April 7, 2009

April 15: Workers' Comp Section and the Young Lawyers Division to Host Achievement Award Luncheon, Novelist Lisa Scottoline

The Bar's Workers' Compensation Section and the Young Lawyers Division are holding a Lifetime Achievement Award Luncheon and Afternoon with Lisa Scottoline on Wednesday, April 15 at 12 p.m. at the Wanamaker Building's Crystal Tea Room. READ MORE

Register Now for Comedy Night, May 9

The YLD will hold its annual Comedy Night on Saturday, May 9 at The Franklin. Gerry Dee of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" will be the headliner. Visit here for more details and here for ticket information. READ MORE

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PhiLAWpalooza '09 - World Cafe Live - July 16, 2009

Bands and solo musicians interested in performing at the YLD's third annual PhiLAWpalooza should contact Stephanie Mensing by May 1, 2009. Please include your band name, band members' names and firm affiliations, and website/social networking site address (if any).


April 15: Workers' Compensation Section - in conjunction with the YLD - to Host Awards Luncheon, Best-Selling Novelist Lisa Scottoline

The Bar's Workers' Compensation Section - in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division - is holding a Lifetime Achievement Award Luncheon and Afternoon with Lisa Scottoline on Wednesday, April 15 at 12 p.m. at the Wanamaker Building's Crystal Tea Room.

Joseph S. Bekelja, a partner with Margolis Edelstein, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which the Section presents annually to an attorney who has had an exemplary career in workers' compensation law.

"Mr. Bekelja has been a teacher, leader, mentor and role model not just for workers’ compensation attorneys, but for all attorneys," Workers' Compensation Bureau Judge A. Michael Synder said.

Best-selling novelist and Philadelphia-lawyer Lisa Scottoline - author of the Edgar Award-winning "Final Appeal" and 11 other legal suspense novels - will present the keynote speech at the event. All attendees will receive a copy of Ms. Scottoline's new book, "Look Again," which is being released on April 14.

The event is being sponsored by Summit Pharmacy.

Tickets for the event are $50 for Bar members, $45 for YLD members and $60 for non-members. To purchase tickets, call 215.238.6300 or click here.

YLD Seeks Volunteers for Law Week Events, April 27-May 1

Volunteer Philadelphia lawyers are needed to offer free legal advice, welcome new American citizens, visit children in classrooms and accompany inner-city students into the courts Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1. That's when the Philadelphia Bar Association marks "Law Week 2009" with a host of special events and services reaching out to thousands of citizens.

The week-long fest, sponsored by the 13,000-member Bar Association, is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. The theme for Law Week 2009 is "A Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln's Bicentennial."

All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Association Chancellor-Elect, Scott F. Cooper, and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The YLD Law Week co-chairs are Abbie DuFrayne, Kelly Gastley and Carey Chopko.

The following is a schedule of Law Week activities and who to contact if you can volunteer:

Lawyer in the Classroom, Monday, April 27: Monday kicks off a week-long 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 Josh Ryan.

Legal Advice Live!, Wednesday, April 29: 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 the Central (Main) Branch of the Philadelphia Library, located at 1901 Vine Street, and other satellite branch locations throughout the city. 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 Legal Advice Live! please contact Kristin McKenna or Chris Guth

Also on Wednesday, April 29, 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 Stephanie Mensing.

CORRECTION: Juror Appreciation Day, Thursday, May 14: The First Judicial District and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts will sponsor the 10th Annual Juror Appreciation Day at 8:30 a.m. in the Criminal Justice Center's Jury Assembly Room on the first floor to recognize the crucial public service performed by local citizens who respond to jury duty.

Lawyer for a Day, Friday, May 1: 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, Judge Midge Rendell, the first lady of Pennsylvania . If you are interested in volunteering for Lawyer for a Day, please contact Carey Chopko.

Also on Friday, May 1, a Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new United States citizens will be held at the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, at 10:30 a.m. The winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest will also read his or her essay.

Finally on Friday, May 1, 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 City Hall's Ceremonial Courtroom CH 653. 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 are instructed on the role of 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.

For additional information and updates, click here

Extraterrestrial Real Estate Deals

by Harper Dimmerman

I know what you're thinking. Harper is probably struggling for content or, more likely, has gone and lost it. Read on, though. I assure you there's a perfectly logical explanation for the title.

As President Obama methodically proceeds to execute his lofty agenda, remaining steadfast even in the face of partisan politics and relentless media scrutiny, as his first 100 days in the Oval Office expire like greased lightning, Americans suddenly find themselves repenting for the sins of our most narcissistic brethren. They do this as they try to strike that perfect balance between blissful denial and misguided optimism. Meanwhile, ominous clouds bursting with the chilling reality that is the sordid state of the global economy continue to form overhead. Abroad, rancor for Americans and their swindles continues to percolate, manifesting itself in the shape of pugnacious protesting, such as that in London on the eve of the G20 summit.

And when it comes to indicators that a recession of epic proportions is finally upon us, I would submit that there is a frequently overlooked gauge – the moon. Seriously. It's no secret that property values and the real estate market in general have taken a proverbial beating of late. And of course there's the mortgage industry meltdown, creating an environment of utter credit chaos. But it's the precipitous decline in moon investing which really has me concerned.

