Lancaster Law Foundation's 2021 Case Statement
Pro Bono in this County:
Information is currently being updated.
MidPenn Legal Services 2019-20
The legal-aid provider in Lancaster County is MidPenn Legal Services.
Read the overview of MidPenn’s services to counties in 2019-20.
Read the report on MidPenn’s services in Lancaster County in 2019-20.
Volunteering in the Time of COVD
2020 Summer of Service Project
Helping undocumented victims of sexual assault or domestic violence: U Visa Mandamus Project
Criminals target communities of undocumented immigrants because they know that undocumented immigrants usually hesitate to cooperate with law enforcement investigations out of fear that doing so will disclose their status and subject them to potential deportation. Congress realized this decades ago and created a special immigration tool to assist law enforcement officials. The U visa is a temporary visa available to qualifying victims of certain violent crimes, frequently sexual assault and domestic violence. The U visa provides a path to legal permanent residency and potentially American citizenship, even if the victim originally entered the U.S. illegally. To qualify, however, the victim must obtain certification from high ranking law enforcement officials, prosecutors, or judges attesting that the victim substantially assisted the prosecution of the crime committed against them. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the government agency charged with processing U visa applications, has virtually stopped processing those applications over the past three or so years. That has led to a huge backlog of applicants with meritorious applications who have held up their end of the bargain, but remain subject to deportation and lack authorization to work legally in the United States.
The Lancaster County Bar Association, the York County Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) have joined forces to try and remedy this situation. The bar associations have recruited volunteer attorneys to assist in filing federal court actions challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s delays under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Mandamus Act. The goal of these lawsuits is to compel agency to issue decisions in cases of extreme delay. The bar associations are training the attorneys regarding this area of law and then matching them with PIRC’s indigent clients whose U visa applications have been pending for more than three years. The goal is to file more than 30 such lawsuits over the next two months. This project could serve as a nationwide model for bar associations seeking to engage their members in high impact and interesting pro bono work. This project rolls out on Sept. 28, 2020.
Helping Small Businesses Navigate the Complicated COVID-19 World
In the spirit of helping our community through the pandemic, the Lancaster Bar Association is partnering with Recovery Lancaster and has arranged for a number of local business lawyers to offer initial free consultations to small businesses (under 20 employees) based in Lancaster County on legal issues relating to the pandemic and the challenges it poses for businesses. Qualifying businesses receive a free initial consultation of up to one-hour with a participating attorney.
Lancaster’s Blakinger Thomas Law Firm and attorney Angela Flouras Rieck honored with PBA Pro Bono Awards, Dec. 12, 2019
Lancaster’s Blakinger Thomas Law Firm and attorney Angela Flouras Rieck were honored with PBA Pro Bono Awards on Dec. 12. Pictured below, from left: Lisa Driendl-Miller, Lancaster Bar Association (LBA) executive director; David Trevaskis, PBA pro bono coordinator; Aaron Hollis of Blakinger Thomas, Awardee Rieck; Angely Rodriguez, MidPenn Legal Services pro bono coordinator and LBA Incoming President Eric Athey.
Second Annual War of the Roses Charity Softball Game, Aug. 18, 2018
In the annual fundraising event between the Batting Barristers of York and the Lancaster Lions, York fought hard but Lancaster's offense ruled - they won 24 - 7 and took home the trophy. Pictured below are York County Bar Association Executive Director Victoria Connor, Lancaster Bar Association Executive Director Steve Grumm and PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis – wearing two hats in support of both teams who donated $1,000 to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation for its pro bono programs.
Ugolnik Receives PBA Pro Bono Award, April 25, 2018
The Lancaster Bar Association held its inaugural Pro Bono Summit on April 25, 2018, as dozens of local lawyers and legal aid professionals joined together for an afternoon of CLE followed by a Public Service Reception with local government and nonprofit officials. Attendees were able to sign up for pro bono service at upcoming clinics on criminal record expungement and pro se custody support; lawyers were also able to sign up to represent a pro bono client through the LBA Volunteer Attorney Program that is run in partnership with MidPenn Legal Services. Elaine G. Ugolnik, a longtime Lancaster County family law attorney and one of the presenters at the event, was honored at the reception with a 2018 Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award for her significant pro bono service. PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis presented on "The Ethics of Pro Bono Work," along with Laurie Baughman, deputy director, MidPenn Legal Services. Baughman and Trevaskis presented Ugolnik’s award, calling her a "champion of justice" and a "role model of service to the poor for private practice attorneys across the commonwealth."
Wolman Honored with Pro Bono Award, July 13, 2016
The PBA and Lancaster Bar Association (LBA) joined with MidPenn Legal Services to honor Lancaster attorney James D. Wolman for his pro bono work at a special luncheon on July 13, 2016. Wolman has been active in the LBA's Volunteer Attorney Program since 1988. He regularly accepts pro bono referrals across many areas of family law-support, custody and protection-from-abuse and takes an average of four pro bono cases per year. Recently, as community resources to provide free legal representation to victims of domestic violence in protection-from-abuse proceedings have diminished, Wolman's pro bono service has become increasingly concentrated in that area. MidPenn staff note that "He brings the wisdom of a seasoned family law practitioner and an understanding of the complex dynamics of domestic violence to these cases." Wolman was recognized by the LBA in 2005 for his commitment to pro bono service. In the decade since receiving that recognition, he has continued to demonstrate a true commitment to assisting individuals unable to afford counsel. Domestic violence destabilizes families and can impact housing, employment and the safety, stability and emotional health of children. Often, a protection-from-abuse order is the first step in restoring order and stability to the life of a family turned upside down by violence in the home. Wolman's pro bono assistance helps individuals and families obtain this critical fresh start. At a time when both civil legal aid resources and volunteer attorney participation are in decline, Wolman's service is more valuable than ever to the community. When advised that he was awarded the 2015 PBA Pro Bono Award, Wolman was surprised and humbled that he was being singled out for recognition. To him, pro bono work integrates "seamlessly" with the rest of his practice. In his view, pro bono service is just a natural part of his work as a lawyer. Shown below at the luncheon are (from left) LBA President Terry Warco; Sharon Wolman; James Wolman; PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis; Laurie Baughman, MidPenn deputy director for legal advocacy and managing attorney of the Lancaster MidPenn office; Angely Rodriguez, MidPenn Volunteer Attorney Program coordinator; MidPenn board member Rich Low; and James Kearney, MidPenn director of development.
MidPenn Legal Services 2015-16 Fact Sheet, Posted January 2017
The legal-aid provider in Lancaster County is MidPenn Legal Services. Read the overview of the MidPenn's services to counties in 2015-16. Read the report on MidPenn's services in Lancaster County in 2015-16.