Take Action Philly
Take Action Philly Organizers; Photo credit: Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Last Friday, more than 500 attorneys and community members gathered at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia for the first installment of Take Action Philly - a convening of the legal community to support vulnerable people in our city in the wake of changes to state and federal policies. It has been a pleasure to work with our fellow public interest law firms, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Bar Association to develop this convening. The first gathering focused on giving lawyers the tools to respond to the needs of immigrants and refugees. We are now planning future convenings. Special thanks to all that participated in the first event!

Learn More
Philly to Improve Special Ed Services during School Breaks

Covington lawyers
Covington attorneys receiving a special education training at the Law Center
School breaks, such as winter and summer recess, can be challenging for students with disabilities. Without continued support services, many may face regression. That's why federal law requires schools to provide eligible students with disabilities extended school year (ESY) services during school breaks. By law, those services must be tailored to the individual needs of each student. However, during the summer of 2013, parents experienced that 
the School District of Philadelphia only offered ESY services through "one-size-fits-all" programming. This left some students without the right type of services or the appropriate amount or duration of services. Together with pro bono counsel from Covington & Burling LLP, we helped a group of parents bring a lawsuit challenging such one-size-fits-all programming as a violation of the law. On January 31,  we reached a settlement agreement with the School District of Philadelphia in which the District agreed to provide individualized ESY services. The District also agreed to provide the Law Center with data over a period of three years so that we may continue to monitor the District's provision of ESY services to ensure that those services are provided based on the individual needs of the students and not the convenience of the calendar.

Learn More
Join our team: Environmental & Food Justice Lawyer Position

Apply Now
We are seeking applications for an experienced staff attorney to lead our environmental and food justice project. The attorney will provide legal representation, policy and strategic guidance to community clients, and engage in advocacy, community organizing and coalition-building around environmental and food justice issues. For a full job description and to learn how to apply, please head to our website

Learn More

Take Action on PA Senate Bill 10

State capitol
SB10 was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature. It is a bill that seeks to compel Pennsylvania communities to use local resources to further the federal government's immigration goals. If those communities do not comply, they would be threatened with a cut to their state funding. SB10 is a misguided law and it may be unconstitutional. It would also turn on its head Pennsylvania's storied history, from as far back as its resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act, as a leader in guarding against the use of state law enforcement resources for the federal government's illegitimate purposes. Head to our website to learn more about the bill and how to contact your legislators. 

Learn More

Attend our Briefings on Education Funding in Pennsylvania

Amid a contentious confirmation battle in Washington D.C., public education has been front and center in national news. But what is happening at home is just as--if not more--important. 
Join Jennifer Clarke, Michael Churchill and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg for one of two briefings on the nuts and bolts of how public education funding works in Pennsylvania and how current proposals and developments could affect students and teachers. (The content of both briefings will be identical.) 1.5 CLE credits are available to PA licensed attorneys. Refreshments will be served at both presentations.

March 8, 8:30-10 a.m.:  Click here to register

March 15, 5:30-7 p.m.:  Click here to register
Board Member of the Month: Abbi Cohen

Abbi Cohen
Congratulations to our February board member of the month, Abbi Cohen! A partner at Dechert LLP, Abbi has been a member of the board since 2014. She is co-chair of the Personnel Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee. About being on the board, she said, "O nly since I became a board member have I been able to truly appreciate the broad reach and profound impact of the organization on so many members of our community. I am grateful for the opportunity to witness first-hand the tremendous talent and commitment of the Law Center's director and staff." Congratulate Abbi by liking her post on our Facebook page.
Learn More

Pro Bono Spotlight: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP

Stewart Wallace and Gregory Wallance are attorneys at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholler LLP. They provided tremendous support in drafting two amicus briefs in a special education case before the U.S. Supreme CourtAt stake in this case is the standard under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for measuring whether a school has provided a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This is the first time since 1982 that the Court  will directly explore what level of educational benefit must be provided to students with disabilities under the IDEA. Of working on this case, the attorneys said, "We are honored to partner with the Public Interest Law Center in their tireless commitment to furthering civil rights through cutting-edge legal advocacy...Our intensive collaboration with the Public Interest Law Center and our clients, disability rights organizations, harnessed a compelling mix of social science research, legislative history and civil rights jurisprudence into a powerful legal argument that federal education law entitles students with disabilities to educational opportunities substantially equal to those of their non-disabled peers. This truly team effort was incredibly rewarding for all involved."

Learn More