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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor has directed a letter to all members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania thanking them for their financial support of legal aid, and joined with Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sara Austin in requesting that attorneys consider making an additional personal commitment through the provision of pro bono representation of the poor and through financial support of Pennsylvania's legal aid programs.
The application period for the PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Programs will open on September 1, 2016. Lawyers employed by the IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations providing free legal services to low-income Pennsylvanians have from September 1 through October 17 to apply for student loan repayment assistance from Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOLTA) Board and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.