Monday, May 29, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 36
 

Mfume to Address Bar at June 19 Quarterly Meeting

Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP and candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, will deliver the annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, June 19 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

A lifelong champion of individual rights, Judge Higginbotham had a legal career that spanned nearly half a century. Since Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, delivered the first Higginbotham lecture in 1999, notables such as Juan Williams, Charles J. Ogletree, Chaka Fattah and Cornel West have spoken at the annual lecture. Tickets to the luncheon are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members. Click here to purchase tickets online. New members of the Association's 50-, 60-, 65- and 70-Year Clubs will also be honored, with attorney Paul N. Minkoff speaking on their behalf.

After serving five terms in Congress, Mfume resigned in 1996 to take over as the leader of the NAACP, a post he held for nine years. He is credited with restoring respect to the Association as well as instituting management and financial structures that led to an increase in endowment funds as well as a budget surplus. In March 2005, Mfume announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Paul Sarbanes, who will retire this year after serving in the Senate since 1977. Mfume, a member of the Democratic Party, seeks to become the first African American to represent Maryland in the Senate.

Lawyers' Death Row Case Becoming Movie

J. Gordon Cooney, Jr. and Michael Banks will discuss their 15 year life-altering pro bono case at the Wednesday, May 31 meeting of the Professional Responsibility Committee. Their story is soon to be a Hollywood movie starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Cooney and Banks will reflect not only on the need and benefit of large firm participation in pro bono work but also their insights on the Louisiana criminal justice system, and how such a significant case is transformed into a Hollywood movie.

Fifteen years ago, Cooney and Banks agreed, on a pro bono basis, to represent a young man on Louisiana's death row. Their client was facing execution for a 1984 murder he said he did not commit. Critical evidence had been withheld from the defense at the first trial. Seemingly against all odds, they succeeded in obtaining a stay of execution just weeks before their client was scheduled to die by lethal injection. After extensive litigation, they won a new trial for their client and ultimately an acquittal at that new trial in 2003. Their client had been incarcerated for 18 years.

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 provided. Please RSVP to Dawn Burger if you plan to attend this event.

Chancellor's Forum on Diversity Beyond the Large Firms

A Chancellor's Forum, "Diversity Beyond the Large Firms," will be held Monday, June 5 beginning at 1 p.m. at the CLE Conference Center at the Wanamaker Building. This unique conference for small and mid-size firms and public interest practitioners will feature a discussion on the challenges and successes for creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.

Chancellor Elect Jane L. Dalton will open the event, followed by keynote speaker Charisse R. Lillie, vice president of human resources for Comcast. Trial consultant Melissa M. Gomez will present "The Journey Continues: Understanding What It Means to Have a Diversity-Friendly Workplace."

The panel discussion "Creating a Model for Progress: Diversity Challenges and Successes From the Front Lines" follows, with moderator Karen Jackson Vaughn and panelists Carl G. Cooper, former Chancellor Deborah R. Willig, Roosevelt Hairston Jr., Louis Rulli and James A. Pabarue. A reception with federal and state judges follows from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

Three CLE credits are available for this program. The program is free to those who don't want CLE credit. The tuition is $149 for Philadelphia Bar Association members who wish to receive CLE credit; $150 for non-members of the Association admitted after Jan. 1, 2002 and $170 for non-members of the Association. To register for this event, visit pbi.org or call (800) 247-4724.

Ethics in Family Law CLE June 5

The Family Law Section will present "Ethics in Family Law: Sticking to the Straight and Narrow When the Case Takes Twists and Turns" on Monday, June 5 beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Panelists for the program include Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Family Court Division Judge Idee C. Fox; former Family Law Section Chair David I. Grunfeld; and Paul Kazaras, assistant executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and staff counsel to the Professional Guidance and Professional Responsibility Committees. The panel will address ethical issues that family lawyers regularly face, including defining the attorney-client relationship, dealing with difficult clients in emotionally charged circumstances and negotiating with and litigating against pro se parties.

Registration and lunch begin at 11:30 a.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. The program has been approved for 1 ethics CLE credit. Participants wishing to receive the CLE credit will be required to pay $25 for members of the Philadelphia Bar Association admitted for more than five years, and $20 for members of the Philadelphia Bar Association admitted for less than five years. If you wish to register in advance, please visit pbi.org or call PBI at 1-800-932-4637.

Lunch will be available for an additional $7.50 per person. Click here to purchase lunch for this event.

62 Firms Donate $1.1 Million to Raising the Bar Campaign

Sixty-two law firms have pledged more than $1.1 million in support of Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's Raising the Bar Campaign to support legal services. The latest law firms to join the effort are The Weinstein Firm, Lindy & Associates, P.C. and Haines & Associates.

