Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (Law Center) has an illustrious history of ensuring vulnerable populations have access to fundamental resources, particularly special education. Like many legal services agencies, the Law Center possesses deep knowledge in a specialized area of the law that is of interest to varied constituencies (parents, educators, lawyers, social workers, etc.). However, they do not have the resources to create a training delivery model that is self-sustaining. To do so requires understanding marketing, event planning and curriculum development—all areas that are outside the mission of a legal services organization. Further, the training they conduct is not like traditional legal training geared towards attorneys—it is meant to bring the range of constituencies together to build networks and understanding, making it different from other legal education providers. The Law Center proposes creating a separate entity to further their mission of delivering specialized information to the widest audience possible. To do this, the Center hopes to further its mission while creating a stronger business model. As a social enterprise of this type is a new approach for a legal service agency, but one that others could emulate, the research into the viability of this model can serve to inform this sector.