What We Do

Civics and Law-related Educational Programs and Projects

Law Day – Through the Law Day program, Pennsylvania lawyers and judges visit K-12 classrooms throughout the month of May to teach students about the law. Supporting materials, such as law-related lesson plans and souvenirs with lots of kid appeal are distributed to lawyers, judges and schools across the commonwealth making the day not only instructive but also memorable and fun! Since 2000, more than 2,100 schools and 1,900 lawyers and judges have taken part in the program.

Celebrate the Constitution – Designed to teach students about the U. S. Constitution, the award-winning Celebrate the Constitution brings together K-12 students, lawyers and judges for mock Constitution signing programs across Pennsylvania. The annual program kicks-off in September during the national Constitution Week celebration and continues throughout the fall. All participating schools and county bar associations receive Constitution-related materials for the signing programs. To date, schools in nearly all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have taken part in the program and over 75,000 Pennsylvania students have signed the Constitution!

Minority Bar Law Day – Minority Bar Law Day programs are pipeline programs specifically geared to encourage historically under-represented minority high school and college students to pursue careers in the legal profession. The program provides participants with insight into the benefits and “how-to’s” of pursuing a legal career

Annual High School Mock Trial Competition – The Foundation’s funding support makes it possible for the Pennsylvania High School Mock Trial Competition Finals to be televised on Pennsylvania Cable Network (“PCN”).

We The People – The “We the People” competition promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s secondary students. At the national competition, the Pennsylvania team joins the other 49 state winners in simulated congressional hearings on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Foundation funding partially underwrites the cost of sending Pennsylvania’s championship team to the finals.

Awards

Louis J. Goffman Awards – The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s Louis J. Goffman Awards program seeks to recognize and honor an individual and an organization whose commitments to pro bono have enhanced the delivery of legal services to Pennsylvania’s poor or disadvantaged, making a critical difference in the lives of those in need of legal representation. The maximum award is $1,000.

Grants

The PBF Grants Committee seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strive to ensure that citizens, particularly Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable, have full access to our legal system. This mission is accomplished by making grants, seeking financial support from individuals and organizations both within and outside of the legal community, and encouraging bar members to donate their time, talent and expertise in service to the public.

General Grants – If the Grants Committee determines that a request meets the mission, a recommendation is provided to the Board to decide if there are financial resources sufficient to grant the request. This is typically addressed at the Board’s November meeting. If approved, a grant would be earmarked for the next fiscal year.

Birdsall Impact Grants – The Birdsall Impact Grant program seeks to assist county bar associations in the furtherance of a charitable, educational or pro bono program or project or the enhancement of an existing charitable, educational or pro bono program or project that succeeds in making an immediate impact on the way a county bar operates in service to its members, its court and its community. The maximum award is $1,000.

Scholarships

James W. Stoudt Scholarship Fund of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – Supported by individual memorial contributions and the proceeds of “Foundation of Treasures,” the Foundation’s annual silent auction, the James W. Stoudt Memorial Law School Scholarship Fund currently provides three, $3,000 scholarships, two of which are specifically designated to support minority law students, to candidates attending any one of the following ten accredited law schools presently serving Pennsylvania.

Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship – The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship awards an annual scholarship to a law school student or lawyer in practice for less than 3 years who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to animal law/animal welfare. The maximum annual award is $5,400.

PBA Environmental & Energy Law Section Minority Scholarship Fund of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – The PBA Environmental & Energy Law Section Minority Scholarship Fund of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation awards annual scholarship to law school students who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to environmental and energy law.