Monday, May 1, 2006
 |  An e-Newsbrief from the Philadelphia Bar Association  | 
Vol. 7, No. 26

YLD Comedy Night May 6

Comedian Christian Finnegan, of VH1's "Best Week Ever," will be the featured performer at the YLD Comedy Night on Saturday, May 6, at the Academy of Natural Sciences, from 7 to 11 p.m.

Admission for the event is $55, which, in addition to the show, includes an open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and dancing. Additional entertainment to be announced in the coming days. All proceeds from this event benefit the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Law Week Events Begin Today, May 1

Volunteer Philadelphia lawyers will offer free legal advice, welcome new American citizens, visit with children in classrooms and invite inner-city students into their offices Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5. That's when the Bar Association marks "Law Week 2006" with a host of special events and services reaching out to thousands of citizens.

The week-long law fest is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. The theme for Law Week 2006 is "Liberty Under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers."

All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Association Chancellor-Elect Jane L. Dalton, and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The YLD Law Week chair is Scott Sigman. Click here for a schedule of Law Week activities.

Councilman Nutter to Meet with Committee May 2

Philadelphia City Councilman Michael A. Nutter will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, May 2 meeting of the Government and Public Service Lawyers Committee.

Nutter represents the 4th District, which includes Wynnefield, Overbrook, Roxborough, Manayunk, East Falls and parts of North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and West Mount Airy.

The meeting begins at 12:30 p.m. in the 11th floor Committee Room South of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. Lunch is available for $7.50 for those members who register in advance. Click here to register online.

U.S. Comptroller General Headlines May 2 Panel

The Tax Section will sponsor a breakfast discussion "The Federal Budget Deficit: Much Ado About Nothing or a Significant Threat to the U.S. Economy?" on Tuesday, May 2 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Panelists for the program include David Walker (left), U.S. Comptroller General; Isabel Sawhill, Vice President, Director of Ecomonic Studies, The Brookings Institution; Alison Fraser, Director, Roe Institute of Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation; Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President, Committee for Economic Development; and Robert Bixby, Executive Director, The Concord Coalition.

The program has been approved for 1 substantive CLE credit. Participants wishing to receive the CLE credit will be required to pay a fee of $25 for members of the Association admitted for more than five years, and $20 for members admitted for less than five years. The event will be held in the 11th floor Conference Center of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. A continental breakfast will be provided and there is no charge for this event if you do not wish to receive CLE credit. Click here to RSVP for this event. Contact PBI at (800) 932-4637 for more information about receiving CLE credit.

Surveillance Camera Question to be Discussed May 4

The Civil Rights Committee will hold a panel discussion "Is Big Brother Coming to Philadelphia? Surveillance Cameras, Safety, and Your Civil Liberties" on Thursday, May 4.

Speakers for the program include Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson and William H. Ewing of the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. Representatives of the law enforcement community have also been invited to speak.

The meeting begins at 12 p.m. in the 10th floor Board Room of Bar Association headquarters, 1101 Market St. To RSVP for this event, contact Dawn Burger at (215) 238-6367.

Board OKs Sign Language Interpreter Fund

The Board of Governors has unanimously approved a plan to establish a fund to support the use of sign language interpreters by Association members. The action came at the Board's April 27 meeting.

According to the resolution, the existence of a fund to pay such costs would encourage small firms, sole practitioners, public interest firms and pro bono volunteers to comply with their ADA obligations and would increase the access of people who are deaf or heard of hearing to legal services. A total of $5,000 was allocated for this program. Click here for the complete text of the resolution.

Individuals who are interested in this fund should contact Association Executive Director Kenneth Shear at (215) 238-6338.

Bar Association 5K Run/Walk May 21

The 27th edition of the Association's 5K Run/Walk takes off on Sunday, May 21 along the Schuylkill River on Martin Luther King Drive (fomerly West River Drive) adjacent to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The event benefits the Support Center for Child Advocates.

The race features several competition divisions: open-individual, Bar Association members, company teams, legal teams and male and female divisions. Runners are also divided into age groups. Awards are presented to participants in all divisions.

For more information, or to learn more about becoming an event sponsor, contact Eric S. Marzluf at (215) 567-2010, extension 130 or by e-mail at; Tom Bell at (215) 887-2050, extension 107 or by e-mail at; or Sandra Lavini at (215) 925-1913, extension 126 or by e-mail at

Click here to print out a registration form, or visit to register online.

CLS Breakfast of Champions May 10

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas President Judge C. Darnell Jones will be the keynote speaker at Community Legal Services' 17th Annual Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday, May 10, at the Westin Philadelphia, 99 S. 17 St., from 8 to 10 a.m.

