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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

Nominations Sought for the ABA John H. Pickering Achievement Award

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 2:34pm

The American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division is accepting nominations for the 2018 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, an outstanding lawyer who was involved in a wide variety of pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly.

The award nominees shall have attained the age of 55 years; must be a lawyer or judge (not necessarily a member of the American Bar Association); shall have demonstrated throughout his or her career outstanding legal ability; shall have compiled a distinguished record of dedicated service to the profession and the community at large and made significant contributions to the furtherance of access to justice for all.

Nominations can be completed online, emailed, or  be submitted by regular mail. Online nominations can be completed by answering the questions on the nomination form and bu uploading the following documents:

  • Biography. This should be the nominee’s resume or biography, on a single typed page. (Required) 
  • Activities and Accomplishments: No more than three (3) typed pages, a description of the nominee’s activities and accomplishments that demonstrate how they relate to the high standards of achievement set by John H. Pickering. (Required)
  • Supporting materials. Additional materials relevant to the criteria for selection may be submitted, such as letters of support (limit 5), articles (limit 3), publications, awards, and recognitions received. (Optional)

?To submit a nomination by email or regular mail, please Download the Nomination Documents to be completes and submit them prior to the nomination deadline of February 28, 2018 to Kyle Harris, by email at or by mail at ABA Senior Lawyers Division, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654..

The deadline to submit nominations is February 28, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET.  The deadline will not be extended.

Nominees will receive an email notification of their nomination that includes the name(s) of the individual(s) who nominated them for the award.

More Information

Applications Sought for Equal Justice Works Regional Public Interest Awards

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:15pm

Equal Justice Works Students logoApplications are being accepted for the 2018 Equal Justice Works Regional Public Interest Awards. The Equal Justice Works Regional Public Interest Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through clinics, volunteer work, internships, extracurricular projects, and more.

The Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee presents the Regional Public Interest Awards annually to law students at member law schools in eight regions who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work. Recipients will be honored with a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $250. Student organizations are welcome to submit one application if desired.

Selection is based on:

  • commitment to public interest law;
  • impact of work performed;
  • new or expanded improvements on the traditional delivery of legal services;
  • long-term interest in becoming a nonprofit, government, or public interest attorney.

Applicants are asked to write a personal statement describing their commitment to public interest law and provide the name, job title, email address, and phone number of two references who are familiar with their public service work.

Personal statements should not exceed two pages and should focus on your contributions as a law student to helping disadvantaged communities, the impact your wok has had on your community, innovative ways you have improved upon the delivery of legal services, any law school projects you started, and your long-term interest in pursuing a public interest law career. 

The deadline to apply is March 12, 2018. Send questions to

Applications can be submitted at


Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity Announces New Leadership

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:54pm

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equality logoPhiladelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) announced today that Zane Johnson has been named Managing Attorney and that Carl (Tobey) Oxholm has been named interim Executive Director. These changes follow the appointment of PLSE’s founding Executive Director, Mike Lee, to the position of Legislative Director by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

“This change in leadership could not have come at a better time for PLSE,” said Ryan Hancock, Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. “While we are sad for PLSE that Mike Lee is leaving, we are truly excited by knowing there will be meaningful criminal justice reform under the leadership of the city’s new District Attorney. PLSE will do all that it can to support those efforts, and we are indeed fortunate to have such talented individuals already with PLSE to carry forward Mike’s many accomplishments without missing a beat.”

A graduate of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, Zane began his service with PLSE as one of thirty-three Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows nationwide. Working primarily on the Criminal Records Expungement Project, Zane has taught and supervised scores of volunteers as they performed intakes and prepared petitions for hundreds of PLSE clients. Last year alone, he personally represented more than 350 clients, filing over 1625 expungement petitions on their behalf, with a success rate of over 98%. He also helped launch a new partnership with the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals whose members will provide pro bono assistance, potentially allowing PLSE to double the reach of its expungement services. In addition to his work with PLSE, Zane works as a facilitator for Good Shepherd Mediation’s Juvenile Offender Diversion Program and sits on the board of the nonprofit organization, Art for Justice. As managing attorney, he will be responsible for supervising PLSE’s Criminal Record Expungement Project and Fair Employment Opportunities Project, and managing relationships with community partners.

Tobey Oxholm has been a fixture of Philadelphia’s public interest community for decades, having served as Chief Deputy City Solicitor and a Trustee of Community Legal Services for twenty years, and having co-founded three volunteer legal service organizations: Philadelphia VIP, the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project, and the Homeless Advocacy Project. He has received many awards for exemplary public service to underserved communities, including the American Bar Association’ Pro Bono Publico Award, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Bar Medal. He began his service with PLSE as a volunteer staff attorney in September 2016. As the interim Executive Director, he will serve as the chief admini-strative officer, lead the organization’s development efforts, and help launch the new Pardons Project.

ABOUT PLSE: Founded in 2010, PLSE provides free legal representation to lower income residents of Philadelphia whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their potential as productive, contributing citizens. The services include seeking expungements in criminal court and pardons from the Governor, educating elected and community leaders, and empowering under-resourced communities to seek a greater voice and needed legislative reforms. PLSE was twice recognized in 2017 as an exemplary non-profit, with both a 2018-19 Barra Award, and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s Goffman Award. For more information about PLSE, visit or contact

Rural Summer Legal Corps Accepting Applications for 2018

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 9:41am

The Rural Summer Legal Corps program connects public interest law students with civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities.

To prepare for the 2018 program, Equal Justice Works and Legal Services Corporation are actively recruiting students to fill 30 exciting positions nationwide. Selected participants will begin the summer with intensive training from poverty law experts on housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American, and family law.  After the training, the law students will return directly to their host site to continue their 8-10 week placement.

