Get Involved

INVEST IN SOCIAL EQUITY





Individual donations are appreciated.

 

SHARE YOUR STORY


In response to hearing hundreds of personal stories of the impact the criminal justice system is having on city residents, PLSE established an Expungement Impact Hotline to collect these stories and give impacted individuals the opportunity to lend their voices to advocacy for criminal records reform.

To add your story, call 215 – 995 – 1230

Along with your story, please leave your first name, phone number, and neighborhood where you live but do not leave any other confidential information, as your story may be used for advocacy purposes.

CONTACT THE LEGISLATURE


An important element of PLSE’s mission is bringing criminal record reform to the forefront of the political discussion. We want to generate conversations in communities, in the media, and in political offices across the state about the importance of reducing the impact that criminal records have on the lives of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Our efforts seek to not only eliminate the stigma surrounding criminal records, but also to effectuate the reform of local and state laws that create barriers to those with criminal records in such areas as employment, housing, and public benefits. To do this, we need power in numbers.

Visit, call, and write your Elected officials to demand criminal history information reform!

If you live in Philadelphia, you can find your City Council person here.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can find your State Legislative Representatives here.

INVEST YOUR TIME AND VOLUNTEER FOR SOCIAL EQUITY


PLSE aims to mobilize and join together community groups, local political leaders, students and other who are personally affected by criminal records or who share our mission.  Volunteers are a driving force behind PLSE’s work.  If interested in volunteering with PLSE please contact us via the form below.

ORGANIZERS & COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS
Our organizing efforts will primarily consist of building campaigns around favorable proposed amendments to criminal record laws and setting up media campaigns to raise awareness about the issues. Whether assisting PLSE staff with administrative duties or lending your time to call and write to local officials about expungement legislation, all efforts are deeply appreciated.

ATTORNEYS

The pro bono engagement of law firms and individual attorneys is also critical to our expungement efforts, as it enables us to seek expungements in cases that would otherwise not be heard. PLSE regularly seeks pro bono assistance for cases arising from our Expungement Clinics. If you are an attorney and are interested in becoming a pro bono attorney for PLSE, please contact us by email at info@plsephilly.

FELLOWSHIPS

Employment Opportunity Legal Corps (EOLC) Fellow — Currently filled.

Practice Areas: Expungement/Employment/Community Engagement

Job Description:

Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps have partnered together to provide the new Employment Opportunity Legal Corps (EOLC) Fellowship opportunity to remove legal barriers to employment for economically disadvantaged individuals across the nation. The EOLC Fellow will provide legal assistance to individuals with a legal barrier to employment such as an expungement-eligible criminal record, revocation/denial of an occupational license, or the loss of a driver’s license.

The Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (“PLSE”) is sponsoring one Fellow in its Philadelphia office. PLSE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit legal aid organization, whose mission is to work toward just outcomes for low-income individuals who interact with the Pennsylvania criminal justice system and to create a more equitable social environment, including access to employment and social services for those with criminal records.

PLSE provides direct representation of low-income individuals seeking expungement of their criminal records in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. PLSE identifies clients by conducting monthly community-based intake sessions in the communities most affected by criminal history record information. PLSE also brings strategic cases on behalf of job applicants whose rights under Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (“CHRIA”) may have been violated by potential employers.

PLSE’s impact derives from its innovative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of our clients while pressing for systemic change.

Based on Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps guidelines, the term of service will begin on or about September 2016.  The Fellowship position is a one-year Fellowship, with a possible one- year extension contingent upon continued AmeriCorps funding.

The AmeriCorps EOLC Fellow will:

75% of the Fellow’s time will be devoted to direct legal representation. 25% of the Fellow’s time will be reserved for following up with clients, gathering employment data, developing an independent project, and building partnerships with job-skill, and job-seeking organizations.

