Monday, March 20, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 14
 

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. Click here to order tickets online.

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.

Program on High-Profile Trials March 22

U.S. District Court Judges Michael M. Baylson (left) and John E. Jones III (center), 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 also has 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.

Committee to Tour High-Tech Courtroom March 22

Members of the Medical-Legal Committee will receive a tour and demonstration of the high-tech courtroom facilities in Courtroom 625 of City Hall at the Committee's Wedesday, March 22 meeting.

Please note that because of the policies of the courtroom, lunch will not be provided and no food or beverages will be permitted inside the courtroom. To register for this meeting, please RSVP to Stephanie Krzywanski via email at skrzywanski@philabar.org or by phone at (215) 238-6367.

Iraqi Delegation to Discuss Rule of Law March 24

A high-level delegation from Mosul, Iraq, including Vice Governor Goran and Provincial Council Member Rawoof will be the guest speakers for an open discussion on the "Rule of Law" at the Friday, March 24 meeting of the International Law Committee.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 10th floor Board Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. A complimentary lunch will be served. To RSVP for this meeting, please contact Cecilia Driscoll via e-mail at cdriscoll@philadelphiabar.org or by phone at (215) 238-6303.

Evaluations of Women Associates on March 28 Agenda

Temple University Beasley School of Law Professor Marina Angel and Chancellor-Elect Jane L. Dalton will speak on the subject of the importance of gender-neutral evaluations in the retention and promotion of female associates at the Tuesday, March 28 meeting of the Women in the Profession Committee.

The panel also will discuss the alarming statistics and the impact of those statistics showing that women are retiring from the practice of law earlier and in disproportionately larger numbers than their male counterparts.

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.

Update on Treatment Court March 28

The Criminal Justice Section will sponsor the lunchtime CLE program "Update on Treatment Court" at its Tuesday, March 28 meeting. This program has been approved for 1 substantive CLE credit.

Speakers for the program include Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Louis J. Presenza, Erica Bartlett of the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Assistant District Attorney Donna Marcus. The program will be moderated by Isla A. Fruchter of the Defender Association and will be held in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

Participants wishing to receive the CLE credit will be required pay $25 for members of the Association admitted for more than five years, and $20 for members admitted for less than five years. If you wish to register in advance please visit www.pbi.org or call PBI customer service at 1-800-932-4637.

Lunch will be available for $7.50 per person. To pre-register for lunch, please RSVP to Cecelia Driscoll at cdriscoll@philabar.org.

Program to Teach Client Development Skills

The Training Resource Group is offering a four-week program designed to help those at the associate level with client development skills on March 27 at Bar Association headquarters. Click here to register.

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.

Civil Gideon Symposium March 28

The Philadelphia Area Law School Consortium, in collaboration with the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference sponsored by the Philadelphia-area law schools and the Philadelphia Bar Association, will host the 23rd Annual Edward V. Sparer Symposium "Civil Gideon: Making the Case" on Tuesday, March 28. Click here for more information.

The symposium begins at 9:30 a.m. with several substantive sessions and a luncheon with keynote speaker American Bar Association President Michael S. Greco. The closing plenary session begins at 2:45 p.m. at the National Constitution Center, followed by a wine and cheese cocktail hour (sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association) and optional tours of the NCC.

The Law School Consortium will partner with National Public Radio for their award-winning "Justice Talking" radio program, beginning at 5 p.m. at the National Constitution Center discussing the Civil Gideon movement. Following the taping of "Justice Talking," all are invited to a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the NCC honoring the efforts of the Philadelphia area public service community and sponsored by the Philadelphia area law schools. Click here for more information.

U.S. Supreme Court Induction Deadline April 5

The Philadelphia Bar Association will move 50 of our members for admission to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court on Monday, May 22. The admission ceremony will be made to the full Court sitting in session in Washington D.C. The day's events will include a continental breakfast, the swearing in ceremony and then a group photograph and tour of the court. Each inductee is able to bring one guest only.

The court's requirements for a group admission ceremony are very rigid. To review these requirements and to download the forms for admission please visit the Supreme Court's Web site at www.supremecourtus.gov. Select the bar admissions tab on the left-hand side and this will bring you to the link for bar admission instructions and bar admission forms. Please read the bar admission instructions carefully. Once you have determined that you are eligible for admission, please print out and complete the admission forms. The instructions and guidelines are very specific and must be followed scrupulously. Do not fold the application and do not use staples. Use paper clips only.

Once you have successful completely the admission forms, please mail them with your check for $100 made out to the Philadelphia Bar Association to: David Burt, Director of Meetings & Special Events, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Do not send the application directly to the Supreme Court. This event will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and all applications must be received by 12 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2006. If you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact David Burt at 215-238-6360 or via e-mail at dburt@philabar.org.

Law Week Events Need Volunteers

The Young Lawyers Division needs volunteers for its annual Law Week celebration that runs from Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5.

Events in which volunteer attorneys work with Philadelphia students will take place throughout the week including Lawyer in the Classroom and Lawyer for Day. In addition, there will be a Law Fair at the Gallery at Market East mall at which volunteer attorneys counsel area residents, free-of-charge.

Volunteers are needed for all Law Week events. For more information on these events, and how to volunteer, visit www.philadelphiabar.org.

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. Click here for more information.

SeniorLAW Center Casino Night April 27

The SeniorLAW Center will hold a "Take a Chance for Seniors" Casino Night on Thursday, April 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Mellon Bank Center, 1735 Market St.