The 62 law firms, representing more than 3,500 attorneys, have pledged $1,146,120. Campaign organizers remain confident that many more firms will agree to participate in the weeks and months ahead, according to Feldman. The Raising the Bar Campaign is a joint effort by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation to increase funding for Philadelphia public interest law centers.

Each firm made a pledge of at least $300 per attorney in its Philadelphia office, with a number of firms committing to as much as $400. Seventeen of the firms are among the 20 largest as listed in PaLAW 2005. To contribute, contact Maureen Mingey, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

Click here for a list of the participating law firms and for more information about the Raising the Bar campaign.

Specter, Nutter on YLD Ethics Panel June 9

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (left) and Philadelphia City Councilman Michael Nutter will be panelists as the Young Lawyers Division presents "Ethics in Government and Politics" on Friday, June 9.

The roundtable discussion, part of the YLD's 2020 lunchtime seminar series for young lawyers, will be held at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wannamaker Building. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and the panel discussion will begin promptly at 12 p.m. and will conclude at 1 p.m. A third panelist will be named in the future.

YLD Chair Michael B. Hayes and YLD Executive Committee member Jocelyn Gabrynowicz will serve as moderators. The event is open to all members of the Philadelphia Bar Association. The first 50 members of the YLD to register for the event at philadelphiabar.org will receive a free lunch. All YLD members after the first 50 and all general members of the Association who wish to purchase lunch can do so for $7.50. Click here to register for this event.

Probate Section Quarterly Meeting June 6

The Probate and Trust Section will hold its quarterly lunch/CLE program "Fiduciary Law in the First State: What a Pennsylvania Practitioner Should Know About Delaware's Law, Practice and Procedure" on Monday, June 6.

Speakers for the program include Steven R. Director, The Bayard Firm; Todd A. Flubacher, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, LLP; Thomas O. Hiscott, Heckscher, Teillon, Terrill & Sager, P.C.; and Anne L. Stallman of J.P. Morgan Trust Company.

The program begins at 12:30 p.m. A demonstration of the Register of Wills newly developed computerization program will be held at 11:30 a.m. The program will be held at the CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building. Two substantive CLE credits are available for this program. Click here to register for this program.

Brandeis Law Society to Mark Jewish Law Day June 7

All members of the legal community are invited to join The Louis D. Brandeis Law Society when it kicks off a yearlong observance of the 150th birthday of Justice Brandeis by welcoming Virginia Commonwealth University Prof. Melvin I. Urofsky (left) for its 24th Annual Jewish Law Day, Wednesday, June 7 at 4:30 pm. at the Jewish Community Services Building, 2100 Arch St.

Prof. Urofsky will discuss "Louis D. Brandeis: Educator Extraordinaire" at the free session which includes a one-hour substantive law credit granted by the Pennsylvania CLE Board. The event also honors Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas President Judge C. Darnell Jones II and Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, immediate-past president judge.

Complimentary valet parking will be provided on-site and the event will be preceded by a Mincha service and followed by a reception. Dietary laws will be observed. Reservations can be made at brandeislawsociety.org.

Jewish Law Day is sponsored by the Brandeis Society, the Committee of Lawyers and Judges and VAAD, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia. The event is co-chaired by Harris T. Bock, Judge Abraham J. Gafni and Rabbi David L. Gutterman.

Legends of the Bar Nominees Sought

The Philadelphia Bar Association has reconvened its Legends of the Bar Committee and is inviting members of the Bar to nominate deceased members of the Bar for consideration.

Nominees are required to have a record of extraordinary skill and service to the bar, the profession and the community in a career of at least 30 years at the bar, unless the candidate came late to the law, or retired early, and some or all of the following qualifications:

A breadth of achievement rather than a single accomplishment;
An enduring contribution to the law;
A deep commitment to achieving equal access to justice for all citizens;
A profound respect for the ethical principles that govern the profession;
A leadership role in advancing the interests of the community;
or a recognized ability to mentor, lead or inspire others in the pursuit of law and justice.

The period involved is stated in the following Resolution by the Legends Committee: "The consideration of the Committee for Legends shall cover a period from June 1, 2000 until the termination of this Committee with the exception that nominations can be referred for individuals outside this period for exemplary reasons and provided that the nominees named had not been considered by the previous Legends Committee."

Written nominations should be sent to Kenneth Shear, Executive Director, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Individuals are encouraged to have nominations sent no later than Monday, June 19 by the close of the business day.

Federal Bench-Bar Conference June 16 at Loews

The Federal Courts Committee's annual Federal Bench-Bar Conference moves back into the city on Friday, June 16 with a full program of seminars and a keynote luncheon address from U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell.

