Monday, March 13, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 12

NPR's Mara Liasson to Speak at March 23 Quarterly

Mara Liasson, the national political correspondent for National Public Radio, will be the keynote speaker at the Association's March 23 Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon. Click here to order tickets online.

Liasson's reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." She provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, D.C., focusing on the White House and Congress. Liasson also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway. During her tenure she has covered the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR's White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents Association’s Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989 to 1992, Liasson was NPR's congressional correspondent.

Also, Immediate-Past Chancellor Andrew A. Chirls will be honored by the Association at the event, which begins at 12 p.m. in the main Ballroom at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut Streets. Tickets are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members and can be purchased online by clicking here.

Equal Justice Conference March 30 - April 1

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Theodore A. McKee and U.S. Rep Chaka Fattah will deliver the keynote addresses at the American Bar Association and National Legal Aid and Defender Association's 2006 Equal Justice Conference in Philadelphia from March 30 to April 1. Click here to register for the conference.

The Equal Justice Conference brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of legal assistance. The emphasis of this conference is on strengthening partnerships among the key players in the civil justice system. Through plenary sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and special programming, the conference provides a wide range of learning and sharing experiences for all attendees.

The 2006 Equal Justice Conference is being hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Program on High-Profile Trials March 22

U.S. District Court Judges Michael M. Baylson and John E. Jones III, along with George Anastasia, veteran crime reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, will be the panelists when the Federal Courts Committee presents "High Profile, High Publicity Trials: Observations from the Bench and the Press" on Wednesday, March 22.

Judge Baylson presided over the much publicized Philadelphia corruption and bribery trial that involved Philadelphia city officials and the "pay-to-play" attitude prevalent in the city. In 2003, Baylson issued a decision that ordered election officials to begin printing all election materials in both English and Spanish for any precinct where registered Hispanic voters constitute more than 5 percent of those on the rolls.

Judge Jones issued his decision in the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District in December 2005, holding that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum. In 2003, he struck down portions of Shippensburg University's speech code on the basis that they violated First Amendment free speech guarantees. He also issued a decision affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Mustache/got milk campaign did not infringe the free speech rights of the producers.

Anastasia has been covering organized crime and various criminal prosecutions throughout the country for 35 years. His work also has appeared in Penthouse, Playboy and The Village Voice, and he has served as a consultant for ABC’s Primetime, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. Anastasia is the author of several books, including The Last Gangster, the story of Ron Previte, "Skinny" Joey Merlino and Philadelphia organized crime.

This luncheon event begins at 12 p.m. at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building. Click here to register for this program.

Staff Work Force Issues to Be Discussed

Attorney Deborah Weinstein, vice chair of the Association's Board of Governors, will present an update on anti-harassment and other work force compliance issues at the Thursday, March 16 meeting of the Solo and Small Firm Committee.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to RSVP for this event.

Workers' Comp Lunchtime CLE Program March 15

Eileen Wunsch, chief of the Health Care Services Review Division for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, will be the featured speaker at the Workers' Compensation Section lunchtime CLE seminar on Wednesday, March 15.

Wunsch will provide valuable information to Workers' Compensation practitioners' about utilization review policies, filings and other key issues. The seminar will be held in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch and registration begins at 12 p.m.

The program has been approved for 1 substantive CLE credit. Participants wishing to receive the CLE credit will be required to pay $25 for members of the Philadelphia Bar Association admitted for more than five years, and $20 for members of the Philadelphia Bar Association admitted for less than five years. If you wish to register in advance please visit or call PBI customer service.

Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to purchase lunch for this program.

YLD Happy Hour March 17 at The Pyramid Club

The Young Lawyers Division is hosting a happy hour celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Friday, March 17 at The Pyramid Club, 1735 Market St., 52nd Floor, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The happy hour is a joint event with the Young Executives of the Pyramid Club and the Young CPAs. There will be drink specials and free appetizers.

