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May 01, 2017

Free Legal Advice to Mark Citywide Celebration of "Law Week 2017"

The 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association will celebrate Law Week 2017 (Monday, May 1 – Friday, May 5), with a range of free community service events presented by volunteer lawyers and coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division.

Attorneys will offer free legal advice for residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, visit school classrooms, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms, and present mock criminal trials for grade school students during the week-long fest, one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. This year's Law Week theme, as identified by the American Bar Association, explores the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society.

"With a different activity or event every day, Law Week is a wonderful opportunity for us to immerse ourselves in the community - from the schools to the libraries to the courtrooms," said Matt Olesh, Chair of the Association's Young Lawyers Division. "This has been a tremendous undertaking, and it provides so many rewarding experiences not only for our young lawyers, but also for thousands of students, new citizens and other members of the public."

Law Week 2017 is co-chaired by Association Chancellor-Elect Mary Platt and Young Lawyers Division Chair-Elect Vince Barbera. Under their leadership, all Law Week activities are staffed by scores of lawyer-volunteers.

The following is a schedule of Law Week 2017 activities:

Law Day Naturalization Ceremony: Monday, May 1

Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new U.S. citizens will be held on Monday, May 1 at the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market streets, at 10:30 a.m. The Honorable John R. Padova will be presiding and remarks will be provided by Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross. At this event, the winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest – named after past Association Chancellor Edward F. Chacker of the law firm of Gay Chacker & Mittin, PC, will read aloud his or her essay on rights and responsibilities under the law. The winning Philadelphia high school junior or senior will be awarded a $1,000 college scholarship. 

Lawyer in the Classroom: Monday, May 1 & Tuesday, May 2

The Lawyer in the Classroom program features lawyers visiting different Philadelphia schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood, as well as to answer questions about the legal profession. Lawyers will meet with students at A.M.Y. at James Martin School, Chester A. Arthur Elementary School, Edwin Stanton Elementary School, Freire Charter School, J. Hampton Moore, James G. Blaine Academics Plus, Parkway West High School, The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, Roman Catholic High School and School of the Future.

Legal Advice Live!: Wednesday, May 3

Legal Advice Live!: Dozens of Philadelphia lawyers will gather to provide free, in-person confidential legal advice to the public from 12 to 2 p.m. at four branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia: Central (1901 Vine St.); Ramonita de Rodriguez (600 W. Girard Ave.) where Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available; Haverford (5543 Haverford Ave.); and Thomas F. Donatucci Sr. (1935 Shunk St.). Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on a broad range of topics including personal injury, medical malpractice, landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning, and employment law.

 

LegalLine P.M. Free Legal Advice Hotline: Wednesday, May 3

Volunteer attorneys will provide free legal advice to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties who call the LegalLine P.M. hotline from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3. Area residents can call lawyers at 215-238-6333 and have their legal questions answered confidentially without a fee. The lawyers will staff a phone bank at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor.

 

Lawyer for a Day: Thursday, May 4

Volunteer attorneys from the Philadelphia Bar Association will accompany Philadelphia high school students into the city's courtrooms to witness live court proceedings at City Hall and the Criminal Justice Center as part of "Lawyer for a Day."

 

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Association headquarters, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, where students will gather to embark on their courtroom tours at 9 a.m. The event concludes with a 12 p.m. luncheon back at Bar Association headquarters, where Association Chancellor-Elect Mary Platt will welcome students.

"Gold E. Locks and the Big Bad Wolf" & "Jack and the Beanstalk" Mock Trials: Friday, May 5

Volunteer judges from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and attorneys dressed as fairytale characters "Gold E. Locks and the Big Bad Wolf" and characters from "Jack and the Beanstalk" will gather on Friday, May 5 at City Hall Room 653 at 9:00 a.m. to use facts from the fairytales to act out mock criminal trials for approximately 250 elementary school children. Volunteers will fan out in City Hall courtrooms to act as prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses in the criminal trials that include opening statements, examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses, closing arguments, and instructions of the juries. At the conclusion of each trial, the students act as the jury and determine whether the characters are guilty of a crime.

 
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