SeniorLAW Center is proud to announce that our partnership with the law firm Stradley Ronon has been awarded the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Faces of Philanthropy Award.
The partnership came out of SeniorLAW Center’s Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania Initiative, an innovative collaboration between SeniorLAW Center, AARP, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly, which reaches out to law firms, law schools, and in-house counsel to use their pro bono research powers to address the systemic issues that impact seniors.
The project was iniatiated by the SeniorLaw Center’s Executive Director Karen Buck who was seeking legal research at the intersection of race, age and health disparities in the wake of COVID-19. “SeniorLAW Center currently serves 10,000 seniors a year. Even with our tremendous growth over the past 5 years, our staff of 40 attorneys and advocates providing direct individual representation, legal advice, information and referral services, education, professional training and systemic advocacy we could not have committed the resources needed to attack these important systemic reform, education and advocacy projects without the support, expertise and vast resources of our pro bono partners.”
At Stradley Ronon the 250-hour, summer-wide research initiative was led by Hiring Committee Chair and Litigation Department Vice Chair Marissa Parker. Topics of research included homeownership, homelessness, long-term care, financial exploitation, kinship care, and guardianship, as these are issues that typically impact older Pennsylvanians.
Our summer associate program is designed to expose students to challenging work assignments and experiences that mirror life as a practicing attorney at Stradley, and the partnership with SeniorLAW Center, AARP, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly did just that,” said Parker.
“Because COVID-19 placed a bright spotlight on the stacked layers of inequity that are responsible for disparities in access to justice for older people, SeniorLAW Center was interested in research on these matters. When Stradley Ronon approached us about projects for their summer associate program, it seemed like a natural fit and developed into a wonderful partnership,” said Renee Chenault Fattah, Director of Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania at SeniorLAW Center.
One of the initiative’s goals was to bring about systemic changes in the law, which is where the partnership with AARP is so crucial. As AARP State Director William Johnston-Walsh says: “We take these everyday issues and concerns that impact the lives of older Pennsylvanians, both locally and statewide. From there, we go to city councils and we go to Harrisburg and work with legislators and elected officials to turn these issues into law.”
Adds Buck, “We stand upon the shoulders of the seniors of our country. It’s an honor to work every day to fight poverty and promote justice for those upon whose shoulders we stand.”