March 22, 2011

Barkann to Speak, Community Service Awards to be Conferred at YLD Annual Meeting, April 14

A dedicated advocate for the transgender community, the founder of a program that offers marathon training to help improve the lives of Philadelphia's youth, and a general practice law firm with a long history of supporting the Young Lawyers Division will each be honored with a YLD community service award at the Division's Annual Meeting featuring Comcast SportsNet's Michael Barkann, Thursday, April 14 at 12 p.m. at the Crystal Tea Room. READ MORE

THURSDAY: YLD Networking Happy Hour at the Field House

Join the YLD and co-hosts the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel for the next Networking Happy Hour, this Thursday, March 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Field House, 1150 Filbert St, Upstairs. The event is sponsored by James DeCrescenzo Reporting, LLC; Trial Technologies, Inc.

Play exciting games of poker, blackjack, craps and roulette at the YLD's brand-new Casino Night and Annual Fundraiser benefiting the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. The event will take place May 14 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel from 7-10:30 p.m. MORE DETAILS


Barkann to Speak, Community Service Awards to be Conferred at YLD Annual Meeting, April 14

A dedicated advocate for the transgender community, the founder of a program that offers marathon training to help improve the lives of Philadelphia's youth, and a general practice law firm with a long history of supporting the Young Lawyers Division will each be honored with a YLD community service award at the Division's Annual Meeting, Thursday, April 14 at 12 p.m. at the Crystal Tea Room in the Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, 9th Floor.

Comcast SportsNet's Michael Barkann, a seven-time Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year and a five-time Philadelphia Sports Emmy Award winner, will present the keynote speech at the event. Carolyn Chopko will also speak and present a plaque to Immediate-Past YLD Chair Albertine DuFrayne in recognition and appreciation of her dedicated service to the Division in 2010.

Natalie Hrubos will receive the Craig M. Perry Award for her pro-bono work representing low-income transgender individuals; Heather McDanel, the Director of Students Run Philly Style, will receive the F. Sean Peretta Award; and the law firm of Ciardi Ciardi & Astin will receive the YLD Vision Award.

CLICK HERE to register for the event, which is sponsored by TD Bank. Lunch is included.

Natalie Hrubos focuses her practice in all aspects of labor and employment law representing clients in a broad range of labor and employment matters. In 2010, as a first-year associate, Natalie engaged in significant pro bono work representing low-income transgender individuals seeking legal name changes and corrections to their identity documents. Hrubos is an active member of the Planning Committee for the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, a three-day event that promotes health and wellness within the trans community through workshops and other educational opportunities. She planned the Conference's first-ever CLE program and walk-in legal clinic. Hrubos serves on the Legal Advisory Board for the Legal Services Department at the Mazzoni Center, the only agency in Philadelphia that provides direct legal services to low-income LGBT individuals facing legal obstacles related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Heather McDanel founded and serves as the director of Students Run Philly Style, the only program in Philadelphia offering marathon training to help young people succeed in life that is operated out of the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC). The organization has served over 2,500 students from all over the city. In addition to ongoing mentoring through running, Students Run Philly Style includes extensive leadership, academic and civic engagement opportunities. Under McDanel's leadership, Students Run Philly Style was named by the Surgeon General as the Local Best Practice in addressing childhood obesity, recognized by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams as a "valuable investment in our youth," and selected as the launch for Michelle Obama's "Let's Read, Let's Move" 2010 summer campaign in Philadelphia. McDanel has been a long distance runner for 25 years and has completed six marathons, including the Boston Marathon.

Ciardi Ciardi & Astin is a general practice firm focusing in the following areas: bankruptcy and business restructuring; commercial and general litigation; commercial real estate; and maritime and transportation. The firm focuses its bankruptcy practice primarily in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Dallas, Manhattan and New Jersey. CC&A's senior partner, Albert A. Ciardi, Jr., has more than 40 years of bankruptcy litigation and transaction experience, and the firm's attorneys have participated in a number of significant bankruptcy cases in Philadelphia and Wilmington. The firm has consistently supported YLD programming and is integral to the success of the Division's mission.

Michael Barkann has hosted a myriad of programs on Comcast SportsNet since 1997, including "Daily News Live" - CSN's sports roundtable - and the Philadelphia Eagles', Phillies' and Flyers' pre- and post-game shows.

