April 20, 2010

LESS THAN A WEEK Until Law Week Festivities; Volunteer Now

Starting next Monday, April 26, through April 30, the YLD will present a range of community and student outreach programming throughout Philadelphia in celebration of Law Week 2010. This weeklong fest depends upon the help of volunteers. Learn how you can get involved HERE.

Chance to Save $15 on 5th Annual Comedy Night Ends May 7

On May 22, all audiences are invited to be part of a worthy cause at the YLD's Fifth Annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction, a fundraiser benefiting the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. A discounted price of $65 is available through May 7, after which the cost of admission rises to $85. READ MORE

Enter the 8th Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, Due May 10

Entries are being accepted for the Bar Association's 8th Annual "Pursuit of Justice" Legal Writing Competition in honor of Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2009-2010 academic year at six area law schools. READ MORE

Win Dinner for Two at The Palm

Become a fan of the Bar Association's Facebook page by May 20, 2010 and be entered into a drawing for dinner for two at the Palm Restaurant.


LESS THAN A WEEK Until Law Week Festivities; Volunteer Now

Less than one week is left to volunteer for this year's Law Week festivities. Philadelphia 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 2010", an annual occasion marked by the Philadelphia Bar Association and YLD through a host of special events and services reaching thousands of citizens April 26-30.

The weeklong fest 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, Rudolph Garcia, and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The Law Week 2010 co-chairs are Carey Chopko and Kelly Gastley.

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

Lawyer in the Classroom, Monday, April 26, through Thursday, April 29
Monday kicks off a weeklong series of visits to Philadelphia school classrooms by volunteer lawyers with the Lawyer in the Classroom program. As part of this program, lawyers will enthusiastically visit 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 Aly Oswald or Aneesah El-Amin-Jaamia.

Legal Advice Live!, Monday, April 26
At lunchtime, dozens of Philadelphia attorneys will gather to provide free, in-person legal advice during the Legal Advice Live! program, from 12 to 2 p.m. at five different 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 at the Central branch, please contact Anthony Chwastyk. If you are interested in volunteering at a satellite branch, please contact Rachel Branson.

Also on Wednesday, April 28, free legal advice will be given to those who call the Legal Line hotline. From 5 to 8 p.m., 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, April 30
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 a special guest speaker.

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

"Goldilocks" and "The Big Bad Wolf" Mock Trials, Friday, April 30
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 Heather Herrington or Justin Moriconi.

While no volunteers are needed, on Monday, May 3, a Naturalization Ceremony will welcome dozens of new United States citizens at the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, at 10:30 a.m. Here the the winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest will read his or her essay.

For additional information, CLICK HERE.

Chance to Save $15 on 5th Annual Comedy Night Ends May 7

On May 22, be part of a worthy cause at the YLD's Fifth Annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction, a fundraiser benefiting the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, a non-profit group that provides funding to Philadelphia legal service organizations that represent individuals struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination.

The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Institute and features a 4-hour open bar, hors d'oeuvres, and comedian Dan Cummins, a headliner on "Comedy Central Presents" and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

Since 2005, the YLD has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation through this signature fundraiser, a contribution that has been instrumental in helping legal service organizations achieve justice for the indigent. This year's event seeks to continue this tradition while providing guests plenty of laughs and a range of valuable items to bid on through a silent auction.

These items include overnight stays and a gourmet meal at Philadelphia's Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel or Harrah's Resort Atlantic City; unique tours of Philadelphia landmarks; Phillies tickets and signed Eagles memorabilia; gift certificates to renowned Philadelphia restaurants; and lunch at the Vesper Club with Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, among many others.

Tickets to the YLD’s Fifth Annual Comedy Night & Silent Auction are $65 for both Bar Association members and non-members. This special pricing ends May 7, when the ticket cost will rise to $85 through May 17, when registration ends. No walk-ins will be accepted. CLICK HERE to register now. Download the official event flyer HERE.

The YLD is also seeking sponsors for the event and donors to the silent auction. Sponsorship contributions range from $750 to $1500 with corresponding benefits. Click here to learn more and for a sponsorship form. All donations for the silent auction are welcome. In the past, these have included tickets to Philadelphia sporting events and shows, gift certificates to restaurants, spas and hotels, items from local shops, and a variety of others. Click here for a donation form.

Tip of the Month: Donating to Comedy Night an Easy Way to Give Back to the Community

No matter which profession we have chosen, it is always important to find a way to give back to the community. As attorneys, there are numerous ways we can do this, whether it is volunteering for Law Week or taking a pro bono case. I know most of us are extremely busy and may have limited time to commit, but did you know that giving back to the community can be as simple as donating an auction item to the YLD's 5th annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction?

