scales - logo
Law Center News: July 2014
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia  
facebook  Twitter Logo  LinkedIn Logo  Donate Button 
Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United
Education Update: Right to Know Success!
The Court of Common Pleas denied the School District of Philadelphia's attempt to avoid complying with our Right to Know Request filed by our clients Parents United for Public Education. The request sought recommendations from the Boston Consulting Group concerning school closures and the factors used to determine that list. The District denied the request, the Office of Open Records ordered the records produced, and the Court of Common Pleas agreed. The District has until the end of July to share the list, which will surely provide interesting insights into the thinking behind the slew of school closings in 2013.  
Jeffrey Moller
Board Member Spotlight: Jeffrey Moller, Blank Rome LLP
Our July board member of the month is Jeffrey Moller, who is serving his first term as a Law Center board member, which began 2012. He currently serves on the Law Center Event Committee. "My reason for wanting to serve on the PILCOP Board is simply because the Law Center has, throughout my career here in Philadelphia, been handling the kinds of cases that were socially and politically meaningful. I wanted to do something to support the Center's excellent attorneys in that work." Congratulate him by liking his spotlight on our Facebook page.
One of the children from our Elwyn case
Special Education Updates: Holding Elwyn Accountable

We took another step toward holding accountable Elwyn, a service provider for pre-school children with autism. The state has twice found that Elwyn is not providing early intervention services as required by a state contract, but Elwyn has still not remedied this problem. In a recent settlement, we secured compensatory education for five children attending Elwyn who were not receiving services and were falling farther and farther behind.

Photo from
Environmental Update: Saving Farm 51

The Law Center intervened on behalf of Southwest Philadelphia's Farm 51 in a sheriff's sale action that could have adverse consequences for the lush community resource. For the past six years, Farm 51 has been a community resource and educational farmstand under the City Harvest Grower's Alliance Program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Andrew Olsen and Neal Santos have converted 5105 and 5103 Chester Avenue from trash strewn lots to lush edible green space, and they have produced and distributed well over 6,000 pounds of produce to the immediate neighborhood.


You can read more about Farm 51 and other gardens dealing with complicated issues in Philadelphia in this article published in the Philadelphia Daily News. 

From L to R: Marc Topaz, Sekou Campbell, Monique Galloway
Donor Spotlight: Kessler Topaz Meltzer and Check, LLP
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP has generously supported the Law Center's mission since 2008 by leading the charge to build a sound, long-term financial footing for the organization. Also, as members of our board, firm partner Marc Topaz and associates Sekou Campbell and Monique Myatt Galloway have volunteered significant time to our work. We are pleased to honor the firm with our 2014 Thaddeus Stevens Partner Award, which we will present to the firm on Tuesday, October 14th at A Celebration of Civil Rights cocktail party at the Center for Architecture from 6 - 8:30 p.m.  
2014 Pro Bono Breakfast Attendees
Pro Bono Spotlight: Thank-you Breakfast
The Law Center held a breakfast to thank all our hard-working pro bono partners. In 2013, more than 80 volunteers dedicated in excess of 4,800 hours of service to the Law Center's mission. Thank you to everyone that was able to attend, as well as to every pro bono lawyer that has helped the Law Center's cause. 
Jeremy Afriyie
Volunteer Spotlight: Jeremy Afriyie
Jeremy began volunteering with the Law Center in April, assisting the Communications and Development departments. An Upper Darby High School graduate, Jeremy moved on the Kaplan Career Institute, then to Chestnut Hill College, where he will graduate this year. He said, "Because of the Law Center, my work ethic has gotten better, I have gotten used to an office setting, and I have become much more efficient in my work. I believe that working at the Law Center will help me as I look to go to law school and will help me find a job in the future." Click here to learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities with the Law Center. 
A Celebration of Civil Rights
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 6:00-8:30 P.M.
The Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street

1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Support the Law Center's work today!  Click here to donate.