2015 Goffman Award Presented to the Widener University School of Law – Dauphin County Bar Association Incubator Program.
Since 1989, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation has recognized and rewarded outstanding pro bono service with the annual presentation of the Louis J. Goffman Award. This year, the Foundation honored the Widener University School of Law – Dauphin County Bar Association Incubator Program. (more…)
In an effort to increase the pool of attorneys available to provide civil legal services to those who cannot afford them, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has increased support for the student loan debt assistance program for attorneys who work for legal aid organizations. (more…)
A modest grant from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s Birdsall Impact Grant Fund will help the Butler County Bar Association promote its newly established charitable foundation and its first community event. (more…)
Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship Fund Creates a Lasting Legacy for Animal Welfare Advocates
Created by Joseph T. Bednarik, Esq. in honor and in memory of his wife, the Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide a $5,400 annual scholarship to a law school student who pursues an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities and legal training and/or a grant to a young lawyer who pursues an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities and/or law practice.
Each year, beginning in 2015, the fund will solicit and receive applications from current law students enrolled in Pennsylvania law schools, Pennsylvania residents enrolled in out-of-state law schools and Pennsylvania lawyers admitted to practice less than three years. The criteria for the award of the annual scholarship or grant will include volunteer service to animal welfare organizations before, during and/or after law school; scholarship in the field of animal law and animal welfare, including reading, research writing and clinical work; and pro-bono legal work in the field of animal welfare.
Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Board of Directors and Members Scheduled for 3:00 p.m. May 7, 2015 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and the Members of the Foundation will be held on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, 201 N. 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 (more…)
Pennsylvania Bar Foundation & Pennsylvania Bar Association
Tribute to Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille
November 20, 2014, Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Join the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and Pennsylvania Bar Association for evening of recognition, celebration and appreciation as we say “Thank you” to Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille who will retire on December 31, 2014.
The occasion of Chief Justice Castille’s retirement affords an opportunity to not only celebrate a remarkable career in public service, but to also applaud and recognize his leadership and steadfast support of civil legal services for the poor and improved access to justice for all.
A reception will kick-off the evening at 6:30 p.m. Come greet Chief Justice Castille and Susan Castille. Dinner will follow at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are $100, which covers the cost of your attendance at the event, and may be purchased online or ordered using the downloadable form.
SAVE THE DATE and plan to spend the evening with colleagues and friends as we salute Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille!
Since its launch in 2010, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance program has awarded 333 loans valued at more than $1 million to 134 attorneys employed by the IOLTA-funded pro bono civil legal services organizations located across the state.
By all the measures, the program has been a success, helping participating lawyers better manage their educational debt so they can afford to accept and remain in public service careers and providing their public service employers with a recruitment and retention tool that makes public service employment a more attractive option.
Primary funding for the LRAP comes from an IOLTA Board grant to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. The grant is a three year commitment, and is contingent upon the continued collection of pro hac vice admission fees by the IOLTA Board in an amount sufficient to fund the grant. The IOLTA Board grant is renewable, and although continued funding is anticipated, it is not guaranteed. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation contributes annually to the funding stream, making modest contributions towards the success of the program.
The LRAP funding stream had been sufficiently robust to date to support three levels of loan repayment assistance that afforded those who remained in public service employment the longest a greater amount of loan repayment assistance.
Regretfully, that once vigorous pro hac vice fee funding stream has declined and Foundation fundraising efforts have not been able to close the gap. At the same time, the total number of LRAP participants has increased, and the majority of those participants receive the highest level of loan repayment assistance, having remained in public service careers the longest.
As a result, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA LRAP is exceeding its present funding. Rather than impose an onerous first come-first served protocol or exhaust the funding completely and bring the program to a premature end, the Foundation Directors, with the concurrence of PA IOLTA, have opted to make significant changes to the LRAP to ensure its continued viability.
Consequently, for 2015 loan cycle, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA LRAP will be modified as follows:
- There will be a single level of loan repayment assistance. The amount of loan repayment assistance will be determined by the number of eligible applicants and the amount of funding available. We anticipate that loan assistance awards will not exceed $3,500, assuming your annual net debt service is greater than or equal to $3,500. Those with annual net debt service less than $3,500 will receive the actual amount of the debt service.
- The annual gross salary cap will remain at $66,000. Those with annual net debt service greater than or equal to 10% or more of their annual gross salary will still be eligible to apply for assistance.
