November 17, 2002
Annual Meeting Luncheon Set for Dec. 10Tuesday, Dec. 10 will be a landmark day for the Philadelphia Bar Association when its first African-American woman to serve as Chancellor of the 300-year-old association is welcomed into her new position during the Association's Annual Meeting and Luncheon, at noon, in the Marriott's Crystal Tea Room on the 9th floor of the Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia. Audrey C. Talley, who will serve as the 76th Chancellor of the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association beginning Jan. 1, will provide the keynote remarks for the Annual Meeting.
While Talley, a partner with the center city firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, is proud to be the first African-American woman to lead America's oldest, chartered, metropolitan bar association, she says she looks forward to the day "when there won't be any more 'firsts' and we will simply stop counting."
One of Talley's earliest memories dates back to when she was only four years old. Her mother took her to see how a neighbor's home in Nashville had been firebombed simply because he was a civil rights lawyer who defended people who sought integration. The bomb was meant to teach him a lesson. Instead, this incident taught Talley lessons that she has never forgotten. Talley says she learned how lawyers work to "protect individuals, uphold the rule of law and preserve our democratic ideals."
The sixth of seven children, Talley attended segregated schools through high school and excelled in nearly every subject. Attaining her degree from Vanderbilt University in just two-and-a-half years, she remained undeterred by instances of prejudice and discrimination. The encouragement of teachers and the desire to journey beyond Nashville led her to the University of Southern California where she received her Master's degree in 1978. That was followed by a law degree from Boston University Law School in 1981 and a job as staff attorney for DuPont in Wilmington. In 1984, she came to Philadelphia to join Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP. She became a partner at Stradley before assuming her current position as partner in the Business and Finance Department at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
Talley served as Vice Chancellor of the Bar Association in 2001 and is now completing her term as Chancellor-elect. She has chaired Women's Way and served on the boards of many groups including Community Legal Services and Planned Parenthood. She has also won the National Bar Association's Doris Mae Harris Image Award and the Chisholm Award given by the National Political Congress of Black Women.
Also at the Annual Meeting, current Chancellor Allan H. Gordon will present the Bar Association's two highest awards. The 2002 First Union Fidelity Award will be presented to Barbara T. Sicalides, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP and chair of the board of Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program, in recognition of her fidelity to improving the administration of justice and the legal profession. The Bar's highly coveted Bar Medal will be presented to Judge Charles R. Weiner of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in recognition of his lifetime of service to the region, the state and the nation.
The Bar's Annual Election will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. Bar members who have not yet voted by mail may do so in person, Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the PBI/PBEC, Wanamaker Building, 10th Floor.