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July 19, 2007

Phila. Law Firms Unite to Provide City's Neediest with Access to Justice

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation — the charitable arm of the Philadelphia Bar Association — today announced that more than half of the city's law firms that participated in the Foundation's inaugural "Raising the Bar" campaign have already renewed their commitment for this year. This historic endeavor raises critical funds to provide legal services to those who need, but cannot afford, help.

The 2007 "Raising the Bar" campaign, begun in January, asks every law firm in Philadelphia to pledge a minimum of $300 per lawyer to public interest and other legal services organizations. In 2006 – the campaign’s inaugural year – 133 firms contributed nearly $1.5 million, a 31 percent increase over the amount that firms donated individually in 2005.

Halfway through 2007, 69 firms have reaffirmed their commitment to legal services by agreeing to participate in "Raising the Bar." These firms represent 3,442 attorneys. The list of firms is updated regularly at

"The law firm community can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate in our community by stepping up to the plate in support of the Raising the Bar campaign," said Philadelphia Bar Foundation President Elaine M. Rinaldi. "We need the financial support of every law firm to ensure that Philadelphia is a place where everyone has access to justice."

According to Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Jane Dalton, "Raising the Bar presents Philadelphia law firms with the opportunity to provide consistent financial support to sustain our vitally important and nationally recognized public interest legal service providers."

"We anticipate increased law firm participation in this important initiative," Dalton added.

Alan M. Feldman, immediate-past Chancellor of the Association, and Grant S. Palmer, a partner at Blank Rome LLP, are the co-chairs of the 2007 "Raising the Bar" campaign. They expect to build on last year's success by encouraging at least 150 firms to pledge $1.7 million to help assure that those who need a lawyer will have a lawyer, regardless of economic or social status.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation's mission is to promote access to justice, particularly for those struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination. The Foundation provides grants and technical assistance to legal services organizations that have demonstrated both a need for financial support and an effective program for assisting needy clients who otherwise cannot afford an attorney. During 2006, the Bar Foundation funded 30 legal organizations with grants ranging in size from $2,750 to $102,000.

There are three ways for Philadelphia law firms and individual lawyers to contribute to "Raising the Bar":

  • Make direct donations to the Philadelphia Bar Foundation
  • Make direct donations to any of the Philadelphia public interest law agencies supported by the Bar Foundation
  • Make a donation to the Bar Foundation with a "donor option" as to how the donation should be allocated among the legal services organizations.

Information about the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, including grant applications and criteria, are available at For more information, contact Maureen Mingey, Executive Director of the Foundation, at

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