About Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Anita Santos-Singh
Anita Santos-Singh,
Executive Director

Founded in 1996, Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals and families in Philadelphia.

From our office at 718 Arch Street, our 39 employees and 35 volunteer law students assist approximately 6,500 clients each year with a variety of civil legal problems, including family law, foreclosure, public benefits, and other legal problems.  We also provide legal services to migrant farmworkers working in Pennsylvania.

In addition to providing direct legal services, we provide referrals and support to organizations that coordinate pro bono volunteer lawyers, including Philadelphia VIP and the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project.  We work closely with other providers of legal services in Philadelphia.

PLA receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation, the Department of Justice, the City of Philadelphia's Division of Housing and Community Development, Pennsylvania IOLTA, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, and other sources.  We operate on a $4 million annual budget.  You can find more information on our Guidestar profile.  Copies of our IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements are available upon request.

If you need legal help, we encourage to you to apply for assistance over the phone, in person, or on-line.

If you would like to share information with others about the legal services PLA provides, you are welcome to print and distribute our brochure.

PLA is an equal opportunity provider.

Our Mission Statement

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is dedicated to providing high quality, creative legal services, advice and referrals for eligible low income people. We are committed to educating and empowering our clients and working collectively with other advocates to achieve these goals.

How is PLA different from Community Legal Services?

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) and Community Legal Services (CLS) are the two largest organizations in Philadelphia that provide free civil legal services to low-income people.  PLA receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation, while CLS does not.

Although PLA and CLS are organized, funded, and managed separately, we work closely together.  When PLA was created in 1996, its initial employees came from CLS, and PLA's Board of Directors overlaps with that of CLS.  PLA and CLS engage in joint planning to ensure that Philadelphia's low-income population has access to a full range of civil legal services.