Monday, April 10, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7., No. 20

Mfume to Address Bar at June 19 Quarterly Meeting

Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP and candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, will deliver the annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, June 19 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

A lifelong champion of individual rights, Judge Higginbotham had a legal career that spanned nearly half a century. Since Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, delivered the first Higginbotham lecture in 1999, notables such as Juan Williams, Charles J. Ogletree, Chaka Fattah and Cornel West have filled the role. Tickets to the luncheon are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members. Click here to purchase tickets online.

After serving five terms in Congress, Mfume resigned in 1996 to take over as the leader of the NAACP, a post he held for nine years. He is credited with restoring respect to the Association as well as instituting management and financial structures that led to an increase in endowment funds as well as a budget surplus. In March 2005, Mfume announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Paul Sarbanes, who will retire this year after serving in the Senate since 1977. Mfume, a member of the Democratic Party, seeks to become the first African American to represent Maryland in the Senate.

Chancellor's Forum on Judicial Selection April 28

Four distinguished panelists will debate "How Pennsylvania Chooses its Judges: Election Versus Selection" as Chancellor Alan M. Feldman hosts a forum on Friday, April 28 in the Association's 11th floor conference center at 1101 Market St. from 12 to 2 p.m.

Arguing in favor of merit selection will be state Sen. Anthony Williams, who represents the 8th Pennsylvania Senate District and Lynn A. Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. Speaking in favor of the election of judges will be Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge George W. Overton and state Rep. Mark B. Cohen, who represents the 202nd House District for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Judge Overton, who earned his law degree from Widener University School of Law, was in private practice for 15 years before being elected to the bench in 2001. Rep. Cohen, who also has a law degree from Widener University, is the Democratic Caucus Chairman.

Sens. Williams and Vincent Fumo are sponsors of Senate Bill 100, which would amend the state Constitution to adopt a new judicial selection system for Philadelphia. It is modeled on merit selection using a bi-partisan citizen-based nominating commission to evaluate individuals interested in becoming a Common Pleas or Municipal Court judge. Lynn A. Marks, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, has led Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts since 1990. She was a principal advisor to former Gov. Tom Ridge in his effort to achieve merit selection of judges and co-chaired the transition team's Judicial Issues Task Force of Gov. Edward G. Rendell.

A complimentary lunch is included with this free program, but R.S.V.P. is required. To register, visit or call 215-238-6300.

Former Justice Nigro to Discuss Pay Raise Issue

Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Russell M. Nigro will discuss the recent legislative pay raise backlash at the Monday, April 10 meeting of the Professional Responsibility Committee.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 10th floor Board Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. A complimentary lunch will be served.

Legal Directory 2006 Now Available for Purchase

The Legal Directory 2006 is now available for purchase! You won't want to miss the most comprehensive resource for the Philadelphia-area legal community. This year's edition includes listings for more than 1,500 law firms and 17,000 attorneys in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties, Delaware and New Jersey.

The Legal Directory 2006 includes 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. Best of all, this year, for the first time, each copy of The Legal Directory includes complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So the information you need is only a few mouse clicks away!

"For more than 125 years, your Legal Directory has been an indispensable part of your professional life with updated and comprehensive information about lawyers, judges, the courts, government agencies and law-related groups and services throughout the five-county region. Certainly, 2006 is no exception," said Chancellor Alan M. Feldman. "With our publishing partner, Media Two, and our sponsor, PNC Advisors, we are constantly working to improve and enhance The Legal Directory. Our aim is to provide you with the most modern, useful and convenient service imaginable." Click here to order The Legal Directory 2006 today!

Committee to Learn More About Alito Hearings April 12

Former U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Timothy Lewis and Carolyn Short, former general counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, will discuss their experiences with the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito at the Wednesday, April 12 meeting of the Appellate Courts Committee.

Short served as a chief aide on the Judiciary Committee and watched the whole process unfold, sitting behind the senators. Judge Lewis was one of the judges who testified at the confirmation hearings on Justice Alito's behalf.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 10th floor Board Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Visit to RSVP for this program.

Judge Colins to Address Zoning Committee

James Gardner Colins, president judge of Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, will be the guest speaker at the Thursday, April 13 meeting of the Zoning, Land Use and Code Enforcement Committee.

The meeting begins at 12:30 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 meeting.

Workers' Comp Program on Mediation April 19

The Workers' Compensation Section will hold the CLE program "Preparing Your Client for Mediation" on Wednesday, April 19.

Panelists for the program include Judge Martin Burman of the Workers Compensation Office of Adjudication along with attorneys Nancy M. Farese, Arthur C. Girton and Wendy Slear. The program is designed to assist practitioners in preparing themselves and their clients for mediation in front of a Workers' Compensation judge.

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 admissted for more than five years and $20 for members admitted for less than five years. Contact the Pennsylvania Bar Institute to register for this program at (800) 932-4637. Lunch is available for this program for an additional cost of $7.50 per person.

6ABC's Anita Brikman to Address Committees April 21

Anita Brikman, who has brought insight and clarity to difficult issues as WPVI - 6 ABC's medical reporter for more than a decade, will be the speaker at a joint meeting of the Medical/Legal and Bar-News Media committees on Friday, April 21. The lunch event begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

Brikman's "HealthCheck" segments have covered a variety of topics important to the health of individuals and families, including recent segments on avian flu, prescription drug recalls and mercury contamination in fish. Following the devastating tsunami of December 2004, she traveled to Indonesia to chronicle a medical relief mission undertaken by local physicians. In the fall of 2005, she presented two half-hour specials on 6ABC: "Heritage of Hope: 150 Years of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia," and "BodyWorlds."

