We seek to improve Philadelphia holistically—from street corners to corner offices.

The Defender believes in empowering people, organizations and communities to play an active role in our justice system.

Community Lawyering is an essential part of the community outreach and advocacy practiced by the Defender Association The most significant part of community lawyering is meeting our clients where they are. Our clients can be found on street corners, back blocks, barber shops, bars, “bandos” (abandoned houses), and most places in our communities not frequently visited by attorneys or legal professionals. 

The Defender has developed several programs that connect the Defender with the community. Click the links below to learn more about our efforts to partner with community organizations and improve outcomes for justice-involved people.

Participatory defense hubs utilize trained community volunteers to provide insight, perspective, and support to those being charged and their families as they navigate the justice system.

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Shop Talk is a community outreach initiative used to bring Defender Association of Philadelphia, Children & Youth Justice Unit programming to the community through collaboration with a coalition and network of barbershops in the city of Philadelphia. 

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The Junior Defender Program coordinates with school administrators to reach out to students in neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. The program provides these students with a foundational understanding of the youth justice system in Philadelphia.

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With our community partners, we have developed a blueprint for a pre-trial system that protects due process, and prioritizes community-based supports over cash bail to create a fair, cost-effective system that improves the safety of our communities.

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Have Questions?

For questions or additional information about community partnerships, contact Kavita Goyal

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