People's Law School Kicks Off Sept. 13, Continues Every Tuesday Through Oct. 18

The always-popular People's Law School returns Sept. 13 for six weeks of legal education open to all area residents. The program features courses on a range of legal topics and takes place every Tuesday night through Oct. 18. For the first time, an early-bird rate of $35 is available to registrants who sign up by Aug. 30. The cost is $40 after that date. READ MORE


National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession Nov. 8

Chief Legal Officers and Law Firm Managing Partners from across the nation will assemble for the Philadelphia Bar Association's National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at The Union League of Philadelphia. READ MORE

Legalizing Marijuana CLE Sept. 21, Part of PBI's Public Policy Series

In the past few years, the movement to legalize the use of marijuana in the United States has gained momentum and, in fact, medical marijuana legislation has passed in several states, including neighboring New Jersey and Delaware...READ MORE


Legal Education Program "People's Law School" Open to Area Residents, Special Early-Bird Rate Available

Area residents can receive basic information about areas of the law impacting daily life at People's Law School, a six-week legal education program taking place Sept. 13 through Oct. 18 and presented by volunteer attorneys from the Young Lawyers Division. The immediate availability of a course materials book cannot be guaranteed if registration is received after Sept. 6.

People's Law School features 11 unique courses on a range of legal topics and is held every Tuesday from 6:15-8:30 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St. Registration includes access to all seminars and the complete course materials book.

The courses to be held are:

Social Security & Disability
Trusts & Estates (including wills and living wills)
Small Claims & Landlord/Tenant
Consumer Credit (including debt collection, identity theft, credit reports)
Personal Injury
Criminal Law & Procedure
Real Estate (including foreclosures, predatory lending and transactions)
Employment Law
Workers' Compensation
Family Law (including divorce, custody, and support)

The exact course schedule will be available shortly.

People's Law School is open to all citizens. Register here, by calling 215-238-6393, or through email at Registration can also be completed by mail through this form.

Please note that while People's Law School will provide attendees information on different areas of the law, the program is not accredited and no degree or certificate will be given upon its completion.

Bench-Bar Early-Bird Rate Ends Sept. 16

Professor Charles J. Ogletree, the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University, will be the moderator of the opening session of the 2011 Bench-Bar & Annual Conference at Harrah's Atlantic City on Oct. 14-15.

Ogletree will be the moderator of the opening plenary "I'm Not Saying That to Any Judge! The Lasting Implications of Luzerne County." Panelists for that program, which will explore the implications for the bench and bar of the Luzerne County "kids for cash" scandal, will be announced at a later date.
Enjoy early-bird savings when you register for the 2011 Bench-Bar & Annual Conference Oct. 14-15 at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. Click here to save $80 on your registration fee. But hurry, this offer ends on Sept. 16!

The Bench-Bar & Annual Conference provides attendees with the opportunity to earn CLE credit while networking with colleagues and members of the bench.

Registration for members is $349 if booked by Sept. 16. For non-members, registration is $399. Members of the Young Lawyers Division and public interest and government attorneys can attend for $199. For those wishing to attend only the Grand Reception at The Pool at Harrah's on Friday, Oct. 14, tickets are $150 for all members and $175 for non-members. Tickets will be an additional $25 if purchased at the door.

For those wishing to attend Friday's session only, tickets are $299 for members, $149 for the Young Lawyers Division and government or public interest attorneys and $349 for non-members. Members and guests wishing to attend without receiving CLE credit will pay $200. For non-members, the cost is $225. Admission includes all sponsored meals and events. Those wishing to attend programs on Saturday, Oct. 15 will only pay $229, while YLD members and government and public interest attorneys can attend for $79 and $279 for non-members.

Click here to register.

Sponsors for the 2011 Bench-Bar & Annual Conference include The Legal Intelligencer, Iron Mountain and JAMS.

National Symposium on Diversity in Legal Profession Nov. 8

Chief legal officers, law firm managing partners, and diversity thought-leaders from across the nation will assemble for the Philadelphia Bar Association's National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at The Union League of Philadelphia.

