Pennsylvanians Speak Out: School buildings
As we confront a global pandemic, the importance of safe school facilities has never been more apparent. Every child deserves to learn in a safe school building. But in Pennsylvania, that basic need depends on local wealth. In a new video, we spoke to Pennsylvania parents, students and teachers about how school underfunding affects them as soon as they walk in the door

Check out the video, and share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to spread the word. As our case challenging Pennsylvania's school funding system heads to trial, we will make it clear that the state legislature's failure to fully and fairly fund schools in every community is not an abstract unfairness. It affects the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of people in low-wealth communities in profound ways every single day.
Trial in our school funding case is now scheduled to begin November 12
Trial in our historic school funding lawsuit is now scheduled to start on Friday, November 12 in Harrisburg. Mark your calendars! 
On September 17th, Commonwealth Court Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer announced a 30-day extension of the previously scheduled trial date because of an unforeseen medical emergency for an attorney representing a legislative respondent in the case. We send our best wishes for good health and a full recovery.
We recognize that the start of trial in this historic case has been a moving target. But know that public school students’ day in court is coming, and we will work to ensure that it comes as soon as possible. For seven years, since our case was filed in 2014, our clients--school districts and parents from under-funded communities across the state--have persisted, as hundreds of thousands of students have been continuously denied the resources they need for a quality education. We will soon take on the General Assembly’s failure to live up to their constitutional duty to support strong public schools in every community, regardless of local wealth. Sign up at Fund Our Schools PA for the latest updates.
Join us October 21 for our Annual Celebration: The Promise of Equity and Justice
On October 21, join us for our annual gala as we celebrate all those who are helping to advance equity and justice in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. We're excited to see you! Our celebration will be held at Vie on Broad Street, and the program will be broadcast live on Facebook.

This year, we will be honoring our former Executive Director Jennifer Clarke with our Thaddeus Stevens Award. From 2006 to early 2021, Jennifer lead the Law Center through 15 years of landmark litigation achievements, expansion and increased diversity of our board and staff, and enhanced financial and organizational stability. “Her leadership of the Law Center has led to long-lasting victories for renters seeking safe housing, voters seeking a free and equal voice, families seeking quality healthcare for their children, and so many others," Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym wrote in a 2021 City Council Resolution. "The City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are fortunate to have her as a champion.”

For tickets, sponsorships or more information, please contact Michael Berton at or 267-546-1303. The deadline for sponsorships is Tuesday, October 5!

When: Thursday, October 21, 2021, 6-9 p.m.

Where: Vie, 600 North Broad Street, Philadelphia PA

Cocktail Reception—Auction—Program—Thaddeus Stevens Awards—Festivities

COVID-19 Safety information: To ensure the safety of all guests we will follow all City of Philadelphia, state, or CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings. Guests will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order attend our event, and will be required to wear masks at all times when not eating or drinking. Our venue, Vie, includes a large outdoor space where food and drink will be served. More information can be found on our website.
The Story of a Year Like No Other: Our 2020 Annual Report
2020 presented challenges that at times felt insurmountable. So in a year like no other, the Law Center and our clients showed a resilience like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the deeply entrenched systemic inequities that we, as public interest lawyers, fight every day on behalf of our clients. So when we see that a fundamental right and resource is being violated, attacked, unjustly taken away or unfairly being blocked, we step in to action, and we do so with a humble understanding that racial and social inequities must be disrupted for good. In our 2020 annual report, you'll find the stories of just a few of these efforts--defending our right to vote, taking on gun violence, and more--with first-hand perspectives from our clients and attorneys.

View as a digital booklet on Issu, and keep your eyes peeled for a paper copy in your mailbox soon!
"The Children Left Behind:" Parents Magazine highlights Pennsylvania in new story on educational inequity
A new story in Parents Magazine explores racial and wealth inequity in education across America, with stories and data from parents and education researchers. America's educational divides deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic: a McKinsey & Company report found that, on average, students of color started the 2020-2021 school year about three to five months behind in math. Their white counterparts were about one to three months behind. The story highlights Pennsylvania, home to some of the deepest educational resource gaps on the basis of wealth and race in the country. 

"In Pennsylvania, what you really have is the resources available for a child extraordinarily reliant on the wealth of the community they come from," said staff attorney Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg. "As a result, in a heavily segregated state, low-wealth communities can't afford to give their children the education they deserve and they're entitled to under the state constitution." Read more.
Join us for Vacant Land 215 on Tuesday, October 5
Want to learn more about community gardening and farming on vacant land in Philadelphia? Our Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI) and Soil Generation invite you to come discuss legal land access and preservation for gardens, farms, and other community-managed open spaces, including discussing resources available to growers during COVID-19.

When: Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 6-7:30 p.m.

The program will begin with a pre-recorded program from the Vacant Land 215 training held on April 8, 2021. The program lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and features presentations from Soil Generation, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Neighborhood Gardens Trust, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Philadelphia Land Bank, and GJLI.

Following this presentation, participants will be able to ask questions of panelists from the GJLI, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and Neighborhood Gardens Trust.
Staff Attorney Mary Beth Schluckebier on community lawyering and social movements
In a September 17 essay in the Legal Intelligencer, our staff attorney Mary Beth Schluckebier explores the history and present of lawyers in social movements, highlighting her work with Renters United Philadelphia (RUP). Led by renters, RUP pairs organizing and lawyering to build the power of low-income Philadelphia renters in an effort to shift the power imbalance between renters and corporate landlords.

"For better or for worse, we tend to regard lawyers as saviors or gatekeepers of knowledge and power," Schluckebier writes. "We sometimes, even inadvertently, sap the energy and focus from a room. Community lawyers recognize these dynamics and take steps to democratize law and build the power of marginalized people. Often this means we use the law as one tactic in the collective struggle for change, but not the only tactic." Read more.