Monday, April 24, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 24

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. Click here to register or call 215-238-6300.

Tax Section Panel on Federal Budget Deficit May 2

The Tax Section will sponsor a breakfast discussion "The Federal Budget Deficit: Much Ado About Nothing or a Significant Threat to the U.S. Economy?" on Tuesday, May 2 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Panelists for the program include David Walker, U.S. Comptroller General; Isabel Sawhill, Vice President, Director of Ecomonic Studies, The Brookings Institution; Alison Fraser, Director, Roe Institute of Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation; Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President, Committee for Economic Development; and Robert Bixby, Executive Director, The Concord Coalition.

The event will be held in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. A continental breakfast will be provided and there is no charge for this event. Click here to RSVP for this event.

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 veterans' 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.

Business Organizations Committee to Meet April 26

All members of the Business Law Section are invited to an organizational meeting of the Business Organizations Committee on Wednesday, April 26.

Matthew A. Cole will lead a discussion on the mission of the committee, potential topics, CLE possibilities and other relevant matters. The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 11th floor Committee Room South of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. For more information, contact Cole at (215) 423-2777 or via e-mail at

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.

Traffic Court Committee to Meet April 27

The Traffic Court Committee will hold an organizational meeting on Thursday, April 27 at 2:30 p.m. in the 11th floor Committee Room South of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

For more information about the Traffic Court Committee, contact Robert P. Tuerk at or call (215) 854-4051.

Training Session for Domestic Violence Cases April 28

The Women's Rights Committee will hold a training session for attorneys interested in representing victims of domestic violence who cannot afford legal representation during the committee's Friday, April 28 meeting.

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 register in advance. Click here to register for this event.

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.

Bar Foundation Golf Classic June 26

The 18th Annual Philadelphia Bar Foundation Golf Classic will be held Monday, June 26 at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Flourtown. The 18-hole tournament, which benefits the Foundation, will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start on both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses. Click here to register online.

The 2005 tournament raised more than $100,000 for the Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Bar Association. During 2005, the Foundation funded 29 law-related programs with grants ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.

Prizes will be awarded for team low net, individual low net and individual low gross. A new prize for law-firm (defined as a foursome with at least three members from the same firm) low gross will also be awarded.

The tournament is open to the public with a general fee of $375 that includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, refreshments on the course, and cocktails and dinner. Members of the Association’s Young Lawyers Division may participate for a discounted fee of $295. Event and hole sponsorships are also available. For more information on sponsorships or playing in the event, contact Melissa Engler at (215) 238-6347. Click here to register online.

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 10

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

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) 832-0920 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. 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

The ACLU of PA will hold its 24th Annual Defending Freedom event on Thursday, May 11, featuring cartoonist Tom Tomorrow with a slideshow of civil liberties-related cartoons and commentary, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Downtown Marriott, 1201 Market St. For ticket information call (215) 592-1513, extension 122 or e-mail

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights will hold its 10th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 13 from 7 to 10 p.m., at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 S. 22nd St. For ticket information contact Alicia Williamson at (215) 731-1447, extension 13 or e-mail

The Support Center for Child Advocates will hold its Annual Champions of Children Benefit Reception and Volunteer Celebration on Wednesday, May 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Main Banking Lobby of Wachovia, Broad and Walnut Streets. For more information, call (215) 925-1913.

Bar Leaders Making Media Appearances

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman Scott Sigman, vice chair of the YLD, will appear on Eleanor Dezzi's "Voices From the Village" on WURD 900 AM on Wednesday, April 27 from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. The topics include Law Week and Raising the Bar.

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.

Weekly Snapshot: HIAS and Council Migration Service

HIAS and Council Migration Service provides law-related immigration services. Our litigation and representation department, staffed by five attorneys, emphasizes services to maintain family unity and to assist vulnerable populations including asylum seekers, survivors of domestic violence and unaccompanied or abused children. We handle complex administrative processing cases, and representation in the U.S. Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts. We often team with pro bono counsel in appellate cases. Originally formed in 1882 as the Society to Protect Jewish Immigrants, HIAS and Council now works with nationals from 60 nations.

Our cases are compelling and often involve emerging issues in immigration law. Y.Y.'s case represented the developing area of gender asylum law. She had experienced years of abuse from her husband. As an ethnic Christian Chinese, she also feared violence directed against her because of the discrimination and attacks directed to individuals of her background. Y.Y. was not able to attend church as she wished because her church had been damaged as part of a bombing campaign by Muslim fundamentalists. Through expert and psychological testimony we were able to establish the abuse and the inability of the Indonesian government to protect victims such as Y.Y. She was granted asylum, and her two older children have now joined her. They both attend Temple University, looking forward to getting their undergraduate degrees, safe from the societal and family violence they endured in Indonesia.

One of our youngest clients was an unaccompanied 13-year-old Chinese girl who was brought to the U.S. by smugglers in order to work in exploitive conditions. She was granted a special visa known as a T visa available to victims of severe forms of human trafficking. The child, who is in foster care, can now complete school and eventually obtain lawful permanent resident status. The youngster was supported in her efforts by the Department of Justice who certified that she was a victim of trafficking based on the prosecution of the smuggler who brought her to the U.S. without her consent.

HIAS and Council Migration Service is proud to be a Bar Foundation partner. Attorneys interested in handling pro bono cases, particularly in federal court, should contact our intake paralegal Qing Hui Wang at Please visit our Web site at

10th Annual Insurance Institute April 25

This year's hot topics at PBI's 10th Annual Insurance Institute include federal regulation update; liquidations and rehabilitations; reinsurance; bad faith; policy coverage; as well as many other informative sessions, providing you with the most complete update in insurance law. This 5 substantive/1 ethics credit hour program will be held in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 25, at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor Wanamaker Building from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 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 25
10th Annual Insurance Institute
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Constitution in School
4 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday April 26
Gain the Edge: Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers
5.5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, April 27
12th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute 2006
Pennsylvania Convention Center
12th & Arch Streets
6 CLE credits (Workshop choices will determine if credits are substantive or ethics)
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Too Great an Expectation: Does Charles Dickens Demand Too Much of Today’s Lawyer
1 ethics CLE credit
8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Ethics Potpourri - PBA Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee Update
1 ethics CLE credit
10 to 11 a.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Caught in the Web: Law Firm Web Sites & Online Marketing Ethics Issues
1 ethics CLE credits
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Ethics of Pro Bono Representation
1 ethics CLE credit
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Ethics Jeopardy
1 ethics CLE credits
3 to 4 p.m.

Ethics Potpourri - Saving the Impaired Colleague
1 ethics CLE credits
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Medical Malpractice Case
6 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, April 28
Commercial Document Series 2006 – Government Contracts
2 substantive CLE credits
8 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

12th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute 2006
Pennsylvania Convention Center
12th & Arch Streets
6 CLE credits (Workshop choices will determine if credits are substantive or ethics)
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

9th Annual Securities Law Forum
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fundamentals of Estate Planning
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 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.