Recently the Law Association and community members met to honor the life of Judge Thomas Raup. That gathering provided an opportunity for folks involved in the Legal Services program to review the Lycoming Law Association-North Penn Legal Services joint pro bono program. This was appropriate as it was Judge Raup’s leadership and commitment to this endeavor that led to the obligation of Association members to take referrals from North Penn Legal Services on a yearly basis. That followed by yet another Court order from Judge Raup establishing the Arbitration fee donation program. Both of these programs have been invaluable to Legal Services to augment its ability to provide representation and funding for the commitment to equal access to justice in Lycoming County.
The Law Association has been recognized by its peers, the
Pennsylvania Bar Association, and also by the statewide Legal Services
community, through PLAN, for its efforts to provide legal services to the
indigent in the county.
Since 1985 (the year of the mandate to participate
adopted by the Law Association), Legal Services records indicate that over
4564 cases have been handled by pro bono attorneys in Lycoming County. While these cases have covered a multitude of civil
matters by far the largest cases have included protection from abuse and
most recently m mortgage foreclosure.
Since the mortgage foreclosure program was established,
120 cases have been completed by pro bono attorneys and 67 houses have been
reported saved from foreclosure. (32 cases are still pending).
In addition to direct representation members of the Law
Association have mentored legal services staff, provided training for staff
and community, written briefs, run clinics (with volunteers paralegals) and
provided other services to clients and staff alike.
The Lycoming Law Foundation has also supported North Penn Legal Services through grants made possible by the donations of attorneys’ arbitration fees, memorial donations directed by attorneys estates and outright donations. Each year the foundation awards 80% of arbitration donations to Legal Services for operating budget for Lycoming County.
As 2016 comes to a close another year of successful pro bono participation will be celebrated at the Association's annual meeting. The folks at North Penn Legal Services are grateful to all the bar members who understand their commitment to pro bono work to be a hallmark of their profession.