The annual Breakfast of Champions also honors individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions to the cause of justice for all. Barbara T. Sicalides of Pepper Hamilton LLP will receive CLS' Champion of Justice Award.

The Breakfast of Champions serves as a launch event for CLS' annual Bar Campaign. In 2005, members of CLS' Leadership Council raised a record amount of $322,000 through individual and law firm contributions. This year, Leadership Council co-chairs Joe Tate and Leslie A. Miller hope to get a boost from Chancellor Alan M. Feldman's "Raising the Bar" initiative, which seeks to raise contributions to legal services and public interest law firms in Philadelphia to at least $300 per attorney.

CLS anticipates law firm supporters will designate a significant portion of their contribution to CLS. New and increased donations will be matched this year by a generous grant from the Independence Foundation.

CLS will present the Equal Justice Award to the following honorees: Deborah L. Freedman, managing attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit at CLS; Langer & Grogan P.C. attorneys Howard I. Langer, John J. Grogan and Edward Diver; Thomas Burke, intake paralegal at Philadelphia Legal Assistance; and Renee Reese, intake paralegal at CLS. This event is sponsored by the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. Admission is free. To RSVP, contact Anna Perng at or call 215-981-3732.

Reception for Commerce Court Judges May 11

The Business Litigation Committee will hold its annual reception for Commerce Court judges on Thursday, May 11 at the Westin Philadelphia, 99 S. 17th St., beginning at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $80 per person or $750 for a group of 10. Cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. Click here to purchase tickets for this event.

Workers' Comp, Real Property Sections Plan Spring Events

The Workers' Compensation Section will hold its annual spring party on Wednesday, June 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, 4120 Main St., in Manayunk.

Tickets are $45 per person and includes two drink tickets and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Click here to order tickets online.

The Real Property Section will hold its Annual Spring Reception on Thursday, June 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Maggiano's Little Italy, 1201 Filbert St.

Tickets to the event are $5 and are available by clicking here.

Bar Association Night at the Phillies June 14

Join your colleagues and friends at Citizens Bank Park at Bar Association Night at the Phillies on Wednesday, June 14 when the Phillies take on their National League East rivals, the New York Mets at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets are $36 and $28. The login name for the electronic ticket purchase is BARN and the password is 0614. The log-in is case sensitive, so make sure the items are entered correctly.

Organizations Schedule Spring Fund-Raisers

The ACLU of PA will hold its 24th Annual Defending Freedom event on Thursday, May 11, featuring cartoonist Tom Tomorrow with a slideshow of civil liberties-related cartoons and commentary, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Downtown Marriott, 1201 Market St. For ticket information call (215) 592-1513, extension 122 or e-mail

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights will hold its 10th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 13 from 7 to 10 p.m., at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 S. 22nd St. For ticket information contact Alicia Williamson at (215) 731-1447, extension 13 or e-mail

The Support Center for Child Advocates will hold its Annual Champions of Children Benefit Reception and Volunteer Celebration on Wednesday, May 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Main Banking Lobby of Wachovia, Broad and Walnut Streets. For more information, call (215) 925-1913.

Friends of Farmworkers will hold its 30th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, June 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 11th and Arch streets. Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Frederica A. Massiah-Jackson, Immediate-Past Chancellor Andrew A. Chirls and Efren Diego will be honored at the event. Tickets are $75. For more information, call (215) 733-0878 or e-mail

Bar Leaders Making Media Appearances

Dennis Young and Shanese Johnson, both members of the YLD Executive Committee, will appear live on WHAT 1340 AM from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. on Monday, May 1 to discuss Law Week events with Thera Martin Connelly.

Michael Hayes will be interviewed on KYW 1060 AM on Wednesday, May 3 about the May 3 Law Fair at the Gallery at Market East.

Mfume to Address Bar at June 19 Quarterly Meeting

Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP and candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, will deliver the annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association's Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, June 19 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue.

A lifelong champion of individual rights, Judge Higginbotham had a legal career that spanned nearly half a century. Since Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, delivered the first Higginbotham lecture in 1999, notables such as Juan Williams, Charles J. Ogletree, Chaka Fattah and Cornel West have filled the role. Tickets to the luncheon are $50 for Association members and $55 for non-members. Click here to purchase tickets online.

After serving five terms in Congress, Mfume resigned in 1996 to take over as the leader of the NAACP, a post he held for nine years. He is credited with restoring respect to the Association as well as instituting management and financial structures that led to an increase in endowment funds as well as a budget surplus. In March 2005, Mfume announced his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Paul Sarbanes, who will retire this year after serving in the Senate since 1977. Mfume, a member of the Democratic Party, seeks to become the first African American to represent Maryland in the Senate.

