March 22, 2001
City-Wide "Law Week 2001" Features Free Legal Help, Special ProgramsVolunteer Philadelphia lawyers will offer free legal advice, welcome new American citizens, visit with children in classrooms and invite inner-city students into their offices Saturday, April 28 through Saturday, May 5. That's when the Philadelphia Bar Association marks "Law Week 2001" with a host of special events and services reaching out to thousands of citizens.
The eight-day lawfest, sponsored by the 13,000-member Bar Association, is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. Law Week 2001's theme, "Promoting the Best Interests of Children," is an opportunity for us to reflect on how the law protects the constitutional rights of our children and helps them achieve greatness.
"This year, Law Week gives us the chance to show how Philadelphia lawyers can play a role in efforts to better assure that no child is left behind," said Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Carl S. Primavera. "Law Week is also an acknowledgment of the many blessings and liberties given to us as Americans under the Constitution."
All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Association Chancellor-Elect Allan H. Gordon and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division (YLD) with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The YLD Law Week co-chairs are YLD Chair-Elect Marla A. Joseph and Executive Committee member Melissa A. Schwartz.
The following is a schedule of Law Week activities:
Saturday, April 28 -- The celebration is off to a running start when volunteer lawyers trade their briefcases for hammers and paintbrushes to refurbish a Chester County home from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Habitat for Humanity Program.
Monday, April 30 -- Monday kicks off a week-long series of visits to Philadelphia school classrooms by volunteer Philadelphia lawyers for the Lawyer in the Classroom Program. As part of the program, the lawyers will visit different schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and answer questions about the legal profession.
Also as part of Law Week, Philadelphia elementary schools will be participating in the "Celebrate Your Freedom" Poster Contest. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students at public, private and parochial schools have been asked to create posters that shows people celebrating or using their freedom. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three posters.
Tuesday, May 1 (Law Day) -- Lawyer-volunteers will meet with the students of Archbishop Ryan High School at 11201 Academy Road in Northeast Philadelphia, from 9 a.m. to noon, for a Lawyer in the Classroom program.
Tuesday will also be a day for members of the Philadelphia Community to meet the city's Common Pleas Judges. The Meet the Common Pleas Judges Receptions will begin at 6 p.m. at three locations throughout the city: the South Philadelphia Community Center at Broad and Porter Streets, Pinn memorial Church at 54th Street and Wynnefield Avenue, and Grace Baptist Church at Germantown Avenue and Johnson Street.
Additionally, a dramatic Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new United States citizens will be held in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the ground floor of the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets, at 10:30 a.m. Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Carl S. Primavera will offer remarks at the ceremony and Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will preside. Also at the ceremony, a Philadelphia high school senior will read his or her winning essay on the topic of "Zero Tolerance" as part of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest. The contest, named in honor of the 1999 Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, includes a $1,000 scholarship toward the student's college education.
Wednesday, May 2 -- At lunchtime, dozens of Philadelphia attorneys will gather to provide free, in-person legal advice at the Law Fair, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Shops at Liberty Place in the Atrium. Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on a broad range of topics, including landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning, real estate law and employment law. More details about this program can be obtained by calling the Bar Association at 215-238-6300. At the same time, lawyers will prepare free kids' identification cards for parents who bring their young children to the Law Fair, as part of the Kid ID Program. Also at the Law Fair, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the YWCA will sponsor the Children's Insurance Program to educate parents on free health care options for which many children qualify.
Lawyers participating in the Stepping Out for Seniors program will meet with students at Germantown High School at 50 East High Street, from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. to discuss areas of law the students are likely to encounter after graduation as they begin their adult lives. The program will cover a variety of issues, including renting a place to live, keeping a job, understanding consumer credit, paying taxes and getting married.
Also on Wednesday, free legal advice will be given to those who call the LegalLine hotline. From 6 to 8 p.m., area residents can call lawyers at 215-238-6333 and have their legal questions answered free and confidentially. The lawyers will staff a phone bank at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Bar Association in the Aramark Tower, 1101 Market St., 11th floor.
In addition, lawyer-volunteers will conduct another session of Lawyer in the Classroom at the Simon Gratz school, 18th Street and Hunting Park Avenue, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Thursday, May 3 -- Lawyer-volunteers will join area doctors at the Bache Martin School, 22nd and Brown Streets, from 9 to 10 a.m. for a Doctor/Lawyer in the Classroom program to talk with students about the legal and medical implications of drug use.
Friday, May 4 -- Volunteer attorneys and judges pair with high school students and "show them the ropes" of their jobs by taking them to their offices and 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 at the Bar Association at 8:30 a.m., and all participants are invited back to the Association's 11th floor Conference Center at noon for a concluding lunch, during which students will recount their experiences. World B. Free, a former player for the Philadelphia 76ers and current publicist for the team, will be speaking to the students about pursuing their dreams. The program is co-sponsored by the Law, Education and Participation Project of Temple University Beasley School of Law (Temple-LEAP).
Saturday, May 5 -- The YLD and the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP) will co-sponsor a forum on legal issues facing same-sex couples and singles. The forum, "Same Sex Couples and the Law," will be held at Temple University's Center City campus, 1616 Walnut St., room 522, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Legal information will be presented by a panel of experienced local attorneys.