As an added incentive, The Pyramid Club has agreed to reduce its initiation fee by almost 50 percent for individuals who are 35 years of age or younger. On the day of the happy hour only, the initiation fee will be $260. Twenty-five percent of that initiation fee ($65) will be donated to the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

Please note that The Pyramid Club has a business casual attire policy prohibiting any member or guest from wearing denim or sneakers in the club. Space is limited for this event. Please RSVP for the happy hour by e-mailing Maureen Coyle at

SeniorLAW Center Volunteer Open House March 15

The SeniorLAW Center will hold a volunteer open house on Wednesday, March 15 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Attorneys interested in volunteering and learning about SeniorLAW Center's work on behalf of seniors in need as well as past volunteers are invited to attend the event. Meet SeniorLAW Center staff and board, enjoy wine and cheese, and hear success stories from other volunteers about how they've helped grandparents raising grandchildren, saved homes, aided elder victims of fraud and exploitation, enabled seniors to plan for their future care and provided elders with protection from violence and abuse.

The Volunteer Open House will be at SeniorLAW Center’s offices in the Land Title Building, 100 S. Broad St., Suite 1810. Please RSVP to Nancy Cobb at (215) 701-3200 or e-mail For more information, visit

U.S. Supreme Court Induction Deadline April 5

The Philadelphia Bar Association will move 50 of our members for admission to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court on Monday, May 22. The admission ceremony will be made to the full Court sitting in session in Washington D.C. The day's events will include a continental breakfast, the swearing in ceremony and then a group photograph and tour of the court. Each inductee is able to bring one guest only.

The court's requirements for a group admission ceremony are very rigid. To review these requirements and to download the forms for admission please visit the Supreme Court's Web site at Select the bar admissions tab on the left-hand side and this will bring you to the link for bar admission Instructions and bar admission forms. Please read the bar admission instructions carefully. Once you have determined that you are eligible for admission, please print out and complete the admission forms. The instructions and guidelines are very specific and must be followed scrupulously. Do not fold the application and do not use staples. Use paper clips only.

Once you have successful completely the admission forms, please mail them with your check for $100 made out to the Philadelphia Bar Association to: David Burt, Director of Meetings & Special Events, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Do not send the application directly to the Supreme Court. This event will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and all applications must be received by 12 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2006. If you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact David Burt at 215-238-6360 or via e-mail at

Civil Gideon Symposium March 28

The Philadelphia Area Law School Consortium, in collaboration with the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference Sponsored by the Philadelphia area law schools and the Philadelphia Bar Association, will host the 23rd Annual Edward V. Sparer Symposium "Civil Gideon: Making the Case" on Tuesday, March 28. Click here for more information.

The symposium begins at 9:30 a.m. with several substantive sessions and a luncheon with keynote speaker American Bar Associaiton President Michael Greco. The closing plenary session begins at 2:45 p.m. at the National Constitution Center, followed by a wine and cheese cocktail hour (sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association) and optional tours of the NCC.

The Law School Consortium will partner with National Public Radio for their award-winning "Justice Talking" radio program, beginning at 5 p.m. at the National Constitution Center discussing the Civil Gideon movement. Following the taping of "Justice Talking," all are invited to a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the NCC honoring the efforts of the Philadelphia area public service community and sponsored by the Philadelphia area law schools. Click here for more information.

Program to Teach Client Development Skills

The Training Resource Group will offer a four-week program designed to help those at the associate level with client development skills on March 13 and 27 at Bar Association headquarters. Click here to register.

TRG will help attorneys create an individual business development plan, develop strategic partners, better cross-sell current clients and build account relationships at a higher level. For more than 10 years, TRG has worked with companies and individuals to teach them the skills necessary to increase sales, profits and productivity.

For more information about The Training Resource Group, visit their Web site at

Law Week Events Need Volunteers

The Young Lawyers Division needs volunteers for its annual Law Week celebration that runs from Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5.

Events in which volunteer attorneys work with Philadelphia students will take place throughout the week including Lawyer in the Classroom and Lawyer for Day. In addition, there will be a Law Fair at the Gallery at Market East mall at which volunteer attorneys counsel area residents, free-of-charge.

Volunteers are needed for all Law Week events. For more information on these events, and how to volunteer, visit

Ginsburg Essay Contest Entries Due by April 28

The Philadelphia Bar Association is pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Legal Writing Competition in honor of the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In so doing, the Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in a Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 28.

