Monday, July 31, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 53
 

Early Bird Discount Available for Bench-Bar Conference

The deadline to receive the early-bird registration discount for the Association's 2006 Bench-Bar Conference is Tuesday, Aug. 14. Click here to register online.

The 2006 Bench-Bar Conference, to be held at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 29 and 30, will feature 19 different programs with up to 7.5 hours of CLE credit and all-star panels.

One-day Bench-Bar Conference packages also are available, as are individual tickets to the Friday, Sept. 29 Grand Reception. The Bench-Bar Conference brings together the Philadelphia legal community for continuing legal education seminars and provides an opportunity to foster the working environment between local judges and attorneys. The 2006 Bench-Bar Conference is chaired by Ronald A. Kovler and Laura A. Feldman.

Sponsors for the event include LexisNexis, Thomson West, USI Colburn Insurance Service, Thomson West and VeriText. Click here to register online.

Resolution Opposes English as Official Language in Pa.

The Board of Governors has unanimously approved a resolution opposing legislation making English the official language in Pennsylvania.

"Placards directing visitors to speak English or leave are contrary to our values, and similarly un-American," said Chancellor Alan M. Feldman. "Let the Philadelphia legal community not remain silent, but stand up and speak out in support of neighbors and visitors with limited English proficiency, who contribute so much to our diversity by introducing us to other cultures and other languages."

Friends of Farmworkers Executive Director Karen Detamore, speaking on behalf of the Public Interest Section, which sponsored the resolution, said that in 1911 there was a federal immigration commission that issued a report accusing Italians, Jews and Slovaks of failing to learn English as quickly as Germans, Irish and Scandinavians before them. "It's an issue that's been with this country for many, many years. And it's become really linked with issues relating to immigration, immigrants and undocumented workers, even though it is a separate but overlapping issue because there are citizens who speak Spanish and there are many immigrants who are English speakers," she told the Board at its July 27 meeting.

Detamore said officials in Hazleton are working to make English the official language of that northeastern Pennsylvania city. "I got to hear the mayor of Hazleton in a really emotional and what I felt was a very hateful presentation basically accuse illegal immigrants of being responsible for all crime in Hazleton, for having made the parks unsafe and the lives of the citizens of Hazleton unsafe," she said. Under the Hazleton plan, Detamore said any Latinos who wanted to rent apartments would have to come to a code enforcement officer and prove their citizenship or legal status before they could rent an apartment in Hazleton. "And they weren't going to have anyone that spoke Spanish in that office because that would violate the third prong of the city ordinance," she said.

"This Association has taken a number of positions on related issues in the past. The Public Interest Section and others felt it was very important for this Association to join other organizations in taking a position and to declare opposition to any similar legislation declaring English the official language of Pennsylvania," she said. "It is very important for this Association to declare a position on this issue unequivocally."

The resolution notes that three other states (Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma) have passed similar statutes that have been ruled unconstitutional because the laws violate the free speech rights of citizens and state employees. The resolution also mentions that enactment of the bill in Pennsylvania is likely to lead to similar costly litigation.

The resolution says enactment of the bill may discourage international business from further development in Pennsylvania and is also detrimental to efforts to ensure the rights of all Pennsylvanians, regardless of English proficiency.

Bench-Bar Conference Scholarships Available

The 2006 Annual Bench-Bar Conference, "The Greatest Show On Earth," affords attorneys and judges the opportunity to join together to foster a strong working relationship while also addessing issues of importance to the Philadelphia legal community.

For your donation of $500, a Philadelphia Bar Association member who is an attorney for a governmental or public service agency will have the opportunity to attend the conference free of charge. Your generous donation will pay for one night's stay at The Tropicana, conference fees and CLE credit costs.

The goal is to offer 50 scholarships to these groups with allocation through a lottery. Benefactors will be recognized in conference materials and in Philadelphia Bar Association publications. To donate a scholarship, please contact Conference Co-Chair Laura Feldman at 215-546-2604.

Scholarship winners will be drawn and announced on Wednesday, Sept. 6 during a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St., in the 11th Floor Conference Center. To enter the lottery, please submit your name and organization to Areetha Carter at acarter@philabar.org by Thursday, Aug. 31.

Arbitration Procedures Program Aug. 1

Joseph Hassett, manager of the Philadelphia Arbitration Center, will present a program on arbitration center procedures at the Tuesday, Aug. 1 meeting of the Compulsory Arbitration Committee.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Committee Room South 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 program.

103 Firms Raise $1.4 Million for Legal Services

One-hundred three firms have pledged more than $1.4 million in support of Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's Raising the Bar Campaign to support legal services. The latest firm to join the effort is Littler Mendelson, P.C.

The 103 law firms, representing more than 4,400 attorneys, have pledged $1,404,770. 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 $500. 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.

Bar Foundation Golf Classic Rescheduled for Aug. 7

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation's 18th Annual Golf Classic has been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 7 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. 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.

Nominations Sought for Sandra Day O'Connor Award

The Women in the Profession Committee is seeking nominations for the 2006 Sandra Day O'Connor Award. Deadline for nominations is Friday, Aug. 11.

The award is conferred annually on a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community. The award presentation will be made during the Association's Quarterly Meeting in October.

The committee established the award in 1993 to recognize the important contributions that women attorneys in Philadelphia have made to the legal profession. Click here to download a nomination form for the 2006 Sandra Day O'Connor Award.

