News

Chester County Fund for Women and Girls Grant Award

May 24, 2015

LASP is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $10,000 from the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls for LASP's Safety and Family Stability program. The grant will support legal representation for low income, vulnerable Chester County women who face serious legal issues impacting their safety and family stability, including abuse and child custody problems."The generous funding from the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls means that even more Chester County women and families can benefit from our civil legal services," says LASP's Executive Director, Elizabeth W. Fristch, Esq. "We are grateful for the foundation's support of our work."

Cy Pres Award to LASP Promotes Access to Justice

April 15, 2016

Cy Press Award
Photo caption: Cary Flitter, Esq., presents a cy pres award for $35,000 to LASP. From left to right: Elizabeth W. Fritsch, Esq., LASP Executive Director; Cary Flitter, Esq.; Nancy Paul, Executive Director, Montgomery County Bar Association and Bar Foundation.

In April, LASP received an extremely generous cy pres award through cases handled by Cary Flitter of Flitter, Milz, P.C. The award in the amount of $35,000 is a result of successful litigation around improper credit practices, and will be used by LASP to provide legal assistance to clients who are facing issues in the area of consumer law. "We are very grateful for this gift," said LASP Executive Director Elizabeth W. Fritsch, Esq.. "Cy pres awards play an important role in supporting LASP's work for low-income and vulnerable people, and help ensure that the justice system remains fair and equitable." Cy pres allow unclaimed funds from class action settlements to be distributed to charitable organizations to support work that indirectly benefits the class and advances the public interest. For more information about directing cy pres awards to LASP, please contact Elizabeth Fritsch, Executive Director, at 610-275-5400, ext 117.

Longterm Benefits of Legal Aid Organizations

July 29, 2015

A recent Op-Ed on CNN.Com  notes the long-term benefits of civil legal aid including stabilizing families in crisis and saving taxpayers' money in the long run. The Op-Ed notes that "By investing in civil legal aid programs, we can help improve families' long-term economic security while reining in government costs."

From U.S. Attorney's Office to Volunteer Lawyer Seth Weber, Esq. Handles PFA Cases for LASP Bucks County

July 15, 2015

Seth Weber

In 2011, Seth Weber, Esq. made a call to Barbara Kaner, Esq., Staff Attorney for LASP's Bucks County Division. Recently retired after 26 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where he had prosecuted federal criminal cases, Mr. Weber thought to himself, "I've had a great career as a lawyer, and now it's time to give back and help other people. Legal Aid was the first thing that I thought about."

Ms. Kaner quickly put Mr. Weber to work. In the three and a half years he has volunteered at LASP, Mr. Weber has worked exclusively on Protection from Abuse orders.

"I get between two and three new cases every week." he says. Because he is retired from his full-time law career he says, "I know that whomever I am representing is getting an attorney who is solely focused on these cases. I will give them all the time that they require. These are my cases.

This is my practice of law; it's a volunteer practice." In addition to his volunteer work at LASP, Weber is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at DeSales University and Saint Joseph's University.

Attorneys interested in volunteering pro bono services for LASP can contact Christine Zaccarelli, Pro Bono Director, at 610-436-4510.

LASP Represented at Harrisburg Roundtable

June 30, 2015

Philip Rosenthal, Esq., Staff Attorney in LASP’s Delaware County office, participated in the Employment Law Group’s Employment Roundtable held at the Dauphin County Bar Association in Harrisburg on June 24th. Mr. Rosenthal presented “Meeting the Ethical Challenges of a Claimants’ UC Practice” for CLE credit as part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Employment Law Groups 2015 Employment/Unemployment Compensation Training program.

In addition, as the co-chair of the Employment Law Group, Mr. Rosenthal organized a panel discussion with the Assistant Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (UCBR) and members of the UCBR.

Other LASP staff members who attended the event were Deborah Steeves, Esq., Staff Attorney in LASP’s Chester County office, Don Cheetham, Esq., Staff Attorney in LASP’s Montgomery County – Pottstown office and Erica Briant, Esq., the Equal Justice Works AmericCorps Legal Fellow at LASP.

The American Lawyer Highlights Legal Aid and the Need for More Legal Services

June 30, 2015

The latest issue of The American Lawyer features a special report on legal aid and the justice gap. The cover story and an editorial both focus on funding for legal services, and how greater institutional giving by law firms can help narrow the gap.

The cover story notes that “There's just one legal aid lawyer for every 8,893 low-income Americans who qualify for legal aid … That's how, in a country with one of the highest concentrations of lawyers in the world, poor people often are forced to navigate the potential loss of their home, their children or their benefits on their own.”

LASP Success Story Featured on Legal Services Corporation Website

June 30, 2015

The story of a LASP Montgomery County client whose home was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene and who then fell behind on his mortgage payments is featured on the LSC stories section of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) website.

LASP’s foreclosure attorneys guided the client through the loan modification process which reduced his monthly mortgage payments by $250 per month, enabling him to financially repair his home and rebuild his life.

