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Recommendations and Resolutions

PBA House Approves Resolution Establishing Emeritus Bar Admission Status to Provide Pro Bono Service, May 16, 2014
The PBA House of Delegates approved the resolution of the Legal Services to the Public Committee requesting that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania establish a category of retired and voluntarily inactive attorneys that would allow such attorneys to practice law solely for the purpose of providing pro bono legal services to low-income individuals. Read the resolution.

PBA House Approves Resolution Supporting Establishment of Pennsylvania Access to Justice Commission, May 16, 2014
The PBA House of Delegates approved the resolution of the Legal Services to the Public Committee in support of the work of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition for the formation of a Pennsylvania Access to Justice Commission. Read the resolution.

PBA House Approves Committee Resolution on 'Payday Loans,' May 10, 2013
The PBA House of Delegates voted May 10, 2013, to approve the Legal Services to the Public Committee's resolution opposing legislation that would weaken existing consumer protections by legalizing small loans at rates exceeding those currently allowed by law in Pennsylvania. Read the resolution.

PBA Supports 10 Principles of Public Defense Delivery System, May 2012
The PBA has endorsed the American Bar Association’s 10 Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System as the best practices standard and formal criteria for the systemic delivery of indigent defense legal representation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Read the resolution.

PBA House of Delegates Supports Continued Funding of Courts and Legal Services, May 6, 2011
On May 6, 2011, the PBA House of Delegates approved the resolution of the Access to Justice Committee that PBA support the extension of Act 49 fees on all court filings included in Act 122 for a period not to exceed 48 months, during which period the PBA shall further vigorously advocate increased appropriations to fund adequately the court system's general government operations and legal services, which would allow for the eventual elimination of those filing fees; and that PBA support the continuation of the Act 122 filing fees at an amount of up to $3 per filing dedicated to funding legal services. Click here for the resolution.

Lackawanna Bar Association Endorses ABA Model Access Act and Basic Principles, Feb. 17, 2011
The Lackawanna Bar Association at its regular meeting on Feb. 17, 2011, voted to approve and join in the action of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in supporting the ABA Model Access Act and Basic Principles in order to further its efforts to provide counsel to litigants in civil matters where basic human rights are at stake.

June 2010, PBA Board Approves Resolution on Civil Gideon
On June 25, the PBA Board of Governors approved the resolution of the Access to Justice Committee to have the PBA co-sponsor the Civil Gideon Basic Principles Report and Model Act Report of the ABA. Read PBA President Gretchen A. Mundorff's letter to the ABA.

Innovative Pro Bono Strategy Offered in ABA Publication
"Dialogue," a publication of news and perspectives from the ABA Division for Legal Services, features in the Winter 2010 issue the article "CLE Credit for Pro Bono: An Innovative Pro Bono Strategy," by Jamie Hochman-Herz, assistant committee counsel, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Click here for the article.

Attorneys General Issue Message of International Support for Pro Bono
Meeting in England, the attorneys general of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed in a joint message about pro bono work in their own countries and across the developing world. Pro bono publico – “for the public good” – is a long-established initiative of the legal profession to provide free legal advice and assistance to people who need the help of a lawyer but cannot afford to pay for it. Every year the legal profession in the UK devotes a week, known as National Pro Bono Week, to highlighting and promoting pro bono services. The five attorneys general acknowledged that their inaugural meeting as a group (“The Quintet”) fell within National Pro Bono Week in the UK and signed a joint statement acknowledging the value and importance of pro bono in furthering access to justice, and in developing the skills and enriching the experience of those lawyers undertaking it. HM Attorney General Baroness Scotland, QC, said: "Pro bono is part of every good lawyer's DNA, undertaken both professionally and passionately for the benefit of those who most need it. I am delighted that my fellow attorneys were able to join me in expressing our support for pro bono work." The message of support was delivered to the Joint National Pro Bono Conference in Manchester, England, by Solicitor General Vera Baird, QC MP, as an example of “Connection, Coordination and Collaboration.” The solicitor general commended these three principles to the delegates at the conference and invited them to explore them further in discussions about pro bono during the conference. This year the National Pro Bono Conference has, for the first time, taken place on successive days in different cities; London and Manchester, to highlight the importance of pro bono work all over the country and how it both assists and is assisted by connections within the legal profession.