The Federal Bench-Bar Conference will be held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St. A total of 3 CLE credits, including .5 ethics credits, are available. Seminars for the conference include "Managing Multi-District Litigation," "How Focus on Ethics and Professionalism Improves the Relationship Between the Bench and Bar," "Addressing Requests to Waive Attorney-Client Privilege in Criminal Matters" and "Pending Rules Changes on Discovery of Electronic Documents."

Tuition, which includes breakfast, a course book and lunch, is $175 for members of the bar admitted before Jan. 1, 2002 and $155 for members admitted after Jan. 1, 2002. Registration and breakfast begin at 7:45 a.m. Click here to register for this event.

Two U.S. Magistrate Judge Positions Available

The Judicial Conference of the United States has authorized the replacement of two full-time United States Magistrate Judge positions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; one Magistrate Judge will be stationed at Philadelphia, and one will be stationed at Allentown. The appointee may also be required to preside at court sessions to be held at Reading and Lancaster.

The duties of the position are demanding and wide-ranging and will include (1) conduct of most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; (2) trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases; (3) conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from the judges of the District Court; and (4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon the consent of the litigants. The basic authority of the United States Magistrate Judge is specified in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 636.

To be qualified for appointment an applicant must:

(1) Be, and have been for at least five years, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years;
(2) Be competent to perform all the duties of the office; be of good moral character; be emotionally stable and mature; be committed to equal justice under the law; be in good health; be patient and courteous; and be capable of deliberation and decisiveness;
(3) Be less than 70 years old;
(4) Not be related to a judge on the district court.

A merit selection panel composed of attorneys and other members of the community will review all applicants and recommend to the judges of the district court in confidence, at least five, but not more than 15 persons whom is considers best qualified. The court will make the appointment, following an FBI full-field investigation and IRS tax check of the applicant selected by the court for appointment. An affirmative effort will be made to give due compensation to all qualified applicants, including women and members of minority groups. The current annual salary of the position is $151,984. The term of office is eight years.

Application forms and more information on the magistrate judge position in this court may be obtained from the District Court Web site at paed.uscourts.gov or by contacting the Clerk of the District Court at (267) 299-7089. Applications must be submitted only by potential nominees personally and must be received no later than the close of business on July 24, 2006.

Submit completed applications to:
Michael E. Kunz
Clerk of Court
2609 U.S. Courthouse
601 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
ATTN: Human Resources Department Magistrate Judge Application

All applications will be kept confidential, unless the applicant consents to disclosure, and all applications will be examined only by members of the Merit Selection Panel and the judges of the district court. The panel's deliberations will remain confidential.

Sections Plan Spring Events

The Workers' Compensation Section will hold its annual spring party on Wednesday, June 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, 4120 Main St., in Manayunk. Tickets are $45 per person and includes two drink tickets and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Click here to order tickets online.

The Real Property Section will hold its Annual Spring Reception on Thursday, June 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Maggiano's Little Italy, 1201 Filbert St. Tickets to the event are $5 and are available by clicking here.

The Family Law Section will hold a reception to welcome new Family Court judges and honor new Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin M. Dougherty on Thursday, June 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St., on the 33rd floor.

Tickets are $45 for Section members; $40 for employees of the First Judicial District and $50 for non-members of the Section. Tickets include one drink. Hors d'oeuvres, a carving station, a pasta station and dessert will be available. Click here to purchase tickets.

Organizations Schedule Spring Fund-Raisers

The SeniorLAW Center will host a Happy Hour at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, followed by a comedy show starting at 8 p.m. featuring national headliner Greg Warren. Proceeds benefit the work of SeniorLAW Center. For ticket information, call 215-701-3203 or e-mail lfelzer@seniorlawcenter.org.

Friends of Farmworkers will hold its 30th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, June 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 11th and Arch streets. Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, Immediate-Past Chancellor Andrew A. Chirls and Efren Diego will be honored at the event. Tickets are $75. For more information, call (215) 733-0878 or e-mail admin@friendsfw.org.

Bar Association Night at the Phillies June 14

Join your colleagues and friends at Citizens Bank Park at Bar Association Night at the Phillies on Wednesday, June 14 when the Phillies take on their National League East rivals, the New York Mets, at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets are $36 and $28. The login name for the electronic ticket purchase is BARN and the password is 0614. The log-in is case sensitive, so make sure the items are entered correctly.

Bar Foundation Golf Classic June 26

The 18th Annual Philadelphia Bar Foundation Golf Classic will be held Monday, June 26 at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Flourtown. The 18-hole tournament, which benefits the Foundation, will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start on both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses. Click here to register online.

The 2005 tournament raised more than $100,000 for the Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Bar Association. During 2005, the Foundation funded 29 law-related programs with grants ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.

Prizes will be awarded for team low net, individual low net and individual low gross. A new prize for law-firm (defined as a foursome with at least three members from the same firm) low gross will also be awarded.

