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March 07, 2006

Philadelphia Hosts ABA’s Annual Equal Justice Conference

PHILADELPHIA—During the summer of 1787 the authors of the United States constitution labored over a document that would bring order to a new nation. While the word “justice” is prominently mentioned in the first line of the document’s preamble, nearly 220 years after the Constitutional Convention the debate continues over just what is justice—and what is equal for all. Philadelphia will again play host to this debate at the annual Equal Justice Conference held March 30-April 1 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.

“The Philadelphia Bar Association is thrilled to be hosting the 2006 Equal Justice Conference, an annual event jointly sponsored by the ABA and NLADA. This is a national gathering of pro bono and legal services program staff, judges, corporate counsel, court administrators, private lawyers, paralegals, and many others to discuss equal justice issues for poor and low-income individuals,” said Alan M. Feldman, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. “The main conference, with the theme ‘Commitment, Service and Empowerment: Let Justice Ring,’ will celebrate the ongoing collaboration between pro bono and legal services, explore additional partnerships that must be created, identify the resources that can be tapped, and strategize about new issues facing the delivery of legal services to the needy.”

The Honorable Theodore A. McKee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will open the conference as the keynote speaker on Thursday, March 30 at 8:30 a.m. Appointed to the bench in 1994 by President William J. Clinton, McKee had previously served 10 years as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas for Pennsylvania’s First Judicial District. McKee began his law career in Philadelphia in 1975 in private practice. He later served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, Deputy City Solicitor, and General Counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Chaka Fattah, who represents the Second Congressional District of Pennsylvania, will close the conference as the keynote speaker on April 1 at 10:15 a.m. A life-long Philadelphian, Fattah was elected to his sixth term in Congress in 2004. He served six years as a state representative and six years as a state senator before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and has a Master’s Degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels School of State and Local Government. Prior to the start of the conference, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Greater Philadelphia Law School Consortium will offer a symposium entitled “Civil Gideon: Making the Case.” The symposium, scheduled for March 28, is free to attendees and will offer three (3) Continuing Legal Education credits. It will explore the many issues surrounding the right to counsel in the civil context, as well as the areas in which improvements can be made to meet the civil legal needs of the poor. The symposium will convene at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for a morning session, and then move to the National Constitution Center for an afternoon session and evening reception honoring Philadelphia's public interest community.

Michael S. Greco, President of the American Bar Association, will give the keynote address at the symposium on March 28 and will also deliver the luncheon presentation at the Equal Justice Conference on March 31.

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