Nov. 9, 2020 | Vol. 21, No. 42
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 

Philadelphia Bar Association Calls for Every Vote to be Counted in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Hon. A. Michael Snyder (ret.) issued the following statement:

"As Americans look to the final phase of a presidential election cycle that has been mired in controversy, the safety of the method of voting has been called into question. Mail-in ballot voting has expanded significantly as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this method of voting has been attacked by some as being subject to fraud, despite there being no evidence to support this allegation. Pennsylvania, in particular, has been targeted for these challenges.

"We believe that it is essential that Pennsylvanians, and indeed all Americans, be confident in the safety and validity of mail-in ballots. The process of such voting is defined by law. There is no evidence to support the allegation that these processes are not being followed.

"As lawyers and judges, and as members of the Philadelphia Bar Association, we believe in the sanctity of the rule of law. Indeed, we are committed to defending the rule of law. We are confident that the legal processes that have been established to control mail-in ballot voting are fair, appropriate, and safe. Challenges to these processes are unfairly designed to make Americans question the safety of their chosen method of voting.

"We urge our fellow citizens to feel confident that their votes will be counted, no matter which method of voting they choose.

"Each vote represents the voice of the People. Through our continued defense of the Rule of Law, we commit to making certain that each such voice is heard."

Hon. Daniel J. Anders Appointed Supervising Judge - Trial Division

The First Judicial District has announced the appointment of Honorable Daniel J. Anders as Supervising Judge of the Trial Division, effective immediately. Read the order.

Bar Association Leadership Advocates for Statewide Tenant Right to Counsel

Building on the passage last year of legislation creating a right to counsel for Philadelphia low-income tenants, Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Hon. A. Michael Snyder (ret.) and Catherine Carr, co-chair of the Civil Gideon and Access to Justice Task Force, recently testified before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee to advocate that a right to counsel be extended to low-income tenants statewide.

The Association and its community partners have long advocated in favor of right to counsel, including commissioning the Stout Report, an economic impact study which demonstrated that investing in a right to counsel for low-income tenants is a sound and cost-effective solution to the escalating eviction crisis. The testimony of the Bar Association leaders highlighted the Stout findings that if the city of Philadelphia invested $3.5 million in providing a right to counsel, it would save $45 million in costs and expenses, a return of over $12 for every $1 spent.

Also testifying at the Oct. 9 public hearing were Association members Rasheedah Phillips, managing attorney for housing policy at Community Legal Services; Patrick Cicero, executive director of Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network; national expert John Pollock, coordinator of the National Center for a Civil Right to Counsel; and other housing advocates from across the state. The hearing was hosted by Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, Morgan Cephas, D-Philadelphia, and Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny County.

Live Webcasts Will Count Toward Live CLE Requirement in 2021

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Board will allow live webcasts to be counted toward continuing legal education live learning requirements in 2021, a Philadelphia Bar Association-backed initiative that allows our community to continue to receive relevant, actionable programming and professional development while keeping safety paramount. … Read More.

Nov. 12 Event to Inspire Critical Conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As issues of diversity, equity and inclusion take on greater urgency, the Philadelphia Bar Association is holding one upcoming continuing legal education webcast designed to provide relevant training in cultural competency and humility, and spur critical conversations about racial justice and equity. … Read More.

Check the Coronavirus Response page for updates as they develop.

Latest Updates

  • November 6, 2020 - Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Patrick Dugan has issued an Order halting service of Writs of Possession and Alias Writs of Possession through December 31, except for good cause shown as detailed in the Order.
  • November 4, 2020 – Philadelphia Administrative Judge Shirdan-Harris and Supervising Judges Anders and Glazer have issued Protocol for Contested Discovery Motions During the Judicial Emergency.

Re-Opening Task Force

Re-Opening Task Force has been created to provide a set of resources and best practices as law offices re-open their doors and work places after the shutdowns mandated by the pandemic. … Read More

Family Law Section

Monday, November 9 at 12 p.m.

Understanding Tax Returns and Other Financials Documents, Overview of Changes in tax laws from 2017 to present, and the Valuation Differences of Assets in Equitable Distribution. Register Here.

Wellness Wednesday

Wednesday, November 11 at 8 a.m.

The Wellness Committee brings you: Wellness Wednesday. Join us for short, guided mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The session will be led by Courtney Schulnick, Esquire, who has completed both the Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) teaching practicum and internship at Jefferson University’s Mindfulness Institute. Guided meditation will be followed by optional group sharing and processing. Feel free to bring your morning coffee, tea, or breakfast. Register Here.

Technology Committee of the Probate and Trust Section

Thursday, November 12 at 12 p.m.

Register Here.

Legislative Liaison Committee

Thursday, November 12 at 12 p.m.

Join us as we hear from Anthony Crisci, Crisci Associates.
Register Here

Let's Do Lunch - Chat & Chew with the Wellness Committee

Friday, November 13 at 12:30 p.m.