He began his on-air career with the New Jersey Network as a weatherman before he moved to KYW-TV in Philadelphia. In 1991, he joined the USA Network where he covered U. S. Open Tennis, World League Football and the boxing series "Tuesday Night Fights." He gained major television exposure working for CBS Sports at the Winter Olympics in 1992 at Albertville, France, in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway, and in 1998 at Nagano, Japan.

In 1992, Barkann became sports director at WLVI-TV in Boston. He spent five years in Boston and also hosted sports radio programs on WEEI-AM.

Barkann joined Comcast SportsNet for its maiden season in 1997 and was the first person to appear live on the fledgling network. He quickly became known for his offbeat interview style and upbeat demeanor. Along with his hosting duties, some of his favorite assignments include the Phillies' 2008 World Series Championship, Super Bowl XXXI featuring the Patriots versus the Packers, Dan Jansen's dramatic speed-skating gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, and Stefan Edberg's final tournament at the U.S. Open.

Barkann's charitable work includes the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, Quilts for Kids, and Bringing the Outside World Inside Foundation. He is also Master of Ceremonies for the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremonies.

Ticket prices to the YLD Annual Meeting vary; click here for more details.

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.

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 $75 per person and $135 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.

Tip of the Month: The Importance of Being Civil

As attorneys, we're always hearing about civility in the profession. Mostly, we're told that civility is expected in this profession. We know it's expected and hopefully most of us treat each other civilly and with respect. A lot of attorneys may not realize, however, that being a nice person can help their careers.

Philadelphia has a large legal community, but if your practice is focused in a few areas, chances are you know many, if not most, of the attorneys within those practice areas. The last thing you need as a young lawyer is a reputation for being too adversarial or arrogant.

You can build good relationships with opposing counsel by being a pleasant person, granting reasonable extension requests and respecting their opinions about the issues in the case (you clearly don't have to agree with them, but respect is key). Doing so will make it more likely that opposing counsel will grant your extension requests, will make resolving discovery disputes easier, and will benefit settlement negotiations. I'm not suggesting that being nice will get you what you want, but it sure is easier to settle a case when you get along with opposing counsel than it is screaming at each other across a room.

For the most part, I get along well with my opposing counsel and have seen the benefits. Former adversaries have referred cases to me and vice versa. I've also called former opposing counsel to pick their brains about legal issues and they were more than willing to spend a few minutes on the phone with me.

At the end of the day, we're all just attorneys trying to obtain the best results for our clients. We're all human, which means we have both good and bad days. However, if you make civility a priority, I guarantee you'll notice a difference.

For more on this topic, Above the Law ran a recent column you may enjoy reading.

Stephanie Mensing is a partner at the law firm of Wisniewski & Mensing, LLP. She can be reached at

April 21 Chancellor's Forum: A Conversation With Mayor Nutter

The Philadelphia Bar Association will present the Chancellor's Forum, "A Conversation with Mayor Michael A. Nutter," on Thursday, April 21 at 12 p.m. at the Association's headquarters, 1101 Market St., in the 11th floor Conference Center.

Join us as we hear from the mayor, and engage in a question-and-answer session, as he discusses his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget and Fiscal Years 2012-2016 Five-Year Plan recently presented to City Council. Mayor Nutter will be introduced by Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Rudolph Garcia.

"As we begin to see signs of an economic recovery, we're proposing new investments to create a safer, smarter, greener and more business-friendly Philadelphia," the mayor said in his recent budget address. "Even though Philadelphians continue to struggle, we've identified targeted investments that will improve public safety and the overall quality of life in Philadelphia."
Chancellor's Forums bring expertise, in-depth analysis and attention to critical topics affecting the citizens of Philadelphia.

The event is free, and lunch is available for purchase for $5. Advance registration is required. CLICK HERE to register.

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.

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.

Program for Law Students Interested in Business Law, March 29

The Business Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association invites law students interested in learning about business law, particularly securities law, to attend the second event of its Practicing Business Law series on Tuesday, March 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Dilworth Paxson, 1500 Market St., Suite 3500E.

Students will learn what it is like to practice securities law on a regular basis and the preparation that best positions those interested in careers in business law from attorneys from the Securities Regulation Committee of the Business Law Section. A lengthy question-and-answer session and informal conversation with the presenters will follow the substantive portion of the program.

Dress is business casual and light snacks and beverages will be served. Contact Sarah McCarthy at for more details and to RSVP.

Entries Sought for Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition

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

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.