Monday, March 6, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 11

Equal Justice Conference
in Philadelphia March 30 - April 1

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Theodore A. McKee and U.S. Rep Chaka Fattah will deliver the keynote addresses at the American Bar Association and National Legal Aid and Defender Association's 2006 Equal Justice Conference in Philadelphia from March 30 to April 1. The conference's theme is "Commitment, Service and Empowerment: Let Justice Ring." Click here to register for the conference...READ MORE
 

NPR's Mara Liasson to Speak at March 23 Quarterly

Mara Liasson, the national political correspondent for National Public Radio, will be the keynote speaker at the Association's March 23 Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon.

Liasson's reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." She provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, D.C., focusing on the White House and Congress. Liasson also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway. During her tenure she has covered the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR's White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents Association’s Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989 to 1992, Liasson was NPR's congressional correspondent.

Also, Immediate-Past Chancellor Andrew A. Chirls will be honored by the Association at the event, which begins at 12 p.m. in the main Ballroom at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut Streets. Tickets are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members and can be purchased online by clicking here.

Equal Justice Conference March 30 - April 1

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Theodore A. McKee and U.S. Rep Chaka Fattah will deliver the keynote addresses at the American Bar Association and National Legal Aid and Defender Association's 2006 Equal Justice Conference in Philadelphia from March 30 to April 1. Click here to register for the conference.

The Equal Justice Conference brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of legal assistance. The emphasis of this conference is on strengthening partnerships among the key players in the civil justice system. Through plenary sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and special programming, the conference provides a wide range of learning and sharing experiences for all attendees.

The 2006 Equal Justice Conference is being hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Judge Rendell to Address Appellate Courts Committee

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell (left) will be the guest speaker at the Wednesday, March 8 meeting of the Appellate Courts Committee.

Judge Rendell will discuss practice before the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 10th floor Board Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to RSVP for this meeting.

Immigration Issues on Family Law Section Agenda

The Family Law Section will host a discussion on immigration issues impacting family at its Monday, March 6 meeting.

Panelists include Wendy Castor Hess, Joni Berner and Carolyn M. Zack, who will address the significance of residence status; the nuances of cases involving non-resident alients; visa issues; support alternatives after Stump and more.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to RSVP for this meeting.

Probate and Trust Section Quarterly Meeting March 7

The Association's Probate and Trust Section will hold its Quarterly Meeting "Are Storm Clouds on the Charitable Horizon?" on Tuesday, March 7 at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building.

The program will discuss pitfalls and opportunities related to the use of common charitable planning techniques during a period of heightened scrutiny by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service. The topics to be covered include:

- Analysis of proposals in Congress and elsewhere to tighten the rules on private foundations, donor-advised funds, supporting organizations and other charitable vehicles.

- The new Form 1023 (Application for Recognition of Exemption) and Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) - valuable insight into the compensation and governance issues addressed by the recent changes to these forms.

- Conservation Easements - new IRS requirements for charitable gifts of conservation easements (including new Form 8323 and attachments), brief overview of conservation easements as estate planning tools and discussion of established elements required by the IRS to qualify for a charitable deduction (including easement purpose, prohibited uses and perpetual life).

The faculty includes Jaffray Louise Edens, senior planner, Environmental Management Center, Brandywine Conservancy, Inc.; Frederick J. Gerhart, partner with Dechert LLP; Kathy C. Mandelbaum, director of the Graduate Tax Program and associate professor of law at Temple University Beasley School of Law; and Eric J. Vieland, of cousel at Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP. The course planners are Paula M. Jones of McCarter & English LLP; Laura E. Stegossi of Blank Rome LLP, Judith B. Stein, vice president of Wilmington Trust Company; and Jeffrey C. Wolken, vice president of wealth advisory services at Wilmington Trust Company.

The program will be held at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building. Registration for this program begins at 11:45 a.m. The Section's Quarterly Meeting begins at 12:15 p.m. and the CLE program runs from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and is worth 2 substantive CLE credits. Click here to register for this program.

Ginsburg Essay Contest Entries Due by April 28

The Philadelphia Bar Association is pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Legal Writing Competition in honor of the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In so doing, the Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in a Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 28.

This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2005-06 academic year at one of the following five institutions: University of Pennsylvania School of Law, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers (Camden) School of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law, Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). Students must be in good standing at their institutions. The submission may not have been published previously, although it may have been prepared in connection with a law school course. The submission also may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this Competition, until after the time when awards are announced. The submission must be the work of one author alone (joint submissions will not be considered), and the author must certify that the submission has been prepared without substantial editing from others.

