Legal Service Partners

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE)

PLSE was founded in 2011 by three civil rights attorneys to help people in low-income, primarily minority communities attack what they identified as one of the greatest impediments to their individual and collective success: the criminal record histories of their residents. Since then, we have followed the strong, successful model created by the late Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, calling on neighborhoods to come together to combat the issue through community education and empowerment, collective investment and action, neighbor helping neighbor, and forcing change by the sheer force of numbers, voices, and resolve. PLSE counsels more people about criminal records, files more expungement petitions, and, through trained volunteers, helps more people file pardon applications than any other organization in the country.

GET CONNECTED: Facebook, @PLSPhilly; Twitter, @PLSEPHILLY;  Instagram, @plse_philly

Defender Association of Philadelphia

Originally created in 1934 as the Philadelphia Voluntary Defender Association, the agency’s primary mission was then and continues to be to represent indigent people accused of crimes. In response to the Supreme Court’s Gideon decision, which required the government to provide legal representation to criminal defendants pending charges punishable by more than one year in prison, the City of Philadelphia contracted with the Defender Association to fulfill its constitutional mandate. Today, Defender employs 453 professionals and administrative staff and receives almost all of its funding through a contract with the City of Philadelphia to provide legal services to indigent criminal defendants. Defender Association represents over 60% of the people arrested in the city of Philadelphia and over 90% of people with pending violations of probations.

GET CONNECTED: Facebook, @phillydefenders; Twitter, @phillydefenders;  Instagram, @phillydefenders

Community Legal Services (CLS)

CLS has long been a leader in criminal record clearing and advocacy, has hosted community-based expungement clinics since 2014, and transitioned to virtual expungement clinics since the pandemic began in March 2020. CLS’ passionate, diverse, and talented team delivers exceptionally high-quality holistic legal services to clients, while challenging systemic injustice and pushing for more equitable laws and policies. CLS has a particular interest and expertise in bringing solutions like record clearing to scale and does so through knowledge of the Clean Slate law, which vastly expanded access to record-clearing in Pennsylvania, the use of cutting-edge technology like the Expungement Generator, and CLS’ record screening tool at, extensive knowledge and experience with every aspect of criminal records and employment law, and deep ties with community organizations and neighborhoods affected by over-policing.

GET CONNECTED: Facebook, @clsphila; Twitter, @CLSPhila; Instagram, @CLSPhila; LinkedIn, Community Legal Services