Business Litigation Committee

About the Business Litigation Committee

The Business Litigation committee provides a forum for business litigators to meet, interact with, and learn from other members. The Committee holds periodic luncheon programs at which members of the committee and other professionals speak about current topics that arise in business litigation matters.

The Committee also seeks opportunities to work with our Common Pleas Court on matters of concern to business and commercial litigators. In early 2000, the Commerce Case Management Program of the Court of Common Pleas was established. The Committee strongly supported the establishment of this program and assisted the Court in its implementation. Among its efforts in this regard, the Committee recruited a panel of Judges Pro Tem to serve as volunteer mediators for the Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

By any measure, the Commerce Case Management Program has proved to be a remarkable success. A key part of the Committee's mission is to continue to work with the Court, in whatever ways the Court deems helpful, to strengthen and further improve the Program.

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The Business Litigation Committee has lost a great friend and mentor in Judge Albert W. Sheppard, Jr. His wonderful intelligence, which he unsuccessfully tried to hide from us, was only overshadowed by his good nature and his genuine humanity in treating each person before him as a unique individual worthy of his attention.

While he was compassionate and decent, he was also unafraid to make decisions when called upon do so -- decisions he made with authority, insight and reflection. And however a case ended, by settlement through his considerable efforts at bringing the parties together, by his judicial decision, or by jury verdict, he left his indelible mark on each lawyer (and juror) before him. Each of us, whether the youngest associate or most seasoned litigator, felt a heightened sense of ourselves when dealing with Judge Sheppard because of the way he treated each of us.

His loss now is difficult to bear, but our thousands of cumulative good memories and experiences will carry his life on within our practices and conduct toward each other. As he said to so many of us, we can say about him, "Judge Sheppard, you are a good man."

In Judge Sheppard's honor, we would like to put together a collection of our reminiscences. If you would like to contribute to this effort, could you please write up your recollection and email it to David Chanin at or Lee Applebaum at We will collate them and post the final effort on the Committee's website.

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Recent Programs and Events

April 30, 2013 - Annual Reception in Honor of the Judges of the Commerce Court
On April 30, 2013, the Business Litigation Committee held its annual reception in honor of the judges of the Commerce Court. Pictured from left to right are: Michael L. Kichline, Chair of the Business Litigation Committee; Commerce Judge Patricia A. McInerney; President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe; Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille; Administrative Judge John W. Herron; and Commerce Judge Albert J. Snite, Jr.
October 7, 2010 - Business Insurance: Key Risks and How to Cover Them
Business Litigation Committee Chair Robert R. Baron (from left) joins speakers Craig R. Blackman and Ned Dunham along with moderators Heather Fritts and David Chanin at a joint meeting of the Insurance Law and Business Litigation Committees on Oct. 7. Blackman and Dunham discussed "Business Insurance: Key Risks and How to Cover Them."
June 3, 2010 - 10th anniversary of the city's Commerce Case Management Program
Eric C. Milby (from left), Business Litigation Committee Chair Robert R. Baron Jr., Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr., Judge John W. Herron and Business Section Chair Lee Applebaum gather at a June 3 reception to mark the 10th anniversary of the city's Commerce Case Management Program at the Westin Philadelphia. Sheppard and Herron were presented with gavels honoring their instrumental roles in the successful development of Commerce Court. More than 200 people attended the event.
Jan. 19, 2010 meeting of the Business Litigation Committee
Business Litigation Committee Chair Robert R. Baron (from left) answers a question during a Jan. 19 program on the state of Commerce Court as Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judges Mark I. Bernstein, Albert W. Sheppard Jr., D. Webster Keogh and William J. Manfredi look on.
May 28, 2009. Commerce Court Reception
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille (from left) is joined by David H. Pittinsky, Business Litigation Committee Chair Robert R. Baron and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New at the Committee's reception for Commerce Court judges on May 28 at the Westin Philadelphia. More than 150 people attended the event.
January 27, 2009. Business Law Section’s Annual Reception
Marc J. Zucker, outgoing chair of the Business Litigation Committee was honored as Committee Chair of the Year at the Business Law Section’s annual reception held on January 27, 2009 at the Pyramid Club. Section chair Stephen Foxman presented Zucker with a plaque expressing the Section’s “deep appreciation for his initiative and leadership in planning and guiding the committee in 2008.
The Business Litigation Committee was named Business Law Section's Committee of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
Sept. 20, 2008. Bench-Bar and Annual Conference
The Business Litigation Committee presented Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Howland Abramson with an inscribed crystal bowl in gratitude for his dedicated service to the Commerce Case Management Program at a session at the Bench-Bar and Annual Conference on Sept. 20, 2008. Judge Abramson left the Commerce Program in September to become Judicial Team Leader of the 2008 Day Forward Major Jury Program. Pictured from left are Marc Zucker, Judge Abramson and Robert Baron.(Photo by Jeff Lyons)
Oct. 24, 2008 Committee meeting
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold New chats with Business Litigation Committee Chair Marc Zucker prior to the Committee's Oct. 24, 2008 meeting.
June 17, 2008: JPT Training Seminar, sponsored by PBI. (Contact Marc Zucker if interested in a re-broadcast.)
Business Litigation Committee Chair Marc Zucker (from left) is joined by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr., Darryl J. May and Judge Mark I. Bernstein at a reception following a training seminar for judges pro tempore at The CLE Conference Center on June 17.
May 6, 2008: Commerce Program reception
(from left: Committee Vice Chair Robert Baron Jr., Judge W. Howland Abramson, Administrative Judge D. Webster Keogh, President Judge C. Darnell Jones, and Committee Chair Marc Zucker)

