944 Stein Jonathan

Jonathan M. Stein


BSR Contributor Since May 31, 2008

Jonathan M. Stein, a Center City resident and frequent theatergoer, is general counsel for Community Legal Services Inc.
I have been active in the arts and performance worlds as an arts advocate and board member and as a performer. I have participated in more than a dozen dance performances since around 1990 with choreographers including Leah Stein (no relation), David Koplowitz (Fenestrations at 30th St. Station), Headlong Dance Theater (Cell in Live Arts Festival and in New Haven's Intern'l Festival of Arts and Ideas), Megan Mazarick, and Jerome Bel (The Show Must Go On, in Sept. 2008 Live Arts Festival).

I was a founding board member and later Councilman David Cohen's appointee to the Board of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and on past boards or advisory boards of groups including the Painted Bride Arts Center, Village of Arts and Humanities, World Film Festival, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Philadelphia Dance Projects.

My 40 years of unique practice at Community Legal Services on behalf of low-income people in the Philadelphia region and nationally has allowed me to be at the forefront of social change and reform while pursuing a broad range of avenues of advocacy and representation. I have represented and worked closely with many community, city-wide, state and national organizations of the poor, elderly and disabled; initiated legislative and administrative reform at local, state and federal levels; and successfully conducted trial and appellate litigation in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Also, my advocacy has included extensive work with the media, coalition-building, presentations at national and regional conferences and seminars and cooperative efforts with law schools and law firms.

As representative examples of legal advocacy, such work has included:

—reforming the entire federal program for SSI disabled children via the 1990 United States Supreme Court Sullivan v. Zebley case (the largest class action against the Social Security Administration), which changed 20 years of regulations and extended SSI benefits, necessities of life and Medicaid, to over 500,000 additional low income, disabled children with additional annual expenditures of over $5 billion, while awarding retroactive benefits to 153,000 others back to 1980;

—securing federal constitutional rights of legally resident aliens to state government benefits after my oral argument in the United States Supreme Court, Graham v. Richardson (1971);

—counsel to the Philadelphia Welfare Rights Organization in securing unprecedented expansions and reforms of the Philadelphia School District's Lunch and Breakfast Programs where all children in over 200 schools are entitled to free meals without a means test (Universal Service remains unique to the Philadelphia School District in the nation);

—obtaining the nation's first federal Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Act in 1971 and liability for HUD and PHA caused lead poisoning;

—helping to expose in the media and in Congress, and enjoining via federal class actions the Reagan Administration’s mass terminations of a half million Social Security disability beneficiaries in the early 80's and obtaining Federal Court and Congressional reinstatement of benefits to victims, and permanent protections for beneficiaries via the Social Security Disability Reform Act of 1984;

—establishing the first federal constitutional employment right against discrimination toward the disabled via successful representation of a blind school teacher, Gurmankin v. Costanzo;

—successfully obtaining in Federal Court housing civil rights litigation the construction of 120 integrated homes in the Whitman section of South Philadelphia against the opposition of then Mayor Rizzo and the Nixon Administration, with first ever findings of intentional race discrimination by Mayor Rizzo and the City Philadelphia, Resident Advisory Board v. Rizzo;

—reform of municipal gas (PGW) and water department utilities to establish for the first time due process in rate setting and in terminations of utility services for hundreds of thousands of low income customers; and

—constituting the catalyst and advocacy source for the nationally unprecedented agreement between Pennsylvania Governor Rendell and the state’s four Blue Cross Plans to allocate close to $1 billion in Blue Cross funds for low income charitable health needs, and for the first time to the state’s Adult Basic health insurance program, saving it from extinction.


1424 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102-2505

General Counsel 1986 - Present
Executive Director 1983-1986
Chief of Special Projects 1978-1983
Acting Managing Attorney, Law Center North Central 1981
Chief of Law Reform 1973-1978
Chief of Health, Education and Welfare Project 1970-1973
Staff Attorney (Smith Community Lawyer Fellow) 1968-1970


1968 Research Student, London School of Economics (U.K.)
1967 University of Pennsylvania Law School, LL.B.
1964 Columbia College, B.A.


