April 19, 2011

Less Than a Month Away: YLD Casino Night & Annual Fundraiser; New Raffle Items Added

In less than a month, the YLD invites you to play games of poker, blackjack, craps and roulette at its Casino Night & Annual Fundraiser benefiting the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. The event also features a big ticket raffle, an open bar, a dinner buffet, and a DJ and takes place May 14 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel from 7-10:30 p.m. Admission is $65 for one ticket and $120 for two. New raffle items have been added. READ MORE

NEXT THURSDAY: Feinberg to Speak at Chancellor's Forum

Kenneth R. Feinberg, President Obama's compensation chief and administrator of the federal 9/11 fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 survivors and families of victims, will be the featured speaker at next Thursday's (April 28) Chancellor's Forum presented by the Business Law Section. READ MORE

Pics and Podcasts from Last Week's YLD Annual Meeting

If you missed last week's YLD Annual Meeting featuring Michael Barkann (or just want to relive the event), check out the pictures and podcasts now.

Learn More About the Newest Bar Association Member Benefits Here: Classifieds and Fastcase


Play exciting games of poker, blackjack, craps and roulette at the brand-new Casino Night and Annual Fundraiser presented by the Young Lawyers Division for the benefit of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting access to justice for all people, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination. The event takes place May 14 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel from 7-10:30 p.m. and also features an open bar, a generous dinner buffet, a DJ, and a big ticket raffle.

Each Casino Night attendee will get $200 worth of chips to use at 7 Blackjack tables, 3 poker tables, 2 craps tables and a double roulette table. Additional chips will be available for purchase at the event. Chips can be exchanged for tickets toward a host of items to be raffled off at the event. Registration is $65 per person and $120 for two.

All proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. Since 2006, the YLD’s annual fundraiser - which traditionally featured a renowned comic and a silent auction - has raised more than $140,000 for the Foundation.

Click here to register. Sponsorship is also available; click here for details.

Current sponsors are: Leadership: Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Doddig (sponsor of the Roulette Table); Partnership: Cozen O'Connor; Friendship: Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett and Bendesky; and Fellowship: The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.

Current raffle items include: Two Phillies tickets for May 23, 2011 against the Cincinnati Reds NEW!); T-Shirt and baseball autographed by Jimmy Rollins (NEW!); a complimentary mid-week overnight stay at the Borgata Atlantic City (NEW!); a $100 gift certificate to Devon Seafood Grill; a $100 gift certificate to The Field House; a one-night stay in the presidential suite with champagne at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel; a one-night stay with a gourmet dinner for two at one of Caesars Entertainment-Atlantic City Properties; admission for six at Helium Comedy Club; an 8-guest party at Lucky Strike Lanes; and a one-night deluxe weekend stay at The Westin Philadelphia with breakfast for two. Click here for full list.

Help Us Present a Successful Law Week 2011, May 2-6

Volunteer lawyers of all ages are needed to offer free legal advice, visit high school classes, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms, and present mock criminal trials for grade school students in celebration of Law Week 2011, an annual occasion marked by the Philadelphia Bar Association and presented by its Young Lawyers Division through a host of special events and services reaching thousands of citizens. This year's theme is "The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo."

The weeklong fest, taking place May 2-6, is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Bar Association Chancellor-Elect John Savoth and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The Law Week 2011 co-chairs are Roxane Crowley and Matt Laver.

CLICK HERE to view the official Law Week 2011 webpage.

The following is a schedule of Law Week activities and contact information for those interested in volunteering:

Legal Advice Live!, Monday, May 2

LAL! kicks off the week with dozens of Philadelphia attorneys gathering to provide free, in-person legal advice from 12 to 2 p.m. at various branches of the Philadelphia Library, including the Central branch. Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on a broad range of topics including personal injury, medical malpractice, landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning, real estate law and employment law.

If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Christopher Guth or Christopher Sharp.

Lawyer in the Classroom, Tuesday, May 3, through Thursday, May 5

This program features lawyers enthusiastically visiting different schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood and answer questions about the legal profession.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Lawyer in the Classroom program, please contact Eileen Carroll.

LegalLine, Wednesday, May 4

Free legal advice will be given to those who call the Legal Line hotline from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 4. The program is being sponsored by the Barristers Association of Philadelphia. Area residents can call lawyers at 215-238-6333 and have their legal questions answered confidentially without a fee. The lawyers will staff a phone bank at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street, 11th Floor.

If you are interested in volunteering for Legal Line, please contact Roxane Crowley.

Lawyer for a Day, Friday, May 6

Volunteer attorneys and judges pair with high school students and "show them the ropes" of their jobs by taking them into the courts during the Lawyer for a Day program. Several city courtrooms will be open to allow the participants to observe the proceedings. The students will meet the lawyers and judges and will participate in a concluding lunch, during which the students will recount their experiences and hear from the event's special guest speaker, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

If you are interested in volunteering for Lawyer for a Day, please contact Matt Laver or David Walker.

