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Legal Resources

Volunteer Attorney Panels

As a litigant in a civil case, you are not entitled to appointment of counsel. However, the Court has established three Volunteer Attorney Panels of attorneys who are willing to accept appointments on a pro bono basis in certain types of cases:

  • The attorneys on the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel represent prison inmates for constitutional violations alleged to have occurred during incarceration, or for constitutional violations by law enforcement officers before the inmate was incarcerated that relate to the matter(s) for which the inmate is then incarcerated.
  • The attorneys on the Employment Panel represent plaintiffs raising claims of employment discrimination. Under the terms of the program, cases in which an attorney is appointed from the Employment Panel are referred for early mediation.
  • The attorneys on the Social Security Panel represent plaintiffs appealing an administrative denial of social security benefits.

If you are a plaintiff in one of these types of cases and would like your case to be considered for appointment by attorneys on the panel, you should file a motion for appointment of counsel using the Court’s Form Motions to ask the Judge to appoint counsel for you. It is the decision of the Judge assigned to your case whether to refer your case to the panel for consideration or to otherwise appoint counsel. Placement of your case on the panel for consideration by an attorney does not guarantee that your case will be accepted by an attorney. Keep in mind that you may have to continue to pursue your case on your own while you wait to see whether an attorney will accept your case. If an attorney does not volunteer to represent you, you must represent yourself unless you are able to hire an attorney.

Additional Resources

Links to the following resources are provided for the user’s convenience. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information available from external sources.