Removing Barriers to Justice

"Disability Rights Pennsylvania - Woman in Lady Liberty costume making a speech" by the Philadelphia Bar Foundation's nonprofit partner, Legal Clinic for the Disabled

Our grants and other support for nearly 40 legal aid nonprofits promote access to justice and remove barriers for people facing poverty, abuse, and discrimination.

Data Shows the Access to Justice Gap

Philadelphia has the worst poverty rate of the largest U.S. cities.

28% of Philadelphians – over 430,000 people – live below the federal poverty level. This includes 39 percent (135,000) of children, 27 percent (265,000) of work-age adults, and 17 percent (32,000) of seniors.

Only 1 in 5 (20%) of low-income individuals and families in Philadelphia receive the civil legal assistance needed for crucial problems affecting their lives.

In landlord-tenant disputes, for example, less than 10% of tenants are represented by lawyers, but over 80% of landlords have legal representation.

The Consequences of Barriers to Justice

  • People struggling with poverty, abuse, or discrimination face obstacles that can be insurmountable without timely legal assistance, the kind of legal help that people of means can afford and often take for granted.
  • The lack of access to justice often leads to lost opportunities for education, employment, housing, family unity, health care, safety, and much more.
  • These barriers add up to ultimately compromise the ability of individuals to exercise their basic rights and fully participate in our economic and civic systems.
  • Those of us in the legal community with the ability to help have an obligation to get involved and ensure all of our neighbors receive justice.

How the Bar Foundation Overcomes Barriers to Justice