Monday, April 17, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 22

6ABC's Anita Brikman to Address Committees April 21

Anita Brikman, who has brought insight and clarity to difficult issues as WPVI - 6ABC'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 graduate of Miami University in Ohio, worked at various television stations in Indiana and Ohio before joining the 6ABC Action News team in 1994. Click here to register for this event.

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 Chancellor's 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.

27 Firms Join Raising the Bar Campaign

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's Raising the Bar Campaign is moving ahead full force. Twenty-seven law firms have committed to the goal of giving at least $300 per attorney per year to the Philadelphia Bar Foundation for the funding of legal services in the city.

Of the 27 firms, several firms are long-time significant supporters of legal services. Several others have increased their contributions measurably. Others are new to legal services giving. So far, 10 of the top 20 firms are on board.

Chancellor Feldman and Robert D. Lane Jr., president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, have invited the managing partners of all the participating law firms to a news conference on Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. in the Howell Room on the 33rd floor of Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St. Click here for more information about the Raising the Bar campaign.

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.

Tech Expert to Meet with Solo and Small Firm Committee

Practice support consultant Storm Evans will present a technology update at the Thursday, April 20 meeting of the Solo and Small Firm Committee.

Evans will discuss Voice Over Internet Protocol, wireless devices and software tools that enhance the ability to practice law. 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 who register in advance. Click here to register for this program.

Committee to Get Update NOSSCR Issues

Thomas Sutton, a board member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, will provide an update of spring NOSSCR issues at the Friday, April 21 meeting of the Social Security and Disability Benefits Committee.

The meeting begins at 12:00 p.m. in the 11th Floor Committee Room South of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to register for this program.

Magistrate Judges to Talk About Settlement Conferences

A panel of U.S. Magistrate judges will offer observations and suggestions from the court's perspective on settlement conferences at the Wednesday, April 19 meeting of the Federal Courts Committee.

The panelists include Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Faith Angell, U.S. Magistrate Judges Thomas J. Rueter and David Strawbridge and Third Circuit mediator Penny Ellison. The meeting begins at 12:30 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 pay in advance. Click here to RSVP for this meeting.

Military Affairs Committee to Discuss Aiding Homeless Vets

Members of the Military Affairs Committee will hear a presentation on how they can be of assistance to homeless veterans at the committee's Monday, April 24 meeting.

Speakers for the program include Stephen Bennett, LCSW, Community-Based Program Coordinator, Department of Veterans Affairs - Philadelphia, and Lisa Goodnow, LCSW, Presidential Management Fellow. They will discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs services to homeless veterans on a local and national level and how members of the committee can be of assistance. Michael Taub, Homeless Advocacy Project - Veterans Relief will also be on hand to discuss HAP's services to homeless veterans and basic veteran's benefits claims.

This brown-bag luncheon meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th Floor Committee Room South of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Beverages will be available. Please RSVP for this meeting via e-mail to Cecelia Driscoll at

Productivity Expert to Offer Networking Tips April 25

International productivity expert Neen James will discuss ways to make networking proactive, productive and profitable at the Tuesday, April 25 meeting of the Women in the Profession Committee.

Whether you are in a small or large firm, networking is an essential skill for every attorney. James will share with her top networking strategies to grow your practice. The meeting begin 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. Click here to register for this program.

Committee to Hear from Lawyer's Coach

Business coach Phyllis Sisenwine will be the guest speaker at the Thursday, April 27 meeting of the Minorities in the Profession Committee.

Sisenwine has an international practice providing coaching services to lawyers and law firms who want to increase profits and improve performance. Her expertise in coaching lawyers has allowed her to be known internationally as "The Lawyer’s Coach." The meeting begins at 12:00 p.m. in the 10th Floor Cabinet Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to register for this program.

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.

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 Message to Appear Atop PECO Building

A message reading "Celebrate Law Week May 1 - 7. More Info at" will be displayed atop the PECO Building on April 29 and 30. The lights go on at 5 p.m. and run until 4 a.m.

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

Legal Directory 2006 Now Available for Purchase

The Legal Directory 2006 is now available. If you've ordered your copy, it will soon arrive; if not, place your order now for this indispensable resource – and receive free access to The Legal Directory Online.

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, in addition to Bar Association 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.

New for 2006, each copy of The Legal Directory includes complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So information will be only a few mouse clicks away and accessible wherever you go.

Over the coming weeks, new features will be available on The Legal Directory Online. You can still search for firms and attorneys; but you'll also have information on local courts and court rules, area bar associations and breaking legal news at your fingertips.
Click here to order The Legal Directory 2006 today!

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.

