Welcome to Philadelphia VIP

VIP promotes equal justice for the poor by providing civil legal services not otherwise available, collaborating with other legal services organizations and promoting a culture of volunteerism by educating and exposing attorneys and law students to issues of poverty.


  • VIP in the News


    A Philadelphia VIP client and volunteer Ballard Spahr attorney were recently featured in philly.com's article "Court restricts city's ability to seize homes used by drug dealers." Check out the article highlighting a recent and monumental change made in the Pennsylvania appellate court regarding civil forfeiture. VIP is positive this change will greatly improve the lives of its clients at risk of losing their homes. To read the article, click here



    Thanks to generous support from people like you, VIP provides help to clients like Althea, Joseph, Barbara and the Mantua Civic Association ... Read more.

  • Volunteer of the Month
    Sheldon Bender               

    Philadelphia VIP volunteers are making an impact! Through the direct services of our volunteers, we are accomplishing our mission of providing access to justice for low-income Philadelphians.


Urgent Need Cases

  • 16-0038957
    Client/Mother and OP/Father are the parents of one minor child, age 5. Pursuant to the terms of the current custody order, OP was allowed to relocate to New Jersey with the child; Client can exercise unsupervised partial custody almost every weekend. The client moved to New York to be closer to the child. OP, who is represented by counsel has filed a Petition to Modify to further reduce Client's time with the child. According to client, OP has not been cooperating with client to enable her to see the child under the terms of the Order. There is hearing scheduled before Master Schenke for August 23, 2016.
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Client Interviewing
  • 16-0039003
    Client seeks assistance with a landlord/tenant matter, including a hearing on Aug. 23, 2016 at 1:15 PM.  The eviction complaint seeks rent for July 2016, plus late fees, water, and court costs.  Client and sister moved into property with their two children (ages 2 and 4) on May 18, 2016.  Poor conditions included water not working, rats, mold, and a bed bug infestation.  Client has text messages with landlord about the conditions, as well as photographs.  In June, landlord cut rent in half because of the work that needed to be done.  In July, client withheld rent in part because of poor living conditions and in part because of a miscommunication about the due date of the rent.  Defenses may include breach implied warranty of habitability and failure to provide tenant with a Certificate of Rental Suitability, with a “City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing” Handbook, or with a Lead Safe Certification.  Client is on  month-to-month lease and wishes to move out of the property without owing any additional money.  Opposing counsel is Todd L. Baritz, Esq. 
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Negotiation Skills
  • 16-0038662
    Client/Mother seeks representation to modify custody order to allow her daughter to relocate to Florida with her. Mother has primary physical custody and OP/Father has partial physical custody every other weekend. They share legal custody. Client says that OP did not abide by the custody order. Client relocated to Florida with her children for a job opportunity in 2015, with the permission of OP. OP now claims that he never authorized daughter to be able to move to Florida. Client was adjudicated in contempt of court and mandated to return daughter to Philadelphia to resume the custody schedule. Client moved daughter back to Philadelphia allowing the child to live with her parents in Delaware County, but client still maintains her job in Florida, traveling back to Philadelphia frequently. Client filed her notice of intention to relocate, to which OP filed an objection.  The client filed a petition to modify and a petition for contempt, both of which are scheduled before Master Vergara on September 22, 2016.  The client’s relocation request is scheduled for a pre-trial conference before Judge Fanning on October 14, 2016.  The client also filed a petition for expedited relief which is scheduled for August 26, 2016, before Judge McLaughlin. 
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Analysis of Statutes
  • 16-0038663

    Client seeks assistance defending against a slip-and-fall lawsuit. OP states that she fell outside client’s home and sustained a number of lasting injuries. The City of Philadelphia is a co-defendant in this case. Client’s homeowners insurance did not cover outside liability at the time of the alleged incident, and therefore, he is in danger of losing his home. OP’s counsel has granted an extension for client to file an answer to the complaint until Monday August 15, 2016. The City of Philadelphia has granted an extension to file an answer to the cross-claim until Monday August 22, 2016. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for March 1, 2017 at 9 AM.
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Witness Preparation

  • 16-0038949
    Client/Mother and OP/Father are the parents of one child, age 3. Client is a victim of domestic violence and has a PFA against OP which expires in March 2019. Client filed complaint for sole physical and legal custody; OP filed complaint for shared physical and shared legal custody. As a result of a petition for expedited relief filed by OP, a temporary order was entered which gives OP unsupervised partial physical custody of the child one night every other weekend. OP was previously evaluated incident to his request for Social Security Disability; OP was determined to have a "sever impairment [due to] an obsessive-compulsive disorder." Client is greatly concerned about OP's behavior toward her and the child and his rantings on social media. Client filed motions for MHA and for a home investigation, both of which are scheduled before Judge Papademetriou for August 23, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. The hearing on the underlying custody complaints is scheduled for September 8, 2016 before Judge Sulman.
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Factual Development and Investigation