Philadelphia LawWorks, a project of Philadelphia VIP, contributes to Philadelphia’s economic development by ensuring that homeowners, nonprofits and small business owners' legal needs are met and by educating clients and the community to prevent legal problems.
LawWorks strengthens Philadelphia communities in two ways. First, we serve the nonprofit groups and small businesses that are vital in keeping our communities alive and vibrant. Community groups provide essential resources for many people living on society's margins, and make invaluable contributions to the City's overall well-being. In providing pro bono services to community groups and nonprofit organizations, we allow them to direct their funding--they are often operating on thin budgets--toward carrying out their missions and serving their clients. Likewise, in assisting low-income small business owners, we help to strengthen the backbones of our neighborhoods, stimulate commerce, and bring business services directly to neighborhood residents.
Second, LawWorks serves low-income persons and families trying to acquire title to their homes. In many instances, a home has been in a family for generations, but title has not passed to the current generation of occupiers. Or in some circumstances a "sale" transaction occurs, but an oversight or fraud prevents title from transferring to the buyer. Without title to their homes, our clients are not eligible for basic systems (heating, plumbing, etc.) repair grants. Even if they have been paying property taxes for years, without title they cannot negotiate with the City in the event that they fall behind. Too often clients are forced to vacate their homes, becoming homeless. Homelessness is not the only consequence, however; vacancy and blight are devastating for communities. Increased crime and decreased property value are nearly inescapable consequences of neighborhood vacancy. When one family is forced to leave a home, everyone suffers: the family, their neighbors, and their community. In helping families to acquire title to their homes and to remain in them, VIP volunteers serve both their clients and the broader community.
Philadelphia VIP also participates in the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, an innovative program that forces lenders and borrowers to come together to attempt resolution and, whenever possible, prevent a sheriff sale. Philadelphia VIP provides low-income borrowers with pro bono attorneys to represent them in negotiations with lender’s counsel. VIP’s participation in the program has contributed to the city’s effort to prevent foreclosure and stabilize Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
By taking a two-pronged approach to community economic development, LawWorks is able to assist both the nonprofit groups and small businesses that provide essential services to their communities and directly serve the community residents themselves.
Philadelphia LawWorks is a collaboration of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia VIP, and other Philadelphia public interest and pro bono legal organizations.
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Case Listings by Category
- Auto Accident
- Civil Forfeiture
- Collections (1)
- Custody (4)
- Divorce (42)
- Domestic Violence
- Intellectual Property
- Landlord/Tenant (1)
- Licenses (2)
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- Mortgage Foreclosure (5)
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- Probate (3)
- Public Housing (1)
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- Wills (4)
News & Announcements
- Philadelphia VIP kicks off Holiday Giving Challenge
- VIP Board President Matt Lee interviews with Lawyers.com to discuss the negative effects of civil forfeiture
- Philadelphia VIP Hosts 2013 Pro Bono Opportunities Day
- Philadelphia Bar Foundation Awards TE Connectivity the 2013 Pro Bono Award for their pro bono work in partnership with Philadelphia VIP
- Karen Aloia wins the 2013 PAP Pro Bono Award for her work with the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program
- Philadelphia VIP Welcomes New Volunteers with Volunteer Orientation Program
- Making Pro Bono a Cornerstone of Your Career