CLS Breakfast of Champions May 11

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas President Judge C. Darnell Jones will be the keynote speaker at Community Legal Services' 17th Annual Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday, May 10, at the Westin Philadelphia, 99 S. 17 St., from 8 to 10 a.m.

The annual Breakfast of Champions also honors individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions to the cause of justice for all. Barbara T. Sicalides of Pepper Hamilton LLP will receive CLS' Champion of Justice Award.

The Breakfast of Champions serves as a launch event for CLS' annual Bar Campaign. In 2005, members of CLS' Leadership Council raised a record amount of $322,000 through individual and law firm contributions. This year, Leadership Council co-chairs Joe Tate and Leslie A. Miller hope to get a boost from Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's "Raising the Bar" initiative, which seeks to raise contributions to legal services and public interest law firms in Philadelphia to at least $300 per attorney.

CLS anticipates law firm supporters will designate a significant portion of their contribution to CLS. New and increased donations will be matched this year by a generous grant from the Independence Foundation.

CLS will present the Equal Justice Award to the following honorees: Deborah L. Freedman, managing attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit at CLS; Langer & Grogan P.C. attorneys Howard I. Langer, John J. Grogan and Edward Diver; Thomas Burke, intake paralegal at Philadelphia Legal Assistance; and Renee Reese, intake paralegal at CLS. This event is sponsored by the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. Admission is free. To RSVP, contact Anna Perng at or call 215-981-3732.

Reception for Commerce Court Judges May 11

The Business Litigation Committee will hold its annual reception for Commerce Court judges on Thursday, May 11 at the Westin Philadelphia, 99 S. 17th St., beginning at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $80 per person or $750 for a group of 10. Cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. Click here to purchase tickets for this event.

Bar Association Night at the Phillies June 14

Join your colleagues and friends at Citizens Bank Park at Bar Association Night at the Phillies on Wednesday, June 14 when the Phillies take on their National League East rivals, the New York Mets at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets are $36 and $28. The login name for the electronic ticket purchase is BARN and the password is 0614. The log-in is case sensitive, so make sure the items are entered correctly.

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: SeniorLAW Center

SeniorLAW Center protects the rights of more than 8,000 low-income senior citizens in Philadelphia each year through free legal services, community legal education, professional training, legal information and advice, and advocacy. In December 2003, SeniorLAW Center launched its first statewide project, the Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline, a toll-free, confidential, telephone service that provides legal information, advice and referrals to seniors, 60 years and older, throughout the state.

Recently, Mrs. D, an 87-year-old homebound woman in rural Clinton county, called the Helpline after receiving an intimidating letter from a collection agency demanding payment of over $1,500 on an unpaid debt. Mrs. D had never even opened an account with the supposed creditor! She was terribly confused and upset about the incident, and she was embarrassed to seek help.

Helpline Supervising Attorney Sue Wasserkrug explained to Mrs. D that she had certain rights under fair debt collection laws. Wasserkrug provided detailed information about the law and explained that she should write a letter to the collection agency disputing the debt and asking for verification. Sue also discussed with Mrs. D the possibility that an incorrect letter from a collection agency might indicate another problem - identity theft - and she explained how to obtain a free credit report.

At the end of the call, Wasserkrug made sure Mrs. D knew what to do. Before she hung up, Mrs. D said, "This is a great service you have. Life is very confusing when you get old, but you've given me the courage to move on."

Telephone-based services are a highly effective way to provide much-needed legal advice and information, especially to low-income, often frail, seniors living in rural states like Pennsylvania with limited legal resources. SeniorLAW Center is proud to be the recent recipient of one of seven national grants to expand its telephone helpline to better serve Pennsylvania's 2.4 million seniors. The Helpline welcomes volunteers; for information please contact Sue Wasserkrug at or 215-988-1244.

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 through April 18.

Vice Chancellor A. Michael Pratt and YLD Vice Chair Scott P. Sigman will be the guests on the Urban League's show on WDAS-AM 1480 on Monday, April 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. The show, hosted by Urban League CEO Patricia Coulter, will focus on Law Week activities.

Dennis Young, treasurer of the YLD, will appear on WJJZ 106.1 FM's public affairs show on Sunday, April 30 from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Young discusses Law Week and the activities of the YLD with Lehronda Upshur. Portions of Young's interview will also be heard throughout the week of May 1 on WJJZ on Upshur's news broadcasts.

PowerPoint for Lawyers with Leigh Webber on April 24

At PBI's PowerPoint for Lawyers with Leigh Webber on April 24, you'll learn techniques using PowerPoint for organizing case presentation themes and ideas. You'll also discover the most effective visual presentation techniques; get tips on handling difficult evidentiary presentation problems; plus, explore security and privacy issues and safe internet usage from a courtroom. 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 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and lunch is included with your tuition. 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 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.