Mar. 23, 2020 | Vol. 21, No. 11
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 

Dear Members,

Mike Headshot

As the world around us seems to have changed dramatically almost overnight, I think that there are several things you should know:

We continue to have the health and safety of each of you, your families, the community, and employees of the Philadelphia Bar Association paramount in our minds and actions.

We have put procedures in place at the Association so that all staff can work from home; all meetings are being held either by Zoom or by conference call.

We will continue to update our website with all available information relevant to the operation of the Courts.

We are continuously monitoring all communications and alerts from City, State, and Federal authorities dealing with COVID-19.

I know that this is a confusing time for all of us. I think that with vigilance, calmness, and awareness we will be able to stay the course, emerging, before long, into calm seas and sunny skies.

Please stay healthy and safe. That is my fondest wish for all of you.

All my very best,

Mike Snyder,

Check the response Coronavirus Response page for updates as they develop.

Philadelphia Bar Association Coronavirus Response

Latest Updates

  • March 22, 2020 - City Issues Stay at Home Order Clarifying Restrictions on Business Activity in Philadelphia
  • March 22, 2020 - First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Notice to the Bar Re: Postponement of Civil Jury Trials Date Certain Scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2020
  • March 21, 2020 - President Judge Idee Fox, as Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District, has issued an order setting forth procedures for filing and handling temporary Protection from Abuse petitions.

    The Wolf Administration is delaying enforcement of the order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19 until Monday, March 23 at 8:00 am. The Administration has updated the list of life-sustaining businesses that may remain open. The revised list includes clarifying language that legal services must remain closed “Except as permitted expressly by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.”

  • March 20, 2020 - AOPC Update for Lawyers Participating in Court Functions

    The following statement has been issued by H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., court administrator, Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts:

    In the view of AOPC, restricted access to law offices and facilities by legal professionals, staff, and clients is permitted to the degree necessary to allow attorneys to participate in court functions deemed essential by a President Judge per the Supreme Court's order of March 18, 2020, so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are employed for the protection of lawyers, staff, and clients. Pursuant to the Governor's order, all other business must be conducted remotely; necessary retrieval of files or other materials should be accomplished expeditiously.
  • March 20, 2020 - President Judge Idee Fox, as Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District, has issued three additional orders pertaining to court functions in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. Administrative Order 13 specifies that Motions to Lift Detainers are classified as emergencies, qualifying as an exception to court closure, provided that the motion must contain sufficient information to allow for a “paper review only.” The order also clarified that motions for early termination of Probation or Parole are deemed not to be emergencies. See Judge Fox’s order for further details and procedure. Administrative Order 14 postpones and reschedules the April 7 Sheriff’s Mortgage Foreclosure Sale to June 2. Administrative Order 15 directs that courts and related office will remain closed and reopen April 6. Legal papers required to be filed between March 17 and April 6 will be deemed timely filed if they are filed by April 13. The order also addresses Juvenile Detention Hearings, shelter care hearings and bench warrant hearings.

Governor Wolf Orders All Law Offices to Close

Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses, including law offices, to close effective immediately. The governor's order, which will remain in effect until further notice, applies whether or not the business is open to the public. The order allows "virtual or telework operations (e.g., work from home), so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed in such operations."…Read More

Pa Supreme Court Closes all Courts to the Public for Non-Essential Functions

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ordered that, except for certain essential functions specified in the order, court facilities in all judicial districts in Pennsylvania shall be closed to the public through at least April 3, 2020…Read More

YLD Law Week 2020 Poster Contest

This year, the YLD is holding its Law Week 2020 Poster Contest entirely online! The theme is "What Does the Right to Vote Mean to You?" and the contest is open to all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Philadelphia public, private, parochial, and charter elementary schools. Deadline is Friday, April 24. Click here for details.


Writers Wanted

How would you like to see your byline in a publication that regularly reaches audiences throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey?

The Philadelphia Bar Association is looking for volunteer writers for its Philadelphia Bar Reporter.

Receive monthly assignments or propose your own topics.