"Goldilocks" and "The Big Bad Wolf" Mock Trials, Friday, May 6

Volunteer attorneys will use the facts of the well-known fairytales "Goldilocks" and "The Three Little Pigs" as the basis for mock criminal trials during the "Trials of Goldilocks" and the "Big Bad Wolf" program, taking place at seven different City Hall courtrooms. Volunteers will act as prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses in the criminal trials, which include opening statements, examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses, closing arguments, and instructions of the juries. At the conclusion of each trial, the students act as the jury and determine whether the Big Bad Wolf or Goldilocks is guilty of a crime.

If you are interested in volunteering for the "Trials of Goldilocks" and the "Big Bad Wolf" program, please contact Ryan Gatto or Justin Moriconi.

Poster and Essay Contests

The 2011 Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest is named former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Edward F. Chacker and offers a $1,000 college scholarship to High School Seniors who attend public, parochial, charter or private schools in Philadelphia.

The 2011 Poster Contest is open to 5th, 6th and 7th grade students from Philadelphia public, private, charter and parochial schools.

For more information on both contests, click here.

Casino Night Primer: Roulette and Craps

by Michael Petitti

When I consider roulette and craps - two of the four table games available at Casino Night - two opposing thoughts arise: one, roulette is a piece of cake; and two, craps is rocket science.

I mean, how hard is it to pick a number? With roulette, you just put your chip on any of the 36 digits out there or the two colors (red or black) that you think the wheel will stop on. Even though the result is completely arbitrary spin after spin, many players base their bet on what the wheel landed on in the past. So if there have been five reds in a row, common thinking is it's due for a black. Which is nonsense because every spin resets to a clean 50/50 chance.

There's also the option to put a chip on "1-18," "2nd 12" (13-24), or "3rd 12" (25-36), meaning that you think the wheel will stop on a number within that specified field. You can bet on odds and evens, too. Like I said, piece of cake stuff.

Craps, however, seems more complicated than assembling an IKEA bookcase. I've always been intimidated by the whole thing. This has a lot to do with how movies portray the game: played and mastered by slick, high roller-types who will tie a cinderblock to your ankle if you roll the wrong number. When you have the dice, everybody stares at you, ready to pounce should you cause them to lose a round or shower you with adoration should you chuck a seven. There's a bunch of inside lingo to understand. And it's pretty fast paced, leaving no time for the faint at heart to learn the ropes.

Of course, these fears are only validated if you're playing craps in an actual casino. At Casino Night, however, no one will judge you for calling a roll of "6" and "2" a "Hard Eight" instead of an "Easy Eight." Or not knowing what "Boxcars" means (FYI: rolling a pair of sixes). Or making any other rookie mistake.

That's what we need to remember: Casino Night is all about having fun for the benefit of a great cause, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. No matter how scared of craps (or any other game) you (or I) might be, the YLD's Annual Fundraiser lets us all give it a whirl, no judgments made. Even if the rules seem complicated, we're all friends here. I promise, kneecaps will remain intact.

(Really want to learn the intricacies of craps? Full rules here.)

Michael Petitti is communications manager at the Philadelphia Bar Association. He can be reached at mpetitti@philabar.org.

Feinberg to Speak at April 28 Chancellor's Forum

Kenneth R. Feinberg, President Obama's compensation chief and administrator of the federal 9/11 fund, which distributed nearly $7 billion to more than 5,000 survivors and families of victims, will be the featured speaker at a Thursday, April 28 Chancellor's Forum presented by the Business Law Section.

Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Rudolph Garcia will welcome attendees, and Albert S. Dandridge III, past chair of the Business Law Section, will introduce Feinberg.

The Chancellor's Forum will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, 10 Avenue of the Arts, at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for this plated-lunch program are $35 for Business Law Section members, $45 for non Section members who belong to the Philadelphia Bar Association and $55 for non-members. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.

Feinberg was named by President Obama in June 2010 as the independent administrator of a $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury in 2009 to serve as the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation.

Feinberg was the fund administrator responsible for the design, implementation and administration of the claims process for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech University in April 2007.

Tip of the Month: The Benefits of Online Resources

by Stephanie Mensing

I spend a few hours of my free time each week online reading about law practice management, skills, marketing and technology. I have found some really interesting and helpful resources that I think will help any young lawyer who is trying to improve in or learn more about any of these areas. I think these resources are particularly helpful to attorneys (of all ages) who are thinking of starting a law firm or who are in the never-ending process of building a law firm.

