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Volunteer Spotlight Published May 26, 2020

Scott Leventhal

Anyone would be lucky to have Scott Leventhal in their corner. With three decades of experience negotiating contracts for multinational corporations, he knows how to fight for his clients’ interests. He happily retired in 2019 but knew he wouldn’t stay out of the ring for long: “I loved making deals,” he explains. “This may be the most damning thing I can say about myself, but I find contracts and contract negotiating exciting.” Now, Scott’s VIP clients benefit from his years of expertise, and Scott himself enjoys a wholly new kind of legal engagement.

Scott spent most of his career negotiating sales contracts for West Pharmaceutical Services, an Exton, PA-based global supplier of packaging components to pharmaceutical companies. The work was exciting and exhausting. “Pharma buyers are aggressive. I traveled around the world and was beaten up a lot,” he recalls. “But it was fun pushing back – and closing good deals.”

Since taking his first VIP case in 2019, Scott has consistently brought the same energy to his pro bono cases. While the work is substantively similar to his job at West, his clients – a small accounting shop, a local travel agency, and a neighborhood nonprofit – couldn’t be more different.

My clients have a sense of ownership and investment you’d never see at a large enterprise. It’s personal for them.

It is indeed personal for VIP’s nonprofit and small business clients, who have no budget for legal services. Such organizations regularly confront a difficult choice: pay for pricey legal help or accept the risk of proceeding on their own. Volunteers like Scott can alleviate these Philadelphians’ fears of losing their life’s work to legal challenges.

As Scott explains, his clients aren’t the only ones benefiting from VIP’s services. He finds his work at VIP just as exciting as his continent-hopping career at West. “These people really want to accomplish their mission, not just because it’s lucrative, but because it means everything to them,” he says. “It’s thrilling to be a part of that.”

While Scott praises VIP (the only organization in Philadelphia that provides dedicated volunteer legal services to small businesses and nonprofits) for its resources and helpful staff, the true stars here are Scott and his fellow volunteer attorneys. As Philadelphia’s small enterprises buckle under the weight of the current economic crisis, Scott encourages Philadelphia attorneys to join him:

In my experience, the projects are consistently rewarding and the time commitment is much less than one might fear. Helping these small organizations makes the practice of law more meaningful and more real.