Law School Public Service Resource Handbook Published
The Coalition for the Advancement of Public Service in Law Schools (CAPSILS) has published its first joint publication, the Law School Public Service Resource Handbook. It is a free resource for law school career services professionals and pro bono program administrators and is geared specifically to those who are new to public interest career counseling and pro bono administration. It offers useful tips from experienced professionals and points newer professionals to the many resources available to them through the ABA, AALS, Equal Justice Works, NALP, PSLawNet and elsewhere. CAPSILS is a national working group formed to foster dialogue among the organizations in the law school pro bono and public interest arenas, including the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the Center for Pro Bono; the American Association of Law Schools Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities; Equal Justice Works; and the National Association for Law Placement and its PSLawNet Public Service Career Center. To download a copy of the handbook, go to http://www.pslawnet.org/capsilsresources. For further information on the publication or on CAPSILS, contact Melanie Kushnir, Assistant Staff Counsel, ABA Center for Pro Bono, at kushnim@staff.abanet.org or call (312) 988-5775.

Philadelphia Bar Hosts Panel on Loan Repayment Assistance, Sept. 16, 2009
A panel discussion on loan repayment assistance programs was held Sept. 16, co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and the Public Interest Section's Delivery of Legal Services Committee. Featured was Heather Jarvis, senior program manager for law school advocacy and outreach resources at Equal Justice Works. She is a national expert on educational debt and the financial barriers facing law graduates and has been a leading player nationally in advocating for and now interpreting the new federal student loan forgiveness law, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

PBA Resolution Supporting a Temporary Increase in Court Filing Fees to Fund the Courts, July 2009

PBA Supports Full Funding of the Courts in 2009-10 State Budget
Court funding and civil legal services funding for citizen access to justice are major concerns for the members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Severe budget cuts in the areas of court funding and civil legal services will result in justice denied for citizens across the commonwealth. The courts of Pennsylvania are currently faced with the possibility of an absolute reduction of funding in the 2009-10 budget year. The governor's budget proposal includes a funding cut that translates to an elimination of approximately $34 million in court functions for the judiciary statewide. The association declared its stance in support of court funding in a resolution passed by the PBA House of Delegates on June 4, 2009.

Legal Services to the Public Committee's Pro Bono Resolution Tabled May 7, 2009
The PBA Legal Services to the Public Committee's committee/section pro bono reporting resolution, presented to the PBA Board of Governors at their May 7 meeting by Vicki Coyle, committee chair, and Andy Susko, PBA immediate past president, has been withdrawn for additional review by PBA committees and sections. At the meeting, Coyle and Susko addressed the misperception that the proposed resolution would require members to report on their own pro bono activities; however, Coyle withdrew the resolution for additional discussions with the affected committees and sections. During the meeting, Susko summarized the concerns as follows: Why does an individual section or committee have any burden on pro bono when the obligation is an association-wide and individual attorney responsibility? David Trevaskis, PBA pro bono coordinator, noted that since the work of the PBA is accomplished through its committees and sections, every committee and section should be looking at how it can help its members fulfill the aspirational goal of providing pro bono service to the neediest among us. Click here for the resolution presented May 7.

PBA House of Delegates Approves Two Legal Services to the Public Committee Resolutions, Nov. 30, 2007
    Resolution for Increased Funding for Legal Services
    Resolution on a Limited Right to Counsel in Civil Cases
    PA Legal Aid Network Announcement of the PBA House Action
    Video Statement by ABA Past President Michael S. Greco Supporting the "Civil Right to Counsel” Resolution
    Text of Statement by ABA Past President Michael S. Greco Supporting the "Civil Right to Counsel” Resolution

Resolution in Support of Enhanced Private Attorney Involvement with LSC-Funded Programs, Adopted by the LSC Board, April 28, 2007

Report and Recommendation of the Task Force on Legal Needs of Middle Income People Approved by the PBA Board and House of Delegates, June 2007

Pro Bono 'Aspirational' Resolution Approved by PBA Board and House of Delegates, June 2007

Conference of California Resolution, October 2006

Resolution Regarding Access to Justice Act, June 15, 2005

Recommendations that passed the PBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates in 1999

Recap of Board and House Action 1989-2003