We are a Country that promises justice for all. It is a concept which is written into the founding documents of this Country. However, all too often both access to and the quality of that justice becomes a question of money. Money buys choice and with money we can choose the best the marketplace allows us to afford. In issues of Criminal Law we are guaranteed legal representation and such representation will be provided if you cannot afford it. This is a right that is both understood and accepted. Far less accepted and understood is the need (and right?) to legal representation in matters of Civil Justice. Who represents those without resources in matters like landlord/tenant disputes, Protection from Abuse matters, appeals of Social Security decisions just to cite a few examples. Being poor complicates these issues enough. Add in being disabled or hearing impaired and the issues become even more complex. Recently on my show ,WIP SUNDAY, I had the pleasure of interviewing folks from the LEGAL CLINIC FOR THE DISABLED. Using a broad definition of the word “disabled”they provide representation to individuals with disabilities in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania( the five southeastern counties). With a relatively small staff and lots of volunteer help from some of the Philadelphia areas major law firms they do excellent work on behalf of those most in need of legal support. It should be noted that they do this with no governmental support. With Governmental support comes restrictions on what type of advocacy such an organization can and cannot do, Substantial in-kind support comes to them from both Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, through contributions from Foundations and from private individuals. All of this most important work happens on a small budget. My admiration goes out to these attorneys, both paid and volunteer, who do this work because it is the right thing to do. If we are to ever to live up to the promise of “and justice for all” then your access to financial resources should not be an issue.


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