Philadelphia Bar Association Unveils October 2017 Pro Bono Task Force Report

Philadelphia Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force Report coverThe Philadelphia Bar Association's Pro Bono Task Force has  unveiled its 15-year update to a report on the state of pro bono, that was issued in 2002 under Chancellor Allan H. Gordon's leadership.

Fifteen years later, in December 2016, Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross convened the present Task Force. Their charge was to examine the state of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia, to report on how far they had come in the intervening fifteen years, and to provide recommendations to encourage and expand pro bono work.

As in 2002, the Task Force was composed by the Chancellor to reflect the diversity of perspectives in the Philadelphia legal community. The 18 members of the Task Force included representatives from private practice (ranging from large firms to solo practitioners), public interest organizations, corporate legal departments, law schools and the judiciary.

The current report found while much progress has been made over the past fifteen years, there is still much to be done. The legal needs of those members of our community who cannot afford to pay for legal representation have only grown, and will continue to grow.

Moreover, an unforeseen widespread gap in legal assistance can develop rapidly from economic forces, shifts in governmental priorities or a natural disaster. Pro bono legal services are an essential part of addressing these needs.

It is hoped that this report will help identify measures that can be taken to encourage and expand pro bono work in the unending effort to better serve the needy, disadvantaged and disenfranchised in Philadelphia, and will help to foster conversations about how to improve access to justice.

The Full Report is available from the Philadelphia Bar Association at

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