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Irv Ackelsberg
Irv Ackelsberg


  • Rutgers-Camden Law School, J.D., Magna Cum Laude, 1976
  • Haverford College, B.A., 1972


  • Pennsylvania
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


Irv Ackelsberg, a partner in the firm, is a consumer rights specialist with substantial trial-level and appellate experience in the federal and Pennsylvania civil systems. He is an expert in such diverse areas as consumer credit, mortgage servicing and foreclosure, bankruptcy, and RICO.

Mr. Ackelsberg joined the firm in 2006 after 30-year career with Community Legal Services, Inc. (“CLS”) of Philadelphia, generally recognized among the highest quality civil legal aid programs in the country. He has earned a national reputation for creative advocacy involving, among other issues, representation of predatory loan victims and homeowners facing foreclosure; student victims of fraudulent, for-profit schools and training programs; low-wage workers harmed by abusive employment background screening; and consumer creditors in chapter 11 proceedings.

Representative Cases

    • Turrey et al. v. Vervent, Inc. et al., No. 20-CV-0697 (S.D. Cal.). Lead counsel in pending RICO action by borrowers against a California-based loan servicer of private loan program of ITT, the now-defunct for-profit education company. The case was certified as a class action, 2023 WL 163200 (filed Jan. 11, 2023), and LGD secured a jury verdict based on RICO’s conspiracy provision.  This is one of the very few such cases tried to verdict. 
    • Comm. of Pa. v. Think Finance, Inc., 2018 WL 637656 (E.D. Pa., Jan. 31, 2018), 2016 WL 161597 (Jan. 14, 2016), No. 14-CV-7139. Representing the Pennsylvania Attorney General as Special Counsel in successful civil enforcement action under state RICO statute against businesses directing an illegal “tribal” lending scheme targeting Pennsylvania consumers.
    • Solomon v. American Web Loan, Inc., No. 4:17-cv-0145-HCM-RJK (E.D. Va.). Co-counsel in successful objection to national class action settlement involving “tribal” lending enterprise that resulted in tens of millions of dollars in additional distribution and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional debt relief to class members.
    • Wilson v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2014 WL 4744555 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2014) (among first cases decided nationwide on enhanced mortgagor rights established by the federal Mortgage Servicing Rule; also providing extensive analysis of availability of Pennsylvania state law remedies against mortgage servicers that provide misleading information to delinquent borrowers).
    • Gentry v. Siegel, 668 F.3d 83 (4th Cir. 2012). Authored winning amicus curiae brief on behalf of National Assoc. of Consumer Advocates and Nat’l Assoc. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, establishing the right of consumer creditors to file class claims in business chapter 11 case.
    • Westbrook et al. v. Nutter, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Dec. Term 2008, No. 4091 (Adjudication filed Jan. 5, 2009). Lead counsel in successful class action that prevented the closure of eleven neighborhood branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
    • Goode v. LexisNexis Risk & Information Analytics Group, Inc., 848 F. Supp. 2d 532 (E.D. Pa. 2012). Led legal team in successful effort to expose and ultimately terminate a secret “theft database” used by the retail industry against employees unknowingly labeled as unemployable “thieves” despite having no criminal record. Case was highlighted in front-page story in N.Y Times.
    • Green Tree Consumer Discount Co. v. Newton, 909 A.2d 811 (Pa. Super. 2006).  Narrowed 20-year-old precedent that had limited ability of foreclosure defendants to raise defenses to foreclosure and expressly recognized as defenses the mental incapacity of mortgagor and failure of contractor that arranged the financing to provide promised home improvements.


    • Authored the treatise RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE: PA. LAW AND PRACTICE (2d ed., Bisel 2014)
    • Contributing author, C. Carter (ed.), PA. CONSUMER LAW (Bisel 2008, Supp. 2012)
    • Assisting Clients Seeking the Road to Decent Jobs: Job Training Advocacy, Clearinghouse Review, Vol. 29, No. 3 (July 1995)


    • 2005 Vern Countryman Award from the National Consumer Law Center for excellence and dedication in consumer law practice on behalf of low-income consumers
    • 2001 Bending the ARC Award from the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association
    • 1997 recipient of Striving Towards Excellence Award by Pennsylvania Legal Services

Public Interest

From the beginning of his legal career in 1976, Irv has been dedicated to serving the public interest. He worked for 30 years for Community Legal Services, managing its North Philadelphia office and leading its consumer law work. His achievements in the public interest have been recognized locally and nationally, as indicated by the awards mentioned below. He serves on the Board of Directors of Community Legal Services and Philadelphia Legal Assistance, as well as the board of a Pennsylvania interfaith, social justice organization.

Additional language proficiencies: Spanish