Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) honored Jim Francis of Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C., PC with its 2014 Equal Justice Award, presented at the organization’s annual Breakfast of Champions event on May 28 at the Doubletree Hotel Philadelphia.
Francis was presented the award for his service and commitment to CLS in his outstanding work and support of CLS and its low-income clients. Beginning around the 15 years ago, CLS’s employment law practice began to see an inflow of clients whose criminal records prevented them from finding and keeping good jobs. Criminal record problems quickly became the single most common reason that people came to CLS for employment help. FCRA litigation is a highly dedicated practice within the consumer bar, and the application of the FCRA to criminal background checkers was even more specialized, with only a handful of lawyers nationally having brought cases at that time, Jim Francis being one of them. Francis has been a true partner in the efforts to bring law and order to an industry that has been in dire need of it. Working together, Francis and CLS have brought a half-dozen class actions against major players in the background checking field. In addition to taking the straining oar in our FCRA litigation, Francis and his firm have been devoted financial supporters of CLS. In addition to their firm gifts, Francis also helped coordinate the donation of a $2 million cy pres award in 2013 to CLS, along with an additional $2 million to the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Board, which was created by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to fund legal services agencies throughout the Commonwealth. Francis remains ever concerned about how he can help CLS keep the doors fully open, whether by recommending CLS for a cy pres award or through his own contributions.
CLS provides legal representation to impoverished Philadelphians on a wide variety of issues, including employment, housing, welfare, utility and bankruptcy-related cases. It is Philadelphia’s largest provider of free legal services, assisting nearly 18,000 of the city’s poorest residents with their legal problems each year.
Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. is a law firm located in center city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that concentrates in consumer protection litigation. Founded in 1998, the firm’s goal is to provide zealous advocacy to consumers subjected to unfair business, industry and trade practices. The firm represents consumers in individual actions, as well as through class action lawsuits, in the areas of unlawful credit reporting and debt collection practices, unfair trade practices, breach of warranty, truth-in-lending and other consumer matters. The firm’s attorneys have significant litigation experience both in federal and state trial courts.