PHILADELPHIA – Local public interest attorneys participated in the American Bar Association’s virtual CLE Training on the New Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid through funding from the Philadelphia Bar Foundation's R. Gimbel Fund for Legal Excellence Trial Advocacy Training Program.
The ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid have provided guidance to the nation’s legal aid organizations on best practices for the delivery of legal services to their clients for sixty years. The Standards underwent a revision and redrafting process over the past year, and the training provided attendees with an opportunity to learn about the standards in-depth, including an ethics-focused portion.
As Philadelphia’s philanthropic hub for civil legal aid, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation provides technical and programmatic support to the 35 civil legal aid organizations that receive yearly grants from the Foundation. “We thought this training was an important one for attorneys at our nonprofit partners to attend, to stay up to date with the best practices, and to ensure they’re equipped to provide the highest quality legal services possible, but we know these agencies rarely have funds to spare. That’s where the Foundation can step in with capacity-building support, through the R. Nicholas Gimbel Fund for Legal Excellence,” shared Jessica Hilburn-Holmes, the Foundation’s Executive Director.
Attendees found the training engaging and informative. Meredith Rapkin, Executive Director of our nonprofit partner Justice at Work, shared, “I thought it was incredibly helpful to have experts synthesize the huge volume of information involved and I thought they set a great tone on where to focus efforts so that the process of trying to ensure that programs are meeting the standards is not too overwhelming.” Jonathan Pyle, an attorney with Philadelphia Legal Assistance, found the various focuses of the training helpful as well as the clarity it provided, “I have been familiar with the standards for a long time, because LSC evaluates us on the basis of them, but it was very helpful to learn from the trainers what has changed, what motivated the changes and what aspects of the standards they consider to be high priorities.”
The R. Nicholas Gimbel Fund for Legal Excellence was created with contributions from friends, colleagues and loved ones to honor Nick Gimbel’s memory and support for legal aid, his love of the law, and his desire that it be practiced at the highest levels of excellence. The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is honored that Mr. Gimbel's family, friends, and colleagues have entrusted the Fund to its care.
Through programs, grants, and partnerships, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation removes barriers to justice, engages the community in support of civil legal aid, and builds system-wide capacity in order to strengthen the provision of quality legal services and to ensure that all individuals understand their rights to equal justice under law.