The Philadelphia Bar Association is unique among metropolitan bar associations nationwide in its commitment to a comprehensive government relations program. Association members have opportunities to affect governmental decision-making at the federal, state and local levels. Association sections and committees review city, state and federal legislation and make suggestions regarding legislation of interest to the section or committee. Sections and committees may also take a pro-active stance by drafting and initiating legislation. The Association has formed a separate Legislative Liaison Committee and developed specific procedures for establishing and implementing legislative policy. Legislative policy, like all Association policy, is determined by the Board of Governors. Crisci Associates a Harrisburg-based government relations firm, represents the Association's interests in the state capitol on a daily basis. Reading their Capitol Digest is a good way to stay informed about the latest developments in state government. The Association's Staff Counsel coordinates its government relations efforts.

Legislative Liaison Committee

The Legislative Liaison Committee is composed of representatives of each of the Association's sections and committees as well as other interested members. At its monthly meetings, the committee reviews and discusses legislative events that may affect the Philadelphia Bar Association and hears an oral report from the Association's legislative counsel, Crisci Associates. Upon receipt of a request for action from a section or committee, the chair(s) of the Legislative Liaison Committee will communicate with the Association's legislative counsel in Harrisburg, the American Bar Association's Washington, D.C. legislative affairs office or City Council to determine the status of the particular piece of legislation. The section or committee may then ask the Board of Governors to adopt a resolution articulating the Association's position on the legislation. The Association's position will then be communicated to the appropriate legislative body. In the interim, the legislation will be monitored by the Legislative Liaison Committee. The Legislative Liaison Committee generally does not make recommendations on specific pieces of legislation, but rather coordinates the overall legislative policy of the Association. Because it is impossible for the Association to influence every piece of legislation, primary concentration is given to state legislation which is of interest to the profession as a whole or which requires the expertise of the members of the Bar. Interested attorneys can volunteer to serve on the committee by contacting the Chancellor or the Association's Staff Counsel, Areetha Carter.

Staff Counsel

Legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Philadelphia City Council Resolutions, are reviewed by the Association's Staff Counsel for referral to the appropriate sections and committees for review and comment. The Staff Counsel maintains files on many state and federal legislative issues; copies of state and federal bills may be requested from the Staff Counsel's office, and will be provided to Association members free of charge. The Staff Counsel is responsible for implementation of Association policies set by the Board of Governors and the Chancellor; works with the Legislative Liaison Committee and the Association's legislative goals; and communicates the Association's positions on various federal and municipal issues to elected officials in Washington and in Philadelphia. Further information on the Philadelphia Bar Association's government relations program can be obtained by contacting Areetha Carter, Staff Counsel at (215) 238-6351.