The half-day symposium will begin with a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Robert J. Grey Jr., (left) executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Grey is a past president of the American Bar Association.

During the opening plenary, a panel of local and non-local chief legal officers and law firm managing partners will discuss the importance of collaboration to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession; benchmarks to measure success; and best practices for the recruitment, retention and advancement of women and diverse attorneys.

Four concurrent breakout sessions will focus on the following topics: the roles white men can play to advance diversity and inclusion in corporate legal departments and law firms; generational diversity and its impact in the workplace; successful pipeline initiatives and mentoring programs; and an employment law update. The symposium runs from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. and a VIP networking reception begins at 5:30 p.m. The VIP networking reception will provide a forum for discussion with remarks from a prominent speaker.

Speakers for the National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession include Thomas E. Cabaniss, managing partner, McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond, Va.; Mark Hershey, senior vice president, general counsel & secretary, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, Pa.; H. Eric Hilton, senior vice president, secretary and general counsel, H. J. Russell & Company and Concessions International, LLC, Atlanta, GA ; Alan J. Hoffman, co-chair and managing partner, Blank Rome LLP, Philadelphia, PA; John L. Latham, partner, Alston & Bird LLP, Atlanta, GA; Sophia Lee, chief counsel-litigation, Sunoco, Inc., Philadelphia, PA; James G. Leipold, executive director, NALP: The Association for Legal Career Professionals, Washington, D.C.; Curtis L. Mack, partner, McGuireWoods LLP, Atlanta, GA; Robert A. Nicholas, partner and global director of legal personnel, Reed Smith LLP, New York, NY; Karl A. Racine, managing partner, Venable LLP, Washington, D.C.; Robin Sangston, vice president, legal affairs, Cox Communications, Inc., Atlanta, GA; Mark S. Stewart, chair, Ballard Spahr LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Michael K. Tucker, executive vice president and general counsel, Avis Budget Group, Inc., Parsippany, N.J.; Joel C. Trotter, senior counsel, GlaxoSmithKline, Philadelphia, PA; LeRoy J. Watkins, Jr., partner, Jackson Lewis LLP, Morristown, N.J.; Charles Phillip Wells, partner, Williams Mullen, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC; Sherry D. Williams, senior vice president, chief ethics and compliance officer, Halliburton, Houston, TX; and Sandra S. Yamate, chief executive officer, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, Chicago, IL.

For additional information on the National Symposium on Diversity in the Legal Profession, contact Naomi K. McLaurin at 215-238-6340 or

The Young Lawyers Division welcomes submissions from all members of the Bar Association for "Summer in the City," a photography contest in which the winner and runner-up will receive a $200 and $100 gift certificate, respectively, to Ruth's Chris Steak House as well as have their images featured in The Philadelphia Lawyer, the Association's quarterly magazine.

Entrants are asked to submit an image that captures the atmosphere of a city during the Summer/early Fall months. The picture can be taken here in Philadelphia or in any other city.

One submission per entrant can be emailed to Matthew Laver at in JPG format. A professional panel of judges will select the winner. The deadline for entries is Sept. 30.

Avoid Marketing Overwhelm By Focusing on Just One Thing a Day

By Kimberly Alford Rice

In my experience, I have observed two kinds of lawyers in private practice: those with clients and those who work for lawyers with clients. My question to you would be: Who would you rather be?

Lawyers who work with their own clients are working with clients who they enjoy and on matters they like. They feel more in control of their careers, and are most likely having a lot more fun and making significantly more money than lawyers without clients. These are the emerging firm leaders and are often sought after by other firms.

In most cases, you can make a substantial living as a grinder, clocking away at the billable hour. But if you want to really thrive and enjoy the fruit of your labor, to enjoy the freedom which accompanies working on matters you find challenging and rewarding, rainmaking is the bomb!

