May 03, 2013
"Law Week 2013" to Feature Free Legal Advice, Community Programs
The 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association will celebrate Law Week 2013 (Monday, April 29 – Friday, May 3), with a range of free community service events presented by volunteer lawyers and coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division.
Attorneys will offer free legal advice for residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, visit school classrooms, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms, and present mock criminal trials for grade school students during the weeklong fest, which is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. This year's Law Week celebrates the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which provides the right to an attorney in criminal cases for those who are unable to afford one.
All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Bar Association Chancellor-Elect William P. Fedullo, and are coordinated by the Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The Law Week 2013 Co-Chairs are Maria E. Harris of the law firm of Martin LLC, and Eileen F. Carroll of the Legal Clinic for the Disabled. The Chair of the Young Lawyers Division is Aneesh A. Mehta of the law firm of Volpe and Koenig, P.C.
The following is a schedule of Law Week 2013 activities:
Legal Advice Live!: Monday, April 29
Legal Advice Live! kicks off Law Week 2013 with dozens of Philadelphia lawyers gathering to provide free, in-person confidential legal advice to the public from 12 to 2 p.m. at four branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia: Central (1901 Vine St.); Ramonita de Rodriguez (600 W. Girard Ave.) where Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available; Haverford (5543 Haverford Ave.); and Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. (1935 Shunk St.). 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, and employment law.
Lawyer in the Classroom: Tuesday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 1
The Lawyer in the Classroom program features lawyers visiting different Philadelphia schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood, as well as to answer questions about the legal profession. On April 30, lawyers will meet with students at the Freire Charter School at 2027 Chestnut St. from 9 to 10 a.m.; William Meredith Elementary School at 5th and Fitzwater Streets from 9 to 10 a.m.; Parkway Center City High School at 13th and Spring Garden Streets from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.; Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School at 22nd and Chestnut Streets from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.; Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts at Broad and Christian Streets from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; Constitution High School at 7th and Market Streets from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and South Philadelphia High School at 2101 S. Broad St. from 1 to 2 p.m. On May 1, lawyers will meet will students at McCall Elementary School at 7th and Spruce Streets from 9 to 10 a.m.
Naturalization Ceremony: Wednesday, May 1
A dramatic Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new U.S. citizens will be held on Wednesday, May 1 at the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets, at 10:30 a.m. Remarks will be provided by Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Kathleen D. Wilkinson. At the event, Babar Ahmed of Father Judge High School – the winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest – will read aloud his essay on the role of citizens in addressing our nation's economic and political problems. The contest is named after former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Edward F. Chacker of the law firm of Gay Chacker & Mittin, PC. The winning student is awarded a $1,000 college scholarship.
LegalLine Free Legal Advice Hotline: Wednesday, May 1
Volunteer attorneys will provide free legal advice to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties who call the LegalLine hotline from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. 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.
"Goldilocks," "The Big Bad Wolf" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" Mock Trials: Friday, May 3
Volunteer judges from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and attorneys dressed as fairytale characters from "Goldilocks," "The Big Bad Wolf" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" gather on Friday, May 3 at City Hall Room 653 at 9:30 a.m. to use facts from the fairytales to act out mock criminal trials for approximately 350 grade school children. Volunteers will fan out in City Hall courtrooms to 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 characters are guilty of a crime.
Lawyer for a Day: Friday, May 3
Volunteer attorneys from the Philadelphia Bar Association will accompany Philadelphia high school students into the city's courtrooms to witness live court proceedings at City Hall and the Criminal Justice Center as part of "Lawyer for a Day," the culminating event of the Law Week 2013 celebration.
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Philadelphia Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, where students will gather to embark on their courtroom tours at 9 a.m. The event concludes with a 12 p.m. luncheon back at Bar Association headquarters, where Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor-Elect William P. Fedullo will welcome the students and Louis S. Rulli, Practice Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School will offer a moving presentation on the 50th anniversary of the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright. Winning posters from the Association's Law Week Poster Contest, open to area grade schools, will be on display. Winning students receive gift certificates.