Jon Campisi Feb. 1, 2013, 9:55am

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office recently announced that it has

entered into a pro-bono partnership with the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in which 20 of the firm’s litigation associates will be designated as special assistant district attorneys to provide pro-bono legal services to the prosecutor’s office.

The new special assistant district attorneys, who are all currently lower and mid-level associates in the law firm’s litigation department, will deliver an “influx of high-quality legal help in pre-trial matters,” the D.A.’s Office announced in a news release.

Each special assistant district attorney has participated in a training program geared toward familiarizing them with Montgomery County’s justice system.

“I am honored to partner with Morgan, Lewis and Bockius in this unique venture,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement. “One of our greatest challenges in these difficult economic times is maintaining sufficient human resources to perform all of the tasks and obligations required of a prosecutor. The citizens of Montgomery County will benefit from this public-private partnership, which supplements the DA’s full time staff with a stellar team of legal volunteers supporting our mission.”

From October 2009 to the fall of 2010, three Morgan Lewis associates worked as special assistant district attorneys in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office for a one-year fellowship before beginning work at the private law firm.

The current program builds upon the success of that prior program, Ferman’s office said.

“Through this partnership, the District Attorney’s Office will receive the expertise of a respected law firm while providing valuable courtroom experience for the firm’s Associates,” the news release states.

The program is coordinated by First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele and Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lloyd.

Coleen Meehan, a Morgan Lewis partner who helped spearhead the partnership, told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently that the program “gives our associates an opportunity to have on-their-feet courtroom experience very early in their careers.”

Meehan was quoted as saying the firm also previously collaborated in a similar manner with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office for about a dozen years.

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