Candidates may submit a law review quality submission on any topic relating to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law.

The author of the first place submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer magazine, on the Bar Association’s Web site and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner of the First Place award will be invited to the Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association in October 2006, at which time the award will be presented. For more information, visit philadelphiabar.org.

Association Backs Political Contribution Limits

Alan M. Feldman, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, has called on all candidates and potential candidates for city-wide offices, including candidates for mayor, to voluntarily comply with the City of Philadelphia's ordinance limiting campaign finance contributions. On behalf of the Association, the Chancellor urged all its members to observe the limits for donations by individuals and businesses as set forth in the ordinance.

"Observance of the campaign contribution limits will send a positive message in support of fair elections and will create a level playing field for all candidates," Feldman said. The Association did not take a position regarding various legal issues that have arisen surrounding interpretation and application of the ordinance, instead the Association endorsed the campaign finance limits as a useful measure to end what some have described as a "pay to play" environment in the city. The Philadelphia Bar Association, with a membership of nearly 13,000, was established in 1802 and includes most local attorneys as well as the members of the judiciary.

"As one of the leading civic organizations in the city, it is one of our duties to be concerned with the workings of city government," Feldman said. "This ordinance helps promote the integrity of our electoral system, and our members can only benefit from a system that is perceived to be, and really is, fair to all citizens."

Bar Files Brief in Support of Judges

The Philadelphia Bar Association has filed a brief as a friend of the court in support of the judicial litigants seeking to declare as unconstitutional PA Act 72, which rolled back pay raises for certain elected officials, including pay raises for judges, but which did not lower the salaries of numerous other state officers.

The brief emphasizes the Association's mission to preserve and protect judicial independence, and calls for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to ensure that the judges of the state can perform their duties without worry of political reprisals affecting their compensation.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has agreed to hear a King's Bench appeal to determine if PA Act 72 violates Article V, Section 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which states "Justices, judges and justices of peace shall be compensated by the Commonwealth as provided by law. Their compensation shall not be diminished during their terms of office, unless by law applying generally to all salaried officers of the Commonwealth."

Marc J. Sonnenfeld, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, along with Thomas V. Ayala and Timothy D. Mygatt, are representing the Association. In addition to filing the brief a request has been made to present oral argument before the Court.

The brief supports the case of The Honorable Charles C. Brown Jr., The Honorable Fran T. Hazel, The Honorable Robert E. Kunselman, The Honorable Benjamin Lerner, The Honorable William A. Meehan, The Honorable Timothy Patrick O'Reilly and The Honorable Joseph A. Smyth, Applicants, v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. Click here to read the full brief.

Legal Directory Comes With a Free Online Subscription

The Legal Directory 2006 plus The Legal Directory Online are now together at one low price. For the first time, every hard-copy edition comes with a complimentary online subscription. As always, both printed and online editions of The Legal Directory will contain comprehensive, up-to-date listings of area law firms and attorneys.

New for 2006, the online version also will include all the indispensable resources found in the printed directory - information about the Philadelphia Bar Association, its officers and committees; contacts for state, federal and local government agencies; listings of law-related associations, organizations and law schools; and an index of area judges.

Plus, The Legal Directory Online will include valuable new features - local court rules, links to area bar associations and other content of interest to the legal community.

It's all available, both the printed book and expanded online resource, for one price - $57.95, plus shipping and tax. Beginning April 1, the price becomes $77.95, plus tax, shipping and handling.

Staff Work Force Issues to Be Discussed

Attorney Deborah Weinstein, vice chair of the Association's Board of Governors, will present an update on attorney and support staff work force issues at the Thursday, March 16 meeting of the Solo and Small Firm Committee.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to RSVP for this event.

Program on High-Profile Trials March 22

U.S. District Court Judges Michael M. Baylson and John E. Jones III, along with George Anastasia, veteran crime reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, will be the panelists when the Federal Courts Committee presents "High Profile, High Publicity Trials: Observations from the Bench and the Press" on Wednesday, March 22.

Judge Baylson presided over the much publicized Philadelphia corruption and bribery trial that involved Philadelphia city officials and the "pay-to-play" attitude prevalent in the city. In 2003, Baylson issued a decision that ordered election officials to begin printing all election materials in both English and Spanish for any precinct where registered Hispanic voters constitute more than 5 percent of those on the rolls.

Judge Jones issued his decision in the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District in December 2005, holding that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum. In 2003, he struck down portions of Shippensburg University's speech code on the basis that they violated First Amendment free speech guarantees. He also issued a decision affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Mustache/got milk campaign did not infringe the free speech rights of the producers.

