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Our Mission and Impact

Our Mission

Philadelphia VIP leverages the powerful resources of the community to provide quality volunteer legal services and ensure access to justice for low-income Philadelphians.

VIP’s model of service has been proven effective. In late 2018, Harvard Law School’s Access to Justice Lab published the results of its rigorous, multi-year study of VIP’s divorce program.

Philadelphia VIP’s divorce representation program was effective, spectacularly so. The program made a difference in its participants’ lives. There is little more to say.

Our Impact

We placed more full-representation cases with volunteer attorneys in 2019 than during any year in VIP history.

  • We placed a record-high 1,016 cases with volunteer attorneys in 2019, up from 822 in 2018.
  • We leveraged more than 15,281 hours of direct legal services provided by our volunteers.
  • We increased the share of eligible cases placed with volunteer attorneys from 61.3% in 2018 to 64.8% in 2019.
  • We increased the number of clients receiving full representation to 865 in 2019. This represents our continued commitment to focus less on one-off service opportunities – which can be attractive to volunteers, but provide clients only with limited assistance – and more on cases in which clients receive comprehensive legal assistance.

The Need Continues to Grow

As the ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis hit Philadelphia, the poorest major city in the country, the need for free legal assistance with critical issues – housing, income, family – is rapidly growing.

VIP’s goal is to say “yes!” to 100% of clients who seek our help with critical legal issues. At present, we have to turn away almost 4 out of 10 eligible clients.

There are more than 14,000 attorneys in Philadelphia, close to 1,400 of whom worked on a VIP case last year.

To close the gap and serve all eligible clients, we are counting on you. Please:

Volunteer now to make a difference.

Can’t volunteer? Donate to VIP.


Clients in Need of
Legal Assistance