How VIP Can Help

GET LEGAL HELP

Are you an individual client seeking legal assistance? In addition to Philadelphia VIP, there are over twenty five legal services organizations in the Philadelphia area that may be able to assist you.

Please note that Philadelphia VIP is a referral organization. All individual clients must be referred to VIP by another public interest agency.

However, if you are an established small business or nonprofit organization or are seeking to start a small business or nonprofit organization, please click here to apply for assistance.

Q: WHAT IS Philadelphia VIP?

A: Philadelphia VIP is the hub of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia. Since 1981, we have provided legal services for low-income residents and families facing civil legal problems that threaten their basic human needs. VIP, through its volunteers, serves individuals, families, small businesses, and nonprofits who could not afford attorneys and whose cases could or would not be handled by other public interest organizations.

Q: HOW does Philadelphia VIP deliver civil legal help through volunteer lawyers?

A: Philadelphia VIP recruits and trains volunteer attorneys who work in private law firms or companies who agree to take on new clients for free. The lawyers who VIP recruits work in their own firms or companies, not at VIP. These lawyers agree to volunteer their talent and time to help clients who are eligible and facing critical legal needs. Philadelphia VIP helps to prepare the client and their case file to try to match them with a volunteer attorney who is ready to commit to a new pro bono client. Philadelphia VIP works hard to find a good match for the client and the volunteer, and sometimes a match can’t be made. When a match is made, Philadelphia VIP refers the client to the volunteer, who agrees to help the client with that legal problem at no charge. The volunteer lawyer becomes the client’s counsel for that legal problem and VIP staff helps to make sure that relationship is productive for everyone.

Q: WHO can get help from Philadelphia VIP volunteer lawyers?

Individuals and families who have been referred to VIP from a legal services agency, as well as small businesses, and nonprofits who are eligible for Philadelphia VIP pro bono services and who have completed the application for help.

Q: HOW do I start the process of getting volunteer help from Philadelphia VIP?

A: We have one process for Individuals/Families and another process for Small Businesses/Nonprofits. To learn more, click the button below that applies to you. To learn about the Philadelphia Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service, see their website: http://www.philadelphiabarlawyers.com/

Q: WHAT other resources besides Philadelphia VIP could help with my legal problem?

A: There are many agencies in Philadelphia who may be able to help you directly or get a referral to VIP. In addition, there are some resources to help you handle your problem without a lawyer (called “self-help” or “pro se”). In addition, you should contact the Philadelphia Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service if you are not eligible for free legal aid, but want to talk to a lawyer briefly or be referred to a lawyer who may charge a reasonable fee or contingency.

To find a listing of the Legal Service agencies in Philadelphia visit PA Legal Help, http://www.palawhelp.org/ or view our Philadelphia Civil Legal Aid Guide

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