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December 04, 2001

New Bar Chancellor Offers Volunteer Legal Help to NYC Victims

Incoming Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Allan H. Gordon told his colleagues today that he would travel to New York City on Friday, Dec. 7, and meet with the President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to discuss a plan which would have Philadelphia lawyers volunteer their services to help resolve cases involving victims' compensation resulting from the September 11 attack on America. The local volunteers would participate in a program established by Congress as an alternative to filing law suits against various entities. This "Special Master" project will operate much like an arbitration program and distribute appropriated funds to cover lost wages, victims' pain and suffering, and other needs.

Gordon made his announcement in an address to his colleagues at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Annual Meeting. The new Chancellor will officially take office Jan. 1, 2001, and will lead America's oldest, chartered, metropolitan bar association during its 200th anniversary year. Gordon, 61, a partner with the Center City firm of Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Bezar, noted that the tradition of a Philadelphia lawyer reaching out to help New York dates all the way back to 1735, when the "first" Philadelphia lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, journeyed to New York to defend printer John Peter Zenger, and thus established the concept of Freedom of the Press.

The Chancellor-Elect observed that Philadelphia's civil bar and court system have a great deal of experience with alternative resolution programs, using them to dispose of cases in a swift and efficient manner. He said that Philadelphia's lawyers "obviously would not seek to replace New York lawyers, but we may be able to help assist with the New York program. We also believe that our Philadelphia model for case resolution provides a good example for others to follow when they seek to resolve cases in accordance with the law." Gordon said there are about 2000 lawyers in Philadelphia with appropriate experience as settlement masters.

"If we can assist in the enormous task of getting funds to the victims of September 11, then we will feel that we have done some good," Gordon said. "After September 11, we did not want to act precipitously. We deliberately waited to see how we might be able to help. This is an area where we may be able to use our talents to the best advantage," he explained.

Gordon also said he would be in contact with former Governor and now Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge to offer "whatever assistance may be needed." He declared that "our security and the security of all people in this great country are vitally important. However, we cannot condone security without justice." Gordon said that "we must put on our combined thinking caps to insure people are safe, but the basic rights and the Rule of Law are not forsaken."

Gordon, who will serve as the 75th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, was elected Vice Chancellor in 1999 and served in that post in 2000. He served as Chancellor-Elect this year. He is a nationally known trial lawyer whose practice is concentrated in professional malpractice, products liability, drug and personal injury law. He resides in Center City with his wife, Sharon. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.

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