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Custody and Protection Project (CAPP)

The Custody and Projection Project (CAPP) exists to supply legal assistance and advice to low-income individuals in Philadelphia who are representing themselves in child custody, child support, and protection from abuse matters. CAPP makes a special effort to assist survivors of violence, people from historically marginalized groups, and non-English speaking individuals in order to increase access to justice in Philadelphia family court.

What we do:

CAPP provides volunteer advocates with a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience working one-on-one with clients to prepare legal documents, provide advice for court appearances, and navigate the Philadelphia court system. In addition, second-semester 2L and 3L advocates also have the opportunity to become Certified Legal Interns and represent clients in Family Court.

How we do it:

CAPP advocates work alongside attorneys at Philadelphia Legal Assistance to work with pro se litigants in the Philadelphia Family Court system. Advocates conduct intake interviews with clients where they learn about the background and facts of the case, discuss statutory parameters with clients, and help clients craft legal arguments to best present their case before a judge or hearing officer in a custody, child support, or protection from abuse hearing. Often advocates will draft motions, assist in accessing criminal records or other relevant documentation, and help prepare exhibits for the court.

How and when can I join:

Students interested in participating in CAPP should apply in the fall semester by contacting this year’s Recruitment Directors, Pilar Gomez (pgomez@penncareylaw.upenn.edu) and Sophia Heisman-Gibbons (sophiahg@penncareylaw.upenn.edu) with any questions. CAPP is a full-year commitment and we do not accept applicants in the spring semester.

What skills will I develop:

Client intake and communication skills, case management experience, practice drafting legal petitions for original filings, reconsideration, or modification to orders currently in effect. Additionally, advocates learn to work collaboratively with others to grapple with legal questions and formulate creative case strategy.

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.