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Impact Stories Published August 13, 2020

Why I Support Philadelphia VIP

A guest blog post from Stewart J. Eisenberg, a supporter and former board member of VIP.

This year, my firm and I had the honor of making a three-year financial commitment to Philadelphia VIP. In recognition of the difficult economic circumstances our nation is facing, we’d like to go even further. We need your help to do so.

To multiply the impact of those who are able to support VIP, I will match dollar-for-dollar all donations up to $20,000 from now until VIP’s Virtual Awards Night, which will be held on September 17th.

VIP and its network of volunteer attorneys across Philadelphia provide critical legal services to low-income Philadelphians who are in desperate need of—but cannot afford—legal assistance.

But what makes VIP unique...

is how the organization works with those volunteer attorneys, and how together they can tackle a wide range of legal issues facing low-income Philadelphians.

While most legal-services organizations rely on their in-house attorneys to provide legal services to a client, VIP’s in-house legal team provides both administrative support and subject-matter expertise to its outside volunteer attorneys, empowering them to serve VIP’s clients directly. VIP’s volunteer community is diverse, and consists of attorneys at large, medium-sized, and small law firms, as well as solo practitioners, in-house corporate counsel, government and public-sector attorneys, and retired attorneys.

 

With its volunteers handling most of the day-to-day legal work on a client’s matter, VIP’s legal team can focus on refining its processes for matching clients with volunteer attorneys. The team also keeps an eye out for new types of issues for which there is a need for pro bono legal services, such as when the Great Recession led VIP to develop the nationally-recognized Tangled Title Program.

Because VIP assists low-income Philadelphians with almost two dozen different kinds of legal matters, thousands of Philadelphians each year benefit from a variety of pro bono services. This breadth of offering also means that VIP’s volunteer attorneys gain exposure to numerous areas of the law while developing skills necessary to be effective attorneys, such as appearing in court, conducting discovery, drafting legal pleadings, and negotiating with opposing counsel and adverse parties.

VIP’s ability to improve the lives of so many Philadelphians, while providing opportunities for local attorneys to donate their time and develop their skills, is why my law firm and I committed to a substantial long-term financial pledge to the organization.

 

Without a doubt, VIP occupies a special place in both Philadelphia and its legal community. Philadelphians need VIP’s help. But right now, VIP needs the help of supporters like you and me, and law firms like yours and mine. Sure, the organization could always use more volunteer attorneys to help with the never-ending demand in Philadelphia for pro bono legal services. But VIP needs our financial support now more than ever in these challenging economic times.

As I write this blog post, the COVID-19 pandemic has battered service-oriented non-profit organizations in a cruel way: the need for their services has increased, but donations to them have decreased. VIP is no different.

Right now, the need for VIP’s services is skyrocketing. And while VIP is an exceptionally well-run organization, it will not be able to keep pace with the additional demand for its services unless people like you and me step up our donations so that it can continue to support its exceptional attorneys and staff, and provide them with the resources they need to help connect low-income Philadelphians with volunteer attorneys for effective pro bono legal assistance.

VIP is an important organization that must continue its mission. It is not hyperbole to say that for many of its clients, VIP, and its volunteer attorneys provide life-altering pro bono legal services.

I hope you will join me and donate to VIP in the coming weeks and months. Together, we can help ensure VIP has the resources it needs to continue to change the lives of low-income Philadelphians for the better, one person at a time.

Sincerely,

Stewart J. Eisenberg
Shareholder and Founding Partner
Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck