Led by Edwin D. (Ned) Wolf, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia opens its doors as a local affiliate of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Our first case—Shannon v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—establishes that HUD must assess the disproportionate racial impact of its projects

The Law Center begins its first studies of police misconduct

Thomas K. Gilhool (Law Center Chief Counsel 1975-2005) files the seminal lawsuit Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which secured the legal right to education for children with disabilities

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is officially incorporated by five past and then-present Chancellors of the Philadelphia Bar Association

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is passed as a result of the court decree we secured in PARC v. Commonwealth

We intervene in Halderman v. Pennhurst to make it the first case in the nation to close a segregated residential institution for people with disabilities and replace it with community-based, integrated services. We bring or support similar cases in seven other states during the next 30 years

1970s and 1980s
We release reports on police misconduct and use of deadly force resulting in changed practices

1970s and 1980s
We release reports on police misconduct and use of deadly force resulting in changed practices

The EEOC calls our training and referral program for employment discrimination cases the best in the country. One result is three successful class actions on behalf of thousands of African Americans denied employment or promotions at steel companies

Jerry Balter leads our environmental justice practice representing communities in cleaning up or closing dozens of trash incinerators, sewage treatment plants, and industrial facilities, and forcing adoption of automobile pollution inspection in Pennsylvania

We write and help pass Philadelphia’s Community Right-to-Know ordinance, the first of its kind, which grants citizens the right to know what toxic chemicals are in their neighborhoods, and then a similar state-wide law in New Jersey, leading to Congress passing the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

In partnership with communities in Camden, NJ and Chester, PA we bring two of the first civil rights lawsuits to challenge discriminatory environmental permitting practices in low-income minority communities. EPA conducts its first cumulative impact study at our request