Social Justice

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The firm is committed to law in the public interest. Three of our attorneys, John Grogan, Irv Ackelsberg, and Mary Catherine Roper spent their formative years as lawyers in the public interest sector. John co-founded and directed the Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, Inc., a law office dedicated to representing the working poor. Irv spent thirty years with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, one of the nation’s premier civil legal aid programs. Mary Catherine Roper served as Deputy Legal Director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, where she managed an active docket of state and federal court cases addressing a broad range of civil liberties issues. Ned Diver is a member of the board and the Legal Committee of the local chapter of the ACLU, and all of the firm’s attorneys have dedicated considerable pro bono hours to complex immigration, civil rights, and election law matters.

The firm invests substantial resources into public interest litigation. We do these cases in partnership with public interest organizations. The firm has also established the Langer, Grogan & Diver Fund for Social Justice, which supports public interest law in the Philadelphia region. In 2009, the Fund established the Langer, Grogan & Diver Public Interest Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The Fellowship funds a graduating student’s first year of work in the public interest.

In Fields v. City of Philadelphia, 862 F.3d 353 (3d Cir. 2017),  John Grogan and Peter Leckman partnered with the ACLU of Philadelphia and obtained a ruling from the Third Circuit establishing that citizens have a First Amendment right to observe and record police activity. An article in The Atlantic described the decision as “a significant milestone”.

In 2008, Irv Ackelsberg, representing patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia, successfully enjoined the mayor of Philadelphia from closing eleven neighborhood branches of the library. Westbrook v. Nutter (Phila. Common Pleas).

Buck v. Stankovic, 485 F. Supp. 2d 576 (M.D. Pa. 2007). Working with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the firm successfully enjoined a Pennsylvania county from refusing to issue a marriage license to an American citizen and her undocumented immigrant fiancée.