January 8, 2008

Volunteer for 2008 Mock Trial Competition

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The YLD is currently in need of volunteers as both coaches and judges for the 2008 John S. Bradway Philadelphia High School Mock Trial Competition, which is run by Temple University Beasley School of Law and the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

The rounds of competition will take place from January 28, 2008 through March 1, 2008. If you have volunteered in the past, we thank you and hope that you will do so this year. If you have not yet volunteered for the Mock Trial Competition, we encourage you to do so and are confident the experience will be rewarding. As a coach, you would meet and communicate with the students to prepare for the competition. As a judge, you can choose to fill as many time slots as your schedule will allow and you do not need trial experience to participate.

All you need is a willingness to give some time and be wowed by the high school students. Click here to sign up as coach or judge.

Please contact Roberta West immediately if you have interest in coaching - we want all of the kids who are looking forward to the competition to be able to participate.

YLD Seeks Nominations for Craig M. Perry Service Award

The Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association is accepting nominations for the Craig M. Perry Service Award. This award is presented annually to a young lawyer – 37 years old or younger or within the first three years of practice – who has devoted substantial time and energy to community-oriented activities, including, but not limited to, pro bono and charity work.

Perry was a member of the YLD Executive Committee who suffered an untimely death. He was very involved in community service and active in student-related and other YLD programs.

Nominations are encouraged and should include the individual’s name, address and a brief statement describing his or her qualifications. The deadline for nominations is Friday, January 25, 2008. All nominations should be submitted to Tracey McCloskey at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street, 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or tmccloskey@philabar.org.

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Should I Move or Build an Addition on my Existing Home? by Lisa Getson

As people begin to outgrow their home and yearn for more space they may vacillate between building an addition on their existing house versus purchasing a new home. It is often a difficult decision to make; each having their pros and cons.

As a first step, determine exactly what you are looking for in terms of more space in your current home. It may be something as simple as finishing a basement, turning it into a lower level recreation room for the kids to play or a space for an exercise room or even a home office. Perhaps enclosing an outside porch is all that is needed for that extra space. If these simple quick fixes are not enough, however, an all out home addition is what you may really want and need.

As a start I recommend hiring an architect who will help in the design. Begin by checking with someone in your local municipal building as many townships have rules about how much ground can be covered with a structure as well as its size and style. Then meet with the architect to plan out your home addition. Make sure to discuss everything that you are looking for in terms of more space. A pro about building an addition onto your existing home is that you can design and build it the way you want to, specifically tailored to your needs. Once you and the architect have come up with a satisfactory design it is time to put it out to bid. It is a good idea to get prices from at least three different contractors for the cost of the addition.

Once you determine how much the addition will cost you, it is a good idea to compare that to the cost of moving. First, consult with a mortgage broker to determine a comfortable purchase price for a new home. Then consult with a realtor to get an idea of what is on the market in your price range as well as how much your current home will sell for. A pro about moving is that you can get an overall larger home with many more spacious rooms.

Another pro about moving is that you may find a more desirable neighborhood than the one in which you are currently living. Though, a con about moving and a pro about simply adding an addition to your existing home is that you may love your current neighborhood.

Another factor to consider when weighing the pros and cons is that building an addition is extremely messy. Living through construction can be a very stressful experience. Though to some people, the thought of moving and packing and unpacking may be equally stressful.

Last, when toying with the idea of moving versus building a home addition, it is a good idea to consider the overall value of the property. From a real estate perspective it is always best to be the least expensive home in the neighborhood. Constructing a large addition may put your home at either the high end in the area or over the top. If you are planning to sell within a five year time period you may not see a return on your investment. If the addition will turn your current home into your forever home and selling is no longer an option, however, then over-improving your home for its neighborhood may not matter. If it does matter, however, and the money otherwise spent on an addition can be used to purchase a new home in a more expensive location where the value of the home will only increase over time, then this may be the better option.

Whatever you decide – moving or building an addition, the choice will be right for you.

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