Each year, the YLD’s Silent Auction, which includes a raffle, raises approximately $6,000-$7,000 to benefit the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides funding to approximately 30 local legal service organizations. Go here for more information about the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, its mission, and work.

This year's Comedy Night and Silent Auction will be held at the Franklin Institute on May 22 from 7-11:30 p.m. I encourage everyone to attend Comedy Night - it's a really fun event and your ticket covers food, 4 hours of open bar, and entertainment - but if you can't make it, you can still contribute to the benefit by donating an item to the Silent Auction. You don't have to purchase the item you donate, but instead can ask businesses you frequent if they would like to donate an item. For example, if you have a favorite restaurant and know the staff, they are often more than willing to donate. Also, if your firm has season tickets for any of the local sports teams, firms are also often more than willing to donate tickets to a game. Other ideas include sports memorabilia, concert tickets, art, jewelry, gift baskets, and gift certificates to spas, hotels, and local shops.

If you are interested in donating an item for the silent auction, please contact Tracey McCloskey or Carey Chopko.

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

Entertainment Corner: Draftnik 101

As soon as the final seconds of clock ticked down and the New Orleans Saints were proclaimed champions of Super Bowl XLIV, a special breed of NFL fans, known as "draftniks,” have been eagerly anticipating April 22. The NFL and ESPN have decided that there is more money to be made by expanding the NFL Draft to a 4 day extravaganza.

Chances are you have a draftnik or two at your office. If you've fallen behind on your billable hours or just don't have the time to watch the draft, let me give you a quick primer so you can impress any draftnik with a few sentences. In order to discuss the draft, all you really need to do is learn the language, Draftnikese. Yes, Draftnikese is its own language, which should soon have its own dedicated edition of Webster's. Allow me to elaborate on some of the entries in the Draftnikese Dictionary:

Upside: Old time draftniks might still refer to "potential," but nowadays everything is about upside. Upside refers to a player that may have underperformed in college for various reasons, but is expected to break out into superstar status once he is given a large sum of money and free time. Every team wants to draft a player with upside, often times this leads to teams drafting early entrants before players that have exhausted their eligibility.

Sleepers: So called "diamonds in the rough," these are lower profile players that have a high upside.

Combine Warrior: A combine warrior (or workout warrior) is another type of player that may not have upside. Quite the opposite, a combine warrior is a player that was able to run a fast 40-yard dash and do a high number of reps on the bench press, but may not have the football skills to succeed in the NFL. A classic example of this is Mike Mamula.

Measurables: Measurables are what gets a player classified as a combine warrior or a player with upside. Measurables include a small set of physical and athletic attributes that NFL general managers look for, including height, weight, speed, and strength.

Mel Kiper, Jr.: Yes, Mel Kiper is his own term. Kiper is the NFL's longtime NFL draft talking head. Nobody is quite sure how he got his job, or what his qualifications are, but he managed to turn every draftniks part-time obsession into a full-time career. Before any NFL draft, it is each draftnik's job to find five players that they evaluate differently than Kiper and loudly proclaim it.

The easiest way to impress a draftnik is to disagree with any kind of conventional wisdom. No matter who your team picked, you can impress a draftnik by disagreeing with the selection using the above-described terms. A simple example would be: "Can you believe the Eagles drafted insert player drafted here?! He's got no upside. He may not have had the measurables, but I think he's a combine warrior and don't care what Kiper says. I think we should have traded down and picked insert another player here. Now that's a real sleeper."

The beauty of being a draftnik is that there are no wrong answers, because nobody remembers what you said. Any claim can be outrageous and by the time the seasons starts all is forgotten. So go ahead and pick out a third team punter from Murray State as your sleeper pick in the draft. The more obscure the pick, the greater your reputation as a draftnik.

Aneesh Mehta is an associate at Volpe and Koenig, P.C. and a veteran of sandlot football games who has eagerly waited to be selected in the NFL draft for the last 10 years. He can be reached at amehta@volpe-koenig.com.

Plant Trees in Honor of Earth Day, April 24

Join the Philadelphia Bar Association and its Green Ribbon Task Force in marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by planting trees on the morning of Saturday, April 24.

The Task Force will be planting root trees at three locations in and around Philadelphia. No experience or heavy lifting is necessary. You and your family and friends are all welcome and encouraged to participate. If you are interested in volunteering, click here to register. For questions, please email Kim Jessum or call 215-564-8165.