The LSC is the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, providing funding for 134 legal aid programs across the county, including LASP.

Working to Impact Public Interest

June 23, 2015

LASP News Image - Erica Briant

Erica Briant, an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow at LASP, is featured in an article about the growing number of Drexel University Kline School of Law alumni who are pursuing careers in public interest. The Docket, the law school’s newsletter, notes that Ms. Briant, a 2014 graduate of Drexel’s law school, worked a pro bono student with HIAS, an organization that serves refuges and other displaced persons, and continues to make a powerful impression in the field of public interest law. Ms. Briant’s work at LASP focuses largely on expungements. To read The Docket article, click here.

LASP Receives Grant from Chester County Bar Foundation
The $3,000 grant was awarded on Law Day

 

The Chester County Bar Foundation's Charles E. Swope Scholarship provides financial assistance to a high school senior pursuing education in a law-related field. The winning student is given the opportunity to present an additional $3,000 grant to a law-related organization of their choice. On Law Day, May 1, 2015, this grant was awarded to Legal Aid of Southeastern PA.

The 2015 Swope Scholarship winner, Brynn Richter, a student at Downingtown West High School, says she appreciates LASP's efforts "to make legal representation easily accessible to as many people as possible and to truly provide all people a fair chance in the court system." Elizabeth W. Fritsch, Esq., LASP Executive Director, says, "Ms. Richter's recognition at such a young age of the importance of equal access to justice is impressive. We are very appreciative that Ms. Richter chose LASP to receive this grant, and we are grateful for the generosity of the Chester County Bar Foundation that makes the grant and the Swope Scholarship possible."

Legal Aid Annual Golf Classic
Tee off for Justice on June 26th

 

Tee off on Friday, June 26, 2015 at the Montgomery Bar Association's Legal Aid Golf Classic hosted by the Meadowlands Country Club in Blue Bell, PA. This annual outing raises much needed funds for LASP's legal services for Montgomery County's vulnerable residents.

Not a golfer? That's ok! You can still support the Golf Classic by purchasing raffle tickets or sponsoring a tee. Download a brochure here.

For registration information, please contact Nancy Hagner at 610-279-9660 x 208 or e-mail nancyhagner@montgomerybar.org.

11th Annual Trial Run 5k Run/Walk

May 29th, 2015

LASP News Image - 5k Run/Walk

113 participants took to the streets of West Chester for LASP Chester County Division’s 2015 Trial Run 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, June 20. The race raised over $17,000 to support LASP’s work to meet the civil legal needs of those who cannot afford an attorney. The winner of the race, Colin Leak, crossed the finish line with a time of 15:32. The top female racer was Rachel McGinnis with a time of 18:29. Since its inception in 2005, the race has raised over $182,000 .

Merck Pro Bono Program receives PLAN Excellence Award!

April 13th, 2015

LASP News Image - TD Bank

The Merck Pro Bono Program is a strong partner for justice. Pro bono attorneys from Merck’s legal department staff LASP’s Lansdale outreach site weekly, playing a key role in efforts to expand access to free civil legal services. This year, LASP nominated the Merck Pro Bono Program for a PLAN Excellence Award in recognition of their dedication and service. The award was presented on March 24, 2015. Congratulations to Merck for this much deserved honor! Pictured are Elizabeth W. Fritsch, Esq, LASP Executive Director, Mark Daniel, Associate Vice President & Group Managing Counsel from Merck (center) who accepted the Excellence Award from PLAN Board President Wesley R. Payne, IV, Esq.(left) Click here to see the video honoring the Merck Pro Bono Program.

Thank You to The TD Bank Charitable Foundation!

November 7th, 2014

LASP News Image - TD Bank

LASP is very appreciative of the $7,500 grant made to our Montgomery County Division by The TD Bank Charitable Foundation.  Funding will help support LASP’s Norristown and Pottstown offices, which handle more than 1,600 cases yearly, helping more than 3,400 low income people.  Pictured, left to right, are Nancy R. Paul, Executive Director, Montgomery Bar Association and President of LASP’s Board of Directors; Dominique Goss, Community Relations Manager, MidAtlantic Region, TD Bank;  Elizabeth W. Fritsch, Esq., LASP Executive Director and Geoffrey Brandon, Regional Vice President for Montgomery County, TD Bank

Easier Access to Legal Help is Coming Soon!

February 10th, 2014

LASP News Image - Upgrade

Easier access to legal help is coming soon!  LASP is upgrading the telephone and database that serves our Helpline – which fields more than 17,000 calls yearly. Here, Eileen Wainwright and Anthony Miller from Relevante are beginning installation work. Funding for these improvements came from a Legal Services Corporation Technical Innovation Grant, The Pew Fund for Health and Human Services Capacity Building Program, the Independence Foundation and the McLean Contribtionship.

Increased Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence

October 17th, 2013

Although October is Domestic Violence Month, LASP advocates help victims like Ms. G throughout the year. 