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Recent Podcasts

To listen to these podcasts go the Speaker Programs section of the Bar Association's podcast library.

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Qualification, Compensation Order for JPTs

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Administrative Judge D. Webster Keogh has signed an Administrative Order amending Section E.1. of Administrative Docket 02 of 2003, which sets forth the process for selection of judges pro tempore in the Commerce Program. Click here for the new order. This Order is the culmination of several years of coordination between the Court and the Business Litigation Committee, through its JPT subcommittee.

Effective July 1, 2008, the Administrative Order will implement three important changes:
1. permitting Commerce JPTs to be compensated at $300 per hour for any time expended beyond the first three hours of a mediation or settlement conference, with the consent of the participating parties in the case; and
2. clarifying the criteria for becoming a judge pro tem, in order to insure that JPTs have the background necessary to be effective, on the one hand, while making the selection process more objective and less discretionary on the other. The new criteria require that each JPT:
a. be a licensed Pennsylvania attorney;
b. have no less than fifteen years of experience in litigation or alternate dispute resolution (ADR), including a practice focused on the types of disputes that traditionally come before the Commerce Program; and
c. satisfy either of the following additional criteria:
(1.) participation in a minimum of 10 hours of ADR training by a court-sponsored provider or certified CLE provider, or
(2.) participation as a neutral, Judge Pro Tempore, or mediator in a minimum of 3 ADR proceedings, including but not limited to mediations, settlement conferences and private arbitrations, involving the types of disputes that traditionally come before the Commerce Program.

Under a grandfathering provision, all existing JPTs have eighteen months, until December 31, 2009, to meet these requirements, and would be permitted to serve in the meantime. In order to assist in implementation of the new Order, assure compliance with the new criteria and inform the Court of the experience and qualifications of the JPTs, the Committee has prepared an online JPT Data Sheet.

Any questions relating to this new Administrative Order may be directed to: Marc Zucker, (215) 241-7792,

JPT subcommittee chairs:
Robert R. Baron, Esq. (215) 864-8335,
Darryl May, Esq., (215) 864-8103,
Marc Zucker, (215) 241-7792,
Gregory Mathews, Esq., (215) 972-2876,

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Commerce Case Management Program Opinion Project