June 29, 2010

Today is the LAST DAY to Register for YLD Family Night at the Phillies

The deadline to register for the July 29 YLD Family Night at the Phillies is today, June 29. Don't miss out on this great event, which costs $35 for adults and $25 for children 12-and-under and includes a pre-game tailgate at McFadden's at the Ballpark from 5-7 p.m featuring food and drinks followed by that night's Phillies game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Non-members are welcome but must be accompanied by a Bar Association member. REGISTER NOW.

Register Now for 2010 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference at the Borgata

Register now for the Bar Association's 2010 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. on Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16. YLD member costs remain at 2007 prices. Early bird pricing registration is available if tickets purchased by Sept. 17. READ MORE

Bar Academy Suggestions Sought

The Philadelphia Bar Association Academy is seeking your suggestions for future programs. The Academy is a new civic and cultural education series for members of the Bar Association launched earlier this year by Chancellor Scott F. Cooper and chaired by Hon. A. Michael Snyder. READ MORE

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Pro Bono Corner: Child Advocacy Is an Effective Way to Pursue Justice

Support Center for Child Advocates volunteer attorneys often remark that they get more from serving than they give because they work justice for the children they represent.

My work with Myrna is demonstrative. Victimized by her father in high school, Myrna became dependent on Philadelphia's children and youth agency. She has since graduated high school with honors, begun college, and, through therapeutic programs for herself and anger management work for her father, found forgiveness for her abuser. This case, like many others, was court assigned to Child Advocates; I was designated to represent Myrna, whose dependency case arose from child abuse.

We child advocates argue for the best interests of the child in cases with multiple parties, including child service agencies and biological parents, and involving evidence from numerous sources, including psychologists, counselors, foster-care providers, teachers and other witnesses. Child Advocates teams me with a social worker to determine the course of action to recommend to the court. Much of this work occurs on the telephone or during home meetings with the child, or in the comforting offices and conference rooms at Child Advocates, located at 19th &: Cherry, steps away from Family Court.

Upon examining agency personnel, service providers, parents and the child in court, I can work justice by eliciting evidence that provides bases for the court to ensure that the interests of government agencies are aligned with the child's, protect the child from abusive parents and require the child to reside in an adequately supported and safe place.

Myrna's success story, like many who have come through the Support Center for Child Advocates, is one that started with tragedy. This bright youngster rose above the trauma towards success and prosperity, with a little help from her advocate. Such justice rewards volunteer child advocates, making them the wealthiest lawyers I know.

Jeffrey A. Barrack, a partner of Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, is a member of the bars of Pennsylvania and New York and represents clients in securities fraud, antitrust and consumer class action litigation, as well as corporate governance litigation. He is a volunteer and a member of the board of directors of the Support Center for Child Advocates, and can be reached at jbarrack@barrack.com or by phone at 215-963-0600.

Breaking Down the Basics Series Begins Today

A new, 5-part Pennsylvania Bar Institute series, "Breaking Down the Basics," launches today from 12-2 p.m. on the topic "How to Prepare for Your First Residential Real Estate Settlement." The program is also available via webcast.

"Breaking Down the Basics" is a new series of practical luncheon seminars that will provide attendees with the foundational "how to" in several key areas of practice. Designed for the new attorney, or the attorney who has recently changed practice areas, started his/her own firm or expanded into new areas in a general practice, these programs will provide you with practical nuts and bolts information and lots of sample documents, forms and checklists.

Each seminar is two hours over lunch and interested parties can register for all five or as many that suit their needs. Signing up for all five seminars enables you to receive a substantial discount.

The courses are as follows:

--How to Prepare for Your First Residential Real Estate Settlement: June 29
--How to Handle the First Client Meeting: July 8
--How to Avoid Ethics Problems: July 27
--How to Conduct Effective and Efficient Discovery in the PI Case: August 11
--How to Draft a Simple Will: August 25

All courses are 12-2 p.m. at various locations. Click here for more details and to register.

Chancellor's Forum on Civil Gideon, July 7

The Bar Association will present a Chancellor's Forum on Civil Gideon featuring a keynote address by Prof. Russell Engler, a national expert on the subject and the Director of Clinical Programs at New England Law | Boston, on July 7. The program, titled "Civil Gideon: Establishing a Right to Counsel for Low Income Persons in Civil Cases Where Basic Human Needs Are at Stake," will begin at 12 p.m. on the 11th Floor of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

The program will also feature a panel discussion including Catherine C. Carr, Executive Director of Community Legal Services, and Joseph A. Sullivan, Special Counsel and Director of Pro Bono Programs at Pepper Hamilton LLP, who are Co-Chairs of the Bar Association's Civil Gideon Task Force, formed in early 2009 by Immediate Past-Chancellor Sayde Ladov.

