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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.


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:

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.

If you have any questions, please contact the Director, Professor Gary S. Gildin ( at (717) 240-5238 or Kate Cramer Lawrence ( at (717) 240-5210.

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.

Click here for more information on obtaining student assistance.

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.

Philadelphia Bar Association - Pro Bono Assistance


Participating Organizations:

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


Looking for someplace to volunteer?

Seach for the right organization in the

Pennsylvania Pro Bono
Opportunities Guide


Pennsylvania Bar Association Sign Language Interpreter/CART Fund Available to Assist in Representation of Disabled Clients

The Pennsylvania Bar Association has established the Sign Language Interpreter/CART Fund (the fund) to reimburse attorneys who pay for sign language and/or CART interpreters to communicate with clients or potential clients who are deaf or hard of hearing.

While the fund is open to all members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, it is intended primarily to benefit clients of small firms, solo practitioners, public interest firms and pro bono volunteers.

The fund will reimburse a member for up to $150 for sign language interpreter or CART fees per interpreter appointment, up to a maximum of two (2) appointments per quarter until the fund is exhausted.

To access the fund, a Pennsylvania Bar Association member shall pay the interpreter’s bill and mail or fax a copy of the bill to the Pennsylvania Bar Association with a signed copy of the certification to Louann Bell at:

Pennsylvania Bar Association
Legal Services to Persons with Disabilities Committee
P.O. Box 186
Harrisburg, Pa. 17018-0186
FAX: 717-238-7182

To determine if money remains in the fund or ask questions about the fund, please contact Louann Bell, staff liaison of the PBA Legal Services to Persons with Disabilities Committee at 800-932-0311, ext. 2276.

Click Here for more information.

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net

Celebrate Pro Bono 2015

National Pro Bono Celebration
October 25-31, 2015

Pennsylvania Events


JUST Stories
from Pennsylvania

Just Stories is a video quilt of public interest and pro bono advocates telling stories of justice that significantly impacted the lives of their clients as well as their own.


Need Legal Help or Information?


Legal Information for the Public in Pennsylvania

Click here for information on the Will for Heroes - Pennsylvania Program

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