My favorite resource is the Lawyerist blog. Lawyerist - "The lawyering survival guide" - provides excellent, free content for law students and lawyers regarding skills, careers, marketing, technology, practice management and starting a law firm. Some of their current popular topics include starting a law practice for under $3,000.00, accepting credit cards (this post compares three online options), best practices for client rejection letters and numerous technology tips to increase productivity.

I also get a lot out of Twitter. I currently follow approximately 830 Twitter users. Some are friends, many are local restaurants or other establishments, but most are news sources, attorneys who practice in my areas, and marketing professionals. (If you're so inclined, you can follow me at @MensingLaw and the Philadelphia Bar Association at @PhilaBar).

Many people seem to find Twitter either overwhelming or pointless (or both!), but once you figure out how to use Twitter to benefit your practice, it starts to make sense. Some firms do not allow tweeting, so be sure to check before you start. Assuming your firm allows tweeting, it is a great resource for keeping up with the latest legal news concerning your practice areas as well as a great resource for legal marketing tips. Twitter can also help those looking for jobs. Lately I have noticed more and more job opening announcements on Twitter.

As with any social media use, young lawyers will want to be careful about what they tweet. While it's important to keep Twitter professional, it's fine to tweet personal thoughts to humanize your Twitter presence as long as the tweets do not reflect poorly on you or your firm. If you prefer to keep your personal tweets separate, you can also set up a personal, private Twitter account that requires you to approve users who wish to follow you.

Stephanie Mensing is a partner at the law firm of Wisniewski & Mensing, LLP. She can be reached at smensing@wm-law.net.

Entries Sought for Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, Due May 9

Entries are now being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's 2011 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pursuit of Justice Legal Writing Competition.

The co-chairs of the competition are Bar Association Vice Chancellor Kathleen D. Wilkinson, partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker LLP and Diane Penneys Edelman, Assistant Dean for International Programs, Associate Professor of Legal Writing, Villanova University School of Law.

The Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in an American Bar Association-approved or provisionally approved Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission.

This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2010-11 academic year at one of the following six institutions: Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law and Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). Part-time law students in their third or later year of study are also eligible. Students must be in good standing at their institutions. The submission may not have been published previously, although it may have been prepared in connection with a law school course or for a law journal. The submission also may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this competition, until after the time when awards are announced. The submission must be the work of one author alone (joint submissions will not be considered), and the author must certify that the submission has been prepared without substantial editing from others.

Candidates may submit a law review quality submission on any topic relating to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law. Entries must be received by Monday, May 9 at 4 p.m. by Dawn Petit, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or at dpetit@philabar.org.

The author of the winning submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer, on the Bar Association's website and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner will be invited to a Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association, at which time the award will be presented.

Take Poll on Judges Standing for Retention

The Philadelphia Bar Association's Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention is currently conducting a poll regarding those judges who will be standing for retention in the November General Election.

As part of this poll, the Association is also conducting an interim poll relating to Court of Common Pleas judges in the fourth year of their terms and Municipal Court judges in the second year of their terms. All members of the bar in Philadelphia are urged to fill out the questionnaire. The poll will remain available until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 29. All practitioners who have offices based in Philadelphia are eligible to take the poll. Click here to take the poll now!

If you are unable to, or prefer not to complete the poll electronically, you may receive a copy of the poll through the mail by contacting Charles Klitsch, Esq., the Association's director of public and legal services at cklitsch@philabar.org or by calling him at (215) 238-6326. You must provide your name and Supreme Court identification number to receive the ballot.

Association Launches First-Ever Electronic Annual Report

The Philadelphia Bar Association's 2010 activities are now available for review in a first-ever Electronic Annual Report spearheaded by 83rd Chancellor Scott F. Cooper and customized for delivery on a variety of platforms: online, on a mobile phone, and on the iPad.

The report can be accessed here.

"This Annual Report shows we met our goals and serves as both a benchmark of our accomplishments and a base upon which future leaders will grow the Association," Cooper said.

Utilizing innovative technology, the Annual Report features a synopsis of the Association's 2010 events, programs and initiatives; summaries of the activities of the Association's Sections and Committees; an extensive photo gallery; and a time capsule capturing the major happenings of the year.

"Serving as Chancellor was one of the greatest honors any Philadelphia lawyer can ever receive," Cooper said. "I believe this Annual Report shows what a difference we all made together."

Brennan Award Nominations Now Being Accepted

Nominations are being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's prestigious Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award. The award will be presented at the Association's Quarterly Meeting in September 2011.

The 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.

Maria Feeley is chairing this year's Brennan Award Committee. Nominations for the Justice Brennan Distinguished Jurist Award should be forwarded to: Brennan Award, Attn: Dawn Petit, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. All nominations should include the full name, address and telephone number of both the nominee and the person submitting the nomination, a summary of the nominee’s accomplishments, and any pertinent supporting material the committee should consider.

All nominations must be received no later than Monday, June 6, 2011.