Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network

Pennsylvania Legal Aid in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has created a financial crisis. Pa. legal aid programs help stabilize families

IOLTA/PLAN Team Up for Justice at the Bank
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) has initiated a social media awareness campaign that features attorneys who are supporting civil legal aid by selecting an IOLTA Platinum Leader Bank for their IOLTA trust accounts. Platinum Leader Banks are financial institutions that agree to pay a premium interest rate on IOLTA deposits, resulting in increased funding for civil legal aid. It is especially critical to highlight this opportunity given the drastically low interest rate environment we find ourselves facing at a time when demand for civil legal aid is increasing as a result of the COVID crisis. Specifically, PLAN is featuring attorneys that participate in the IOLTA Board’s “I Bank on Justice” campaign, and will also be featuring individual firms and participating community banks.

PLAN Website

PLAN Brochure

PBA President David Schwager Joins LASP Meeting, Nov. 12, 2020
PBA President David Schwager joined a meeting of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) on Nov. 12, 2020, speaking to the more than 80 staffers meeting virtually about the PBA partnership with legal aid. Earlier, President Schwager was among the audience for a presentation by Jean and John Rosenberg. John Rosenberg, like David's parents, was a Holocaust survivor who then spent his life championing access to justice. Read more.

Schwager is pictured with Kesha James, Esq., deputy director for advocacy and pro bono director, LASP, and LASP Executive Director Shawn Boehringer, Esq.

PLAN Presents Excellence Awards for Pro Bono Service, June 6, 2018
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. (PLAN) honored Antoinette C. Oliver, Esq., of Pittsburgh; Mary Coyne Pugh, Esq., of Norristown and Judge John Thomas and the Middle District Bankruptcy Bar Association Pro Bono Program with Excellence Awards during rescheduled ceremonies held on June 6, 2018. The Pennsylvania Bar Association was the premier sponsor of the dinner. Read more and view video highlights from the event.

PLAN Recognizes Work in Support of Pro Bono with Excellence Awards, March 28, 2017
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) honored the recipients of the 2017 PLAN Excellence Awards on March 28 at the annual awards dinner in Harrisburg. The keynote speaker was Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Read more and view video highlights from the event.

PLAN Excellence Awards Honor Supporters of Pro Bono, March 15, 2016
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) honored the recipients of the 2016 PLAN Excellence Awards at its annual awards banquet at the Hilton Harrisburg, March 15. Read more.

Plan Programs

PLAN Presents Excellence Awards, March 23, 2015
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) honored the recipients of PLAN’s 2015 Excellence Awards at the annual awards dinner in Harrisburg, March 23, with Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra McCloskey Todd serving as keynote speaker. Get more information on the PLAN website, including links to videos from the event.

Past Excellence Award Winners to 2014

PLAN Program Facts though 2012

Fall 2014 PLAN Executive Director's Report

Legal Services Reception at the CCBL in Lancaster, Feb. 26, 2015
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is hosting a reception, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Office, on the evening prior to the start of the Conference of County Bar Leaders (CCBL), Feb. 26, 5:30-7 p.m. The law schools of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State Law and Dickinson Law) are the lead sponsors, and the event will be held at the Lancaster Bar Association, 28 Penn Square, 28 East Orange Street, Lancaster. This reception presents a special opportunity for county bar executive directors and leaders to socialize and strategize with one another and with legal services and PBA representatives and to engage in informal discussions about the past, present and future of legal aid and pro bono in Pennsylvania. All attendees of the CCBL are invited to the reception. Registrations/RSVP should be made in advance, by Feb. 18. For more information about the event, contact Joyce Tomasko at

Looking at What We Know About the Effectiveness of the Delivery of Legal Services in Pennsylvania, April 2013
The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, a joint committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, studied the delivery of legal services in Pennsylvania and made a report titled A Performance Audit of Pennsylvania's Access to Justice Act in May 2011. Read the report highlights and written comments of Pat Berger, the committee staff person who led the study and presented its findings. The report is favorable in terms of the proper use of funds by legal services and the clients helped. There are just two recommendations: Study the effectiveness of telephone brief services, which the IOLTA Board did with a subsequent report in July 2012, and make the filing fee permanent (The sunset has since been extended, but the fee has not made permanent.). Although the report includes findings of favorable client outcomes, it does not include a specific economic benefits analysis.

PLAN 2013 Excellence Awards

PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David K. Trevaskis receives PLAN award

PLAN/Pro Bono CCBL Reception Awards Photos, Feb. 21-23, 2013


PLAN Martin Luther King Jr. Summer Internship Program 2012 Brochure

Lobbying for legal aid are, from left, Lackawanna County Common Pleas Judge Chester Harhut, Pennsylvania IOLTA Executive Director Al Azen and Samuel W. Milkes, executive director, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, in Washington, D.C., spring 2012.

Video Tributes to PLAN Excellence Awardees, March 27, 2012

PLAN Report Describes Recent Funding Cuts as Presenting 'Particular Challenges,' January 2012

Just the Facts on PLAN, Nov. 23, 2011

PLAN Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship Program 2011 Brochure

2011 Martin Luther King Program Summer Interns
The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network's (PLAN) Martin Luther King Jr. program for rising second and third year law students was established in 1991 to promote cultural and ethnic diversity in legal services and to honor Dr. King. Pictured here are the program's 2011 summer interns. For more information, visit the program page on the PLAN website .

2011 PLAN Statewide Training Conference, May 11 - May 12
Legal aid professionals and others concerned about access to justice will meet in Harrisburg for the 2011 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, May 11-12. The PBA Pro Bono Office is a proud partner with PLAN in hosting this event, sponsoring the Wednesday, May 11, evening barbecue on the patio at the Harrisburg Hilton and conducting a session Thursday morning, May 12, on the ethics of pro se representation.

PLAN Board and others meet in Harrisburg, Spring 2011

Former PLAN Executive Director Howard Thorkelson Dies, Feb. 26, 2011
Click here for the obituary.

Legal Aid and Bar Leaders Celebrate and Strategize on Pro Bono, Feb. 24, 2011 (click here for photos from the event)

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Programs to Receive More Than $100,000 in Cy Pres Residual Funds, October 2010
Pennsylvania Legal Aid programs will to receive $100,595.88 in cy pres residual funds from the class action case Miller v. Royal Maccabees Life Insurance Company through the Circuit Court of Cook County. Fifty percent of the residual funds from this case will benefit Illinois programs that benefit Access to Justice for low-income residents. The judge ordered the remaining funds split among legal aid organizations across the county. Illinois has a law in place that directs 50 percent of residual funds to access to justice type organizations. 

PLAN 2011 Excellence Awards Program Recognizes LRAP Efforts
Click here for the list of awardees recognized by the 2011 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Excellence Awards program for their involvement in the creation of Pennsylvania's Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).

PBA Archive of PLAN Materials



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