fee-generating work, pro bono programs have historically not been organized into substantive practice groups. Full Text

Small Expectations: Lessons in the Reality of Pro Bono Lawyering
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2009

When I introduce our new lawyers to pro bono work, I try to set appropriate expectations and to prepare lawyers for the particular challenges that frequently accompany the work. Most pro bono cases are not going to be made into “Hallmark Hall of Fame” television specials. Full Text

Enlarging the Traditional Definition of Pro Bono Service Commentary
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2009

When most of us think of pro bono work, the first thing that probably comes to mind is taking on a case free of charge, where the client can’t afford to pay for representation and the attorney feels strongly about the merits of the client’s position. As a former public interest attorney who represented victims and survivors of domestic violence without charge, I experienced the rewards of working pro bono-type cases while still getting paid. Full Text

High-Visibility Pro Bono Litigation: Finding the Right Balance
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2009

In recent widely reported comments to the Rochester, N.Y., chapter of the Federalist Society Lawyers Division, the Honorable Dennis G. Jacobs, Chief Judge of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, questioned whether high-visibility pro bono “impact” litigation undertaken by large law firms was actually in the public interest. Full Text

Increasing Pro Bono Work in a Recession – Are You Kidding?!
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2009

Let’s get this straight — the economy is in the tank, bankruptcies and layoffs are growing and lawyers’ jobs and incomes are affected just like everyone else. And you want me to give away my legal services? You must be nuts!” Full Text

There’s Life Among the Ruins: NLJ’s Pro Bono Awards Reveal Benefits of the Work
The Legal Intelligencer
January 20, 2009

Let the good times roll. That’s the counterintuitive conclusion we draw from our research for The National Law Journal’s annual Pro Bono Awards. Full Text
 

Assistance Dog Trainers Get Boost From Legal Community
The Legal Intelligencer
July 30, 2008

From individual lawyers, to major firms, to the District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia law has gone to the dogs — the trained service dogs of Canine Partners for Life.Full Story

Dechert’s Internal Challenge Helps Firm Outperform on Pro Bono Report
The Legal Intelligencer
July 08, 2008

Barton J. Winokur challenged the attorneys at Dechert to improve their pro bono numbers over the past two years, and it looks to have been an effective call to action. Full Story

First Judicial District’s Pro Bono Push Paying Off
The Legal Intelligencer
June 30, 2008


The First Judicial District’s efforts to nurture a culture of pro bono work has had its first big blossoming with the number of attorneys volunteering for the court’s residential mortgage foreclosure diversion pilot program. Full Story

Leckerman Honored for Asylum Case Work
The Legal Intelligencer
June 23, 2008

When Jason A. Leckerman was assigned a pro bono asylum case involving a deaf Guinean refugee, the young attorney had no idea what he was in for. Full Story

GC Steinmiller Keeps Focus on Pro Bono Work
The Legal Intelligencer
May 14, 2008

A day in the life of a general counsel can often be filled with daunting tasks — providing advice and counsel on legal and policy issues, anticipating and guarding against legal risks and acting as a compliance officer and sometimes even as a business adviser. Yet, despite the time constraints and pressures of the job, Heather Steinmiller, senior vice president and general counsel of Commerce Insurance Services, still manages to find the time to perform pro bono work, offering legal services to those who need it the most. Full Story

Prominent General Counsel Endorse Raising the Bar Campaign
The Legal Intelligencer
May 6, 2008

Six of Philadelphia’s most well-known general counsel are championing the Philadelphia Bar Association’s fundraising campaign in support of legal services by signing a letter sent to more than 30 of the city’s firms with a business clientele. Full Story

Improvement Project for Dependency Courts Moves Forward
The Legal Intelligencer
May 5, 2008

The 40-year-old goal of unifying Pennsylvania’s courts has moved forward with a court improvement project under Supreme Court Justice Max Baer’s authority to better the outcomes in the commonwealth’s dependency courts for abused and neglected children. Full Story

Philadelphia Public Interest Law Groups Merge Boards
The Legal Intelligencer
February 13, 2008


Public interest law groups Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Legal Assistance have similar missions to provide legal aid to indigent Philadelphians. Now, the two agencies will share 33 of the same board members. Full Story
 

Bar Foundation Plays Crucial Role in Public Interest Community
The Legal Intelligencer
February 7, 2008

More than five years ago, the trustees of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation asked us to participate in a focus group to look at the mission of the bar foundation. The foundation was asking its grantees to give real feedback about the role of the foundation and its continuing impact on the legal services community in Philadelphia. Full Story

 

Phila. Bar Association 2008 Volunteer Attorney Training Calendar
The Legal Intelligencer
February 7, 2008

A guardianship program will be held Feb. 8 at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, 1735 Market St., 51st floor. The event is sponsored by Philadelphia VIP and Legal Clinic for the Disabled. Full Story

ICE Immigration Detention on the Rise in Pa. and Beyond
The Legal Intelligencer
January 28, 2008

A convoy of three white buses cruises down Concord Road in York County, Pa., heading toward York County Prison. The buses have no overt signs of ownership. Their windows — covered so the world cannot see in nor the riders see out, protected by thick steel grating — suggest something out of the ordinary. Full Story