Brikman, a Summa Cum Laude of Miami University in Ohio, worked at various television stations in Indiana and Ohio before joining the 6 ABC Action News team in 1994. To register for this event, 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.

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

YLD Comedy Night May 6

Comedian Christian Finnegan, of VH1's "Best Week Ever," will be the featured performer at the YLD Comedy Night on Saturday, May 6, at the Academy of Natural Sciences, from 7 to 11 p.m.

Admission for the event is $55, which, in addition to the show, includes an open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and dancing. Additional entertainment to be announced in the coming days. All proceeds from this event benefit the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Organizations Schedule Spring Fund-Raisers

The Homeless Advocacy Project's April Benefit will take place Thursday, April 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Conservatory of the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue. The evening will feature complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drinks in addition to dancing. An extensive auction will be held with a wide variety of items including sports memorabilia, dinners at the best Philadelphia restaurants, original artwork, collectibles, and much more. For tickets ($50 per person) or for information on sponsorship, please call Miranda Murray at (215) 523-9588.

HIAS & Council Migration Service will hold its annual fundraiser, "A Taste of Liberty," on Wednesday, April 26, from 6 to 8 pm at the National Liberty Museum. This year's honoree is Joseph Poon - world-renown master chef, immigrant entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. In recognition of his creativity and contributions to our region, HIAS and Council will honor Poon with an "Immigrant Entrepreneur Award." Former Channel 10 News Anchor Steve Levy will host the event. For more information, to become a sponsor or reserve a seat, contact Steven Malamud at (215) 821-0920 or by e-mail at

The SeniorLAW Center will hold a "Take a Chance for Seniors" Casino Night on Thursday, April 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Mellon Bank Center, 1735 Market St. Take a chance at our fun-filled, exciting evening of gaming to benefit SeniorLAW Center. Take a chance and test your luck at blackjack, craps, roulette, money wheel and poker. Use your winning chips to qualify for incredible prizes to be raffled away. Come gamble, eat, drink, enjoy live music and silent auctions. For more information, visit

Weekly Snapshot: Legal Clinic for the Disabled

Since 1990, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled has provided free legal services and community education to thousands of low-income people with physical disabilities in southeastern Pennsylvania. LCD is the only organization in the area dedicated to representing individuals with disabilities.

Our four staff attorneys and our pro bono volunteers represent people in matters involving estates, public benefits, family law, real estate and consumer protection. We handled about 200 cases in 2005 and gave legal advice to hundreds of other people. With funding from the Independence Foundation, we recently expanded our mission to include special education representation. Our PERK (Protecting the Educational Rights of Kids) Special Education Project focuses on children with developmental, learning and other disabilities who, without appropriate special education services, might wind up in disciplinary schools or the juvenile justice system.

One such child was AJ, a 14-year-old boy attending 9th grade in an area school district. AJ has selective mutism and social anxiety, making it difficult for him to speak in social situations. After AJ had spent only 2 weeks in a new school, AJ's classmates began harassing him. AJ was desperate for help, but he could not respond appropriately because of his selective mutism and anxiety. Without even addressing AJ's selective mutism, the school proposed transferring him to a disciplinary school. AJ's mother contacted LCD's special education attorney, Surisa Langbell, for help. Surisa filed a due process complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education challenging the transfer. The school then agreed to place AJ in a more appropriate school where his new teachers could focus on his selective mutism and social anxiety in an academic and therapeutic setting. To date, the placement has been a success. Surisa recently spoke with AJ's mother, who said AJ is thriving in the new school and on track to attend college.

Bar Leaders Making Media Appearances

Michael B. Hayes, chair of the Young Lawyers Division, will discuss Law Week on "Newsmakers," a segment filmed by Comcast and aired during CNN Headline News at 54 minutes after the hour. Hayes' segment will air two to three times a day from April 12 to 18.

10th Annual Internet Law Update

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 10th Annual Internet Law Update is not just for technology lawyers but for every attorney whose practice is affected by the Internet. The program addresses evolving and challenging issues on online commerce, privacy, advertising and online communications involving the First Amendment and sex. This 5 substantive/1 ethics credit hour program will be held in Philadelphia on Monday, April 24, at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8 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, April 11
Litigating in the U.S. Tax Court and Refund Forums
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 18
A View from the Bench: Common Problems and Best Practices in Capital Cases
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Best Practices in IP Law
2 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Fundamentals of Health Law
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19
Impeach Justice Douglas!
2 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Making Sense of Recent Changes in Medicaid Law
3 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Impeach Justice Douglas!
2 substantive, 1 ethics CLE
1 to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 20
How to Prepare the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return
Live via Satellite - Franklin Institute Science Museum
222 N. 20th St., 5th Floor
4 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Expert Testimony: A Judge's Perspective on the Top 10 Do's & Don'ts
3 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
12 to 4:15 p.m.

Sexual and Physical Abuse: How to Represent Parents in the Toughest Dependency Cases
3 substantive CLE credits
1:45 to 5 p.m.

Friday, April 21
Commercial Document Series 2006 – Partnership Agreements (General and Limited)
2 substantive CLE credits
8 to 10:15 a.m.

Child Custody Reform on the Horizon: Practice & Procedure Under Senate Bill 74
3 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Professor Ohlbaum on Making Evidence Your Ally in the Courtroom
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, April 24
Internet Update 2006
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

PowerPoint for Lawyers
5 substantive, 1 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.