March 4, 2008

Governor Edward G. Rendell to Serve as Keynote Speaker at YLD Annual Meeting Tuesday, March 25

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Governor Edward G. Rendell will be the keynote speaker at the Young Lawyers Division Annual Meeting and Reception Tuesday, March 25 at G, 111 S. 17th St., below Davio's, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 and include an open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres. The YLD will officially welcome its new chair, Scott P. Sigman, at the event. The F. Sean Peretta Service Award will be presented to Maria Feeley of Pepper Hamilton, LLP. The Craig M. Perry Community Service Award will be presented to DaQuana Carter of Pepper Hamilton, LLP. Dechert LLP will receive the YLD Vision Award.

The event is co-hosted by Young Advocates for Mural Arts, which will be holding a raffle where the winner will paint a new mural with a friend, and receive lunch at a Center City restaurant. To purchase tickets click here.

YLD Happy Hour to be Held at the Redesigned Finn McCool's March 19

Join the YLD on Wednesday, March 19 for its happy hour at Prime Lounge, located on the second floor above Finn McCool's (12th and Sansom).

After closing in summer 2007 for renovations, Finn McCool's has recently reopened as an Irish pub with 16 taps on the first floor. Prime Lounge has a DJ and bottle service.

The happy hour will be held from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and will feature drink specials and appetizers. The first 60 people to arrive will receive a drink ticket. No RSVP required.

Volunteers Needed for American Association For Justice 2008 Student Trial Advocacy Competition March 7-9

Volunteer attorneys are needed as scoring/presiding judges and bailiffs during the STAC Mock Trial Competition, held at The Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, March 7-9.

If you are able to volunteer to judge for one or more of the following rounds, please email Stefanie G. Ebert or Mary H. Grabish to let them know which date(s) and time(s) suit your schedule.

The schedule is: Fri., March 7, 6-9 p.m.; Sat., March 8, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Sat., March 8, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.; and Semi-Finals are Sun., March 9, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

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Mayor Michael Nutter to Deliver Keynote Address at Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on March 17

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will be the keynote speaker at the Association's Spring Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, March 17. Nutter was sworn in as the 98th mayor of Philadelphia on Jan. 7. He is a native Philadelphian with an accomplished career in public service, business and financial administration. He served as a Philadelphia City Councilman for nearly 15 years representing the city's Fourth District encompassing the communities of Wynnefield, Overbrook, Roxborough, Manayunk, East Falls, Mt. Airy and parts of North and West Philadelphia.

The March Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon will be held at noon at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut streets. Tickets are available online at philadelphiabar.org.

Immediate-Past Chancellor Jane L. Dalton will be honored at the event. Dalton will be presented with a gold box, an exact replica of the one presented to Andrew Hamilton for his defense of John Peter Zenger in 1735. The gold box is presented annually to the immediate-past Chancellor and is inscribed with the message "acquired not by money, but by character."

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Squatting by Harper Dimmerman

This is my first posting on the EZine. I'm actually looking forward to chatting about current real estate stuff. And it's pretty obvious that now is a pretty wild time in the economy in general, arguably even more so in the real estate world. The chasm between the upper and middle classes continues to widen, despite the rhetoric of our splendid elected officials politicking over scotch and Cohiba's (the Cuban ones) in the nation's capital. Foreclosures are up and so is the spin regarding the value of Philadelphia real estate. There's no doubt overall it's undervalued relative to other major cities. But let's face it. Some of these small-time builders, are better at bull than building, getting over on a bunch of hard-working first-time home buyers. No real legal recourse against these "developers" either unless you want to spend the next 50 years chasing your judgment around the Caribbean.

Speaking of legal recourse, what's the deal with people pretending they have an interest in somebody else's property and the legal system virtually endorsing this behavior? On the fraud continuum, you've got good deed forgers on the one end, literally stealing real estate, and on the other, delusional renters who think installing a towel bar entitles them to a chunk of grandma's equity. Somewhere in between I guess, there are the adverse possessors, the patient thieves. When I first heard about adverse possession as a confused 1L, I literally thought it was a joke (what my professor thought of my exam probably). What kind of system rewards theft? I know, I know. Each case is different, two sides to every story...I'm not so sure about that here though. Nice try.

So I was working from home on President's Day, relegated to my occasional home office, the floor of my bedroom. There was a mommy group downstairs. Needless to say, I wasn't invited (fortunately). As I often do, I had CNN going on the background. I don't like to miss anything, which is unlikely when you're tuned in to the same story for 8 hour intervals. Right. Their real estate guru came on and started rattling off stats about squatting in the states. Apparently, with the increase of foreclosures and massive inventories of transitional property, the squatters have wised up. If I'm going to sleep in someone else's bed, let me make it a queen, right? Oftentimes the utilities are still on in these places. Who knows? There might even be a few chilled Corona's in the fridge - drink like the developers in Ochos Rios. Notwithstanding the ingenuity of all you tenacious litigators out there, these people should be arrested and spend some time in more appropriate living quarters - prison. Go ahead. Call me a sophist. Naturally, those accommodations are in much shorter supply, which gives these squatters carte blanche to live the good life for God knows how long.

Of course the first place I go when I want empirical data is Wikipedia. One day I'm convinced we'll be citing it right alongside Purdons and Bender. Actually I think some already are without proper attribution. Anyway, the survey says: "Squatting is the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use. Squatting is significantly more common in urban areas than rural areas, especially when urban decay occurs. According to author Robert Neuwirth, there may be as many as one billion squatters globally, or about one of every seven people." Granted those figures might be off by a few hundred million one way or the other. Even so, that's ridiculous! I'm all for due process and catching the terrorists. But let's get real.

So the next time you're meandering around Rittenhouse Square, just remember that one in seven of the people you see, including Ken and Barbie driving by in their red SL convertible (top down in February), just might be living rent free and with a clean conscience to boot. Amazing! Or you can think of me upstairs, squatting on my own bedroom floor.

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