Monday, Dec. 19, 2005
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 6, No. 57

Write City Council to Cut
Business Privilege Tax Dec. 22

City Council is scheduled to vote on a plan to reduce the Business Privilege Tax at its Dec. 22 meeting. Members of the Association are urged to contact their Council members and urge them to vote to reduce the tax... READ MORE
 

City Council to Vote on Business Tax Cut Dec. 22

City Council is scheduled to vote on a plan to reduce the Business Privilege Tax at its Dec. 22 meeting. Members of the Association are urged to contact their Council members and urge them to vote to reduce the tax.

Members can cut and paste the following letter and send it to their representatives:

Dear Council(wo)man/Mayor:

I am writing to fervently urge you to pass Bill No. 050669 to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the Business Privilege Tax. I am a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association as well as a resident/employee/employer/business owner in Philadelphia and I am very concerned with how the Business Privilege Tax continues to negatively impact the health, strength and vitality of this city.

The BPT, as it is currently structured, double dips into business income by taxing both the business’ receipts as well as the net income. This onerous tax deters businesses from establishing in Philadelphia when they can as easily organize across any of the county borders without this added expense. In order to encourage business growth and therefore employment in Philadelphia, this tax must be reduced and ultimately phased out.

Economically this is the time to address this concern. The city is projected to have a 2006 budget surplus in excess of $140 million, which will more than offset the projected $8 million a year cost of the tax cuts. Please don’t allow politics and personalities to trump good policy. Help us live up to the recent characterization from National Geographic naming us the Next Great City! Please pass Bill No. 050669 so that we can revitalize and rejuvenate this wonderful city.

Legal Community Invited to Chancellor's Reception Jan. 10

All members of the legal community are invited to attend a free reception on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. in honor of Alan M. Feldman (left), 79th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

The Chancellor's Reception will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut streets. No reservations are necessary.

This is the event at which even the city's busiest and most successful legal luminaries patiently wait in line to wish their leader and each other good luck in the year ahead.

'Intelligent Design' Attorneys to Discuss Case Jan. 24

Attorneys representing families looking to overturn the Dover School District's "intelligent design" curriculum will discuss the case at a Jan. 24 Chancellor's Forum.

Hear from Eric Rothschild and Stephen G. Harvey, the lawyers for eight families who challenged the district's policy that includes "intelligent design" in the curriculum, and get a first-hand perspective on the local trial that has placed our region at the forefront of this controversial issue.

In October 2004, the Dover School District was thrust into the national and international spotlight when it became the first district in the country to include in its biology curriculum the concept of "intelligent design" - the idea that life had to have been created by an intelligent, supernatural actor because it is too complex to have developed through natural processes. In a six-week trial this fall in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, plaintiffs argued that intelligent design is an attempt to bring creationism and religion into the classroom, and contested the school district's argument that intelligent design is a valid scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. The federal trial is being touted as the first legal test of the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as science, and the most significant case on religious issues in public school science classes since 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the teaching of creation science. A ruling in the case could occur as early as this week.

The Chancellor's Forum begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. A complimentary lunch will be served, but RSVP is required. Click here to RSVP for this event.

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, if ordered before Jan. 19.

If you haven't updated your firm or attorney listings, make sure to do so now. Check with the person at your firm who is responsible for listing updates, or email legaldirectory@mediatwo.com for instructions.

Business Law Section Annual Reception Jan. 18

The Business Law Section will hold its annual reception on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Pyramid Club, 1735 Market St., on the 51st floor from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

At the event, the section will present its annual Dennis H. Replansky Memorial Award, as well as honors for the committee of the year and committee chair of the year. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit philadelphiabar.org.

Jenkins Law Library Dues to Increase By $25

The Board of Directors of the Jenkins Law Library has approved a membership dues increase of $25 per year for 2006 and 2007. This will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2006. Attorneys who are not members of Jenkins will be unable to use the library on a daily basis unless they subscribe to the membership program.

As the county law library for Philadelphia, Jenkins' primary revenue comes from court filing fees that declined substantially in 2005. Since membership dues presently account for only 9 percent of the law library's funding and have not been raised in 15 years, the board agreed this increase was necessary.

"Without a predictable source of funding, it is difficult to maintain the high level of customer service and in-depth print and online collections that our members have come to rely upon for their legal research," said Library Director Regina L. Smith. The dues increase was recommended by the law library's Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Administrative Judge James J. Fitzgerald, III. The committee will be presenting the finalized strategic plan to the board in early 2006.

The Jenkins Law Library supports the legal information research needs of the general public and over 9,500 members. The library's legal collection is one of the best in the country. In addition to an extensive current, historic and rare book collection, library members have free public access to LexisNexis, Westlaw, palawlibrary.com and numerous online research tools. As an added benefit, many online research materials are now available 24/7 to members through the library's Web site jenkinslaw.org.

Justinian Society Christmas Party Dec. 19

The Justinian Society will host its 2005 Christmas Party on Monday, Dec. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom at The Ben Franklin, 9th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. All are welcome.

Tickets are $65 for members in good standing in 2006 and $75 for non-members and guests. Checks should be made payable to The Justinian Society. For more information, call (215) 545-0706.

ABA Disability/Employment Conference in May

American Bar Association President Michael Greco, the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will host the first National Conference on the Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities on May 22 and 23 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Justice, major law firms and disability organizations are participating in the Conference. Former Attorney General of the United States and Governor of Pennsylvania, Dick Thornburgh, will be the keynote speaker on the first evening.

Topics for the conference include: "Is Disability Diverse of Just Different?"; "Does It Pay to Hire Lawyers with Disabilities?"; and "Best Practices in Law Firms."

Invitations and registration information for the conference will be available in late February and posted at www.abanet.org/disability. To obtain additional information about the conference or to register, please contact Michael Stratton at (202) 662-1571.

Ethics Potpourri Dec. 22

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute will present six cost-effective one-hour ethics programs taught by an experienced and respected faculty on Dec. 22. The topics include “The Lawyer as Poet Advocate: Bruce Springsteen and the American Lawyer;” “Professionalism;” “Introduction to Lawyer Advertising Ethics: A Historical Perspective of the “Integrity” Dilemma;” “Ethics of Pro Bono Representation;” “Code of Civility” and “The Gift of Stress.” Each one-hour program will be held on Dec. 22 at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Registration begins 30 minutes before each program. 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.

Thursday, Dec. 22
Ethics Potpourri - The Lawyer as Poet Advocate: Bruce Springsteen and the American Lawyer
1 ethics CLE credit
8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Professionalism
1 ethics CLE credit
10 to 11 a.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Introduction to Lawyer Advertising Ethics: A Historical Perspective of the "Integrity" Dilemma
1 ethics CLE credit
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Ethics of Pro Bono Representation
1 ethics CLE credit
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Code of Civility
1 ethics CLE credit
3 to 4 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - The Gift of Stress
1 ethics CLE credit
4:30 to 5:30 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.