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October 28, 2020

Philadelphia Bar Association Celebrates Member Accomplishments in a Unique Year

Judge Arnold “Buddy” New, Cozen O’Connor Receive Top Awards; ‘Bar Stars’ Highlight Member Contributions

The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Fall Quarterly meeting recognized members who are making outstanding contributions to the organization and to the legal profession during a challenging year.

Honorees included the Judge Arnold “Buddy” New, who is this year’s recipient of the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award, the Association’s highest honor for an active or retired member of the federal or state bench. Cozen O’Connor was awarded the association’s inaugural Bar Champion Award, recognizing the firm’s outstanding contributions to the Association and the community through its leadership and public service.

In addition, the virtual gathering included a celebration of the efforts of the Association’s committees, sections and individual “Bar Stars,” for carrying out its mission of leadership, education and advocacy, bringing the city’s legal community together as it embraced a “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, even more so than in other years, what has truly made the Philadelphia Bar Association so special is the commitment of its members and volunteers,” says Judge A. Michael Snyder (ret.), chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. “They have sustained this association through their membership and support, and helped us to grow and succeed with their energy, creativity, engagement and ideas.”

In accepting the Bar Champion Award on behalf of Cozen O’Connor, Vincent R. McGuinness, Jr., the firm’s president and managing partner, said the firm decided to continue supporting Association membership for its lawyers despite austerity measures prompted by the pandemic because of the “essential” nature of the Association’s work. Twelve Cozen attorneys currently serve as leaders of Association sections and committees, including two of its nine section committees.

“The value the Philadelphia Bar Association brings to our profession is indispensable, especially now as we see troublesome movements to politicize our judiciary and restrain lawful exercise of the power of the judiciary,” said McGuiness. “We must rally behind the organization that best represents our community.”

In his remarks after receiving the Brennan Award, New, who has served on the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia for 30 years, said the honor speaks to the teamwork between the city’s judiciary and legal community.

“We’re still in the middle of COVID-19 and there is still much to do and, unfortunately, heartaches to live through,” New said. “But the bond between the Judiciary and the legal community in Philadelphia, which has always been strong, has been strengthened and has shown again why the Philadelphia Bar Association is recognized nationally for all of its good deeds and its actions.”

The event also included recognition of 20 “Bar Stars,” members who have volunteered their time and expertise to Association committees, sections and programming, and provided leadership during an often-tumultuous year.

“Particularly during this unique time, we are committed to building a network that provides Philadelphia’s legal community with everything that matters to them, including timely information, networking, professional development and more,” said Harvey Hurdle, the Association’s executive director. “That mission would be impossible to achieve without the tireless commitment of our members.”

Winners of the Bar Stars awards were:

  • From the Business Law Section:
    Jourdan A. Garvey, Esq. (Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr), and Ernest Holtzheimer, Esq. (Montgomery McCracken)
  • From the Criminal Justice Section:
    Kathryn Cacciamani, Esq., and Aaron C. Finestone, Esq.
  • From the Family Law Section:
    Susan Pearlstein, Esq. (Philadelphia Legal Assistance), and Stephanie Stecklair, Esq. (Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg)
  • From the Probate and Trust Law Section:
    Karen “Kim” Fahrner, Esq. (Heckscher, Teillon, Terill & Sager), and Jennifer Zegel, Esq. (Kleinbard)
  • From the Public Interest Section:
    Judy F. Berkman, Esq. (Regional Housing Legal Services), and Jennifer R. Clarke, Esq. (The Public Interest Law Center)
  • From the Real Property Section:
    Joyce C. Sun, Esq. (Conley Law Group)
  • From the State Civil Litigation Section:
    Peter Divon, Esq. (First Judicial District of Pennsylvania), and Charles A. Mapp, Sr. (chief deputy court administrator, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania)
  • From the Tax Section:
    Omeed Firouzi Esq. (Philadelphia Legal Assistance), and Nina Nelson, Esq. (Berwind Corporation)
  • From the Workers’ Compensation Section:
    Andrea M. Graf, Esq. (Swartz Campbell), and Anna V. Rio, Esq. (Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias)
  • From the Young Lawyer’s Division:
    Omeed Firouzi, Esq., and Candace C. Hardy, Esq. (Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin)
  • Bar Stars of the Board of Governors
    Reginald “Reggie” T. Shuford, Esq., (executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania) and Andre J. Webb, Esq. (German, Gallagher & Murtagh)

The event also recognized immediate past Chancellor Rochelle M. Fedullo and featured keynote remarks by Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

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