Debby Freedman is the Executive Director of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), the largest public interest law firm in Pennsylvania. Ms. Freedman received a B.A. with High Honors from the University of Michigan and she is a graduate of Yale Law School.
As Executive Director, Ms. Freedman oversees CLS’s advocacy, fundraising and management team and is a leader in the fight for equal justice in Philadelphia. Under her leadership, CLS helps over 10,000 low income Philadelphians a year with individual cases and many thousands more through systematic advocacy and litigation.
Ms. Freedman has held several positions at CLS, including Deputy Director, Managing Attorney of CLS’s North Philadelphia office and Managing Attorney of CLS’ Family Advocacy Unit. In these management roles, Ms. Freedman’s work centered on improving CLS’s supervision and evaluation systems, team building, resource development, technology, implementing new practice tools, staff training and compliance.
Prior to positions in management, Ms. Freedman was a staff attorney and supervising attorney in the public benefits unit where her work focused on medical assistance, food stamps and disability law. In these roles, Ms. Freedman represented clients in state and federal court, as well as a wide variety of administrative forums, including in appellate and class action litigation. She was also a recipient of a Yale Public Interest Law fellowship to advance advocacy and litigation related to welfare reform.
Ms. Freedman currently serves as the Equal Justice Advisor to the Philadelphia Bar Association and Serves on the Association’s Board of Governors and on the Civil Gideon Force. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates.
Debby is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School where she teaches “Strategic Lawyering for Social Justice.” She has also taught and presented and numerous national and statewide conferences, including through the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Management Information Exchange and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.
Ms. Freedman serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Justice Project and is a volunteer with Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Ms. Freedman previously served on the Executive Committee of Yale Law School, and on the Boards of Directors of HIAS Pa, Prevention Point Philadelphia and Society Hill Synagogue.