Anastasia has been covering organized crime and various criminal prosecutions throughout the country for 35 years. His work has also appeared in Penthouse, Playboy and The Village Voice, and he has served as a consultant for ABC’s Primetime, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. Anastasia is the author of several books, including The Last Gangster, the story of Ron Previte, "Skinny" Joey Merlino and Philadelphia organized crime.

This luncheon event begins at 12 p.m. at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building. Click here to register for this program.

Raising the Bar Campaign Begins

The Philadelphia Bar Association, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, are excited to announce that the "Raising the Bar" For Legal Services Campaign has been officially launched by Chancellor Alan M. Feldman and Robert D. Lane, Jr., the president of the Bar Foundation.

At his inaugural address in December, Chancellor Feldman set a goal of increasing the amount contributed to support legal services and called upon "every law firm in our legal community, large and small, to contribute $300 per lawyer" to the Bar Foundation or to the legal services, pro bono referral organization or public interest law center of your choice. Each firm will be recruited to make a commitment to support this campaign in the coming months. The results of the campaign will be updated on a regular basis on the Association's Web site.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is one of the organizations designated to receive contributions under this campaign. The mission of the Bar Foundation is promote access to justice for all people in the community, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination. If you decide to make your campaign contribution through the Foundation, your donation will enable the Foundation to continue making grants to address the ongoing unmet need for legal services in Philadelphia (and providing technical assistance in support of quality legal services). During 2005, the Foundation funded 29 legal services organizations with grants ranging in size from $2,000 to $100,000. Click here to make a campaign donation to the Foundation.

To assist you in making your donation choice, the Association and Foundation will also provide a weekly snapshot of one of the 29 legal services organizations funded by the Foundation in 2005.

Weekly Snapshot: Homeless Advocacy Project

The Homeless Advocacy Project is a non-profit organization that provides free civil legal services to more than 1,500 homeless individuals and families annually through regularly scheduled legal clinics at 20 separate homeless shelters located throughout the City of Philadelphia.

For more than 10 years, the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has partnered with HAP to operate a monthly legal clinic at the Woodstock Family Center, a shelter serving women and children located in North Philadelphia. Recently, Deborah, a resident of Woodstock, and her infant daughter, Casey, came to a HAP legal clinic for help in obtaining an accurate birth certificate and Social Security Survivor's Benefits for Casey following the death of Casey's father, Norman. Deborah and Norman had lived together for many years but were not married, and Norman had been incarcerated at the time of Casey's birth; he then passed away suddenly before completing a formal acknowledgment of paternity. No one disputed that Norman was Casey's father, but that was not sufficient proof under applicable Social Security law to allow Casey to qualify for survivor's benefits and Deborah needed legal assistance.

Ken Kulak, Of Counsel in Morgan Lewis' Philadelphia office, and Morgan Lewis paralegal Kari Ehrhardt met with Deborah and Casey at HAP's legal clinic to develop a comprehensive approach. After investigation, Ken learned that the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office had maintained a blood sample from Norman that was suitable for genetic testing, and from which Norman's paternity could be scientifically established. With the support of Norman's mother B who shared a letter Norman had written about Casey while in prison, the Social Security Administration determined that Casey was entitled to a significant sum in survivor's benefits. Additionally, on Ken's motion, Philadelphia Family Court granted a petition to amend Casey's birth certificate to accurately reflect that Norman was her father.

For Casey and her mother, the decision allowing Casey to qualify for survivor's benefits was an essential first step to attaining self-sufficiency and stability in housing. Deborah and Casey are just one of more than 150 families served by HAP through its Children and Families Project in 2005. To learn more about HAP or to volunteer, visit HAP at www.homelessadvocacyproject.org or e-mail marsha@philalegal.org.

Chancellor on Headline News Through March 7

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman will be featured on Comcast Newsmakers on CNN Headline News from March 1 to March 7 at 54 minutes past the hour.

Feldman will discuss his agenda for 2006 during the interview.

Rosemary Pinto, chair of the Women's Rights Committee and Molly Callahan of Women Against Abuse will talk about the committee's drive to recruit and train pro-bono attorneys for a backlog of cases concerning custody and divorce procedures on Saturday, March 25 from 6 to 6:30 a.m. WIOQ-FM (102.1) and Sunday, March 26 from 6 to 6:30 a.m. .on WSNI-FM (104.1).

