Insights & News

Stradley Ronon Summer Associate Program Contributes Pro Bono Services to Expand Legal Protections and Resources for Older Pennsylvanians

January 07, 2021
Firm News

– Stradley Ronon is proud to announce the firm partnered with the Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania Initiative, an innovative partnership between SeniorLAW Center, AARP, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly, which reaches out to law firms, law schools, and in-house counsel to use their pro bono research powers to address the systemic issues that impact seniors. This 250-hour, summer-wide research initiative was led by Hiring Committee Chair and Litigation Department Vice Chair Marissa Parker. Topics of research included homeownership, homelessness, long-term care, financial exploitation, kinship care, and guardianship, as these are issues that typically impact older Pennsylvanians.

“Because COVID-19 placed a bright spotlight on the stacked layers of inequity that are responsible for disparities in access to justice for older people, SeniorLAW Center was interested in research on these matters. When Stradley Ronon approached us about projects for their summer associate program, it seemed like a natural fit and developed into a wonderful partnership,” said Renee Chenault Fattah, Director of Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania at SeniorLAW Center.

“Our summer associate program is designed to expose students to challenging work assignments and experiences that mirror life as a practicing attorney at Stradley, and the partnership with SeniorLAW Center, AARP, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly did just that. Many of the projects the summer associates worked on will inform initiatives around systemic policies and legislative agendas going into the new year,” said Parker.

By the time the summer program ended, the summer associates produced distinguished memorandums of law on important issues including:
  • Best practices (e.g., expanding early voting, automatic and online voter registration) to increase access for eligible voters while addressing the needs of those who are affected by the digital divide.
  • Ways to address systemic inequities at the intersection of race, age, and health, focusing on solutions tied to public transportation and remote notarization.
  • The challenges facing older LGBTQ residents in long-term care centers. This memorandum was shared with advocacy groups, as they recommend necessary changes to regulations to the Pennsylvania State Health Department governing long-term care.
  • Systemic changes that could be made in existing laws or practices and how to measure whether our efforts are meeting the needs of those most impacted.
In addition to the COVID-19-related projects, the summer associates also developed a legal memorandum addressing a new change in Pennsylvania law on managing digital assets, which will be of tremendous help for SeniorLAW Center’s staff attorneys going forward.

One of the initiative’s goals was to bring about systemic changes in the law, which is where the partnership with AARP is so crucial. As AARP State Director William Johnston-Walsh says: “We take these everyday issues and concerns that impact the lives of older Pennsylvanians, both locally and statewide. From there, we go to city councils and we go to Harrisburg and work with legislators and elected officials to turn these issues into law.”

“It has been gratifying to see the real-time impact of the tremendous work done by the Stradley Summer Associates. Recently, one of the legal memorandums, which addressed best practices for courts reopening across the country, was shared with our institutional and judicial partners to assist SeniorLAW Center in their advocacy,” added Chenault Fattah.

The collaboration has been instrumental in furthering SeniorLAW Center’s mission of seeking justice for older people. For more information about this partnership, please visit:

About Stradley Ronon
Counseling clients since 1926, Stradley Ronon has helped private and public companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – achieve their goals by providing pragmatic, value-driven legal counsel. With offices in eight strategic locations, our responsive team of more than 200 attorneys seamlessly addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs, ranging from sophisticated corporate transactions to complex commercial litigation.
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