The Wellness Committee is happy to invite you to a weekly lunch-time “Chat and Chew” forum to enjoy your favorite homemade or takeout cuisine while we all discuss (or listen to) topics of interest, whether legal or non-legal.
Register Here

Discounts for Members

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Our colleagues, clients, and referral sources are now facing unprecedented disruption to their work and home lives. Philadelphia Bar Association benefits provide unique discounts and offers on products and services that you can use to help maintain business continuity in this challenging climate.

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Get Published in The Philadelphia Lawyer


The Editorial Board welcomes submissions from attorneys and other professionals, who are members of the Philadelphia Bar Association, who wish to share their expertise on law-related topics.

Accepting manuscripts in multiple genres: law-related articles & features, general interest, fiction, practice areas, essays or humor, and book reviews.

Articles must be original and previously unpublished.

As policy, we do not compensate our writers.

For more information, email Brittany Robertson at brobertson@philabar.org


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.


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 Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order temporarily modifying Rule 108 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Continuing Legal Education to eliminate the six credit cap on CLE credits earned through distance learning with respect to credits needed to satisfy all 2020 compliance deadlines.


Full course calendar here.

Philadelphia VIP’s Family Law Practice Meeting, Nov. 18

On Wednesday, November 18, Philadelphia VIP’s Family Law Practice Group will meet via Zoom, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Strategize about VIP cases, connect with fellow attorneys, and deepen your commitment to expanding access to justice with Philadelphia VIP. Click here to RSVP today.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts 2020 Judicial Independence Benefit, Nov. 19

On Thursday, November 19, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts will hold its 2020 Judicial Independence Benefit as a virtual event, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR. PMC will present the Judge Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr. Award to Jeffrey Rosen, President & CEO of the National Constitution Center. Everyone who pledges $100 or more will receive a wine and chocolate celebration package, and the event will begin with a wine and chocolate pairing discussion led by sommelier-in-training, Isabel Hirshberg. Sponsorships and tickets can be reserved here.

 
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Cyber Liability Insurance - Checklist for Law Firms

article image With a significant portion of the current U.S. workforce having shifted to a remote environment, many businesses, law firms included, are finding that their employees may not return to the "actual office." This disruption has opened the doors for Cyber Criminals to do what they do best - mayhem. From phishing scams to social engineering scams - the remote environment makes business more vulnerable to these types of events and law firms have been a prime target. …Read More

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Feels Like the First Time: Why Your Law Firm Needs to Develop a Client Journey

Law firms work vigorously to convert leads: to get those leads to pay retainers and sign engagement agreements. That all makes sense: Winning business is essential for any organization. However, once law firms convert clients, there is often a dry spell before the new clients hear from their new law firms again; and, because many cases start with potentially significant periods before anything of note actually happens, new clients may go for months, or even a year, before they hear from their lawyer again.

This paucity of response is one of the reasons that law firms have a bad reputation for customer service. Keep in mind that, while you deal with the legal field every working day of your life, for many of your clients, it will be the first (and potentially only) time they ever have an interaction with the legal system. So, it's essential to keep them informed of what's going on, even if you know exactly what's up.

And, that's why your law firm should adopt and utilize a client journey.

A client journey is a series of interactions that are scheduled for onboarding new clients. Even if these are automated as part of a drip campaign for every new client, that's a sight better than just letting your new clients twist in the wind, wondering what happens now. And, while you should maintain regular, personal contact with your clients (a good rule is to check in with each of your active clients via phone or email every six weeks), it helps to automate an initial rollout of information in order to keep your clients engaged, and to make them feel cared for, while you can tend to more pressing substantive legal matters.

What you construct is entirely up to you; but, whatever it is, it should be a consistent demonstration of your investment in the attorney-client relationship. By way of example, the client journey you build out might look like this: (1) a short video welcoming the client to the law firm, sent by email; (2) a follow-up email listing the various ways that the client can contact the law firm; (3) a text message to see whether or not the client has any questions; (4) an email notifying the client that you've signed her up for your enewsletter, which will follow on a schedule; and (5) your first check-in call, six weeks into the representation.

In all likelihood, that's five more additional touches than most law firms get on new clients. This listing assumes that your law firm is like most law firms in that it collects only the most basic client contact information: email and phone number; but, if you've got more than that, feel free to communicate with your client via other or alternate media. No matter how you contact your new clients, set up a schedule, and follow through, that's the only way to instill an effective system.

If you can install a client journey within your law firm's client communications structure, you'll end up with happier clients, which ultimately means more referrals and less malpractice risk.

. . .

If you're on the road to developing a client journey, we can help.

The Philadelphia Bar Association now offers DISCOUNTED law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting. Click here, to access consulting services, and start running your law firm like a business.

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