The two Philadelphia locations are Fairmount Tree Tenders, 24th and Aspen streets, at 9 a.m., and Graduate Hospital Tree Tenders, 22nd and Bainbridge streets, at 10:30 a.m. A third location has been added in East Lansdowne at the municipal parking lot just east of Lewis Avenue on the north side of Baltimore Avenue at 9 a.m.

If you have a pickup truck, please contact us if you can help pick up the trees on April 23 from the Naval Yard. Donations are welcome to help us purchase food and beverages for all volunteers, as well as mulch for the tree pits. Donations of mulch for the tree pits are welcome. Donations of cookies, muffins, other treats or cases of water for volunteers are welcome.

Consider lending any tools you may have. Needed are round-head shovels and square-head shovels (very important); picks; sledgehammers; work gloves; a wheelbarrow; brooms; and hoses and connection to a water supply or water buckets to water trees.

Enter the 8th Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, Due May 10

Entries are being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's Eighth Annual "Pursuit of Justice" Legal Writing Competition in honor of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2009-2010 academic year at one of the following schools: 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).

CLICK HERE for a link to the contest rules. Entries must be received by Monday, May 10 at 4 p.m.

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 area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission.

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. The author of the winning submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission on the Bar Association's Web site and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner will be presented with the award at the Association's Quarterly Meeting in October.

The co-chairs of the competition are Kathleen D. Wilkinson, partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker LLP and Secretary of the Association, and Diane Penneys Edelman, assistant dean for international programs and professor of legal writing, Villanova University School of Law.

FRIDAY: Officer and Director Liability CLE

This Friday, April 23, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute will present “Officer and Director Liability”, an overview of the fiduciary duties of officers and directors. The seminar is approved for 3 substantive CLE credits and is being presented both live and as a webcast.

A distinguished panel will examine the fundamental duties owed and how these duties become relevant in litigation. Topics will include an overview/basics of officer and director liability (duty of care, duty of loyalty, business judgment rule, fairness standard); derivative suits and litigation; insurance Issues (duty to defend, duty to reimburse); and insolvency and bankruptcy.

The course planner is Rudolph J. DiMassa from Duane Morris, LLP. The faculty includes Honorable Kevin J. Carey, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Wilmington; Honorable Albert W. Sheppard, Jr., Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Division, First Judicial District, Philadelphia; Professor Tom Baker, William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences, Philadelphia; Tobey M. Daluz, Esq., Ballard Spahr, LLP, Wilmington; and John F. McCarrick, Esq., Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, LLP, New York.

CLICK HERE for pricing information and more details.

NEXT MONDAY: "How to Handle a Child Abuse Case"

Next Monday, April 26, the Support Center for Child Advocates will present the volunteer training workshop "How to Handle a Child Abuse Case" at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program is approved for 6 CLE credits.

Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m. Attendees are on their own for lunch.

The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy to abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County. Child Advocates is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country. Each pro bono attorney is teamed with a staff case manager and assigned one child or sibling group. The child advocate team conducts home visits, participates in service planning meetings and court hearings. All volunteers must attend this full-day training program, which includes presentations on the Juvenile Act, the Child Protective Service Law, the role of a child advocate in a criminal case, representing parents in Dependency proceedings, service planning, and the dynamics of child abuse. Our training manual How to Handle A Child Abuse Case, with the latest Juvenile Act amendments and Family Court rules, is provided to attendees. This course also provides certification for eligibility to receive court-appointed dependency cases.

For registration and fee details, click here. For further questions, contact Child Advocates at 267-546-9200.

Help Needed to Ensure a Clean and Fair Election, May 18

Volunteers are needed on Election Day, May 18, to join Committee of Seventy’s nonpartisan Voter Protection Program and help resolve problems at polling places and answer voters’ questions. The goal of the program is to help solve issues that could prevent registered voters from voting and to collect data to improve future elections.

Volunteers will be trained on election laws and work throughout the Philadelphia region on Election Day helping voters in the field or staffing the 866-OUR-VOTE voter protection hotline. Volunteers are asked to work a 4 1/2 hour shift in the morning, afternoon or evening in a part of the city of their choosing.

Learn more and sign up today for this important and exciting opportunity HERE.

New Bar Association Academy Program Offers Inside Look at KYW Newsradio 1060, May 4

Join us on Tuesday, May 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. as the Philadelphia Bar Association Academy presents "All News, All the Time: An Inside Look at KYW Newsradio 1060" at the top-rated news station's headquarters at 400 Market St.

During this free program, attendees will get a a behind-the-scenes look at the station's news operation and broadcast technologies presented by station executives and senior reporting staff, including a tour of the broadcast booth, as well as learn about business development opportunities from the station's vice president of sales. Complimentary wine and cheese will be served.

The program is open to all members of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Register online HERE.