February 22, 2011

Feinberg to Speak at April 28 Chancellor's Forum

Kenneth R. Feinberg, President Obama's compensation chief and administrator of the federal 9/11 fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 survivors and families of victims, will be the featured speaker at a Thursday, April 28 Chancellor's Forum presented by the Business Law Section. READ MORE

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of African American Museum, March 2

Join the Philadelphia Bar Association Academy for an exclusive, after-hours tour as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of The African American Museum in Philadelphia - the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans, on March 2. READ MORE

Volunteers Needed for March 16 LegalLine

Volunteers are needed for the next LegalLine, Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7 p.m. at Bar Association headquarters. Contact Aneesah El-Amin-Jaamia if interested. The program is sponsored by the Bar Association's Family Law Section.


Click here for a list of upcoming Public Interest Training Programs


top

Feinberg to Speak at April 28 Chancellor's Forum

Kenneth R. Feinberg, President Obama's compensation chief and administrator of the federal 9/11 fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 survivors and families of victims, will be the featured speaker at a Thursday, April 28 Chancellor's Forum presented by the Business Law Section.

The Chancellor's Forum will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, 10 Avenue of the Arts, at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for this plated-lunch program are $35 for Business Law Section members, $45 for non Section members who belong to the Philadelphia Bar Association and $55 for non-members. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.

Feinberg was named by President Obama in June 2010 as the independent administrator of a $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury in 2009 to serve as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation.

Feinberg was the fund administrator responsible for the design, implementation and administration of the claims process for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech University in April 2007.

Tip of the Month: Be the Best Law Clerk or Intern You Can Be

by Stephanie Mensing

Everyone knows the job market is still struggling. Despite these difficulties, I'm still surprised to hear about law clerks or interns' behavior in the office.

Any type of advantage is vital in securing employment, yet I hear attorneys talk about the intern who comes in at 9, leaves at 5, and takes forever to finish assignments; the intern who is unreliable because he doesn't pay attention to detail; the law clerk who refuses to do certain assignments.

I know the assignments available for interns and law clerks usually aren't glamorous, but for the most part, it's important for them to remember that most of us, especially the solos and small firms, are not asking them to do anything that we won't and don't do on a regular basis. It's part of practicing law and running a firm. More importantly, it's a great way for interns and law clerks to make a good impression if they work hard on the small assignments and maintain a professional attitude.

My advice to law students who are current interns or law clerks (or who are applying for those positions) is to show up to work on time, work the hours you have arranged to work, dress appropriately, be polite to everyone you come in contact with, ask questions if you don't understand an assignment, and pay attention to detail. It's common sense, but worth pointing out that the interns and clerks who make the best impressions will have much better employment opportunities.

With that said, attorneys should make sure they treat their interns and law clerks with respect. There's no excuse for treating someone badly whether it's an opposing counsel, an associate, a law clerk, an intern, staff, or the cleaning crew. Just as lawyers talk about their interns and clerks, they talk too.

Stephanie Mensing is a partner at the law firm of Wisniewski & Mensing, LLP. She can be reached at smensing@wm-law.net.

Entertainment Corner: Inside the Oscars

by Joseph Gushue

The time is finally here! One of my most favorite TV watching nights is right around the corner. The Oscars! Each year, I make it a point to see as many of the movies nominated for Best Picture as possible before the ceremony. I do this in a feeble attempt to win my Oscar pool (Note: I have yet to win any Oscar pool). But instead of offering up my inevitably doomed Oscar predictions for you, I've come up with some fun trivia and Oscar factoids to impress everyone at your viewing party while you pass the time with the pre-pre-pre-preshow humming in the background.

Why "Oscar"? The official name for the gold statue given out at the awards is the "Academy Award of Merit," but we all call it the "Oscar" without much thought. Several different stories have been proffered to explain the origins of this famous moniker, the most popular being that back in the 1930s, a librarian at the Academy commented that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar. And ever since 1939, the statue's official name has been "Oscar." (I, too, expected this story to be more interesting).