1969 New York State Bar
1969 Pennsylvania Bar
United States Supreme Court and Third Circuit and District Court. E.D. PA


1996-2002 Member, American Law Institute

1985 Third Circuit Court of Appeals Task Force on Court Awarded Attorney's Fees, appointed by Chief Judge Aldisert.

1983-1986 Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention of Philadelphia Bar Association.

1978 Founder, Pennsylvania Judicial Selection Project to increase numbers of minorities and women on the judiciary.


2007 Bread and Roses Community Fund, 30th Anniversary Tribute to Change Honoree

2006 Bread and Roses Community Fund, Paul Robeson Social Justice Award for efforts with Philadelphia Community Access Coalition to establish Public Access cable television in Philadelphia

2000 Atlantic Fellowship in Public Policy, national selection by British Council, U.K., for work and research in London, 2000-2001.

2000 Benjamin Gowen Graduate Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Law School, for research in London

1997 Advocacy in Public Policy Award, The ARC of the United States (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens).

1996 Fitzpatrick Leadership Award, Montgomery County (PA) Association for Retarded Citizens.

1993 Windcall Resident Program, Bozeman, MT, national selection for demonstrated long-term commitment to social change.

1992 Reginald Heber Smith Award, annual award of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, for lifetime achievements and Zebley SSI childhood disability United States Supreme Court case.

1992 Advocacy Award for Advancing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems.

1990 Edward V. Sparer Award, first recipient of the Pennsylvania Legal Services Center on behalf of all Legal Services programs in Pennsylvania.

1986 Gerald F. Flood Memorial Award of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, as then Executive Director of Community Legal Services.

1982 Philadelphia Citizens in Action Outstanding Legal Services Award.

1976 Philadelphia Blind Merchant's Guild Award, for alleviating discrimination against the blind and winning nation's first blind teacher employment discrimination suit.

1968 Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship, national selection by U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, Legal Services Program.

1967 Benjamin Gowen Graduate Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Law School, to attend London School of Economics as research student.


Op-Ed Columns (over 50) for Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA), The Forward (New York City), and other newspapers, Fall 2001 to present.

The Future of Social Justice in Britain: A New Mission for the Community Legal Services, CASEpaper 48, monograph published by London School of Economics, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (2001).

“The Right to a Hearing Before Termination of Benefits and the Human Rights Act,” 8 Journal of Social Security Law 146 (Oct. 2001) (Sweet & Maxwell pub., Univ. of Manchester School of Law editors).

“The Community Legal Service needs a social justice mission,” 151 New Law Journal 998 (July 6,2001) (London).

“The Community Legal Service: justice for all?”, 11 Consumer Policy Review 34 (Mar./Apr. 2001) (London).

“A new deal for low birth weight babies,” Maternity Action p.6 (Winter 2001) (London) (with L. Reith and J. McLeish).

"Poor Can't Bank on this Merger," Guest Opinion, Philadelphia Daily News, March 6, 1998 (adverse impacts of First Union/CoreStates merger).

"Real Crime: Scarcity of Services," Guest Opinion, Philadelphia Daily News, June 26, 1997 (lack of mental health services for Latino poor) (with Richard Weishaupt)

"A Mindless Mantra Goes UMMMM," Guest Opinion, Philadelphia Daily News, January 26, 1996 (critique of "unfunded mandate" proposals).

"The Water Department Needs an Agency to Regulate Services," Op-Ed, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 1993.

"Placing School Lunch and Breakfast Programs Back on the Advocacy Menu," 24 Clearinghouse Review 1358 (April 1991).

"Supreme Court's Zebley Decision will Greatly Expand Eligibility for SSI Childhood Disability Benefits and Medicaid," 24 Clearinghouse Review 229 (July 1990) (with Richard Weishaupt).

"A Sign of the Times, or Why We are Winning Fewer Disability Cases," 15 Clearinghouse Review 24 (May 1981) (with Richard Weishaupt).

"An Overview of the Lead Abatement Program Response to the Silent Epidemic," in Low Level Lead Exposure: The Clinical Implications of Current Research, 279 (H.L. Needleman, ed. 1980).

"Public Legal Programs: A Team Approach," in A Design for Social Work Practice (Columbia Univ. Press, 1974) (with Toby Golick).

"Eligibility Determinations in Public Assistance: Selected Problems and Proposals for Reform in Pennsylvania," 115 U. Pa.L.Rev. 1307 (1967).

