April 26, 2018

PAP Honors Local Paralegal as Part of Pro Bono Celebration

PAP Honors Local Paralegal as Part of Pro Bono Celebration – 

The American Bar Association (ABA) 9th Annual National Celebration of Pro Bono was held from Oct. 22 through Oct. 28. The National Celebration of Pro Bono highlights the increasing need for pro bono services and access to justice. Although national in breadth, this initiative provides an opportunity for legal organizations across the country to collaboratively commemorate the vitally important contributions of America’s lawyers and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand. This initiative provides a format for showcasing the incredible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. The Celebration of Pro Bono continues to support, encourage and embrace the role of paralegals in assisting in the pro bono and community events on both a local and national level.

The ongoing need for access to justice is great. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility states that paralegals should aspire to contribute 24 hours of pro bono and community service annually. Whether a student or seasoned paralegal, there is certainly a need and role for every paralegal in the pro bono arena. Many pro bono groups and organizations offer extensive training, reference materials and mentoring to aid volunteers in gaining an understanding of eligibility requirements as well as navigating assignments and completion of pro bono tasks. A paralegal must be mindful of the ongoing role of ethics in the pro bono field. All pro bono tasks must be performed under the guidance and supervision of an attorney in direct correlation with the policies and procedures of the pro bono agency, group or organization. Paralegals must have a deep understanding of issues related to the unauthorized practice of law in pro bono.

The contributions of paralegals in assisting in pro bono under the direct supervision of an attorney work hand-in-hand in allowing those who are unable to pay for legal assistance to obtain representation. At the same time, these instances provide paralegals with personal satisfaction, networking opportunities as well as the ability to enhance professional development.

 The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals (PAP) was again honored to highlight the ongoing paralegal pro bono and community service work performed by our members at our fourth quarter luncheon held on Oct. 24, at the Sofitel Hotel in connection with the Celebration of Pro Bono. At the luncheon, PAP partnered with the Support Center for Child Advocates (SCCA) on their new Young Friends of Child Advocates Project. PAP members donated personal care items for male and female clients to support SCCA in their mission to reach new generations and the ever-growing needs of the agency. PAP was also pleased to present the 2017 Pro Bono Award to Frank Innes Jr., CRP. This award was generously sponsored by The Reliable Companies. Innes is a paralegal with the Elder Care Law Center of Philadelphia. Innes has also worked on “tangled titles” for Philadelphia VIP over the past year. As part of the Celebration of Pro Bono and in its ongoing commitment to pro bono, PAP donated $1,000 to Philadelphia VIP on behalf of Frank Innes. Annie Mrazik of Philadelphia VIP attended the luncheon and graciously accepted the donation.

PAP continues its ongoing commitment to pro bono and community service through a variety of local groups and organizations. If you are seeking paralegal pro bono opportunities or would like additional information on upcoming community service events, contact The Philadelphia Associations of Paralegals at philaparalegals@gmail.com.

Christine M. Flynn is a litigation paralegal with Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith with 29 years of experience in the field. She is a past president of The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals (PAP). She is currently a board member and acts as the 2017 chair of pro bono, litigation, programs and professional development committees.