  • Attend and conduct monthly expungement intakes and review law student-generated petitions for filing.
  • Represent approximately 350 economically disadvantaged individuals annually, filing expungement/redaction petitions on their behalf, representing them in expungement hearings and defending challenges to their petitions in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
  • Research, draft and file appeals as necessary.
  • Follow up with any individuals who have had their petitions granted, but are being denied administrative expungement by Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, (AOPC), due to outstanding fines, costs, or bail. Advocate on behalf of the individual client to make sure that the AOPC and other law enforcement agencies complies with the Court’s expungement order.
  • Conduct follow-up interviews with new clients three months and six months after expungement is completed to collect data and measure effects of expungement on access to employment.
  • Follow-up with PLSE’s existing clients to collect data and measure effects of expungement on access to employment.
  • Establish relationships with non-profit organizations and community service providers that serve vulnerable populations that lack access to legal services concerning criminal history record information.
  • Establish relationships with job-skill and job-placement services and develop reference materials that can be distributed to clients before and after expungement services are provided.
  • Create community outreach materials, as well as legal education materials for legal aid organizations doing expungements in Philadelphia County, and beyond.
  • Conduct community trainings at non-profit organizations and social service providers.
  • Manage and further develop PLSE’s social media outreach.
  • Other administrative tasks related to AmeriCorps and Equal Justice Works program compliance.
  • Other administrative tasks as assigned.

Qualifications:

The Fellow must be admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and have graduated from an Equal Justice Works member law school. The Fellow will need excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as interpersonal, organizational, and negotiation skills and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

Knowledge of the collateral consequences of criminal records, criminal law, employment law, experience with low-income or economically disadvantaged individuals or families and knowledge of a second language is preferred. Position requires completion of NSOPR, state(s), and FBI Fingerprint, criminal background checks, as well as compliance with all CNCS Federal Regulations throughout the fellowship program.

Salary:

Compensation:  up to $44,450 which includes:

  • $25,060 AmeriCorps living allowance
  • Up to $21,000 in supplemental benefits for housing, loans, etc. (subject to allowable expenses)

Other benefits:

  • $5,775 AmeriCorps Legal Education Award upon successful completion of service.
  • Professional development and training assistance.
  • Student loan forbearance during services and interest accrual payment for eligible loans upon successful completion of service.
  • Participation in Equal Justice Works training opportunities and conferences, as applicable.

Philadelphia Lawyers For Social Equity is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer that recognizes the value of a fully diverse workforce.  PLSE does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran’s status or other protected class found under applicable local, state and/or federal statutes.

Application Instructions:

Please e-mail resume, cover letter, and list of references with the subject line:  AmeriCorps Fellowship – [Your Last Name] to: Lee@PLSEphilly.org

Michael Lee, Executive Director

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

LAW STUDENTS

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer law student for PLSE, please contact PLSE via email info@plsephilly.org. Law students will have the rewarding opportunity to work directly with clients, personally taking them through the expungement process step by step.

AmeriCorps JD:

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity is seeking currently enrolled law students to apply for an AmeriCorps JD position.  AmeriCorps JD shall complete 300 hours of service at least 300 service hours within a 12- month period.  Applicants must provide a start and end date for their term of service in their application materials.  In addition to membership into the AmeriCorps alumni network, upon successful completion of the term of service, AmeriCorps JDs will be eligible to receive the Segal Education Award from the National Service Trust valued at the amount of the Pell Grant, which is now $1,222.22. The Education Award can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans for up to seven years after completion of the term of service in which it is awarded. Please note that AmeriCorps JDs who have served in previous AmeriCorps terms may not be eligible for the entire education award, per AmeriCorps regulations. The student will not receive a cash stipend for service as an AmeriCorps JD Member.

60% of the JD’s time will be devoted to direct legal representation. 40% of the JD’s time will be reserved for following up with clients, gathering employment data, and creating education and outreach materials. The JD will receive substantive training in the nexus of criminal and civil law, and will be responsible for the following tasks, including but not limited to: Attend monthly expungement intakes and review assist in post-intake follow up. Represent economically disadvantaged individuals annually, drafting and reviewing expungement/redaction petitions on their behalf, representing them in expungement hearings in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Follow up with any individuals who have had their petitions granted, to make sure that all relevant agencies are complying with the Court’s expungement order. Conduct follow-up interviews with new and existing clients to collect data and measure effects of expungement on access to employment and education opportunities. Create legal education materials for legal aid organizations doing expungements in Philadelphia County, and beyond. Conduct community education presentations at non-profit organizations and social service providers. Maintain a PLSE’s social media outreach. Other administrative tasks related to AmeriCorps and Equal Justice Works program compliance, and as assigned.

Interested Law Students must submit a new “application” on SAM that includes completing all the personal information sections required by AmeriCorps. In addition, please email a resume Michael Lee Lee@plsephilly.org.

 

More information can be found here.