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It’s the season of giving, and this month, we’re spotlighting a volunteer whose pro bono work is a gift both to her clients and to the entire Philadelphia community. VIP’s Volunteer of the Month for November, Jenny Wallner Saltzman of Schwartz Law Firm, LLC, has worked on eight VIP family law cases this year, and her work is a testament to the wide-ranging effects of pro bono service.
“Our court system is only as strong as its most vulnerable litigants,” Jenny says. In Philadelphia’s Family Court, eight in ten domestic relations litigants navigate complex legal proceedings without an attorney. This not only disadvantages litigants; it also stresses an already-busy court, which must devote more time and resources to pro se litigants than to those with attorneys.
That’s where Jenny and her fellow VIP volunteers come in. “No one should lack representation just because they can’t afford it,” she says. “I have the skills and experience to step up and volunteer. It helps our court system, and it helps the many deserving families who can’t pay for an attorney.”
In addition to volunteering in VIP custody matters, Jenny practices family law in her day-to-day work at the Schwartz Law Firm. Earlier in her career, she represented low-income parents in dependency cases. “There’s some emotion in these cases, but attorneys have the training to help in a unique way,” she says. “When we focus on the matter at hand and the concrete ways we can help our pro bono clients, we play an important role in representing them during a difficult time.”
Thanks to Jenny, eight VIP clients could rely on an attorney’s expertise when their family needed it most. This holiday season, please join her in saying “yes!” to the VIP clients awaiting volunteers in custody, divorce, and other matters.