Take a chance at our fun-filled, exciting evening of gaming to benefit SeniorLAW Center. Take a chance and test your luck at blackjack, craps, roulette, money wheel and poker. Use your winning chips to qualify for incredible prizes to be raffled away. Come gamble, eat, drink, enjoy live music and silent auctions. For more information, visit www.seniorlawcenter.org.

Weekly Snapshot: Community Legal Services

For 40 years, Community Legal Services has provided free legal assistance to low-income residents of Philadelphia in civil matters related to their family, home, job and income. Serving almost 20,000 clients annually, CLS houses nine different legal units, each proficient in a different area of law: public benefits, housing, employment, family advocacy, energy, elder law, language access, consumer law, and community economic development. This range of activity enables CLS to meet the many individual legal needs of impoverished Philadelphians. Simultaneously, our broad legal expertise empowers us to have profound impacts on local and national policy as we help policy makers understand the ramifications of their policies upon the most fragile members of our society. Furthermore, because we effectively represent so many people on so many different topics, CLS is routinely at the forefront of emerging legal issues, clearing a path along which the larger legal community often follows. The result of all of these activities is that CLS makes access to justice a reality for low-income people in Philadelphia and beyond.

CLS' Elderly Law Project has recently been devoting much of its work to the consequences resulting from the "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act," which took effect on Jan. 1. This law, for the first time in history, provides for Medicare prescription drug coverage, called Medicare Part D, on a widescale basis. Confusion and complications in implementing the new benefit and coordinating the benefit with the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs have been a nightmare for many of CLS' low-income elderly clients. The following client story illustrates how the changes have resulted in many people not being able to access both medical care and the prescriptions they need to maintain their health.

Fai Tong Wong and his wife, Man Nam Po, met with a CLS attorney at a senior center near Chinatown in great confusion. After being told by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that they would be passively enrolled in a Medicare managed care organization (MCO) unless they chose a different Part D prescription drug plan, both had affirmatively enrolled in early December 2005 in a stand-alone prescription drug plan that covered their specific medications. But when they tried to make an appointment to see their family doctor one month later, the doctor told them that they actually were enrolled in a Medicare MCO. He also refused to see them until they notified the MCO that he would be their primary care doctor, and that designation would not become effective until the following month. While this might seem like a short delay, if the couple could not see their doctor, they could not get their prescriptions refilled, which would have significant consequences for their health, and they became quite anxious about the situation. They were bewildered since they had not enrolled in a Medicare MCO and they had a significant language barrier in dealing with this issue as they are not proficient in English. The CLS attorney learned that the clients, through no fault of their own, were simultaneously enrolled in two Medicare plan. The CLS attorney successfully retroactively disenrolled the clients from the MCO, a complicated process that the couple would not have been able to do on their own. Thanks to the quick work of the CLS attorney, the couple was able to see their doctor and get their medications. CLS attorneys are working not only with individual clients like these in immediate need, but are also working to effect the systemic changes necessary to reach thousands more people affected by this confusing new law. For more information, visit Community Legal Services at www.clsphila.org.

Chancellor, ABA President to Appear on CN8

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 CN8's "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle" 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.

Chancellor-Elect Jane L. Dalton and Board of Governors member Marsha Levick will appear Monday, March 20 on the Urban League of Philadelphia's monthly show hosted by Urban League CEO/President Patricia A. Coulter. The show will air live on WDAS-AM 1480 from 6-7 p.m. Dalton and Levick will explain the mission of the Association and various programs, and they also will discuss the upcoming Equal Justice Conference.

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 Philadelphia Bar Association's 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.

Don't Delay, Order The Legal Directory 2006 Today

The Legal Directory 2006 will be available in early April, and you won't want to miss the newest, most comprehensive resource for the Philadelphia-area legal community. This is your last chance to order your copy at a special pre-publication price. This year's edition - available in early April - includes listings for more than 1,500 law firms and 17,000 attorneys in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties, Delaware and New Jersey.

But The Legal Directory 2006 also includes all the indispensable information you've come to rely upon - Bar Association bylaws, contacts and committees; information on federal, state and county courts and government agencies; a judges index; alternative dispute resolution resources; and a special business-to-business section tailored to the legal community.

This year, for the first time, each copy of The Legal Directory will include complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So the information you need will be only a few mouse clicks away.

Order The Legal Directory 2006 now for the discounted pre-publication price of $57.95 (plus shipping and tax). Place your order now at www.thelegaldirectory.org.

Space Law: The 21st Century and Beyond

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute's "Space Law: The 21st Century and Beyond" offers a foundation and overview of space law from its inception through developmental years and the future. Designed to provide a solid foundation in international treaties, conventions, domestic law, government regulations and recent case decisions constituting space law. This 5 substantive/1 ethics credit hour program will be held in Philadelphia on March 23 at The CLE Conference Center, Wanamaker Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. You must attend the entire class to receive the ethics credit. For additional 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.

Tuesday, March 21
Practical Tips for Navigating the Appellate Courts
3 substantive CLE credits
12 to 3:15 p.m.

Wednesday, March 22
Disasters: Planning Ahead to Avoid the Worst
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, March 23
Space Law: The 21st Century and Beyond
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits (must attend full program to receive ethics credit)
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A Day on Trial!
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits (must attend full program to receive ethics credit)
8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25
Business Boot Camp for Lawyers
12 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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.