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Volunteer Spotlight Published August 6, 2020

Rob Sachs

Rob Sachs brings a unique skillset to his work as a VIP volunteer attorney – experience with nursing home debts. “I’m really glad when people pick up the phone and are put in touch with VIP in these situations,” he says.  Some defendants, especially when pro se, end up paying too much or paying when they just don’t have to.

It may be a nursing home resident who is being sued, but many times in VIP cases, it’s a relative.  Through filial responsibility law, a spouse, child, or parent can be held accountable for the bill of a family member for whom Medicaid is covering the cost of the nursing home.  When Rob gets involved, he often realizes that the defendant isn’t actually responsible for the debt.  Even when a nursing home offers a payment plan of, say, $250 per month for a $10,000 bill, Rob recognizes that amount can be onerous.

He works for just outcomes for his clients, ones that keep their lives from turning upside down.

I can’t tell you how thankful the clients are for the results we get.  It’s such an emotional burden on people – they get sued and don’t know what to do.  Folks who volunteer with VIP know how appreciative clients are to have this weight lifted off of their shoulders.

Rob was born, raised, and educated in the Philadelphia area, save for a stop in Massachusetts for his undergraduate degree.  He’s now a Managing Partner at Shrager & Sachs in Philadelphia.  He got involved with VIP in 2005, when the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association asked its board members, of whom he was one, to consider taking a VIP case.  Rob gave it a try – he wanted to use his skills as a lawyer to help Philadelphians navigate the legal system – and has volunteered consistently with VIP since.  He has taken mainly collections cases involving nursing homes but has also assisted with a couple of torts actions.

Rob appreciates how VIP vets the cases and, if needed, obtains an extension of time to respond to the complaint from opposing counsel.  He also notes that stating he’s representing a VIP client is one of his best defenses in court.  If the plaintiff knows he’s representing the client pro bono because the client cannot afford to pay for counsel, it’s often a tremendous help in the hearings and negotiations.

Rob says, “VIP gives us a chance to help level the playing field.  I’m all about that.”  But the reason he volunteers with VIP is about more than leveling the playing field.

Practicing law is a privilege.  There’s a corresponding duty that comes with those rights.  It’s our responsibility to give back and to help people most in need.

Rob’s deep familiarity with collections cases involving nursing homes allows VIP to help more clients with this issue in an extremely impactful way.  When VIP gets one of these cases in the door, the staff immediately thinks of Rob.  For most VIP case types, though, volunteer attorneys have varied levels of experience, and if you’re a new or new-to-the-subject-matter attorney, VIP can provide guidance and mentorship.  But one thing every volunteer should have is Rob’s hunger to give back to his community and create meaningful access to our legal system.