Numerous other articles and notes have been published in the Clearinghouse Review of the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services; Pennsylvania Legal Services Review; The Legal Intelligencer; and Pennsylvania Law Journal-Reporter, as well as op-Eds, letters to the editor, and book reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Tribune, and letters to the editor in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and Forbes Media Critic.


Member, Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission, 2002-2003 (City Council appointee)

Member, National Academy of Social Insurance, 1999

Mayor John Street Arts and Culture Transition Committee, 2000

National Juror, Heinz Awards, Human Condition Award, Heinz Family Foundations, 1997 to 2000; Public Policy Award 2006-present (appointed by Teresa Heinz)

Founding Board Member, City of Philadelphia Cultural Fund (also serving as Chairman of Fund's Dance Panel), 1992-1996; appointed representative of Councilman David Cohen to Board, 2001 to 2006.

Advisory Board, Painted Bride Culture Center, 2001

Advisory Board, Village of Arts and Humanities, 2002

Board, Philadelphia Dance Projects, 1995 to present

Advisory Committee, Philadelphia World Film Festival, 1992 to 1997

Board, Community Director, Greater Philadelphia Culture Alliance (served on Policy Committee), 1990-92

Advisory Committee, Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determinations, 1989-95

Advisory Committee, Ellen Forman Memorial Dance Fellowship, 1994 to 2000

Board, Pennsylvania Legal Services Center, 1983-1986.

Board, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, 1983.

Board, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyer Action Program, 1983-1986.

Board, South Street Dance Company (a past President), 1980-1984.

Board, Wilma Theater, 1979-1981.


“Barack, Hillary and Indecision,” solo created and performed in Moving Monologues workshop facilitated by Headlong Dance Theater, performed at Studio 34, April 2008.

“Roadkill,” choreographed by Megan Mazarick in New Festival, University of the Arts Drake Theater, Jan. 2008.

“Cell” site specific performance in buildings and on streets of Olde City of the Headlong Dance Theater company, commissioned by the Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia, Sept. 2006 (reviewed by the New York Times, 9/16/06); later commissioned by International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and re-set in New Haven, Conn., June 2007.

“Cornerstone,” site specific performance at Christ Church, colonial burial ground, in Philadelphia Fringe Festival, choreographed by Leah Stein (no relation), Sept. 2004.

"Junebug," outdoor performance in Bartram Gardens, choreographed by Leah Stein, June 1997

Bartram Gardens performance choreographed by Leah Stein, June 1996.

"Return," an outdoor performance along Manayunk Canal choreographed by Leah Stein, 1995.

"Interferences...," by Terry Fox as part of 25th Anniversary celebration at Painted Bride, Fall 1994.

"Departures," an outdoor performance in Fairmount Park choreographed by Leah Stein, June 1993.

"Fenestrations," by New York choreographer, David Koplowitz, within the windowed walls of 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, presented by New York's Dancing in the Streets, Fall 1991.

Performance and installation work, "What is at Stake," choreographed by Asimina Chremos, at the Great Hall, University of the Arts, March 1991.

"Stirring," choreographed by Galuh Soedjatmoko at the Community Education Center and at Group Motion Studios, May 1990.

By this Author

67 results
Page 1
Leah Stein in “Splice” (photo by Lora Allen)

Fringe Festival: Leah Stein’s ‘Splice’

Site-specific dance: transformative for all ages

The Leah Stein Dance Company’s recent FringeArts work, Splice, was a satisfying and inspired convergence of a contemporary dance performance within an art institution.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 5 minute read
Aaron Cromie as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Photo by  www.plate3photography.com)

Fringe Festival: 'The Body Lautrec'

The dark side of the Belle Époque

Brilliant scenic and puppetry design of Cromie marries a Paris bordello to the aesthetic of the Mütter-like cabinet museum in this musical that looks at the dark side of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 3 minute read
Childs: She did it her way.

Lucinda Childs: Origins of post-modern dance

Lucinda Childs, body and soul

Some of the best of Philadelphia’s modern dancers recreated the challenging work of Lucinda Childs, a pioneer of post-modern dance in America.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 5 minute read
The crowd gasped: Vidich and Hoffman slice into the water.