Ms. G’s husband beat her so badly that she needed hospitalization and follow-up medical care.   Worse, the beating happened in front of her 8 year old son.  When she was able, Ms. G came to LASP for help.  A LASP advocate helped her get a Protection from Abuse order and obtain sole custody of her son. 

Ms. G was one of the 752 people LASP helped to get a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order in FY2012-13. In each county LASP serves, its advocates work closely with local domestic violence agencies to ensure that victims can get assistance applying for a PFA.   Research shows that PFAs improve safety for domestic abuse victims, providing an important step along the road to a life free from fear and violence.

Legal Aid Receives $270,000 in Montgomery County Contracts--Pottstown Office will Remain Open

December 11th, 2012

Legal Aid was awarded contracts from the Montgomery County Commissioners to support Housing and Child Dependency work in Montgomery County that will enable it to keep the Pottstown office open, despite the loss of $281,000 in general operating funding from the county.
 
“Harvey Strauss, co-executive director of Legal Aid, said he was "very happy, very pleased, very grateful" for the contracts, which he said would enable Legal Aid to keep its Pottstown office open and to "continue to provide services that we're proud of."

In a press briefing following the meeting, Shapiro explained that Legal Aid had received the new contracts because situations in which the court is required to appoint outside counsel for indigent defendants would have been more expensive with a provider other than Legal Aid.

"Legal Aid was uniquely positioned to provide those services," Shapiro said, adding that the commissioners had consulted on the matter with several judges on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas following last week's budget hearings.”

Read the full article >

Co-Executive Director Liz Fritsch Featured in Technology Article on Slate.com

December 11th, 2012

While nothing will replace having enough funding and legal advocates in place to help our very vulnerable clients, Legal Aid is working to improve its central telephone intake unit through replacing it’s call center with a better system that should reduce wait times, give out better information when callers are waiting, and ultimately use text messaging as a way to remind people of appointments, documents to bring to court and reinforce safety messages for abuse victims and others.  Liz Fritsch was recently featured in a Slate.com article reviewing some of these strategies to improve services through enhanced technology.

Read the full article >

Representative Kate Harper Addresses Legal Aid Cuts

December 3rd, 2012

State Representative Kate Harper who represents Pennsylvania’s 61st District and also is a member of the Pennsylvania Legal Assistant Network (PLAN) Board of Directors commented in the Sunday Times Herald on the decision of the Montgomery County Commissioners to eliminate Legal Aid’s funding in their 2013 budget. She observes
 
“The Commissioners’ decision to eliminate the $281,700 allotted in last year’s budget is a serious challenge…It will mean that when people hanging onto a home by a thread call a legislative office for help, we can give them Legal Aid’s number, but we can’t be sure they will get the help they need by a smaller staff overtaxed to provide even more services.”

Legal Aid Slated to Lose $281,700 from Montgomery County

November 29th, 2012

Legal Aid is once again facing serious reductions in government funding, this time as part of the Montgomery County budget process which has eliminated all funding for “earmarks”, or direct grants to a number of Montgomery non-profits, many, like Legal Aid serving the most vulnerable and low-income citizens.  Legal Aid’s loss was the largest of all the agencies, and because it totals more than 20% of the local budget, will likely result in more staff lay-offs and the closure of the Pottstown office.  For more information on the budget plan, click here and here.

Harvey Strauss Testifies at Montgomery County Hearing

November 29th, 2012

Harvey Strauss today testified before the Montgomery County Commissioners about the harsh impact of the County budget cuts.  In his testimony he projected that 2-4 Legal Aid staff would be laid off, the Pottstown office closed, and 500 fewer Montgomery County residents would receive legal assistance as the result of these cuts.

To read the full testimony, click the title of this post above.

How to Get Replacement Food Stamps after a Flood or Power Outage

November 2nd, 2012

Our friends at Community Legal Services have shared this important information, which is especially timely as people in our area recover from Hurricane Sandy.  For more information, read the full article.

Sweet & Savory Ways to Support Legal Aid

August 27th, 2012

Equal Chocolate for All....

Thursday, October 4, 2012 from 5 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. the Delaware County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Board of Directors are teaming up to sponsor Sweeten the Pot: A Chocolate Event to Benefit Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania".  Held at the Bar Association, 335 W. Front Street in Media, Tickets cost $35 and include hors d'ouevres and 2 free drinks (yes, there will be Chocolate Martinis along with your beer and wine!).  Silent and Live Auctions with great gift certificates, vacation homes and gift baskets.

To purchase tickets, or to learn about becoming a sponsor (levels from Kisses to Truffles), contact Karen Newell at 610-566-6625, ext 222, or email karen@delcobar.com.

 

West Chester Chili Cookoff

Our friends at the Rotary Club of West Chester will be recognizing our work at their West Chester Rotary Chili Cookoff event on Sunday, October 14 in downtown West Chester.  Proceeds from this event support their Community Philanthropic Grants program. LASP was honored to be selected for a $3,000 grant this year to support our Chester County division.  For more information, go to www.westchesterchilicookoff.com

 

 

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