This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2005-06 academic year at one of the following five institutions: University of Pennsylvania School of Law, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers (Camden) School of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law, Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). 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. 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.

The author of the first place submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer magazine, on the Bar Association’s Web site and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner of the First Place award will be invited to the Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association in October 2006, at which time the award will be presented. Click here for more information.

Raising the Bar Campaign Begins

The Philadelphia Bar Association, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, are excited to announce that the "Raising the Bar" For Legal Services Campaign has been officially launched by Chancellor Alan M. Feldman and Robert D. Lane, Jr., the president of the Bar Foundation.

At his inaugural address in December, Chancellor Feldman set a goal of increasing the amount contributed to support legal services and called upon "every law firm in our legal community, large and small, to contribute $300 per lawyer" to the Bar Foundation or to the legal services, pro bono referral organization or public interest law center of your choice. Each firm will be recruited to make a commitment to support this campaign in the coming months. The results of the campaign will be updated on a regular basis on the Association's Web site.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is one of the organizations designated to receive contributions under this campaign. The mission of the Bar Foundation is promote access to justice for all people in the community, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination. If you decide to make your campaign contribution through the Foundation, your donation will enable the Foundation to continue making grants to address the ongoing unmet need for legal services in Philadelphia (and providing technical assistance in support of quality legal services). During 2005, the Foundation funded 29 legal services organizations with grants ranging in size from $2,000 to $100,000. Click here to make a campaign donation to the Foundation.

To assist you in making your donation choice, the Association and Foundation will also provide a weekly snapshot of one of the 29 legal services organizations funded by the Foundation in 2005.

Weekly Snapshot: The Women's Law Project

The Women's Law Project is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to abolishing gender discrimination and social injustice through litigation, advocacy, and education, targeting systemic problems, in particular, in order to benefit as many women as possible.

Recently, our telephone counseling service received a call from a woman who had been the subject of profound physical abuse throughout her marriage. When the abuse turned toward the couple's children, the mother fled with them. Complicating matters, caller's husband had credibly threatened to track her down and have her killed if she ever dared to leave. Caller and her daughters immediately assumed fictitious names and contacted us because they wanted to legally but safely change their names. They carefully considered the impact that a change of identity would have on access to past financial, medical, educational and employment information and decided to go forward. They faced an additional barrier however, when they discovered that Pennsylvania's name change law required publication of the intended name change to spouses and parents. Publication, even in the smallest of newspapers, would result in their former names being accessible on the Internet, leaving them vulnerable to detection.

Hoping to obtain waiver of the notice requirements and sealing of the name change, the Law Project prepared a petition for special relief setting forth the detailed reasons why publication would almost certainly lead to both their discovery and dire consequences. After the court rejected the request for waiver, WLP attorneys discovered that the procedure for name changes in Pennsylvania was in the process of being codified. We submitted proposed language to amend the name change process to state Sen. Connie Williams, who obtained the agreement of the bill's sponsor to include waiver of publication requirements and sealing of all records, where appropriate. The bill was adopted with a mechanism to address the unique concerns of domestic violence victims and their children. A rehearing, after passage of the new law, resulted in success for our caller. For victims who have no other choice, Pennsylvania now offers another important safeguard to protect them from violence and perhaps death.

To learn more about the Women's Law Project, visit

Chancellor, ABA President to Appear on CN8

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman and Michael S. Greco, president of the American Bar Association, will be part of a panel discussion on the topic of "Is There Really Equal Justice in the United States" on Monday, March 28 on CN8's "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle" from 9 to 10 p.m., This discussion centers around the Equal Justice Conference being held in Philadelphia from March 30 to April 1 as well as on the March 28 Civil Gideon Symposium.

Rosemary Pinto, chair of the Women's Rights Committee, and Molly Callahan of Women Against Abuse will talk about the committee's drive to recruit and train pro-bono attorneys for a backlog of cases concerning custody and divorce procedures on Saturday, March 25 from 6 to 6:30 a.m. WIOQ-FM (102.1) and Sunday, March 26 from 6 to 6:30 a.m. on WSNI-FM (104.1).