- Application to other LRAPs is still expected and more important than ever given the reduction of loan repayment assistance available through the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA LRAP. Applicants are expected to make appropriate application to all other loan repayment programs for which they might be eligible including those offered through the Federal government, their law schools, employers, local bar associations and others. The Foundation maintains discretion to adjust any assistance paid based on an applicant’s apparent eligibility for another loan repayment program.
These changes will go into effect for the 2015 loan cycle.
The application period for the 2015 loan cycle opens on September 2, 2014, and closes on October 15, 2014.
Continued operation of the LRAP depends on continued availability of funding in succeeding years. Assistance will be provided only to the extent that funds are available. We hope that by making these changes, the LRAP program will continue to be available in succeeding years.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Executive Director Marie Queen at email@example.com or direct dial, toll free at 888-238-3036.
Foundation Partners with Civil and Equal Rights Committee, PBA YLD and PBA LRE Committee to Launch Essay And Video Documentary Contest For College Students Fund
The annual essay and video documentary contest for Pennsylvania college students focusses on the importance of state and local policies to the protection of civil and equal rights.
Eligible college students will submit an essay or short video documentary analyzing a Pennsylvania state/local law or lawyer/judge implicating civil rights. Examples of topics include a biography or oral history of a trailblazing individual in the law such as a county’s fi rst African-American judge, or an examination of a law, such as a history of the PA ERA law or a current local housing ordinance disproportionately affecting people of color.
The top entrants will receive monetary prizes and will have their winning entries posted on the PBA website. They also will present their submissions at a future PBA meeting.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation will assist the endeavor by creating a fund within the Foundation to accept charitable contributions that will be used to underwrite the monetary prizes to the contest winners and fund winners’ travel costs.
Join the PBA Civil & Equal Rights Committee, the PBA Young Lawyers Division, the PBA Law-related Education Committee and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation in supporting this educational program. Mail your contribution check or contribute online
Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and PA IOLTA Board To Launch Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) Board have partnered to launch a statewide loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) to help attorneys employed at IOLTA-funded legal services organizations better manage their law school loan debt and to help IOLTA-funded legal aid organizations recruit and retain the best and the brightest attorneys for service in the public good.
The new program will provide for one-year loans, payable to qualified attorneys quarterly, with a 12-month employment requirement at qualifying organizations. Providing a participating attorney continues to meet the eligibility requirements, the attorney can apply for and receive up to ten, one-year loans over his/her tenure in qualified employment. The loans will be used to repay loans incurred for undergraduate and law school education costs and will be forgiven at the end of each year if eligibility requirements have been met.
Funding for the statewide LRAP comes from an IOLTA Board grant to the Bar Foundation. The IOLTA Board plans to fund the grant using pro hac vice funds that it has received from out-of-state lawyers who wish to make an appearance in a Pennsylvania court.
“In these times of increasing need for people in public service, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has taken the lead in finding a way to attack one of the main deterrents to more lawyers getting directed into public service opportunities,” said Pennsylvania Bar Association President Gretchen A. Mundorff. “It is a tremendous step forward and one for which we thank the court for its leadership and foresight.”
The LRAP is the culmination of nearly two years of planning by the Foundation and IOLTA and is the direct outcome of the 2006 Report and Recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Task Force on Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Assistance. The report identified law student loan debt as the chief obstacle to law school graduates choosing careers in public service over the more lucrative careers in private practice. With the average graduating law student owing close to $100,000 in loans, the $34,000 average starting salary for public interest attorneys becomes an effective barrier to talented lawyers entering and staying in public service careers.
“The amount of loan assistance provided to each applicant will depend on the available funding and the number of qualifying attorney applicants,” said Foundation President George Gvozdich Jr. of Ebensburg. “Initially, a uniform amount of assistance will be provided to each qualified applicant, and it is anticipated that each qualified attorney will receive about $2,000. As more experience is gained, the program may be amended in subsequent years to have several tiers of assistance based on the qualifying debt to income ratio of the applicants.”
The Foundation will administer one loan assistance cycle each year beginning September 1. Eligible IOLTA-funded organizations are expected to distribute the LRAP applications to their staffs, collect and submit them to the Bar Foundation no later than October 15. An initial quarterly payment will be made to eligible attorneys in January. The Foundation will make the remaining quarterly disbursements based on receipt of the quarterly certifications of eligibility.