Pennsylvania Civil Law Practice
Join this practice area if you are a volunteer attorney, legal services advocate, law student or faculty member advising low income and disadvantaged clients. There are resources here to help you covering the broad spectrum of civil legal issues, including family law, facing low income residents of Pennsylvania. If you are already a member you can sign in by clicking the "Login" link to the left.
Welcome to the Pennsylvania Civil Law Practice Area
The Civil Law Practice area contains many resources designed to help advocates in their representation of needy clients.
To access or contribute resources, you must be an approved member of the community. To join the Civil Law Practice Area select Join this Area in the bar to the left.
You are eligible for membership in this area if you are a public interest attorney; a law school student or faculty member; or a private attorney actively engaged in pro bono work or willing to become actively involved in pro bono by accept a pro bono case within the next six months.
The Civil Law Practice Area contains:
- News - Items and alerts on issues of interest to advocates representing low-income individuals.
- Calendar - Listings of CLE Training Events and other events of interest. Events can be viewed by date, location or topic and members can add their own events to the calendar.
- Cases - Listing of cases where you can volunteer to help in representing individuals and families in need of legal assistance.
- Library - Resource materials to support you in your representation of clients in need of assistance. Resources include pleadings, briefs, legal reference materials, manuals and other training materials.
- Discussions - Groups you can join to participate in e-mail discussions about issues relating to the representation of clients needing assistance.
Nominations Sought for 2015 Louis J. Goffman Awards
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Louis J. Goffman Awards.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s 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 2015 Louis J. Goffman Awards will be presented in May during the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Annual Meeting scheduled for May 6 -8, 2015 at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center. Each recipient is presented with a commemorative plaque and a monetary contribution.
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.
The nomination deadline is April 1, 2015. No extension will be granted.
The Louis J. Goffman Awards Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will review the nominations and select two award recipients. The award recipients will be notified no later than May 1, 2015. All committee decisions are final and binding.
Additional information and the nomination form is available on the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation website.
Research Assistance Available for Pro Bono Work
Miller Center - Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Need help on a pro bono matter? The Miller Center for Public Interest Advocacy, at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, has a Pro Bono Program that provides pro bono student research assistance to public interest lawyers.
The pro bono program provides a wide spectrum of services to legal services attorneys, public defenders, public interest law firms, and private attorneys with pro bono cases. These services include:
- Organizational assistance including database and power point construction
- Case law and statutory research on specific, identified legal issues
- Analysis and research based on case specific fact patterns
- General investigation into ongoing / reoccurring legal questions
- Assignment of a student to an organization for a summer/semester for general assistance
You may request law student help from the Miller Center by:
- Sending an email to email@example.com;
- Submitting a request by completing the web form on their web site; or
- Sending a fax to 717-240-5126.
Law students cannot provide legal advice directly to clients.
All requests for student research assistance from attorneys, public interest organizations and pro bono programs will be forwarded to the Director of the Miller Center, Professor Gary S. Gildin, and the Law School's Public Interest Fellow Kate Cramer Lawrence.
The Miller Center will attempt to place the request with a law student who has expressed willingness to conduct pro bono research. The Center will endeavor to contact the requesting attorney or organization to confirm the student's acceptance of the research request within three business days of its submission.
Duquesne Law School
The Duquesne University School of Law's Pro Bono Program solicits projects from private attorneys providing pro bono services as well as legal services organizations and non-profits. Private attorneys, who are providing pro bono legal services to a client, can contact the Pro Bono Program with specific assignments for Duquesne law students.
The Pro Bono Program will then advertise these projects and make every effort to find a match for submitted projects. Examples of types of projects include: research, writing, client in-take, litigation preparation, investigation, and advocacy.
- The law student must engage in law-related activities; clerical work does not qualify.
- The law student must be supervised by a licensed attorney for all work.
- The law student may not receive monetary compensation or academic credit to qualify as pro bono service hours.
- The law related services must be provided to the client either for free or at a substantially reduced rate.
- The law-related services must be on behalf of: (a) person(s) with limited financial means; OR (b) person(s) with limited access to legal representation; OR (c) nonprofit, civic, community, religious, or governmental organizations.
Philadelphia Area Law Schools
Law Schools in the Philadelphia area are all participating in a program that provides law student volunteers to attorneys handling pro bono cases.
The Philadelphia Bar Association has profiles of the student volunteer programs on their website and online forms where pro bono attorneys can submit an application for student volunteer assistance.
Law schools participating in the program include Drexel University College of Law; Rutgers-Camden School of Law; Temple University Beasley School of Law; University of Pennsylvania School of Law; Villanova University School of Law; and Widener University School of Law.
Please visit the Philadelphia Bar Association website at the link below for more information and to apply for student volunteer assistance.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Legal Services to the Public Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
Pro Bono Center of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation
Philadelphia VIP Pro Bono Legal Services
Philadelphia Bar Association
Dauphin County Bar Association Pro Bono Program
Erie County Bar Association Legal Aid Volunteer Attorneys (LAVA) Program
Lackawanna Pro Bono, Inc. (Video Profile)
Pennsylvania IOLTA Board
- Outlook Training (Webinar), Mar 4
- Representing the Pro Bono Client: Effective Written Advocacy 2015 (Webcast), Mar 5
- All in the Family: the Basics of Divorce, Custody, and Support for Community Clinic Volunteers (Pittsburgh), Mar 6
- Wills for Heroes Clinic - Montgomery County, Mar 7
- Top 8 Things You Can Do to Get Yourself in Trouble with Technology (Webinar), Mar 10
- Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts New Volunteer Orientation and CLE, Mar 12
- Advanced Child Custody (Philadelphia), Mar 13
- View more
Looking for someplace to volunteer?
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KPMG, LexisNexis Offer Services, Training to PBN Members
Two of Pro Bono Net's corporate sponsors, KPMG and LexisNexis, are donating their time and expertise this fall to help pro bono and legal aid advocates.
KPMG Forensic is offering its services pro bono to law firm attorneys working on pro bono cases, as part of its internal efforts to increase employee volunteerism. Services available under the program include:
- Investigations - Investigation of suspected fraud, accounting irregularities and misconduct, including fraudulent financial reporting, misappropriation of assets and violations of laws, regulations and/or contracts.
- Forensic Technology Services - Digital evidence recovery and data analysis, document management of both paper and digital documents and litigation and electronic repository services.
- Dispute Advisory Services - Litigation assistance services including expert witness accountancy; expert determination; acting as arbitrator, adjudicator, independent expert; or providing law firm assistance.
- Forensic Accounting - Reviewing detailed accounting records (manually or through computer assisted techniques), performing bank reconciliations, tracing funds among accounts, and reviewing supporting financial documents.
KPMG can also bring in professionals from its tax practice if such expertise is needed.
Requests for volunteer services are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you'd like to request donated services for a pro bono case, please contact Pam Weisz at Pro Bono Net.
LexisNexis did a webinar on search engine marketing for Pro Bono Net members on Nov. 4, 2009.
LexisNexis had been assisting Pro Bono Net with search engine optimization for LawHelp.org and generously agreed to extend their expertise to legal aid organizations and law firms that partner with Pro Bono Net through the webinar.
Topics covered included: important dynamics of Search, how to make your site search engine friendly, search optimization best practices, and more.
The webinar was recorded and can be accessed by clicking here.
Contact Pam Weisz if you'd like more information about Pro Bono Net's corporate sponsorship program.