The tournament is open to the public with a general fee of $375 that includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, refreshments on the course, and cocktails and dinner. Members of the Association's Young Lawyers Division may participate for a discounted fee of $295. Event and hole sponsorships are also available. For more information on sponsorships or playing in the event, contact Melissa Engler at (215) 238-6347. Click here to register online.

Bike-a-Thon Training Rides on Saturdays

The Association's team for the American Cancer Society Bike-a-Thon will begin training rides this weekend. Riders will meet every Saturday at 7 a.m. and leave from Spring Mill train station on the Schuylkyll Bike Path.

Riders of all abilities are welcome and the training sessions will go only as far as the riders are comfortable. If you will be riding on Saturday please send a confirming e-mail to Jeffrey Abramowitz.

This year's Bike-a-Thon is scheduled for Sunday, July 9 and begins at 7 a.m. at the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia and stretches 62.5 miles to Lenape Park in Mays Landing, N.J. There are also starting points at Cherry Hill High School East on Kresson Road in Cherry Hill, N.J. and Mazzas Furniture on 12th Street in Hammonton, N.J.

The ACS Bike-a-Thon Expo is set for Saturday, July 8 at Dave & Busters on Columbus Boulevard from 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Jeffrey Abramowitz at (215) 568-4980 or visit acsbike.org.

Legal Directory 2006 Now Available for Purchase

The Legal Directory 2006 is now available. If you've ordered your copy, it will soon arrive; if not, place your order now for this indispensable resource – and receive free access to The Legal Directory Online.

This year's edition includes listings for more than 1,500 law firms and 17,000 attorneys in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties, Delaware and New Jersey, in addition to Bar Association 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.

New for 2006, each copy of The Legal Directory includes complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So information will be only a few mouse clicks away and accessible wherever you go.

Over the coming weeks, new features will be available on The Legal Directory Online. You can still search for firms and attorneys; but you'll also have information on local courts and court rules, area bar associations and breaking legal news at your fingertips.
Click here to order The Legal Directory 2006 today!

Weekly Snapshot: The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

People with HIV/AIDS often need a lawyer as much as doctor. Worse yet, they sometimes need a lawyer just to get a doctor. When The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania was founded in 1988, a medical-legal partnership was a radical concept. Today, it is a model replicated around the country as doctors recognize that legal services are essential to their patient's well-being.

All too often, society's bigotry, bureaucracy and ignorance cause serious legal problems for people with HIV/AIDS. But most people with HIV/AIDS can't afford a lawyer. Even relatively well-off people can find themselves impoverished by their battles with AIDS.

The AIDS Law Project is still the only independent public interest law firm in the country dedicated solely to helping people with HIV/AIDS. We have:

Risen to the defense of 26,000 people with HIV/AIDS.
Educated more than 30,000 others on AIDS-related legal issues.
Won several landmark cases ensuring that people with HIV/AIDS are treated with fairness and decency.
We also literally wrote the book on AIDS law. In fact, our attorneys have written or contributed to several books on AIDS law including AIDS and the Law.
We also wrote the law, specifically the Standby Guardianship law adopted by Pennsylvania in 1999.

Last year we handled some 1,944 different legal matters for 1,526 clients. In any given week, we receive 13 calls seeking help with government and private insurance; six calls from tenants hoping avoid to eviction; seven calls seeking estate planning documents including permanency planning for the children of dying parents with HIV; four calls from folks with unresolved criminal issues; three calls because of discrimination in employment or health care; three calls on consumer debt issues; two calls with questions on confidentiality and HIV testing; one call from an immigrant with HIV; and at least one emergency call requesting a home or hospital visit. To learn more about The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, vist aidslawpa.org.

Steve Feldman on Long-Term Care Planning

PBI presents Steve Feldman on Long-Term Care Planning on May 31, the latest in PBI's popular Medicine for Lawyers series. This program will provide answers to the difficult questions of those handling upper extremity cases and will be helpful to anyone who needs a better grasp of medical issues. This 3 substantive credit hour program will be held in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 31, at The CLE Conference Center, Wanamaker Building, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Click here for additional information or to register.

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, May 31
Steve Feldman on Long Term Care Planning
3 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tuesday, June 6
Fiduciary Law in the First State
2 substantive CLE credits
12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 7
Review of the Supreme Court’s 2005-2006 Term
1 substantive CLE credits
12 to 1 p.m.

Thursday, June 8
How to Win Your Next Trial Using the Power Trial Method
6 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Winning Zoning Cases in Philadelphia
3 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
12 to 4:15 p.m.

Friday, June 9
Trying Cases in Federal District Court
3 substantive, .5 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Monday, June 12
Social Security Disability: The Basics
4 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Legal Issues in Advertising
4 substantive CLE credits
12 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.