According to the always reliable Penki:news, since 1980, some 18 lunar embassies have opened around the world, offering ownership of land on the moon, Venus and Mars. In an effort to boost sales, the Czech Republic lunar embassy has slashed prices by as much as 20 percent, offering land patches for 799 Czech Crowns (39 U.S. dollars), down from 999 (48 U.S dollars) (I'm not making this stuff up). But these statistics only beg the obvious question. How do these extraterrestrial property rights come into being in the first place?

Interestingly enough, lunar and planetary rights have apparently been the source of great debate for decades. Let's start with an aptly named treaty, which constitutes the basic framework of international space law. In addition to lending guidance to nations tempted to place weapons of mass destruction into orbit, amongst other things, The Outer Space Treaty addresses the question of ownership of celestial bodies. Simply put, governments (who are a party to the Treaty) are expressly forbidden from claiming ownership of the moon or planets, and the like. Much to the chagrin of foreign nations, these are considered "the province of mankind." Go figure. Article II of the Treaty provides that "outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". A subsequent Moon Treaty endeavors to untangle title, if you will, to these unconventional properties. The moon and other celestial bodies should be used for the benefit of all peoples in the international community.

Needless to say, these constraints have not stopped various societies from cropping up (what a pun) and cashing in on these heavenly investments. Even governments, such as the Czech Republic, have gotten into the act. Several years ago, a PhD candidate at Glasgow University, Virgiliu Pop, wrote a compelling paper regarding the legal issues surrounding lunar real estate. My favorite section of the piece was where Mr. Pop provided some examples of various claims made by a whole cast of characters. In 1996, a gentleman by the name of Martin Juergens challenged Dennis Hope's (he's a moon mogul) claim to the moon. "Allegedly, the moon has belonged to his family since July 15, 1756, when the Prussian emperor Frederick the Great presented it to his ancestor Aul Juergens as a symbolic gesture of gratitude for services rendered, and decreed that it should be passed to the youngest born son."

Or take the case of the 1997 lawsuit filed by three Yemeni citizens against NASA. "Allegedly, Mars has belonged to their ancestors for 3000 years and, they claimed, NASA's Martian mission, by the fact of not informing or seeking their approval, allegedly trespassed on their property." My vote is for a Lunar Embassy right here in the States. Wait. I think one already exists right inside the Beltway.

Harper Dimmerman, principal in the Law Office of Harper J. Dimmerman, can be contacted at harper@hjdlaw.net

Volunteers Needed to Teach at 2009 People's Law School

The YLD is now accepting applications from young lawyers to teach the following classes at this year's People's Law School (PLS): family law and custody, small claims and landlord/tenant court, consumer credit (including debt collection, identity theft, credit reports, utility issues), real estate (including foreclosures, predatory lending, actions to quiet title), bankruptcy, employment law, workers' compensation, social security and disability, elder law, personal injury, and criminal law.

The PLS is a six-week adult education course, beginning in September, that offers non-lawyers basic information about areas of the law that affect people's daily lives. If you are interested in teaching, please email your resume or information about your practice areas to Stephanie Mensing.

Real Property Section sponsoring lunchtime CLE, "Loan Workouts for Real Estate Lawyers"

The Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association will be sponsoring a lunchtime CLE seminar, "Loan Workouts for Real Estate Lawyers", on Monday, April 20 from 12-1:00 p.m. at the Bar headquarters, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor.

Current economic conditions make this a troubling time to obtain and retain financing for developers and owners of commercial and large scale residential development. Clients need assistance navigating the complex world of real estate workouts with lenders. Designed primarily to aid real estate attorneys, this program will provide an overview to the world of real estate loan workouts from the perspective of both Borrower and Lender’s counsel.

Course planners are Dina Schlossberg, Blank Rome, LLP and Michael G. Balent, PNC Bank, National Association. Featured Panelists are Samuel H. Becker, Blank Rome, LLP, and Claudia Z. Springer, Reed Smith, LLP.

The following topics will be explored, among others: Development, Maturing mortgages, Retail, How/when to approach communication with lender's counsel and Bankruptcy-Top 5 checklist items for real estate attorneys.

The program has been approved for 1.0 Substantive CLE credit. Participants wishing to receive the CLE credit will be required to pay a fee of $25 for members of the Bar Association admitted for more than five years, and $20 for members of the Bar Association admitted for less than five years. If you wish to register in advance please visit www.pbi.org or call PBI Customer Service at 1-800-932-4637.

ABA Young Lawyers Division and Law Practice Mgmt Section Joint Conference, May 14-16

The ABA Young Lawyers Division and Law Practice Management Section will hold a Joint Conference
, May 14-16 in 
New Orleans. Register by April 22 to receive the early bird registration discount of $75/ABA Members and $85/Non-members.

The conference entails: the ins and outs of going in-house; effective oral communication strategies; tips for becoming a superstar associate; how-to's for mastering mobile technology; pointers for clear and concise writing; specialized techniques in appellate court persuasion; ideas for managing your practice in a down economy; guidance on the business side of law; the key to identifying and avoiding conflicts of interest; marketing strategies for a Web 2.0 world; and hundreds of new connections from around the U.S. and the world.

Stay at the YLD hotel to be at the center of it all: Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
. Single/Double rate of $189/night is available until April 22, 2009

Register and book your hotel reservation here

Register Now for YLD Comedy Night, May 9

The YLD will hold its annual Comedy Night on Saturday, May 9 at The Franklin. Gerry Dee of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" will be the headliner. Visit here for more details and here for ticket information. If you are you interested in sponsoring the event, email Brian Chacker. If you are interested in donating silent auction items, email Abbie DuFrayne.