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Law Center News: October 2014
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia  
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Julie Foster
Employment Update:
 New Disability Employment Discrimination Project

We are pleased to welcome Independence Fellow Julie R. Foster who joined us this month to launch the Disability Employment Discrimination Project. Through this new project we will help individuals with disabilities access jobs and remain in the workforce. Julie will provide direct representation and legal advice to low-income people with disabilities, while also conducting education and outreach to employers and employees. The project is designed to remedy systemic discrimination. Click here for more information on this project.

Pittsburgh and Philly Mayors supported the campaign launch!
Education Update:
Law Center Joins Campaign for Fair Education Funding

The campaign, which kicked off with a news conference in Harrisburg, is a statewide, non-partisan effort of more than 40 business, charter schools, child advocacy, educator, labor and faith-based organizations from across the state. It seeks to bring more public awareness to the policy discussion revolving around public school funding and to work with the legislature to adopt a fair funding formula by 2016. For more information visit
Aneesh Mehta
Board Member Spotlight: Aneesh Mehta, Volpe & Koenig, P.C.
Our October board member of the month is Aneesh Mehta. He is chair of the Communications Committee. About joining the Law Center's board, he said, "My first involvement with PILCOP came as an ex-officio board member through the Young Lawyers Division. Almost immediately I hoped to have the opportunity to become more involved. PILCOP has leveraged its first-rate staff with law firm partnerships to take on legal matters that not only improve individuals' lives but change communities in and around Philadelphia. My involvement with PILCOP has truly been an amazing opportunity for me." Thank Aneesh for his service by liking this post on our Facebook page.
Amy Laura Cahn speaks at a Philly Complaints press conference
Education Update: Dept. of Education asks Court to Dismiss Complaints Suit
On October 10th, Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq asked the Commonwealth Court to dismiss the lawsuit we filed against her for failing to investigate allegations made by public school parents in Philadelphia. In September 2013, we helped launch, a portal through which parents submitted 825 complaints over the course of the school year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is required to investigate these formal complaints, but after one year, the vast majority of parents have received only a generic form letter or no response at all. That's why in September of 2014 we filed suit against Secretary Dumaresq and PDE for failing to meaningfully investigate any of these complaints. 
2014 Annual Event: Thank You for a Wonderful Celebration of Civil Rights!


Representatives from the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference
Thank you so much to all our supporters for making our annual event, A Celebration of Civil Rights, such a success on October 14! Special thanks to our Board of Directors and host committee, our sponsors, our honorees Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP, William H. Ewing and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, all of our in-kind donors, and our client speaker, Robin Roberts of Parents United for Public Education. The night is one we won't soon forget! Head to our Facebook page for more photos from the event.
Voting Update: Pro Bono Volunteer Opportunity on Election Day

Pennsylvania voters need your help this Election Day-November 4th. Join our partner Election Protection in ensuring that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Pennsylvania voters have received many different messages about ID requirements over the past few years, which still has some voters confused. And, like every election, machines will break down, voters will show up at the wrong polling place, and voters will turned away without casting a ballot-so they need your help. If you are interested, check out the trainings and shifts that are available.

Law Center Event: Children with Autism 

Join us on November 19th, 2014 to discuss eligibility services for children with AutismThis session will teach parents, teachers, social workers and attorneys how to obtain Applied Behavioral Analysis services for children on the autism spectrum. Presenters include Sonja Kerr (Law Center), Rachel Mann (Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania), Dr. Lisa Blaskey (The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania), and David Gates (PA Health Law Project). Click here for tickets.

Michael Daly
Pro Bono Spotlight:
Michael Daly, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Michael Daly, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, is working with us on a case challenging the use of paperless electronic voting machines. He presented oral arguments in the case before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on September 10. He said of the Law Center, "My firm has a long history of public interest litigation that includes prosecuting the landmark First Amendment cases Abington v. Schempp and Lemon v. Kurtzman. Our co-counsel in the Banfield case are kindred spirits. They have an unparalleled commitment to serving underprivileged communities with uncompromising advocacy and unflagging energy. Their creativity and tenacity in protecting the right to vote are in keeping with the finest traditions of our profession." Thank you to all our pro bono partners! Click here to see who else is helping us out.
Law Center Update: FMC Renews Support for GJLI
FMC has been an important partner in the Law Center's work over the last two years, specifically in the realm of environmental justice and urban gardening. FMC renewed its support of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative this year with a $10,000 grant that will support the Law Center in integrating gardeners and farmers into policy conversations around the land bank bill that was passed last fall. We thank FMC and our board member Richard Pasquier, assistant general counsel at FMC, for this continued support. Click here to learn more about the Garden Justice Legal Initiative
Special Education Update: Law Center Helps Student Obtain Tutoring Services

Just last week we helped a student with dyslexia maintain access to a private tutor. I.W. is a high school student with dyslexia enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia. Back in April, in agreement with the District, I.W.'s parent was able to identify a suitable tutor that would provide private instruction for I.W. throughout the school year. Then, after just 10 days of tutoring, the District changed I.W.'s education programming and removed the tutor from school without parental consent. We helped the parent file a complaint, and a hearing officer ordered the District to return I.W. to his previous schedule with his private tutor. Click here to read more about our special education clients. 

Daniel Mizsei, our front desk volunteer
Law Center Update:
Thank You Fall Interns and Volunteers!
We would like to thank all the interns and volunteers that have been assisting us this fall. Special recognition goes out to our Penn LEARN interns, as well as all past interns who helped us with the Philly complaints process. We could not have brought our current litigation without their help--a great example of the meaningful work done by our interns and volunteers. Click here to learn about the different ways you can join the work of the Law Center.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 1:00-4:00 P.M.
1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 8:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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