New $65M legal center hopes to be game changer for Philly’s poor

Low-income residents in need of free legal services will soon be better connected to Philadelphia’s network of non-profit resources.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Aaron Moselle
WHYY (PA)
May 28, 2019
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Tags: Access to Justice

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia


DETAILS

That’s the aim of the Equal Justice Center, which will put more than a dozen of the city’s civil legal aid groups under one roof — a first in Philadelphia.

It’s hoped the one-stop-shop model will cut operating costs for member tenants, make it easier for people to access the pro-bono help they provide, and reduce the number of low-income residents representing themselves in court.

“All the research shows that people who are represented by lawyers do much better than those who are not represented by lawyers. So basically as a society what it means is that we’re failing a significant portion of our population because they don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer,” said Jessica Hilburn-Holmes, executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, the organization spearheading the $65 million project.