Selected candidates will work with a host organization in a rural location over the summer providing legal services to underserved and low-income individuals. Participants will develop valuable skills and gain hands-on training through direct involvement with results-driven community projects. Students will receive a $5,000 stipend for their service.


All applicants must:

  • Attend an accredited law school.
  • Complete their first or second year of law school by the start of their summer placement.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident (e.g., green card).
  • Pass a criminal background check. Applicants are not disqualified for most criminal records.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and access to adequate transportation during summer placement.

Participants will receive a $5,000 stipend for their service. Students have the option to apply for unlimited additional outside funding through their university or other sources.

Program Participant Expectations
  • Attend a three-day training seminar in Washington, D.C.
  • Complete 300 hours of service within an 8-10 week period
  • Comply with criminal background check process.
  • Complete all required program reporting and documentation.
Housing and Transportation

It is the participant’s responsibility to obtain housing and ensure adequate transportation throughout the summer placement. Legal Aid Providers will provide general information, however, it is not the responsibility of the legal aid provider (host organization) to provide direct housing or transportation assistance.

Application Deadline: February 11, 2018 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST Questions

If you have questions about Rural Summer Legal Corps, please review this website and our Frequently Asked Questions or send an email to

More Information 
Application Information

Applications Being Accepted for 2018 ATJ Tech Fellows Summer Cohort

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 4:18pm

ATJ Tech Fellows Program logoThe Access to Justice (ATJ) Tech Fellows program is a 10-week fully funded experiential learning program that places law students at legal services organization to develop innovative solutions that leverage technology, data, and design to expand access to legal services and improve our civil justice.

The ATJ Tech Fellows program provides law students a dynamic learning experience that merges cutting edge legal education with practical experience. Applications are now being accepted for approximately 21 summer internship opportunities for law students interested in public interest law and technology through the program.

At the intersection of access to justice and innovation, ATJ Tech Fellows will spend their summer working on innovative programs and initiatives aimed to improve our civil justice system. Fellows will gain practical experience on the varied use of technology in delivering legal services and other translational legal skills.

With a goal of increasing law students' understanding of the systemic barriers that prevent so many from receiving adequate legal services, and empowering these students with the knowledge and tools to transform our justice system, the experiential learning fellowship integrates virtual classroom learning with practical application.

The program is split into two parts:

  • Legal Access Innovation Curriculum:  A series of eight webinars training sessions over a two-day period designed to educate fellows on the changing landscape of the delivery of legal services. Covering topics ranging from Plain Language for Greater Legal Services Delivery, Online Document Assembly and Automation Tools, Mobile Technologies in Legal Services and much more.
  • 10-week Host Placement:  Fellows work with some of our nation's most dynamic legal services organizations on innovative projects and initiatives that leverage technology to improve the delivery of legal services for low-income Americans.

All fellows will receive:

  • A 10-week placement at one of our partner legal services organizations.
  • A full-time workload. (35-40hrs per week).
  • Designated on-site work space.
  • $4,000 stipend to cover expenses over the summer.
  • Training from our nation's leading legal experts in technology and access to justice issues.
  • A dedicated supervisor who can meet with and provide feedback to the Fellow
  • Opportunities to gain exposure to and skills legal services - or advocacy-related work
  • Opportunities to gain exposure to the organization’s priorities and build networks within the organization.
  • Access to mentors and support from our team
  • A hosted blog, where fellows journal their summer experience and complete a series of teaming exercises.

Great candidates are law students with a demonstrated passion for social justice who bring an entrepreneurial approach to recognizing needs, solving problems, anticipating issues, and developing solutions.

Deadline: February 9, 2018 at 8:00pm EST

Applications can be made using the Online Application Portal or you can Download the Application and submit the competed application package by email. More information on the Fellowship program is available at

Online Application

Download Application

Human Trafficking Discussion to Be Held on Feb. 28 in Carlisle

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 2:22pm

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession Public Service Committee and the Women's Law Caucus at Dickinson Law will be holding a panel discussion on human trafficking on February 28, 2018 starting at 6:30 p.m., at Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle. 

The event will include panelists David Freed, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Steve Turner, Victim Advocate and Trainer; and Lt. Linette G. Quinn, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop H, Carlisle Station Commander.

You can register to attend the panel discussion at


PLI Releases Free On-Demand CLE Course: Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2017

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:16pm

The Practising Law Institute has released a new on-demand training program entitled Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2017. As part of PLI’s commitment to public service and the pro bono activities of the legal community, there is no fee to attend this program.

Using a lively, interactive format, this program will examine everyday issues of ethics and professional responsibility in pro bono and public interest practice.

Within the context of pro bono representation, using “all-new” hypotheticals as the basis of discussion, this program will review issues concerning:

  • Who is the client?
  • Lawyers serving on nonprofit boards
  • Limited scope representation
  • Representing clients with diminished capacity
  • Lawyers working with non-lawyer professionals
  • Client fraud and attorney-client privilege
Lecture Topics [Total time 00:02:10]
  • Introduction* [00:05:09]
    Professor Bruce A. Green,
    Louis S. Sartori
  • Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation [01:57:27]
    Professor Bruce A. Green
    Louis S. Sartori
    Sidney Cherubin
    Jennifer L. Kroman,
    Randye Retkin
    Maurice Segall

The course has been approved for 2.0 Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Ethics credits. Approval of the credits for this course expires on December 15, 2018.

Attendance at this event is categorized as "distance learning" by the PA CLE Board. Under current rules, lawyers have the option of completing six (6) hours per compliance year of distance learning by participating in pre-approved, interactive, Internet or computer based CLE programs. More information on distance learning CLE credit.

More Information on the course is available at: