Monday, July 17, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 49

All-Star Panels Highlight
2006 Bench-Bar Conference

The Philadelphia Bar Association's 2006 Bench-Bar Conference returns to the Tropicana in Atlantic City this year with a two-day schedule of continuing legal education seminars featuring all-star panels. MSNBC's Dan Abrams and CN8's Lynn Doyle are among the featured speakers...READ MORE

All-Star Panels Highlight 2006 Bench-Bar Conference

The Philadelphia Bar Association's 2006 Bench-Bar Conference returns to the Tropicana in Atlantic City this year with a two-day schedule of continuing legal education seminars featuring all-star panels.

The conference opens on Friday, Sept. 29 at 12 p.m. with "Independence Day," a panel discussion on judicial independence. The panel will be moderated by journalist Lynn Doyle of CN8, the Comcast Network. Panelists include former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Russell M. Nigro, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge, former Chancellor Clifford E. Haines, who chairs Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.

"Giant," a plenary session, follows at 2:15 p.m. with a state of the court address. Panelists for the program include Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas President Judge C. Darnell Jones II, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Louis J. Presenza and supervising and administrative judges.

"Good Night and Good Luck," an ethics panel CLE hosted by the Young Lawyers Division, will feature three members of the media in addition to Jane L. Dalton, Chancellor-Elect of the Association; Hon. Federica A. Massiah-Jackson, the Immediate-Past President Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas; and Abraham C. Reich, who served as Chancellor of Association in 1995. The panel will discuss how each faction can each get what they want and need to do their jobs effectively without setting off any ethical landmines.

Saturday's schedule is packed full of CLE courses planned by the Association's various sections and featuring many prominent judges and attorneys. The event closes with "Broadcast News," an address by Dan Abrams, a Columbia University Law School graduate who was recently appointed the head of MSNBC. More information on the conference is available at Online registration for the 2006 Bench-Bar Conference is available by clicking here.

Observations on Civil Jury Instructions July 19

U.S. District Court Judges Mary A. McLaughlin and Cynthia Rufe, along with attorney Gino J. Benedetti, will be the panelists for "Observations and Comments on the Third Circuit's Proposed Model Civil Jury Instructions" at the Wednesday, July 19 meeting of the Federal Courts Committee.

The Committee will also hear a brief report from Ellen Meriwether on proposed recommendations for improvements sto the ECF filing system at the meeting, which 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 program.

Bar Foundation Golf Classic Rescheduled for Aug. 7

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation's 18th Annual Golf Classic has been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 7 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. 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.

Judge Jones to Speak on Attacks on Judiciary

U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones will discuss attacks on the judiciary, judicial independence and the Dover School District case at the Wednesday, July 19 meeting of the Professional Responsibility Committee.

Thrust into the national spotlight by the Dover School District Intelligent Design case, Judge Jones has withstood withering and acrimonious attacks by conservative commentators and death threats from unknown individuals as a result of this case.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building. A complimentary lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Dawn Burger by July 18 at

Nominations Sought for Sandra Day O'Connor Award

The Women in the Profession Committee is seeking nominations for the 2006 Sandra Day O'Connor Award. Deadline for nominations is Friday, Aug. 11.

The award is conferred annually on a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community. The award presentation will be made during the Association's Quarterly Meeting in October.

The committee established the award in 1993 to recognize the important contributions that women attorneys in Philadelphia have made to the legal profession. Click here to download a nomination form for the 2006 Sandra Day O'Connor Award.

Brennan Award Nominations Being Accepted

Chancellor Alan M. Feldman has announced the opening of nominations for the Philadelphia Bar Association's prestigious Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award. The award will be presented at the Association's October Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon scheduled for Oct. 30 at 12 p.m. at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

The award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service. Any member of the state or federal bench, whether active or retired, who has made a significant, positive impact on the quality or administration of justice in Philadelphia is eligible for consideration. Examples of accomplishments worthy of nomination include innovations in court administration, implementation of pioneering case management techniques, assumption of a leadership role in areas affecting the administration of justice, publication of a significant opinion, article, or other scholarly work, or the like.

This year's Brennan Award Committee is chaired by Stephanie Resnick. Nominations for the Justice Brennan Distinguished Jurist Award should be forwarded to: Brennan Award, Attn: Areetha Carter, Esq., Staff Counsel, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. All nominations should include the full name, address and telephone number of both the nominee and the person submitting the nomination, a summary of the nominee's accomplishments, and any pertinent supporting material the committee should consider. All nominations must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, 2006.

99 Firms Raise Nearly $1.4 Million for Legal Services

Ninety-nine firms have pledged nearly $1.4 million in support of Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's Raising the Bar Campaign to support legal services. The latest firms to join the effort are The Colleran Firm and Grant and Lebowitz LLC.

The 99 law firms, representing nearly 4,388 attorneys, have pledged $1,396,170. The Raising the Bar Campaign is a joint effort by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation to increase funding for Philadelphia public interest law centers.

Each firm made a pledge of at least $300 per attorney in its Philadelphia office, with a number of firms committing to as much as $400. Seventeen of the firms are among the 20 largest as listed in PaLAW 2005. To contribute, contact Maureen Mingey, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

Click here for a list of the participating law firms and for more information about the Raising the Bar campaign.

Discussion Forums Debut at

Discussion Forums are a new member benefit at available free to Section members and members of the Young Lawyers Division. Post a question, get an answer - it's that easy! You can also post replies to questions from other members. Best of all, you're already pre-registered for your Section's Discussion Forum! To get started, just log in to the Association's Web site at Once you log in, you never have to log in again!

Just follow these simple steps:
1) Click "Member Log-in" (upper right corner).
2) Enter your User Name and Password (click "Need Help?" to have them e-mailed to you).
3) Click "Remember Me" to bypass future log ins.
4) On your personalized homepage, click "My Discussion Forums" at the bottom of the page and you're in!

To start taking advantage of the Discussion Forums:
1) Click on the "New Topic" button.
2) Enter a subject in the Subject field.
3) Type your message in the Message body field and hit Submit to post.
4) Your message is viewable only by other members of your Section. To reply to a message, click "Post Reply."

Discussion forums are a quick and easy way to get answers from colleagues on important practice questions. What's more, by personalizing your Profile, you'll receive an e-mail when someone has replied to your posting! And with the "Private Message" button, you can send a personal message to a Forum member at any time!

We invite you to take advantage of this valuable new service today, available exclusively on the Philadelphia Bar Association's Web site. If you have any questions, we're happy to help. Just e-mail Mark Tarasiewicz at, or Brett Schaeffer at Go ahead, post a question today!

Summer Associates Reception July 19

The Minorities in the Profession Committee will hold a reception for summer associates on Wednesday, July 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St.

Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine will be served. Summer associates can network with members of the Minorities in the Profession Committee, along with members of the Asian-American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley, the Barristers Association of Philadelphia, the Hispanic Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division.

To RSVP, contact Tracey Blevins at (215) 238-6360 or e-mail

Public Interest Reception for Students July 27

The Public Interest Section and WolfBlock LLP will host a reception for students working in public service on Thursday, July 27 at the offices of WolfBlock, 1650 Arch St., 26th floor.

The reception begins at 5 p.m. RSVPs are requested by July 21 to Sara Woods at (610) 519-7228 or or Ann Murray at (215) 898-3086 or

Professional Announcements Available in Bar Publications

The Philadelphia Bar Reporter and The Philadelphia Lawyer are excellent resources for any sort of professional announcement by your firm. Tell the legal community of greater Philadelphia about special new hires, associates ascending to partner level, career advancements, special awards and more.

A professional announcement in The Philadelphia Bar Reporter and The Philadelphia Lawyer will be placed in a publication with more than three times the circulation of any other legal publication in Philadelphia!

A professional announcement has tremendous impact and will benefit your firm in the increasingly competitive environment in which we work. Your firm will stand out as a fertile breeding ground for outstanding legal talent when placing a professional announcement.

The individuals recognized in the announcement will have a tangible piece of history that will serve as a keepsake that he/she will never forget. For rates and information, please call Howard Hyatt, senior account manager, at (410) 902-5797 or (800) 466-8721, extension 250.

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!

Weekly Spotlight: Good Shepherd Mediation Program

Good Shepherd Mediation Program, a community mediation center with 22 years' experience providing mediation services in Philadelphia, now has a mediator on-site each morning at the Domestic Relations Court Custody Masters Unit to mediate custody cases. Custody mediation is voluntary and confidential. The mediated settlements are reviewed by a Custody Master. Approved agreements are entered as a court order. "Mediation is ideal for people who are not in an abusive relationship and can work together with some assistance to create a parenting plan," explains Cheryl Cutrona, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Mediation Program. "One of the benefits of mediating is that parents retain control over the outcome."

The legal landscape is bleak for indigent litigants seeking to resolve parenting issues. An April 2003 study by Philadelphia's Women's Law Project, "Justice in the Domestic Relations Division of Philadelphia Family Court: A Report to the Community," reports that 85-90 percent of custody, support, and domestic violence litigants are unrepresented by counsel. There is a profound shortfall of pro bono resources for indigent litigants in Philadelphia.

Offering custody mediation at Domestic Relations Court is part of the Family Passages Initiative, developed by Good Shepherd Mediation Program to meet the escalating need for custody and divorce mediation services for low-income Philadelphians. Family Passages is a comprehensive package of sliding-scale family mediation services, including screening and orientation, mediation of divorce and child custody matters, preparation of mediated memoranda of understanding, access to external legal review of the mediated settlements by cooperating counsel who have agreed to provide pro bono or reduced-rate services, and appropriate referrals for additional community-based supports. Individuals receiving public assistance are eligible for free family mediation services through Good Shepherd.

For more information about Good Shepherd's mediation services, see

PFA Amendments Update Aug. 11

Attorneys from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence practitioners, and prosecutors, will engage participants in a timely discussion of the PFA amendments and the Supreme Court's new PFA Rules of Civil Procedure at PBI's "Navigating the 2006 Protection from Abuse Act Amendments" on Friday, Aug. 11. This course is a must attend for family lawyers, legal service lawyers, pro bono attorneys, prosecutors, defense attorneys, sheriffs, prothonotaries, judges and their law clerks, and anyone dealing with domestic violence and the PFA Act in their practice. The program begins at 9 a.m. at the CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building, Juniper Street, between 13th and Broad Streets opposite City. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit

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, July 18
Biotechnology in the Courts
3 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Wednesday, July 19
Civil Practice in Magisterial District Courts
3 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, July 20
Adventures in Sarajevo: A Philadelphia Judge's Experience on the International Court
2 substantive CLE credits
12 to 2 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.

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