Civil Gideon is a growing national movement exploring strategies to provide legal counsel, as a matter of right and at public expense, to low income persons involved in urgent civil legal proceedings, such as those involving shelter and child custody. The term takes its name from Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court decided indigent defendants have a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney, at no charge, in state criminal cases.

In November 2009, the Bar Association's Board of Governors adopted a preliminary report from the Civil Gideon Task Force that recommended the endorsement of pilot projects in eviction and mortgage foreclosure defense and custody cases as well as the development of an education and communications plan to inform the legal and public community about Civil Gideon.

The July 7 Chancellor's Forum will further educate Bar Association members on the topic as well as provide a venue for questions and discussion.

Professor Engler has written several published texts on Civil Gideon, including And Justice for All-Including the Unrepresented Poor: Revisiting the Roles of Judges, Mediators and Clerks (1999), Shaping A Context-Based Civil Gideon from the Dynamics of Social Change (2006) and Connecting Self-Representation to Civil Gideon: What Existing Data Reveal About When Counsel is Most Needed (2010). An upcoming title, Pursuing Access to Justice and Civil Right to Counsel in a Time of Economic Crisis, will be released later this year.

Professor Engler also serves on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission and the Boston Bar Association's Task Force on Expanding the Civil Right to Council. He joined the New England Law | Boston faculty in 1993 and teaches the Lawyering Process and Public Interest Law Seminar and Clinic, co-teaches clinical component courses, and directs the Public Service Project for the law school's Center for Law and Social Responsibility.

During the 1999-2000 academic school year, Professor Engler was a guest lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. Prior to joining New England Law | Boston, Professor Engler was the Director of the Housing Law Unit at Brookyln (N.Y.) Legal Service, Corporation B. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Yale University.

The event is free for Philadelphia Bar Association members but advanced registration is required. Lunch will be provided. To register, CLICK HERE.

Leading Your Solo and Small Firm, July 15

The Bar Association's Law Practice Management Committee will present "Leading Your Solo and Small Firm: Leadership Skills to Advance Your Business or Your Career," featuring Susan Letterman White, J.D., M.S., Letterman White Consulting, on July 15 at Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St., 10th Floor.

Growing your business or advancing your career requires a strategic plan and set of skills that will help you to differentiate your legal services or products from those of everyone else. In this program, participants will learn how to identify their strengths and weakness, locate opportunities and threats, and develop goals and action plans to advance personal career or law firm goals.

The program is free and begins at 12 p.m. Lunch is available for $8.00. CLICK HERE to register.

Register Now for 2010 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference at the Borgata

Register now for the Bar Association's 2010 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. on Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16. YLD member costs remain at 2007 prices. Early bird pricing registration is available if tickets purchased by Sept. 17.

Thirteen CLE programs in a variety of practice areas are on tap for the Bench-Bar and Annual Conference. The CLE programs, in which attendees can earn up to eight hours of credit (including the opportunity to earn two ethics credits), will feature judges and some of the city's most well-known practitioners, who will use their expertise and experience to enlighten attendees.

A dramatic re-enactment commemorating the 275th anniversary of Andrew Hamilton's historic 1735 defense of printer John Peter Zenger will be offered for CLE credit as the opening program on Oct. 15. The case established the concept of freedom of the press and coined the term "Philadelphia lawyer."

A state-of-the-court program will also be offered for CLE credit as the closing program on Saturday, Oct. 16. Vice Chancellor John E. Savoth and Board of Governors Vice Chair Regina M. Foley are co-chairs of the 2010 conference.

Full-conference admission is $349 for members and $399 for non-members, if reserved by the early bird deadline of Friday, Sept. 17. For members of the Young Lawyers Division and government and public interest attorneys, admission is only $199. CLICK HERE for a complete registration form and pricing guide.

Hotel reservations must be made separately by calling the Borgata directly at 1-866-692-6742. Guests must reference the Philadelphia Bar Association to receive the special rate. Discounted rooms are available from Thursday, Oct. 14 through Saturday, Oct. 16. if booked by Friday, Sept. 17.

Bar Academy Suggestions Sought

The Philadelphia Bar Association Academy is seeking your suggestions for future programs. The Academy is a new civic and cultural education series for members of the Philadelphia Bar Association launched earlier this year by Chancellor Scott F. Cooper and chaired by Hon. A. Michael Snyder.

Academy programs enable members to connect with many of the city's most vibrant institutions through exclusive, behind-the-scenes access and business development opportunities. Programs so far have included a lunch with executives of the Philadelphia Union, the region's newest professional sports franchise; an inside look at Philadelphia's top-rated all-news station, KYW Newsradio 1060; and our upcoming program on June 30 featuring a taste and pastry kitchen tour of the city's premier fine-dining restaurant, Le Bec-Fin.

All programs are presented at a nominal cost to cover some portion of food, beverage, etc. To send program suggestions, please e-mail Tracey McCloskey at tmccloskey@philabar.org.

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