November 10, 2004
Dec. 7 Annual Meeting to Welcome Chancellor ChirlsThe Philadelphia Bar Association will usher in a new year with the introduction of Andrew A. Chirls as its 2005 Chancellor, at the Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at noon at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue. Chirls, a partner at the center city law firm of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP, will assume his duties as 78th Chancellor of the Association on Jan. 1, 2005.
Born in Newark, NJ and educated in public schools, Chirls came to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in architecture and environmental design. Long fascinated by the 1960 film Inherit the Wind, Chirls saw his true calling was not architecture and turned to the law. At the University of Californias Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley, Chirls met fellow student Larry Frankel, gaining a life-partner along with his law degree. They celebrated their 25th anniversary just last year.
After law school, Chirls returned to the Philadelphia area to serve as a law clerk to Hon. Stanley Brotman, U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey. In 1982 he joined WolfBlock as an associate in the litigation department, becoming a partner in 1989. Mentored by noted business litigation partners Frank Poul and Barry Schwartz, Chirls is today accomplished as both a commercial and a torts trial lawyer. He has been class counsel in securities litigation and has had a leading role in personal injury class actions. He has also tried a wide array of commercial cases including those involving acquisition of land for major public projects, employment issues and disputes over religious property.
Dating back to law school at Berkeley, Chirls worked on gay rights cases and encouraged Boalt to ferret out discrimination against sexual minorities. In 1990 he became the first openly gay member of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission. He was instrumental in establishing the Bar Associations Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men and led an effort to get the 25 largest firms to endorse a model non-discrimination policy that includes lesbians and gay men.
He served for six years on Lambda Legal Defense and Education Funds national board, and has considerable experience in age and gender discrimination claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
He successfully tried, for the plaintiff, the first case presented to a Pennsylvania jury for discrimination based on AIDS/HIV status.
Chirls served as Chair of the Bar Associations Board of Governors in 2000, and on the Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention. In 2002, he was elected Associations Vice Chancellor and is now completing his term as Chancellor-Elect.
Priorites for Chirls' 2005 tenure include outreach to immigrant and non-English-speaking communities, using the law and the justice system to reach across language and other barriers to empower those who may feel marginalized. He's motivated not just to do the right thing and make a practical, positive difference in the lives of others, but also to help the city to grow and prosper. In a shrinking world, he sees a more international Philadelphia, connected to every corner of the globe.
Also at the Luncheon, will be the presentation of the Wachovia Fidelity Award--awarded for significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice through voluntary services.
Tickets for the Annual Meeting & Luncheon are $50 for members and $55 for non-members.