In Federal Court, Friends of Farmworkers Win Landscapers’ Case
The Legal Intelligencer
January 28, 2008

U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak largely granted a motion for summary judgment for seasonal landscaping workers in an early January order against the Brickman Group for transportation costs that took their wages below minimum wage. Full Story

Court Gives Out Pro Bono Publico Awards
The Legal Intelligencer
January 24, 2008

Attorney Mary Moran lived up to the award she received for her pro bono work. Full Story

Service at Top of Agenda for Bucks County Bar President
The Legal Intelligencer
January 22, 2008

Bucks County Bar Association President Adrian L. Meyer is looking forward to lending a helping hand in 2008. Full Story

Gitmo Counsel to Get Clifford Green Award
The Legal Intelligencer
January 17, 2008

Seventeen Philadelphia lawyers who represent detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba will receive the Clifford Scott Green Bill of Rights Award tonight for taking on the unpopular and often frustrating task of fighting for the rights of prisoners who have been held for years, often without any charges. Full Story

Court Appointed Special Advocates: A Voice for Kids in Court
The Legal Intelligencer
November 9, 2007

In Philadelphia, there are more than 5,800 children in foster care and another 8,500 children receiving in-home services. About 4,000 of these children are represented by private attorneys. Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources for these attorneys, thorough investigations of each child’s needs ? including attendance at planning meetings and the opportunity to meet the child prior to a court hearing ? often do not occur. Full Story

Dependency Court: A Bird’s-Eye View From a Solo Practitioner
The Legal Intelligencer
October 31, 2007

I am a dependency law attorney. Unlike a public defender, a staff attorney at Community Legal Services or a volunteer at the Support Center for Child Advocates, I am a solo practitioner. I work every weekday at 1801 Vine St. in Philadelphia. Full Story

Lawyering for Philadelphia’s Children in Need
The Legal Intelligencer
October 30, 2007

This is the second in a series of articles about representing children in the Dependency Branch of Family Court at 1801 Vine St. Last week, you read about the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s Child Advocacy Unit (CAU), the agency that represents the vast majority of children in Dependency Court. Each year the CAU represents more than 5,000 dependent children in cases that are court-involved due to allegations of abuse, neglect or other issue 5 concerning the safety or well being of the children. Full Story

The Child Advocacy Unit: The Importance of Representing Children
The Legal Intelligencer
October 26, 2007

The Defender Association of Philadelphia is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that was created in 1934 by a group of Philadelphia lawyers dedicated to the ideal of high-quality legal services for indigent criminal defendants. The Child Advocacy Unit (CAU), as a unit within the Defender Association, continues that ideal in the representation of abused, neglected, abandoned, mentally ill and mentally challenged children. Full Story

Helping Disadvantaged Clients Victimized By Bogus Debt Collection Claims
The Legal Intelligencer
October 22, 2007

A debt collector pursued an elderly woman with dementia to collect $3,900 charged to a credit card. The card was not hers. The debt collector told her son the charges were for, among other things, automobile tires, but the woman had never owned a car or had a driver’s license, and she had been legally incapacitated for five years. Nonetheless, the debt collector sued her three times on the same debt. Full Text

Dependency Court Provides an Opportunity to Help Children’s Lives
The Legal Intelligencer
September 12, 2007

If you ask three judges a question, you will get three answers – maybe more. The opinions expressed in this article are those of one judge only, and may not be consistent with the opinions of any other judges. It certainly does not constitute the official voice of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Full Story

Pro Bono Project Helps Seniors With a Taxing Problem
ALM
September 6, 2007

Lurking in the shadows of a mortgage industry disaster that has global stock markets skittering is what Manhattan elder law attorney Daniel G. Fish calls a critical “hidden issue,” one that has New York City officials and lawyers at Morgan Lewis & Bockius searching for strategies to help retirees hang on to homes they own free and clear – or so they may think. Full Story

Pro Bono Efforts Vary Widely in Pa.
The Legal Intelligencer
September 4, 2007

For the past eight years, the nation’s largest law firms have consistently increased the average number of pro bono hours they complete as well as the number of lawyers per firm with more than 20 hours of pro bono work a year, according to The Legal’s sister publication, The American Lawyer. Full Story

Law Firms Unite in Pro Bono Effort For Wounded Soldiers
ALM
June 22, 2007

Wounded soldiers who allege that the government is downplaying their injuries and cheating them out of benefits have some new legal ammunition: three major law firms offering free legal services. Full Story

Semi-Pro Bono: State’s Firms Have Some of Best & Worst Rankings
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2007

When The American Lawyer ranked AmLaw 200 firms by their pro bono performance, Pennsylvania firms had a presence in all the notable categories – some good, some not so good. Full Story

Child Advocacy: An Invaluable Experience
The Legal Intelligencer
July 9, 2006

The 3-year-old at first laughed as we played. Then, perhaps because it was time for a nap, he started to cry. His foster mother calmly lifted him from the floor and embraced him, soothing his cries and reassuring him. He rested his head on her shoulder and settled into the quiet and contentment that most sleepy children seek. Full Story