Who's in "The Academy"? In short, it's a good ol' boys-and-girls club, massaging egos with self-indulgent, self-congratulatory awards since 1927. Think the BCS, only with much less transparency. Membership in the Academy is by invitation of the Board of Governors only, and is limited to those who have achieved "distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures" (official Academy lingo). A candidate must be sponsored by at least two members of the branch for which the person may qualify (there are 15 branches that correspond to the various film disciplines such as actors, directors, producers, etc). Each proposed member must first receive the endorsement of the branch's executive committee before his/her name is submitted to the Board, who must also approve the selection. And who holds the keys to this secret society? That would be Executive Director Bruce Davis (who will be retiring this year after more than 20 years at the helm).

Do this year's awards have any EGOT potential? Fans of the TV show "30 Rock" may be familiar with character Tracy Jordan's quest for the grand slam of show business, otherwise known as the "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards). In real life, there are currently only 10 individuals who have achieved this rare feat: actors Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, John Geilgud and Whoopi Goldberg; composers Richard Rogers, Marvin Hamlisch and Jonathan Tunick; and directors Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols (my apologies to Barbara Streisand and Liza Minelli, but "honorary" awards don't count).

Out of this year's Oscar nominees, Geoffrey Rush is the closest to the EGOT, having already won an Emmy (for "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers"), an Oscar (for "Shine"), and a Tony (for "Exit the King"). Also a "G" shy of the EGOT is producer/director Scott Rudin, nominated this year for his roles in "The Social Network" and "True Grit" (perhaps they could team up for a song?). In an ironic twist, 2011 could have been an EGOT year had Cynthia Nixon reprised her Tony-award winning role for the film version of the play Rabbit Hole. Instead, that role went to Nicole Kidman, who is nominated for it, and Nixon will remain an "O" shy, having won an Emmy for "Sex and the City," a Grammy for a spoken-word project, and a Tony for "Rabbit Hole."

Some other fun Oscar facts:

  • Jeff Bridges could join Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks as the only winners of Lead Actor Oscars in successive years. Bridges won last year for "Crazy Heart" and is nominated this year for "True Grit" (what, no love for "Tron"?).

  • Natalie Portman - who recently announced she is pregnant with her first child with her "Black Swan" choreographer fiancée Benjamin Millepied - will become the tenth nominee to "dress for two" at the Oscars. Of the nine prior expectant nominees, four took home Uncle Oscar.

  • According to PwC, the official results auditors, it takes 1,700 hours to count and verify the awards ballots each year for the 24-25 awards categories – a cakewalk to most law firm associates.

Joseph P. Gushue is an associate at Volpe and Koenig P.C. and can be reached at jgushue@volpe-koenig.com.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of African American Museum, March 2

Join the Philadelphia Bar Association Academy for an exclusive, after-hours tour as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of The African American Museum in Philadelphia - the first institution built by a major United States city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans, on March 2.

At this unique wine-and-cheese event, you'll experience the richness and vibrancy of African American heritage and culture in four magnificent exhibition galleries filled with exciting history and fascinating art. The 35th anniversary celebration recently kicked off with an impactful new exhibition, "Patience to Raise the Sun: Art Quilts from Haiti & Their Power to Change Women's Lives." This powerful exhibition showcases a collection of 22 original art quilts and the unique collaboration that led to their creation.

The event, co-sponsored by the Diversity in the Profession Committee, will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St. The cost is $20 per person. The event is open to members of the Philadelphia Bar Association only. To register, click here or visit baracademy.philadelphiabar.org. Registration is limited and required in advance.

The Philadelphia Bar Association Academy provides civic and cultural educational experiences that allow for enhanced business development opportunities to members of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Academy programs provide a unique entry to the city's most vibrant institutions and leaders, offering Association members behind-the-scenes access to these institutions in a manner designed to benefit all participants.

Celebrate Philadelphia VIP's 30th Anniversary, March 19

by Abbie DuFrayne

A landmark event in the legal history of Philadelphia is on the horizon and you are invited to attend. Philadelphia VIP is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a Gala on Saturday, March 19 at 6:30 P.M. at the Westin Philadelphia, 99 S. 17th St.

As young lawyers, we have always known VIP as the organization in the city that starts new projects, offers training sessions for volunteers and collaborates with Bar Association Sections, local law firms of all sizes, law schools and corporations to address unmet needs of low income Philadelphians. We have attended Summer Associates Day, First Year Associates programs and CLEs that have helped to shape our careers.

