Volunteer Lawyers for Justice is excited to honor Philip Taylor as its June Volunteer of the Month. Phil has been volunteering with VLJ’s Children’s Representation Program for the past year.
His interest in pro bono work began when he left a position practicing shareholder litigation at the law firm Abraham, Fruchter & Twersky to begin his own practice. “When I started my solo practice, I had more opportunity to do pro bono work,” said Phil. “My practice was slow initially, so I was excited by the opportunity to give back and learn about new practice areas.” After participating in VLJ’s new volunteer orientation, Phil, whose parents were both special education teachers, became interested in the Children’s Representation Program (CRP). CRP provides free legal advice and representation to parents or guardians of children with disabilities who have been denied the special education services to which they are entitled.
Phil took on his first pro bono education matter last June, and has taken two more since then. He has represented parents at Individualized Education Plan meetings and at settlement conferences in the Office of Administrative Law. He ultimately helped his clients obtain independent evaluations, an out-of-district placement, and additional special education services for their children.
Phil has experienced firsthand how important legal representation can be in these cases. “It’s a world of difference to have an attorney,” Phil said. “There is a huge need for pro bono representation, especially in these underserved populations that don’t have the financial ability to pursue the appropriate placements for their kids.”
The idea of jumping into a new area of law can be intimidating, but Phil has found the support VLJ provides its volunteers to be extremely helpful. “I think VLJ is awesome because they give you so many resources to be able to get up and running,” Phil said. “They hand you the practice area on a platter, which is amazing when you’re doing pro bono work.”
VLJ is likewise appreciative of the support of volunteers like Phil. His eagerness to take on new cases and his determination to navigate a new and complex area of law make him a superb advocate for parents in need. VLJ is honored to recognize Phil as its June Volunteer of the Month.