Often, in the early years of private law practice, new lawyers are overwhelmed with honing their craft to even think much about developing new clients. If you understand nothing else in this article, get this: there is no silver bullet or single activity that will ever materialize clients. It is a long-term process of devising a reasonable and achievable plan (aka marketing plan), taking measured steps to develop a broad network, both professional and personal, being mindful of all your audiences and maintaining contact with them, and developing a helpful spirit in genuinely wanting to benefit others (aka good karma).

Therein lies a 30,000-foot view of marketing planning, but that’s it in a nutshell. As with so many other ventures, however, the devil is in the details. I would assert that if you focus your non-billable time on one activity each day and track it, at the end of a year, two years, and five years, you will be pleasantly surprised at how broadly you have developed a network of prospects and referral sources from which to build a client base.

Here are a few activities you can incorporate into your busy day:

Stay up to date on current events. This will help you communicate knowledgeably with a broad base of people in networking situations (internally and externally). Being well read on current events makes social business situations easier and more comfortable.

Sharpen your image. Now that you are actually earning a living as a lawyer, look like one. Believe me, it matters not only to your management (you are effectively a representative of your firm) but it makes an impression (good and not so good) with anyone with whom you interact. You get one shot to make a favorable impression.

Hang out at the Bar. Begin to develop some cred with your colleagues by attending young lawyer events at the Bar Association and chamber of commerce. They all have young professional committees and it’s great to meet peers in similar situations as yourself.

Get Connected. One of the most important things you can do is to develop a contact list of folks with whom you know, would like to know, and who may have some business potential, at some point. Like you, most of your peers have landed in junior positions but with time they will rise in seniority and be in a position to either make referrals or direct hiring decisions in connection to legal services. Add them to your growing network and stay in touch with them.

Seek out a Mentor. A key to your long-term success is developing mentoring relationships. Aside from law school, some lessons are best learned by those who have “been there, done that.” It can be very mutually rewarding to learn from another’s insights, experience, and stories. Proactively seek out these relationships.

Learn Effective Networking Skills. If practices are built on leveraging connections, networking is where the connections are made. Do not underestimate how essential networking is to your success. Seek out training to develop your networking skills. Seriously, it is not just a matter of showing up at a business function and handing out your cards. There are tried and tested methods that are crucial you learn.

Rainmakers are trained not born. Becoming a rainmaker takes time, perseverance, and consistent behavior to develop strong professional relationships that convert to paying clients. If you are just starting out your practice, today is not too early to focus on the activities outlined above. If you have been practicing 10 years or more, today is not too soon to renew your efforts along the path of developing your own clients. Given where the legal landscape is in this uber competitive economy, your professional survival may depend upon it.

Kimberly Alford Rice is principal of KLA Marketing Associates, a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a law marketing authority, Kimberly helps law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Additionally, Kimberly provides career management services to lawyers in transition. She may be reached at 609-458-0415 or via email at

Legalizing Marijuana CLE Sept. 21, Part of PBI's Public Policy Series

In the past few years, the movement to legalize the use of marijuana in the United States has gained momentum and, in fact, medical marijuana legislation has passed in several states, including neighboring New Jersey and Delaware.

Recent surveys show that more than 40 percent of the population believes the drug should be legalized for medical reasons, though there is a strong group opposed to legalizing pot for any purpose. There also remains the inherent conflict in the law, since federal law still considers marijuana an illegal substance, despite states recognizing it as a viable treatment for many medical conditions.

However, recent federal legislation proposed by Barney Frank and Ron Paul seeks to decriminalize marijuana and allow states to legalize, regulate, tax and control marijuana without federal interference. The debate over legalizing marijuana for medical use brings up many issues and the debate goes well beyond medicine. What would this do for cash-strapped states looking to raise additional tax revenue? Would this end the costly drug wars that most states are now fighting? Would we see a reduction in criminal enterprise related to drug-trafficking and sales? It is estimated that legalizing marijuana and other drugs could save the government approximately $41.3 billion annually on expenditures related to the enforcement of prohibition.

Join our panel on Wednesday, Sept. 21 for another exciting PBI Public Policy debate on this controversial topic and learn whether medical marijuana is likely to become a reality in Pennsylvania. Click here for more information or to register.