“Duffy Fellows” Renewed, Added at Philadelphia Legal Aid Organizations

Staff Attorney Jen Burdick and Executive Director Cathy Carr of Community Legal Services (left) and Legal Clinic for the Disabled’s Executive Director Linda Peyton and Medical Legal Partnership attorney Elizabeth Oquendo (right) thank Tom Duffy for his investment in their organizations.

(Philadelphia, PA) – The law firm of Duffy + Partners announced that it has renewed its “Duffy Fellowships” to two prominent Philadelphia legal service organizations and plans to add a new organization to the Duffy Fellowship family for 2014. For three years, the Duffy Fellowships have helped the poorest residents of Philadelphia tackle problems from unsafe housing and living conditions to children’s health issues and income insecurity.

The 2014 Duffy Fellowships will be used to underwrite a staff attorney’s full-time annual salary at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD) and at Community Legal Services (CLS). The LCD is a 501(c)3 corporation that provides free legal services to low-income individuals with physical disabilities in the five-county region. CLS is an independent 501(c)3 organization that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income Philadelphians.

Future plans are to fund legal services at the Homeless Advocacy Project, an organization that has provided $50.5 million in free legal service to over 35,300 homeless individuals in Philadelphia since its founding in 1990.

“While many legal issues are handled by existing staff and outside law firms donating pro bono hours, it is simply not enough,” said Tom Duffy. “These fellowships, which provide additional full-time on-staff attorneys, give those in need powerful assistance to take on issues that make a difference in the quality of their lives and the health and welfare of their families. I can’t think of anything more important than that.”

As part of the Fellowships, attorney Elizabeth Oquendo will continue her work as staff attorney for the Legal Clinic for the Disabled. In that capacity, she will work with the Medical Legal Partnership effort at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, helping the hospital’s medical professionals to identify and address hardships negatively affecting patients and, in effect, their health issues.

Attorney Jen Burdick continues her work at Community Legal Services as a staff attorney in the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) Unit, where she helps children and adults with disabilities facing cutoffs or denials of SSI, so their basic needs can be met.

The Duffy Fellowships are an extension of the mission for the Duffy firm, which works for justice on behalf of the catastrophic injured and their families in Philadelphia. Duffy + Partners, founded 26 years ago by Tom Duffy, is committed to making a difference in the City of Philadelphia, through its advocacy of victims of catastrophic injury and their families and these fine organizations.