Luke Repici and Javier Puga
Partner Luke Repici, Associate Javier Puga and Assistant Trish Meissner, all of the Philadelphia office, recently helped a homeless client take the necessary legal steps to obtain his benefits and find a stable living situation.
Tell us about your pro bono experience
We worked together to obtain a fully favorable decision for our homeless client following a hearing before an administrative law judge. We met our client at our White and Williams/Homeless Advocacy Project Clinic, held at Our Brother's Place shelter, where he has been living. Following Social Security's denial of our client's claim for benefits, we obtained and reviewed his extensive medical records, prepared a brief for the Judge as to his entitlement to benefits under the relevant regulations, and presented his claim at the hearing, including direct testimony from the client and cross examination of the vocational expert. With the benefits, the client will be able to move out of the shelter and into a more permanent living situation, and the shelter will have an extra bed to offer someone else in need.
Why is pro bono service important to you?
We face a lot of challenges in our country and our world, which can seem overwhelming. But there are individuals in our community, here in Philadelphia, that are struggling and can really use a helping hand navigating the legal system. As lawyers, we have the privilege of being able to help.
How did you select an organization to support? What would you want someone to know about the organization?
The Homeless Advocacy Project is a wonderful organization and partner in helping Philadelphians, one at a time, get off the streets and into more permanent living situations.
What value does pro bono service provide you and your clients?
Working on pro bono cases can help an attorney develop useful skills they can apply in other areas of their practice, making them better suited to address the needs of all of his or her clients and provide quality services to the diverse issues that can arise.
why should other lawyers get involved in pro bono service?
Pro bono opportunities can help you garner valuable legal experience while also fostering a sense of connection to the community. Pro bono work is a vital component of a well-rounded attorney and is crucial in addressing the many issues facing our society.
What Advice do you have for lawyers who want to get involved in pro bono service?
You will get more out of it than you think.