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November 19, 2014

Judge Lerner, Aronchick to be Honored Dec. 9

speaker photos Judge Benjamin Lerner of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas will be presented with the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award and former Chancellor Mark A. Aronchick will receive the PNC Achievement Award at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Annual Meeting Luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 9.

Chancellor-Elect Albert S. Dandridge III, a partner with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, will outline his plans for 2015 at the luncheon, which begins at 12 p.m. at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, Broad and Walnut streets. Click here for tickets.

The Brennan Award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service. From 1975 through 1990, Judge Lerner served as Chief Defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where he represented criminal and juvenile defendants as well as child advocacy and mental health cases. Judge Lerner, formerly of counsel at Dilworth Paxson LLP, was first appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1996.

"The sensitivity and importance of Judge Lerner's role in the criminal justice community cannot be overstated," U.S. District Court Judge L. Felipe Restrepo wrote in materials nominating Judge Lerner. "This is particularly true at a time when gun violence and the murder rate are on the rise and dominate the local news. Lerner has consistently provided the leadership that has ensured that various stakeholders know justice will be served," Judge Restrepo said.

Aronchick, a partner at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, served as Chancellor in 1998 and was the youngest city solicitor in Philadelphia history. The PNC Achievement Award honors significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice.

Aronchick was instrumental in this year's Whitewood lawsuit, which successfully overturned Pennsylvania's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. In 1996, he became the first attorney to simultaneously serve as president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and Vice Chancellor the Philadelphia Bar Association, and is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

"Mark has an unstinting commitment to provide all citizens, poor and rich, black and white, gay and straight with a fair, equal and honest system of justice," his law partner, Daniel Segal, wrote when nominating Aronchick. "Whether in litigating Whitewood, promoting the Bar Foundation, teaching Penn law students, or serving on the Judicial Conduct Board, this commitment has been and remains the focus of his intense devotion."

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