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November 20, 2003

Bar to Bestow Top Honors at Annual Meeting

Three trailblazers of the Philadelphia legal community will be honored at the Association's Annual Meeting and Luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, beginning at noon.

U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak will be honored with the Association's William J. Brennan Distinguished Jurist Award; former Chancellor Harold Cramer will be presented with the Bar Medal; and Lawrence J. Fox, a partner with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will receive the Association's Wachovia Fidelity Award.

"Judge Pollak is truly deserving of the Brennan Award," said Brennan Award Committee Co-Chair Mary F. Platt. "He has had a tremendous influence on the quality of justice in the Eastern District. He has distinguished himself in several legal careers-as a judge, a lawyer, and a law school professor and dean. But most of all, he is beloved by lawyers and judges alike for his brilliance, his independence and fairness, and his graciousness."

Judge Pollak was appointed in 1978 to serve on the court, leaving his position as dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He continues to teach a seminar as an adjunct professor at the school. He previously had taught at Yale Law School, and was dean there from 1965 to 1970. He received the American Bar Association's Spirit of Excellence Award earlier this year at the ABA's Midyear Meeting in Seattle.

The Brennan 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.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. was the first recipient of the award in 1995. Other recipients of the award, which is now named in honor of Justice Brennan, include: President Judge Alex Bonavitacola of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (1996), Judge Phyllis W. Beck of the Pennsylvania Superior Court (1997), Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1998), Judge Louis C. Bechtle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1999), Chief Judge James T. Giles of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2000), and Justice Russell M. Nigro of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (2002). No award was given in 2001.The Bar Medal is given at the discretion of the Chancellor and only when it is felt that someone has contributed to the justice system and/or the community in a manner that is sustained, obviously extraordinary and worthy of emulation.

"Harold Cramer has committed a significant amount of time over many years to ensure that the Jenkins Law Library remains the premier institution that it is in our legal community. Jenkins is used by many of our members. Because of its importance, I believe that we should recognize one of the driving forces behind the library," said Chancellor Audrey C. Talley.

Cramer served as Chancellor of the Association in 1972 and is a retired partner with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. He serves as the president of the board of the Jenkins Law Library.

Previous Bar Medal recipients have included U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Weiner, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, former mayor and current Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell and the late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr.

The Wachovia Fidelity Award is presented annually by the Association to an individual who has made significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice.

"We decided on Larry Fox based on his continuous and untiring efforts in the area of professional responsibility. His work has spanned well over 20 years in that area and he's shown concern for the clients, particularly in the area of attorney-client privilege," said Wachovia Fidelity Award Committee Chair Roslyn Pollock.

A sampling of previous winners include Gerald A. McHugh Jr., Joseph A. Torregrossa, Andre L. Dennis, William H. Ewing, David Sykes, Robert C. Heim and Barbara Sicalides.

Also at the meeting, the Bar will welcome its 2004 Chancellor Gabriel L.I. Bevilacqua, a partner with the center city law firm of Saul Ewing LLP.

Tickets for the Bar's Annual Meeting and Luncheon are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members.

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