Bar Foundation Golf Classic June 26

The 18th Annual Philadelphia Bar Foundation Golf Classic will be held Monday, June 26 at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Flourtown. The 18-hole tournament, which benefits the Foundation, will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start on both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses. Click here to register online.

The 2005 tournament raised more than $100,000 for the Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Bar Association. During 2005, the Foundation funded 29 law-related programs with grants ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.

Prizes will be awarded for team low net, individual low net and individual low gross. A new prize for law-firm (defined as a foursome with at least three members from the same firm) low gross will also be awarded.

The tournament is open to the public with a general fee of $375 that includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, refreshments on the course, and cocktails and dinner. Members of the Association's Young Lawyers Division may participate for a discounted fee of $295. Event and hole sponsorships are also available. For more information on sponsorships or playing in the event, contact Melissa Engler at (215) 238-6347. Click here to register online.

Legal Directory 2006 Now Available for Purchase

The Legal Directory 2006 is now available. If you've ordered your copy, it will soon arrive; if not, place your order now for this indispensable resource – and receive free access to The Legal Directory Online.

This year's edition includes listings for more than 1,500 law firms and 17,000 attorneys in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties, Delaware and New Jersey, in addition to Bar Association contacts and committees; information on federal, state and county courts and government agencies; a judges index; alternative dispute resolution resources; and a special business-to-business section tailored to the legal community.

New for 2006, each copy of The Legal Directory includes complimentary access to The Legal Directory Online. So information will be only a few mouse clicks away and accessible wherever you go.

Over the coming weeks, new features will be available on The Legal Directory Online. You can still search for firms and attorneys; but you'll also have information on local courts and court rules, area bar associations and breaking legal news at your fingertips.
Click here to order The Legal Directory 2006 today!

Weekly Snapshot: ACLU of Pennslyvania

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has been defending the constitutional rights of residents of Pennsylvania for more than 50 years through a combination of litigation, public education and advocacy. In addition to core issues, such as free speech, lesbian and gay rights, reproductive rights and due process, the organization has been battling the attempts of the government to curtail individual freedoms in the name of security for the past five years.

One of the ACLU's biggest successes recently has been the challenge to the Dover Area School District school board's requirement that intelligent design be taught as an alternative to evolution in biology class. In December 2004, the ACLU of PA sued the district on behalf of 11 parents who objected to that policy. ACLU clients (and the ACLU) believe that intelligent design is stealth creationism, and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause.

The case was the first legal test of the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as science, and the most significant case on religious issues in public school science classes since 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the teaching of creation science.

Dover's intelligent design policy was overturned on Dec. 20, 2005, when Judge John E. Jones issued a 139-page opinion in favor of the plaintiffs. He found that intelligent design is a religious, non-scientific proposition, and that teaching intelligent design in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The six-week trial was a monumental undertaking and could not have done without the amazing work of the volunteer legal team from Pepper Hamilton LLP. The ACLU of Pennsylvania will be presenting its annual Civil Libertarian of the Year award to the team in recognition of its work on this case at its May 11 Defending Freedom Event.

For more about this and other ACLU cases, or information about becoming a volunteer attorney, visit

Learn Theater Skills in the Courtroom May 2

Our team of teachers of trial advocacy and experienced theater professionals merge their talents to open your eyes to a readily available set of persuasive skills at PBI’s "Theater Skills in the Courtroom" on Tuesday, May 2. The program has a limited registration to allow participation and critiques. Enroll now before you are too late - this program sells out! This 8-substantive credit hour program will be held at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. For additional information, or to register, click here.

Upcoming CLE

The following courses are cosponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. All courses are at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, except as otherwise noted. Registration begins 30 minutes before course start time.

Tuesday, May 2
Theater Skills in the Courtroom
8 substantive CLE credits
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, May 9
Compulsory Arbitration Seminar
2 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits
8:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Equitable Distribution of Municipal, State and Federal Pensions
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits (Must attend the entire class to receive ethics credit)
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 10
Your First Auto Case - Learning the Essentials
6 substantive CLE credits
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 11
How to Try a Rape Case
4 substantive CLE credits
12:30 to 4:45 p.m.

Monday, May 15, 2006
Working with Inside Counsel
3 substantive CLE credits
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

How to Handle a Child Abuse Case
5 substantive, 1 ethics CLE credits (Must attend entire class to receive the ethics credit)
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More information is available on the PBI Web site at, on the page devoted to Philadelphia programs, by calling 1-800-247-4724, or by e-mailing Note: some events sell out; before walking in, call PBI to confirm that space is still available for the program that interests you.

Earn up to 4 credits on your computer, at your convenience, at PBI's Online Campus, at More than 300 classes are available, including nearly 50 one-hour ethics programs. 24/7 CLE.