Available Cases

VIP offers the unique opportunity to positively affect the lives of low income Philadelphia residents. We provide resources to assist you throughout the case, including mentors, interpreters, law students and training materials. VIP has included potential core competencies that staff anticipate volunteer counsel would achieve by taking the case, but these experiences are not guaranteed. Every VIP case provides an opportunity for direct client contact and case management. Join the VIP team by taking a case!

If you are interested in taking one of the following cases, please click on the case number to send an email to the VIP staff. Thank you!

Divorce

  • 15-0037433
    Divorce with Equitable Distribution

    Client/Wife and OP/Husband were married in 1987 and separated in June 2015. The marital estate includes the house in which OP is residing, OP's retirement benefits, motor vehicles, and debt. Client is not employed; OP is employed by SEPTA. OP has representation for the pending spousal support case initiated by Client and is expected to be represented in any divorce proceedings. No divorce action has been started to date. Client would like assistance in obtaining a divorce and her share of the marital estate.

    Core Competencies: Draft Pleadings, Discovery Practice

Guardianship

  • 15-0037976

    Client seeks assistance with obtaining guardianship of her 37-year-old son. Client’s son is in a vegetative state following complications from surgery, and currently resides in a nursing home. Client’s son is single, and has one minor child. The guardianship is not expected to be contested. Client has applied for social security disability on behalf of her son, and seeks guardianship so that she can make healthcare and financial decisions on his behalf.
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Drafting
     

Mortgage Foreclosure

  • 16-0038105
    Client lives in a home titled and mortgaged in her deceased mother's name. Client fell behind on the mortgage due to unemployment, but has since resumed employment. Client needs title in order to assume the mortgage; a VIP volunteer attorney is assisting client with drafting a deed in her name. The housing counselor is Joseph Filipski from New Kensington CDC. An attorney is needed to help client communicate with the lender to assume the loan. The third conciliation conference is scheduled on February 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM.
    Core Competencies: Courtroom Experience, Negotiation Skills

Name Change

  • 15-0037473
    Delayed Birth Certificate
    Client needs assistance with a delayed birth certificate. Client was born in Philadelphia and was in foster care as a child. Client believes she had a birth certificate, but Pennsylvania Vital Records states that there is no record of her birth. Client has a Social Security card but has never had a state ID. Client is currently living in transitional housing. She applied for PHA housing, but PHA has demanded that she present a birth certificate to qualify. Client is very responsive and responsible. She has a dedicated caseworker through a mental health agency who has served as a helpful contact for her case. Client needs a volunteer attorney to help her access her DHS file to obtain a copy of her birth certificate, or, failing that, to file a petition to establish birth facts. 
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Factual Development and Investigation
  • 15-0037473
    Delayed Birth Certificate
    Client needs assistance with a delayed birth certificate. Client was in foster care as a child and believes she was born in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania has no record of her birth. Client has a Social Security card but has never had a state ID. Client is currently living in transitional housing. She applied for PHA housing, but PHA has demanded that she present a birth certificate to qualify. Client is very responsive and responsible. She has a dedicated caseworker through a mental health agency who has served as a helpful contact for her case.  Client needs a volunteer attorney to help file a petition to establish birth facts so that she can obtain a birth certificate. 
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Factual Development and Investigation

Nonprofit

  • 16-0038119
    Tax

    Client is a nonprofit organization serving Philadelphia.  Client’s mission is to increase racially and ethnically underrepresented students in STEM fields and improve their retention as educators and professionals.  Client holds workshops and panel discussions for graduate students of color interested in academic careers.  Client incorporated in July 2015.  Client is seeking assistance in applying for tax-exempt status.  This has a companion case, #16-0038174, about Directors’ and Officers’ liability insurance.
    Core Competencies: Administrative Agency Practice

  • 16-0038174
    Insurance

    Client is a nonprofit organization serving Philadelphia.  Client’s mission is to increase racially and ethnically underrepresented students in STEM fields and improve their retention as educators and professionals.  Client holds workshops and panel discussions for graduate students of color interested in academic careers.  Client incorporated in July 2015.  Client is seeking guidance about the most appropriate Directors’ and Officers’ liability insurance for the organization.  This has a companion case, #16-0038119, about applying for tax-exempt status.
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing

Probate

  • 15-0037768
    S 3546 Petition
    Client seeks assistance obtaining title to her home. Record owner is client’s deceased aunt who died testate in 2004, with a Will leaving the property to client’s two aunts. One of the client’s aunts predeceased the record owner, so the other aunt alone inherited the property. This aunt died intestate in 2008 and was survived by only one heir, client’s cousin. Client’s cousin then died in 2013 and left the property to client in a holographic Will. Client has originals of all Wills. Because there are three estates involved, an attorney is needed to file a § 3546 petition for determination of title to the property in Orphans’ Court. Client is extremely responsive and a pleasure to work with.
    Core Competencies: Draft Pleadings, Client Interviewing
     
  • 13-0033343
    Client lives in a home titled in her deceased parents' names as tenants by the entireties. Her father predeceased her mother; the property is in her mother's estate. Client's mother left a will giving the property to her four children - client and her three brothers. Client's brother opened the estate and was appointed Executor, but he never completed the estate administration. Client’s three brothers are now deceased and are survived by wives and children, most of whom have a legal interest in the property. Two of the three brothers left wills and their estates were administered. Client’s family is willing to give client the property. An attorney is needed to help client complete the administration of her mother’s estate, including filing a petition with the Register of Wills to have client substituted as the Executor. The attorney will need to work with client and her family to review her brothers’ wills and estate files to accurately identify the heirs who have a legal interest in the property. 
    Core Competencies: Draft Pleadings, Project Management
  • 14-0036524
    S 3546 Petition

    Client seeks assistance obtaining title to her home. Record owner is client’s deceased aunt.  In the 1980s, aunt’s estate was opened, and aunt’s sister was appointed the Administratrix. When the sister died, a second administrator was appointed, but the estate administration was never completed.  VIP has a complete copy of the estate file with the names and addresses of eleven heirs, three of whom are client and her two brothers who all live in Philadelphia.  Client’s brothers are willing to give her their interest in the property.  In addition, VIP has a recent obituary for one of the heirs that provides helpful information on aunt’s family tree.  An attorney is needed to research and clarify the status of the aunt’s heirs and if appropriate, file a § 3546 petition for determination of title to the property in Orphans’ Court.

    Core Competencies: Draft Pleadings, Client Interviewing