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Philadelphia Lawyer Honored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association for Legal Assistance to Low-Income Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

HARRISBURG (Sept. 28, 2009) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Legal Services to the Public Committee recently presented a Civil Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award to Stefanie Fleischer Seldin, co-managing attorney for Philadelphia VIP.

The award recognizes legal services and other public interest lawyers who have made exceptional contributions to the improvement of civil legal aid.

Since 2003, Fleischer Seldin has served as co-managing attorney for Philadelphia VIP. She is responsible for VIP's LawWorks initiative, a collaborative interagency program that provides Philadelphians with housing legal assistance, non-profit and small business assistance, and community education.

In 2008, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Annette Rizzo asked Fleischer Seldin and VIP to help meet the needs of low-income homeowners facing foreclosure. In response, Fleischer Seldin created Philly FReE, a program that recruits and trains volunteer lawyers to represent homeowners facing foreclosure and that oversees volunteer lawyers during foreclosure diversion proceedings. The program is an integral component of Philadelphia's groundbreaking Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program, an initiative that has saved more than 600 homes from foreclosure.

Prior to her employment with VIP, Fleischer Seldin worked in Dependency Court at the Philadelphia City Solicitor's Office, where she concentrated on issues of child welfare, adoption and mental health. She was a co-leader of the Permanency Planning Pilot Project, which worked to shorten the time children spent in foster care.

Fleischer Seldin also worked for the Support Center for Child Advocates and was chair of the Philadelphia Task Force on Kinship Care, which advocated for systems reform and legislative changes and provided community education about kinship care. She helped lead the creation of Grand Central, Inc., a charity to provide assistance to kinship caregivers.

Fleischer Seldin's award was presented during the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network's Statewide Training Conference in Harrisburg.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.