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PHILADELPHIA BAR TO AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION: ADOPT PRO BONO PROGRAM FOR LAW STUDENTS

 PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- If the 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association has its way, America's law school students could soon be joining with seasoned lawyer/mentors to provide free legal services to the indigent.
 Philadelphia's lawyers want the American Bar Association to work with the nation's law schools, law school deans, state and local bar associations and the federal judiciary to develop and test a new model law school curriculum which would require law school students to perform pro bono (public service) work. The uniform pro bono/public service requirement would include clinical experience and skills training.
 The Philadelphia proposal is contained in a resolution which the ABA's House of Delegates is expected to consider today (Tuesday, Aug. 10) at the national group's annual meeting at the New York Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
 The recommendation, which will be presented to the House of Delegates by Philadelphia lawyers and House members Arline Jolles Lotman and Robert M. Landis, also calls upon the cooperating bodies to create a "mentoring" system to link law school students and practicing attorneys. It further requests the creation of internships and residencies so that law students and experienced attorneys can work together to deliver pro bono services. The model also stipulates the creation of uniform standards for such a program. In its initial phase, the program would be limited to those law schools which voluntarily choose to participate in the pro bono effort.
 The resolution containing the Philadelphia Bar Association proposal is co-sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association and, according to Lotman, it has already won the endorsement of law school deans at Temple University, Villanova University, the University of Kentucky, Tulane University, St. Thomas University of Michigan and Quinnipiac College of Connecticut. If adopted, the resolution would allow law schools throughout the nation to opt into a program whereby law students could assist in providing free legal services to needy clients under the direction and guidance of practicing mentors. Such law school internships could become part of the students' "for credit" curriculum.
 "There is no doubt that communities throughout the country can benefit from the combined service of law school students and experienced attorneys," Lotman said. "Furthermore, our profession can benefit also as attorneys work with the students. Through a program such as this, these students would take valuable experience with them as they go into practice. This is an opportunity for the profession, young and old alike, to reaffirm its ethic to help the poor and contribute the value of literally hundreds of thousands of hours of advocacy to the indigent. That commitment would be especially valuable during a time of growing social service and government funding cutbacks," she concluded.
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 /CONTACT: Daniel A. Cirucci of the Philadelphia Bar Association, 215-238-6340/ CO: Philadelphia Bar Association ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MJ-JM -- PH009 -- 1186 08/10/93 12:09 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1993
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