Bar Associations


Chief Justice Saylor Expresses Support for Serving the Civil Legal Needs of the Poor

Chief 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.

Chief Justice and PA Bar President Encourage Pennsylvania Lawyers to Support Access to Justice

PLAN, Inc. applauds Pennsylvania’s Chief Justice, Ronald Castille, for his public plea today to Pennsylvania’s lawyers, encouraging them to support civil legal aid programs by handling pro bono cases for those unable to afford legal representation and by making financial contributions to the legal aid programs that represent low income clients. We also applaud PBA President Forrest Myers for joining with the Chief Justice in making this plea.

The Chief Justice points out that today, only about one in ten low income individuals in need of civil legal aid are able to be represented through legal aid programs and through the pro bono efforts of Pennsylvania attorneys.

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

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee held a Public Hearing entitled, Civil Legal Representation of the Indigent: Have We Achieved Equal Access to Justice? on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 8E-B in the East Wing of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks) chaired the hearing.

The purpose of the public hearing was to explore and create awareness of the current state and scope of the unmet need for civil legal services by low-income Pennsylvanians confronting legal problems involving basic human needs.

Ensuring Access to Justice When It Really Counts: PBA President Thomas Wilkinson Jr. Weighs In

PBA Side BaarThe March-April issue of the Pennsylvania Lawyer magazine, a publication of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, features an insightful "Side Bar" by PBA President Thomas G. Wilkinson Jr. entitled, Ensuring Access to Justice When It Really Counts.

American Bar Association President Visits MidPenn Legal Services Commends Efforts of Legal Aid and Private Lawyers

On Wednesday, November 09, 2011, American Bar Association President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III visited the Harrisburg office of MidPenn Legal Services, the legal aid program providing vital legal services in the 18 county area of central Pennsylvania.

Judge John E. Jones III, Federal Judge of the Middle District of Pennsylvania also attended the meeting, with representatives of MidPenn, including its Executive Director, Rhodia Thomas, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Executive Director, Samuel Milkes, and the Executive Director of the Supreme Court’s Pa. IOLTA program, Al Azen. Jim DeAngelo participated as a member of the board of MidPenn and PLAN, Inc. as Chair of the Dauphin County Pro Bono Program, and as a Past President of the Dauphin County Bar Association. David Trevaskis, pro bono staff and the Pa. Bar Association, and Sandy Ballard, pro bono staff person for the Dauphin County Bar Association also attended. Representatives of the Administrative office of the Pennsylvania Courts, including, Tom Darr, Deputy Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, also attended.

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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Calls for Support for Legal Aid and Additional Public Service from Attorneys

Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille, in a letter dated January 7, 2011, has issued a call to the Commonwealth’s 70,000 attorneys to volunteer more of their time and money to help ensure Pennsylvanians with limited financial means receive needed civil legal representation.

Saying the Commonwealth is “dealing with a civil legal aid crisis,” the chief justice reminded Pennsylvania attorneys in the letter distributed through the cooperation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) of their professional obligation to support services to citizens of limited financial means — otherwise known as pro bono service.

ABA Delegates Back Right to Counsel in Civil Legal Proceedings

Below is an excerpt of the American Bar Association House of Delegates resolution urging legal representation in certain high-priority civil proceedings to persons unable to afford an attorney presented by Earl Johnson, member of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. ABA House of Delegates, Annual Meeting 2010 (August 10, 2010).


Philadelphia Bar Association Wins 2009 Harrison Tweed Award

The Philadelphia Bar Association, along with co-winner North Carolina Bar Association, will each receive a 2009 Harrison Tweed Award for achievement in preserving and increasing access to legal services for the poor. The award winning activities of each of these bar associations demonstrate the wide range of activities that bars engage in to promote access to justice. 

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

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.

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

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

Lawyers from 48 states came 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. 

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