Brennan Award Nominations Being Accepted

Nominations are being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's prestigious Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award. The award will be presented at the Association's October Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Oct. 30 at 12 p.m. at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

The award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service. Any member of the state or federal bench, whether active or retired, who has made a significant, positive impact on the quality or administration of justice in Philadelphia is eligible for consideration. Examples of accomplishments worthy of nomination include innovations in court administration, implementation of pioneering case management techniques, assumption of a leadership role in areas affecting the administration of justice, publication of a significant opinion, article, or other scholarly work, or the like.

This year's Brennan Award Committee is chaired by Stephanie Resnick. Nominations for the Justice Brennan Distinguished Jurist Award should be forwarded to: Brennan Award, Attn: Areetha Carter, Esq., Staff Counsel, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. All nominations should include the full name, address and telephone number of both the nominee and the person submitting the nomination, a summary of the nominee's accomplishments, and any pertinent supporting material the committee should consider. All nominations must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, 2006.

Discover Discussion Forums at philadelphiabar.org

Discussion Forums are a new member benefit at philadelphiabar.org available free to Section members and members of the Young Lawyers Division. Post a question, get an answer - it's that easy! You can also post replies to questions from other members. Best of all, you're already pre-registered for your Section's Discussion Forum! To get started, just log in to the Association's Web site at philadelphiabar.org. Once you log in, you never have to log in again!

Just follow these simple steps:
1) Click "Member Log-in" (upper right corner).
2) Enter your User Name and Password (click "Need Help?" to have them e-mailed to you).
3) Click "Remember Me" to bypass future log ins.
4) On your personalized homepage, click "My Discussion Forums" at the bottom of the page and you're in!

To start taking advantage of the Discussion Forums:
1) Click on the "New Topic" button.
2) Enter a subject in the Subject field.
3) Type your message in the Message body field and hit Submit to post.
4) Your message is viewable only by other members of your Section. To reply to a message, click "Post Reply."

Discussion forums are a quick and easy way to get answers from colleagues on important practice questions. What's more, by personalizing your Profile, you'll receive an e-mail when someone has replied to your posting! And with the "Private Message" button, you can send a personal message to a Forum member at any time!

We invite you to take advantage of this valuable new service today, available exclusively on the Philadelphia Bar Association's Web site. If you have any questions, we're happy to help. Just e-mail Mark Tarasiewicz at mtarasiewicz@philabar.org, or Brett Schaeffer at webmaster@philabar.org. Go ahead, post a question today!

Professional Announcements Available in Bar Publications

The Philadelphia Bar Reporter and The Philadelphia Lawyer are excellent resources for any sort of professional announcement by your firm. Tell the legal community of greater Philadelphia about special new hires, associates ascending to partner level, career advancements, special awards and more.

A professional announcement in The Philadelphia Bar Reporter and The Philadelphia Lawyer will be placed in a publication with more than three times the circulation of any other legal publication in Philadelphia!

A professional announcement has tremendous impact and will benefit your firm in the increasingly competitive environment in which we work. Your firm will stand out as a fertile breeding ground for outstanding legal talent when placing a professional announcement.

The individuals recognized in the announcement will have a tangible piece of history that will serve as a keepsake that he/she will never forget. For rates and information, please call Howard Hyatt, senior account manager, at (410) 902-5797 or (800) 466-8721, extension 250.

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 Spotlight: Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center

Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 in York, Pa., in the aftermath of the Golden Venture catastrophe. With a staff of three attorneys, supported by law student interns and volunteer lawyers, PIRC is a leading source of pro bono legal assistance to immigrants detained by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the state of Pennsylvania.

Hindered by language barriers and not entitled to court-appointed counsel, immigration detainees often face great obstacles in understanding the nature of the proceedings and accessing legal representation. According to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, only 10 percent of immigrants in detention are represented by counsel.

Through grant-funded programs, PIRC focuses on providing pro bono legal assistance to the most vulnerable immigrants in detention. These include asylum seekers, torture survivors, children and families, detainees with mental or physical health conditions, the elderly, and victims of domestic violence. The majority of PIRC's clients are detained at York County Prison, one of the largest detention facilities in the nation, where the average daily population is 500 adult men and women. PIRC also provides services to youth and families at Berks County Family Shelter and Berks County Youth Center in Leesport, as well as those detained at other remote county facilities.

PIRC strives to ensure access to justice for those who are facing removal from the United States. In addition to representing clients before the immigration court, Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts, PIRC delivers "Know Your Rights" legal orientation presentations and provides pro se assistance to detainees. Pending funding, PIRC aspires to develop additional programs to support the growing demand for pro bono legal services to non-detained indigent immigrants in Central Pennsylvania.

Attorneys interested in undertaking pro bono cases through PIRC may contact Kristen Uhler, executive director, at kuhler@pirclaw.org or 717-600-8099. Visit PIRC on the Web at www.pirclaw.org.

Making Evidence Your Ally on Aug. 3

Spend just one day to learn how to use the rules of evidence to your advantage by turning them into an offensive weapon. At PBI's "Professor Ohlbaum on Making Evidence Your Ally in the Courtroom," you will also receive a copy of Professor Ohlbaum's comprehensive evidence book, Ohlbaum on the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence (a $90 value). This 5 substantive/1 ethics credit hour program will be held in Philadelphia on Thursday, Aug. 3, at The CLE Conference Center, on the 10th of the Wanamaker Building, on Juniper Street (between 13th and Broad Streets, opposite City Hall), from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. 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, Aug. 1
Asset Protection Planning for the Less Wealthy Client after the New Bankruptcy Code
3 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credit
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A Day on Real Estate - East
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 2
Legal Writing Techniques for Winning Arguments
6 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 3
Professor Ohlbaum on Making Evidence Your Ally in the Courtroom
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4 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.

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Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 215-238-6300.