What you may not know is that VIP was founded in 1981 by Community Legal Services and the Philadelphia Bar Association. By 1985, VIP had two paralegals and a secretary. Today, VIP has grown to 14 full- and part-time staff members with a variety of expertise and backgrounds. With over 8,600 volunteer attorneys, law students and legal administrators, VIP has served nearly 26,000 clients and organizations.

Over the last 30 years, VIP has partnered with Community Legal Services, HIAS and Counsel, the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project, the Homeless Advocacy Project, and the AIDs Law Project to name just a few. ABC's "Nightline" even produced a story about VIP's work with the City of Philadelphia's Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Program called "Save my Home" in 2009.

The 30th Anniversary Gala will celebrate all of these accomplishments and look toward the future of VIP. You are encouraged to join the rest of Philadelphia’s legal community at this celebration. Young lawyer tickets are $100 and Public Interest/Government tickets are $75. CLICK HERE to register.

Abbie DuFrayne is Immediate-Past Chair of the YLD and an associate at Petrelli Law, P.C.

Public Interest Training Programs Scheduled

  • A Philadelphia VIP Pro Bono Training Program on Homeownership/Probate will take place this Friday, February 25 from 12 to 2:15 p.m. at Blank Rome, One Logan Square, 130 North 18th St., Philadelphia. Two (2) substantive CLE credits in exchange for handling a VIP case within six months. To register, call 215-523-9550 or e-mail phillyvip@phillyvip.org.

  • A Philadelphia VIP Pro Bono Training Program on Tax will take place March 9 from 12 to 2:15 p.m. at Dilworth Paxon, 1500 Market St., 3500E, Philadelphia. Two (2) substantive CLE credits in exchange for handling a VIP case within six months. To register, call 215-523-9550 or e-mail phillyvip@phillyvip.org.

  • Mazzoni Center Legal Services will host Open Bar II on March 9 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., a special event to commemorate Mazzoni Center's first year as Philadelphia's only agency providing direct legal services to low income lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons facing legal obstacles related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Director of Legal Services, Amara Chaudhry, will provide a brief program following appetizers and cocktails at Kokopelli Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 1904 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Promotional co-sponsors of Open Bar II are GALLOP (Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia) and the Philadelphia Bar Association's LGBT Rights Committee. The event is free for law students and costs $20 for Young Lawyers (under 30 years) and $40 for all others. For more information or to register for Open Bar II, please visit www.mazzonicenter.org or contact Troy Porter at tporter@mazzonicenter.org or 215.563.0652 X270.

THIS WEEKEND: New Partner and In-House Counsel Conference

The Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association will hold the inaugural "New Partner and In-House Counsel Conference" this weekend, Feb. 25-26, at the Four Seasons Hotel on Logan Square in Philadelphia.

The program provides two days of practical tips and advice that can immediately help you navigate this landscape with greater ease and success through unique CLE, networking and a nationally acclaimed faculty. Conference highlights include more than 8 CLE credits including 1.5 ethics; networking sessions and small group discussions; and tracks that guide you through the issues and information you should be familiar with as you take on this new role.

The Philadelphia Bar Association is a co-sponsor of this event. Visit abanet.org/yld/newpartner for more information.

Entries Sought for Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition

Entries are now being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's 2011 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pursuit of Justice Legal Writing Competition.

The co-chairs of the competition are Bar Association Vice Chancellor Kathleen D. Wilkinson, partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker LLP and Diane Penneys Edelman, Assistant Dean for International Programs, Associate Professor of Legal Writing, Villanova University School of Law.

The Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in an American Bar Association-approved or provisionally approved Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission.

This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2010-11 academic year at one of the following six institutions: Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law and Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). Part-time law students in their third or later year of study are also eligible. 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 or for a law journal. 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. Entries must be received by Monday, May 9 at 4 p.m. by Dawn Petit, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or at dpetit@philabar.org.

The author of the winning submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer, on the Bar Association's website and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner will be invited to a Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association, at which time the award will be presented.

THIS THURSDAY: Federal Court CLE on Judicial Recusal

The Federal Courts Committee will present the CLE program "To Judge or Not To Judge: The Question of Judicial Recusal" this Thursday, Feb. 24. Panelists for the program include U.S. District Court Senior Judges Jan E. DuBois and Norma L. Shapiro and U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter.

The moderator is Janet G. Perry, adjunct professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The program begins at 12 p.m. at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building, Market and Juniper streets. Click here to register.

top