Amy E. Hirsch
Lecturer in Law
Amy Hirsch is currently Of Counsel at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, documenting CLS’ history of public benefits class actions, and advising CLS attorneys on systemic public benefits advocacy. She was previously Managing Attorney for CLS’ Health and Independence Unit, and Managing Attorney for CLS’ North Philadelphia Law Center, for many years. CLS is a nationally recognized non-profit law firm providing high quality free representation to low income Philadelphians on a range of civil issues.
Amy has led and participated in state and federal civil litigation, administrative and policy advocacy with a particular concentration on welfare, health, SNAP/food stamps, the interaction of welfare and family law and the interaction of welfare and criminal law. Her advocacy resulted in systemic changes to the administration of cash assistance, Medicaid, food assistance (SNAP/Food Stamps), and increased access to public benefits for low-income families, seniors, and low-wage and unemployed individuals. She was instrumental in development of policies to protect survivors of domestic violence in need of public benefits, to improve access to child support for families receiving cash assistance, and to assist women in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
With co-counsel from Morgan Lewis and colleagues from CLS, Amy challenged Trump Administration policy denying SNAP/Food Stamp Emergency Allotments to the lowest income households in Pennsylvania during the pandemic. In Gilliam v. USDA, No. 2:20-cv-03504 (E.D. Pa. March 31, 2021), the team obtained a Preliminary Injunction, then settled the case with $712 million in retroactive SNAP benefits for Pennsylvanians and a change in policy nationally which resulted in ongoing SNAP Emergency Allotments of at least $95/month/household, resulting in billions of dollars of food assistance to the poorest households nationally.
Amy has published numerous articles on public benefits issues and advocacy strategies.