Kenneth J. Fleisher, chair of the Real Property Section, and Joan Decker, City of Philadelphia Commissioner for Records, will discuss fraudulent property schemes and solutions on Monday, March 28 on CN8's "Money Matters Today" from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman and Michael S. Greco, president of the American Bar Association, will be part of a panel discussion on the topic of "Is there really Equal Justice in the United States" on Monday, March 28 on "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle" on CN8 from 9 to 10 p.m., This discussion centers around the Equal Justice Conference being held in Philadelphia from March 30 to April 1 as well as on the March 28 Civil Gideon Symposium.

Police Athletic League to Honor D.A. Abraham

District Attorney Lynne Abraham, along with fellow honorees Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and Larry Magid of Electric Factory Concerts will receive the Police Athletic League Award at the PAL Award Dinner on Thursday, May 11 at the Wyndham Philadelphia.

To learn more about supporting the PAL Award Dinner, the honorees and the young people of Philadelphia or for more information, please contact Eric Cushing at the Police Athletic League at (215) 291-9000, extension 109 or visit phillypal.com.

Program to Teach Client Development Skills

The Training Resource Group will offer a four-week program designed to help those at the associate level with client development skills on Feb. 27 and March 13 and 27 at Bar Association headquarters.

TRG will help attorneys create an individual business development plan, develop strategic partners, better cross-sell current clients and build account relationships at a higher level. For more than 10 years, TRG has worked with companies and individuals to teach them the skills necessary to increase sales, profits and productivity.

For more information about The Training Resource Group, visit their Web site at trainingresourcegroup.com.

Pa. Bar Presents Public Service Institute March 9

The Pennsylvania Bar Association will present the "Public Service Institute" on Thursday, March 9, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 Arch St., Philadelphia, from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event includes two CLE credits in ethics and a luncheon.

Pennsylvania first lady and U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell is the keynote luncheon speaker. The day will begin with an opening plenary session at 9:15 a.m. featuring PBA President William Carlucci and Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Alan M. Feldman. Two concurrent two-hour breakout CLE programs will follow, starting at 10 a.m. The programs will focus on public service for lawyers who are in different stages of their practices. The program will conclude with the luncheon featuring Judge Rendell. Visit www.pabar.org for more information.

The PBA cordially invites all legal services attorneys to attend the program and is offering a discounted registration fee of $40. The PBA is waiving the CLE fee. To register, call the PBA Meetings Department at 1-800-932-0311, ext. 2234, or click here to download the registration form.

Rutgers Public Interest Auction March 8

The Rutgers University School of Law - Camden Association for Public Interest Law will hold its 11th Annual Goods & Services Auction on Wednesday, March 8, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the Law School.

Proceeds from the auction provide grants to law students working in unpaid public interest summer positions. For more information, contact auction co-chair Matt Rudolphi via email at rudolphi@camden.rutgers.edu, or by phone at (856) 296-0998. Donations may be sent to: Colleen McNally, Pro Bono Coordinator, Rutgers University School of Law – Camden, 211 N. 5th St., Camden, NJ 08102.

Police Athletic League to Honor D.A. Abraham

District Attorney Lynne Abraham, along with fellow honorees Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and Larry Magid of Electric Factory Concerts will receive the Police Athletic League Award at the PAL Award Dinner on Thursday, May 11 at the Wyndham Philadelphia.

To learn more about supporting the PAL Award Dinner, the honorees and the young people of Philadelphia or for more information, please contact Eric Cushing at the Police Athletic League at (215) 291-9000, extension 109 or visit phillypal.com.

Persuasion in the Courtroom

Energize your approach to litigation as Joseph Guastaferro, a dynamic lecturer and courtroom veteran, shares the techniques to recognize, hone and draw upon your natural abilities to persuade decision-makers of the righteousness of your cause in PBI's Persuasion in the Courtroom on March 10. This 6 substantive credit hour program will be held at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. For more information, or to register, click here.

Upcoming CLE

The following courses are cosponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. All courses are at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, except as otherwise noted. Registration begins 30 minutes before course start time.

Wednesday, March 8
How to Prepare the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return
4 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 9
2nd Annual ADR Institute
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, March 10
Persuasion in the Courtroom
6 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Strategies for Success: Cross Examination - Closing
2 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Age Discrimination Cases After Smith vs. City of Jackson
4 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

More information is available on the PBI Web site at www.pbi.org, on the page devoted to Philadelphia programs, by calling 1-800-247-4724, or by e-mailing info@pbi.org. Note: some events sell out; before walking in, call PBI to confirm that space is still available for the program that interests you.

Earn up to 4 credits on your computer, at your convenience, at PBI's Online Campus, at www.onlinecle.pbi.org. More than 300 classes are available, including nearly 50 one-hour ethics programs. 24/7 CLE.