Integrated within corporate social responsibility is pro bono legal work. Pittsburgh-based law firm, Meyer Unkovic & Scott (“MUS”) is a pro bono leader and visionary in the legal community encouraging and promoting its attorneys to have leadership roles in legal aid organizations and to create and manage pro bono projects.
MUS attorneys have led and are active board members of Neighborhood Legal Services (“NLS”), the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership (“PPBP”), and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation (“ACBF”). The PPBP is a collaboration of corporate legal departments, law firms, the ACBF, and NLS working together to increase pro bono legal services to the greater Pittsburgh community. The Partnership encourages new and more creative efforts to provide legal services to persons of limited means.
To assist Pittsburgh’s low-income residents in maintaining housing or, in some cases, obtaining public housing, the Landlord Tenant Project was established by the PPBP in 2013 through the efforts of MUS, who volunteered to establish and run the Landlord Tenant Project. The program is designed to assist low-income individuals facing landlord-tenant and other housing legal issues. The firm subsequently partnered with Arconic, Inc. and Alcoa Corporation, each of which staff the project with more than 35 attorney volunteers. Volunteer attorneys represent clients at Section 8 and public denial hearings and staff a weekly shift with a hotline, advising low income individuals on landlord-tenant issues. Hotline callers leave a voicemail for a volunteer who returns that call within 48 hours. Thousands of calls have generated pro bono legal advice utilizing this convenient option. In addition, as part of Allegheny County’s innovative Housing Court Pilot Project, MUS is helping to expand the Landlord Tenant Project to recruit and manage volunteer attorneys who will provide representation to low-income individuals at landlord tenant mediations. In recognition of the volunteer team’s continued commitment to this cause, the Corporate Pro Bono (“CPBO”) Institute selected MUS, Arconic, and Alcoa to receive the CPBO Pro Bono Award in fall of 2017.
In addition to the Landlord Tenant Project, MUS manages the PPBP Custody Conciliation Project, which provides volunteer attorneys to represent low-income individuals at custody conferences in the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Since taking over the project in summer 2014, the firm has managed more than one thousand applications for assistance and representation at custody conciliations. Since fall 2014, MUS also manages and volunteers within the PPBP Criminal Records Expungement Project, which pairs volunteer attorneys with low income individuals seeking to improve opportunities for housing and employment by expunging criminal arrest, summary conviction and juvenile records.
On top of its leadership role within these critical pro bono projects and organizations, MUS attorneys provide pro bono legal services as court appointed best interest attorneys, and at protection from abuse hearings.