Kenneth J. Fleisher, chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Real Property Section, and Joan Decker, City of Philadelphia Commissioner for Records, will discuss fraudulent property schemes and solutions on Monday, March 28 on CN8's "Money Matters Today" from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

Temple SPIN Annual Auction March 15

Temple University Beasley School of Law Student Public Interest Network will hold its Annual Live Auction on Wednesday, March 15 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the offices of Duane Morris LLP, 30 S. 17th St.

The Student Public Interest Network is a student-run organization that enables students to work in public interest jobs by helping them network and find opportunities and by raising funds for summer grants so that students can work in unpaid or underpaid public interest positions. The annual SPIN Auction is their main source of funding and provides an opportunity for Temple alumni, students and the local legal community to come together, network, have a good time, eat good food and raise money for public interest work.

An online auction will be available from Monday, March 13 through Saturday, March 18 at

Police Athletic League to Honor D.A. Abraham

District Attorney Lynne Abraham, along with fellow honorees Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and Larry Magid of Electric Factory Concerts, will receive the Police Athletic League Award at the PAL Award Dinner on Thursday, May 11 at the Wyndham Philadelphia.

To learn more about supporting the PAL Award Dinner, the honorees and the young people of Philadelphia or for more information, please contact Eric Cushing at the Police Athletic League at (215) 291-9000, extension 109 or visit

Pa. Human Relations Commission Marking 50th Year

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will celebrate 50 years of service to the residents of Pennsylvania with an educational forum and awards luncheon on Thursday, April 6 at the Wyndham Hotel in Philadelphia.

The PHRC is mandated to enforce the Commonwealth's laws that prohibit discrimination because of race, color, religion, ancestry, age (40 and above), sex, national origin, non-job related disability, known association with a disabled individual, possession of a diploma based on passing a general education development test and familial status. The PHRC's jurisdiction covers employment, housing and commercial real estate, public accommodations, education, refusal or willingness to participate in abortion procedures and monitoring racial tension situations.

The PHRC is seeking financial support for its statewide civil rights celebration. For more information, or to order event tickets, contact Barbara Daniel Cox at (215) 684-1008 or by e-mail at

Don't Delay, Order The Legal Directory 2006 Today

The Legal Directory 2006 will be available in early April, and you won't want to miss the newest, most comprehensive resource for the Philadelphia-area legal community. This is your last chance to order your copy at a special pre-publication price. This year's edition - available in early April - includes listings for more
than 1,500 law firms and 17,000 attorneys in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties, Delaware and New Jersey.

But The Legal Directory 2006 also includes all the indispensable information you've come to rely upon - Bar Association bylaws, contacts and committees; information on federal, state and county courts and government agencies; a judges index; alternative dispute resolution resources; and a special business-to-business section tailored to the legal community.

This year, for the first time, each copy of The Legal Directory will include complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So the information you need will be only a few mouse clicks away.

Order The Legal Directory 2006 now for the discounted pre-publication price of $57.95 (plus shipping and tax). Place your order now at

Planning Ahead to Avoid the Worst

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute's "Disasters: Planning Ahead to Avoid the Worst" on March 22 will begin with a discussion of how the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association is prepared to handle a disaster in Pennsylvania. The rest of the program will focus on what attorneys should be doing to protect clients and business in the event of a disaster. This program, worth 5 substantive and 1 ethics credit, will be held at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. For additional information, or to register, click here.

Upcoming CLE

The following courses are cosponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. All courses are at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, except as otherwise noted. Registration begins 30 minutes before course start time.

Tuesday, March 14
The Fundamentals of Section 1983 and Constitutional Tort Litigation
4 substantive CLE credits
12 to 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16
12th Annual Health Law Institute
Pennsylvania Convention Center
12 CLE credits (workshop choices determine credits)
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 16
Domestic Violence
6 substantive, .5 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More information is available on the PBI Web site at, on the page devoted to Philadelphia programs, by calling 1-800-247-4724, or by e-mailing Note: some events sell out; before walking in, call PBI to confirm that space is still available for the program that interests you.

Earn up to 4 credits on your computer, at your convenience, at PBI's Online Campus, at More than 300 classes are available, including nearly 50 one-hour ethics programs. 24/7 CLE.