The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently recognized Villanova University School of Law for its pro bono assistance in 2014. Among 30 recognized firms, Villanova Law was the only school, joining the ranks of many of the nation’s leading law firms.
The work was done through the Villanova Law Federal Tax Clinic, which provided tax assistance to migrant workers for whom SPLC won a significant judgment. Lany Villalobos ‘14, currently working for Philadelphia Legal Assistance as a Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellow, led the Federal Tax Clinic in its efforts to assist the SPLC clients. Villalobos was a Public Interest Scholar at Villanova Law, and throughout her time as a student, she was deeply committed to assisting individuals who might otherwise go unrepresented.
The Federal Tax Clinic uses students operating under the student practice rules of the IRS and the Tax Court to represent low-income taxpayers in the greater Philadelphia area. Without this help, these taxpayers would fight alone against the IRS when controversies arise. The Federal Tax Clinic, which has existed for almost 25 years, has a strong reputation for success in assisting low-income taxpayers in their federal tax disputes.
Professor Keith Fogg, director of the Federal Tax Clinic and 2015 recipient of the ABA Tax Section Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award, describes Villalobos as an extremely dedicated student who recognized the high demand for tax assistance in the immigrant population. He notes that Villalobos set out to make herself an expert in the little known intersectional area of the law where taxes and immigration meet. Her dedication and resourcefulness spearheaded the Federal Tax Clinic’s effort to provide valuable legal assistance to the SPLC clients. The recognition by SPLC reflects the Federal Tax Clinic’s leadership in assisting low-income taxpayers in Philadelphia and around the country.