Alie Vidich's "Invisible River'

Just when you thought you'd seen everything

Alie Vidich is a 28-year-old movement artist who dreams impossible dreams. In her latest open-air spectacle, she and a fellow dancer pay homage to the Schuylkill River and Mother Nature by performing an aerial dance off the Strawberry Mansion Bridge in Fairmount Park.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 3 minute read
Amy Aldridge, Hussey: Feast for the mind and the senses. (Photo: Candice DeTore.)

Pennsylvania Ballet: Forsythe and Kylián

Rising to the occasion

Innovative works by William Forsythe and JiÅ™í Kylián revealed the strengths of an outstanding company of dancers who should be offered more such challenging choreography, as well as an audience equally willing to be challenged.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 5 minute read
Capoeira class at the Community Education Center, which nearly lost its funding.

Artful neglect: The Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Philadelphia's Cultural Fund: Friend of the arts, or foe?

The city-funded Philadelphia Cultural Fund is a rare source of operating support for dozens of small arts groups that lack professional development staffs and access to rich donors. But the Fund itself is strapped for cash. Worse, it's promoting the very sort of corporate mindset it was meant to eliminate.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Essays 6 minute read
'Revelations': Beyond reaching arms. (Photo: Andrew Eccles.)

Alvin Ailey at the Merriam

Fresh blood for an old legacy

Can new director Robert Battle breathe new vitality into the iconic Alvin Ailey troupe? This month's programs suggest the answer is yes— if he relies on the spiritual work of Ronald K. Brown and Rennie Harris.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 3 minute read
Trish Sie's 'All Is Not Lost': Fun with Plexiglas.

Pilobolus Dance Theater at Annenberg (1st review)

Goofy fun, or a fungus among us?

After 41 years, Pilobolus continues to offer visual dazzle and antic play. Yet more often than one might wish, its programs lately convey a one-joke tediousness.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 4 minute read
Poe: Inspired by stewardesses and drum majorettes.

Jumatatu Poe's "Private Places' at Live Arts Festival

What we can learn from airline stewardesses

Jumatatu Poe's provocative if uneven Private Places ultimately delivers a prescient message: that dehumanizing, societal and capitalist controls on our lives contain the seeds of their own disintegration.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 4 minute read
Alexander Peters as Pan (below) and Evelyn Kocak as Wendy: All this and aerial dancing too.

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Peter Pan' (1st review)

When ballet dancers fly: Neverland on Broad Street

Thanks to the spirited Pennsylvania Ballet premiere of this 2002 work by Trey McIntyre, Philadelphians now have the makings of a new children's classic that can become a recurring treat in the repertory.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 4 minute read
'CITY': Isolating the individual from the group.

Bloom's "CITY' and Thirdbird's "Blind Date Trios'

Off with your clothes, Big Brother is back

In CITY, the Bloom! Dance Collective of Budapest riveted an Arts Bank audience with an evocation of authoritarian menace and control in a country where Big Brother is no longer a joke.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 6 minute read
Echoes of machetes in a cane field.

"DanceBrazil' at Annenberg

When ‘Wow!' is all there is

DanceBrazil's high-octane, multicultural fusion of dance from three continents offered a feast for the eye and ear while somehow neglecting to feed the soul.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 2 minute read
Sensual men, robotic women.

Jasperse's "Fort Blossom revisited' at Bryn Mawr

Turning the tables on the ‘male gaze'

In his newest work, John Jasperse challenges conventional taboos with the help of four dancers— two graceful nude males and two fully clothed female dancers sporting backpacks. Ultimately, Fort Blossom revisited re-examines the arbitrary nature of the clothed body— what's hidden from us.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 4 minute read
'24 Preludes': Somehow, Chopin survived.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard at Annenberg

Chopin and Stravinsky confront an alien universe

Marie Chouinard's expressive aggressiveness may be a dated dance genre, but her sheer power propelled her audience into either a future or a past that reminded us that perhaps our present isn't all that bad.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 3 minute read
Fadeley (left), Ihde in 'Jeu de Cartes': Expanded potential. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Russian Suite'

Big names, hard work, dazzling technique... But what does it mean?

Are celebrity artists really the answer for the future of ballet? This performance by the former Bolshoi icon Alexei Ratmansky offered too much of the ballet confection that's immediately pleasing to the taste of audiences, and little of substance or meaning.
Jonathan M. Stein

Jonathan M. Stein

Articles 4 minute read