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June 06, 2010

Chancellor’s Forum on Civil Gideon to Feature Address by Professor Russell Engler, Director of Clinical Programs at New England Law | Boston, July 7

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The 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association will present a Chancellor's Forum on Civil Gideon featuring a keynote address by Professor Russell Engler, a national expert on the subject and the Director of Clinical Programs at New England Law | Boston, on July 7. The program, titled "Civil Gideon: Establishing a Right to Counsel for Low Income Persons in Civil Cases Where Basic Human Needs Are at Stake," will begin at 12 p.m. on the 11th Floor of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

The program will also feature a panel discussion including Catherine C. Carr, Executive Director of Community Legal Services, and Joseph A. Sullivan, Special Counsel and Director of Pro Bono Programs at Pepper Hamilton LLP, who are Co-Chairs of the Bar Association's Civil Gideon Task Force, formed in early 2009 by Immediate Past-Chancellor Sayde Ladov.

Civil Gideon is a growing national movement exploring strategies to provide legal counsel, as a matter of right and at public expense, to low income persons involved in urgent civil legal proceedings, such as those involving shelter and child custody. The term takes its name from Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court decided indigent defendants have a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney, at no charge, in state criminal cases.

In November 2009, the Bar Association's Board of Governors adopted a preliminary report from the Civil Gideon Task Force that recommended the endorsement of pilot projects in eviction and mortgage foreclosure defense and custody cases as well as the development of an education and communications plan to inform the legal and public community about Civil Gideon.

The July 7 Chancellor's Forum will further educate Bar Association members on the topic as well as provide a venue for questions and discussion.

Professor Engler has written several published texts on Civil Gideon, which are outlined in a bibliography that is available by clicking here. An upcoming article, Pursuing Access to Justice and Civil Right to Counsel in a Time of Economic Crisis, 15 Roger Williams Law Review (forthcoming 2010), is available here with permission of the Roger Williams University Law Review and Professor Engler.

Professor Engler also serves on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Boston Bar Association's Task Force on Expanding the Civil Right to Council. He joined the New England School of Law faculty in 1993 and teaches the Lawyering Process and Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic, co-teaches clinical component courses, and directs the Public Service Project for the law school's Center for Law and Social Responsibility.

During the 1999-2000 academic school year, Professor Engler was a guest lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. Prior to joining New England Law | Boston, Professor Engler was the Director of the Housing Law Unit at Brookyln (N.Y.) Legal Service, Corporation B. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Yale University.

The event is free for Philadelphia Bar Association members but advanced registration is required. Lunch will be provided. To register, CLICK HERE.

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