By Leslie E. John, partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, and president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.
Two years ago the Philadelphia Bar Foundation adopted a Unified Giving model for its fundraising. Unified Giving involves an annual one-time financial donation from a law firm, corporate partner or other organization that supports the Philadelphia Bar Foundation for the whole year, replacing the need for multiple requests for event sponsorships from the Philadelphia Bar Foundation throughout the year. Along with the generosity of our individual donors, our Unified Giving partners make everything that we do at the Bar Foundation possible – supporting our nearly 40 nonprofit partners through grantmaking, programs, and fellowships, and much more.
This year, we thank our generous donors and celebrate them as changemakers for their dedication to advancing equal access to justice at our annual November event. The 2019 Access to Justice Celebration and Awards Reception will take place on November 6th at the Crystal Tea Room and will feature a keynote address from the Hon. Timothy K. Lewis on the importance of the Equal Justice Center. Through the support of our Unified Giving partners, we offer complimentary attendance to all of our 2019 supporters. We also will honor Linda Peyton for her outstanding service and Hausfeld LLP for its dedication to pro bono service.
Hausfeld will receive the Pro Bono Award of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation for more than 11,800 hours of pro bono work by its attorneys during the last ten years. In Philadelphia, Hausfeld has focused on increasing access to justice in several issue areas including environmental protection, post-incarceration reentry, and reparations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. In 2017, Hausfeld brought climate change litigation against the United States on behalf of Philadelphia’s oldest environmental nonprofit, Clean Air Council, and two Pennsylvania children. During this time, Hausfeld attorneys worked tirelessly to prevent the federal government from rolling back critical climate change protections.
Since 2017, Hausfeld attorneys have served as supervising attorneys for the Supervision to Aid Reentry (“STAR”) Program in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Hausfeld attorneys supervise clinical students from Philadelphia-area laws schools as they represent reentry court participants in a variety of legal matters, including traffic and family court matters.
Currently, Hausfeld serves as pro bono counsel for claimants who are seeking reparation funds in connection with their claims that they were subjected to childhood sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. Hausfied has represented claimants to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP), the Diocese of Scranton Independent Survivor Compensation Program (ISCP), the Pittsburgh Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), the Diocese of Erie Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program (ISRP), and the Diocese of Allentown Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).
Linda Peyton will be honored with the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award for her outstanding work in representing underserved and vulnerable individuals for the last 36 years, first at the Philadelphia Public Defender Association and now at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD). When Peyton first joined LCD in 2003, she founded LCD’s Anti-Violence Initiative project, which helps bring legal resources to victims of domestic violence. Because of Peyton’s leadership, domestic violence continues to be one of LCD’s focus areas.
Peyton also was a pioneer in establishing the first Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) in Philadelphia, which embedded an LCD attorney in medical settings serving low-income persons with disabilities and chronic conditions. As part of the MLP, LCD staff train clinical partners to screen their patients for legal needs and, with the patient’s concurrence, connect them to an LCD attorney on-site at the hospital or health center. These MLPs have shifted the burden of finding a legal advocate away from the client by placing a ready advocate in the communities where clients live and receive care.
As a result of Linda’s vision, leadership, and effective administration, the Independence Foundation has provided funding for five Independence Public Interest Fellows to work for LCD’s Medical-Legal Partnerships. The LCD now has five MLPs across eight hospitals and health centers in the most underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Peyton’s initiative has led to tens of thousands of individuals who have now been screened for unmet legal needs and offered otherwise inaccessible legal services.
Peyton has presented on her Medical-Legal Partnership work both nationally and internationally. Today, Philadelphia has some of the most robust Medical-Legal Partnerships in the country. Since Peyton’s tenure at LCD, the organization has grown from a capacity of 247 cases in 2008 to 2358 clients in 2018. Peyton has demonstrated her commitment to recognizing gaps and developing creative solutions to reach low-income individuals, people with disabilities, and victims of abuse in a manner that promotes inclusion, independence, and justice. Peyton exhibits a client-centric approach to lawyering and has used her position and passion to counteract systems that perpetuate injustice. LCD’s growth in size and impact is a testament to Peyton’s dedication and ingenuity.
We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments and the impact of these exceptional attorneys. There’s still time to become a Unified Giving partner – visit our website at www.philabarfoundation.org to learn more.