To learn more, visit, or contact Brittany Robertson at

Philadelphia Bar Foundation: Coronavirus Response

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation has been an anchor institution for civil legal aid for more than 50 years. We extend our thoughts and best wishes to colleagues, friends, and families who are being negatively affected by the virus and the current crisis. The disruption to business operations in the U.S. and the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant and damaging impact on the Foundation’s fundraising activities. We have taken immediate action in response to budget concerns, but we need your help. Please donate today to help us continue providing unrestricted funds and technical support to legal aid agencies on the frontlines of this crisis.


Transforming Access to Justice: Philadelphia Equal Justice Center

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is leading the Equal Justice Center (EJC) project, which will permanently transform the capacity of the city's legal aid system to sustain its operations and improve the delivery of services to clients. At the EJC, a shared physical location will create efficiencies and collaborative program opportunities, freeing up much-needed resources. Organizations in the EJC will collectively confront interlocking issues, which will be life-changing for Philadelphians seeking multiple vital supports. Help support this important project by learning more and donating today!


Sharing the Gift of Mindfulness

Courtney Schulnick, Esq., who serves as co-chair of the Wellness & Quality of Life Committee, enjoys offering mindfulness programs and workshops to teach attorneys how to foster greater self-care so that in turn, they can better serve not only their only personal needs, but those of their clients.

The objective of Mindfulness is for people to live more fully in the present moment and achieve greater balance, vitality and health. Courtney recently launched a website for her Mindfulness work,

Life as we know it as an attorney can be trying, but this is an especially challenging time for all of us. With Courtney's Mindfulness programs, she hopes to offer other attorneys some practical tools that may help us all better manage and work through the stress and anxiety that we are facing right now.

If you or anyone you know of is interested in learning more about Mindfulness, Courtney can be contacted at

Upcoming Philadelphia Bar Association CLE Courses

All CLE programming, until further notice, will be offered via webcastCLE video icon. For course offerings, dates, and times, please visit:

Philadelphia Bar Association Calendar List

Then, type "CLE" in the search box and hit "Go."

The Philadelphia Bar Association has been informed that, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has extended the April 30 compliance period to Aug. 31, 2020. At this time, the Supreme Court has left other compliance periods unchanged. Read the order here.

Full course calendar here.

Philadelphia VIP Small Business Legal Assessment Clinic, March 26

On Thursday, March 26, Philadelphia VIP will hold a Small Business Legal Assessment Clinic by phone consultation, from 5–7 p.m. Each attorney will be matched with a client and given background information before the consultation. Use your legal skills to help small business owners identify and strategize around key legal issues; register here.

Philadelphia VIP Solos Practice Group, April 2

On Thursday, April 2, Philadelphia VIP will hold its first Solos Practice Group, online from 12:00–1:00 p.m. This virtual meeting will offer an in-depth introduction to pro bono representation with VIP. Join us to learn more about our volunteer resources and how to properly select a case. Any attorney seeking information about VIP's program is welcome to attend this introductory meeting. Register Here

Philadelphia VIP's Family Law Practice Group, April 15

On Wednesday, April 15, Philadelphia VIP's Family Law Practice Group will meet, from 12–1 p.m., at Philadelphia VIP, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 400, Philadelphia. Strategize about VIP cases, connect with fellow attorneys, and deepen your commitment to expanding access to justice. This month, recent Volunteer of the Month, Lise Fisher, will be available to answer questions and share expertise with volunteers. For more information and to register, click here.

USI logo

Tolling the Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations by Reason of Plaintiff's Disability or Insanity

article image The recent New York Appellate Division, First Department, decision of Jemima O. v. Schwartzapfel, P.C., 2019 NY Slip Op 08793 (1st Dept. 2019) sheds light on the often little-known fact that a plaintiff can use disability (or insanity) to toll the statute of limitations in making a claim against an attorney. Although Plaintiff’s attempt to toll the statute of limitations was denied in this instance, the First Department specified the types of evidence that a plaintiff may rely on to persuade a court that the plaintiff’s alleged condition effectively tolled the statute of limitations…Read More

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