April 6, 2010

Law Week Festivities Less Than Three Weeks Away; Volunteers Needed

From April 26-30, the YLD will present a range of community and student outreach programming throughout Philadelphia in celebration of Law Week 2010. This weeklong fest depends upon the help of volunteers. Learn how you can get involved HERE.

FJD E-FIling Training Session, April 22

Electronic filing of all civil matters became mandatory in January 2009. This program, presented by the First Judicial District, will provide in-depth instruction on the use of the electronic filing system. READ MORE

Enter the 8th Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, Due May 10

Entries are being accepted for the Bar Association's 8th Annual "Pursuit of Justice" Legal Writing Competition in honor of Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. This competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2009-2010 academic year at six area law schools. READ MORE


Law Week Just Three Weeks Away; Volunteers Needed

Volunteer Philadelphia lawyers of all ages are needed to offer free legal advice, visit high school classes, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms, and present mock criminal trials for grade school students in celebration of "Law Week 2010", an annual occasion marked by the Philadelphia Bar Association and YLD through a host of special events and services reaching thousands of citizens from April 26-30.

The weeklong fest is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Bar Association Chancellor-Elect, Rudolph Garcia, and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The Law Week 2010 co-chairs are Carey Chopko and Kelly Gastley.

The following is a schedule of Law Week activities and contact information for those interested in volunteering:

Lawyer in the Classroom, Monday, April 26, through Thursday, April 29
Monday kicks off a weeklong series of visits to Philadelphia school classrooms by volunteer lawyers with the Lawyer in the Classroom program. As part of this program, lawyers will enthusiastically visit different schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood and answer questions about the legal profession.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Lawyer in the Classroom program, please contact Aly Oswald or Aneesah El-Amin-Jaamia.

Legal Advice Live!, Monday, April 26
At lunchtime, dozens of Philadelphia attorneys will gather to provide free, in-person legal advice during the Legal Advice Live! program, from 12 to 2 p.m. at five different branches of the Philadelphia Library, including the Central branch. 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, real estate law and employment law.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Central branch, please contact Anthony Chwastyk. If you are interested in volunteering at a satellite branch, please contact Rachel Branson.

Also on Wednesday, April 28, free legal advice will be given to those who call the Legal Line hotline. From 5 to 8 p.m., 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.

If you are interested in volunteering for Legal Line, please contact Roxane Crowley.

Lawyer for a Day, Friday, April 30
Volunteer attorneys and judges pair with high school students and "show them the ropes" of their jobs by taking them into the courts during the Lawyer for a Day program. Several city courtrooms will be open to allow the participants to observe the proceedings. The students will meet the lawyers and judges and will participate in a concluding lunch, during which the students will recount their experiences and hear from a special guest speaker.

If you are interested in volunteering for Lawyer for a Day, please contact David Walker or Amanda Shoffel.

"Goldilocks" and "The Big Bad Wolf" Mock Trials, Friday, April 30
Volunteer attorneys will use the facts of the well-known fairytales "Goldilocks" and "The Three Little Pigs" as the basis for mock criminal trials during the "Trials of Goldilocks" and the "Big Bad Wolf" program, taking place at seven different City Hall courtrooms. Volunteers will 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 Big Bad Wolf or Goldilocks is guilty of a crime.

If you are interested in volunteering for the "Trials of Goldilocks" and the "Big Bad Wolf" program, please contact Heather Herrington or Justin Moriconi.

While no volunteers are needed, on Monday, May 3, a Naturalization Ceremony will welcome dozens of new United States citizens at the U.S. Courthouse, 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, at 10:30 a.m. Here the the winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest will read his or her essay.

For additional information, CLICK HERE.

Register Now for YLD's 5th Annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction

On May 22, join the YLD for a night of laughs at its 5th Annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction, headlined by Dan Cummins, star of "Comedy Central Presents Dan Cummins" who has also appeared on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and NBC's "Last Comic Standing." The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Franklin Institute and benefits the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

With a knack for writing crisp, absurd jokes and captivating audiences with his laid-back signature delivery, Dan Cummins is standing out amongst his stand-up peers. In 2005, Dan introduced himself to the national comedy scene by performing in the prestigious Montreal Comedy Festival's New Faces showcase. Soon after, in 2006, Dan made his national television debut on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," and then made his Comedy Central debut on "Live at Gotham."

Dan kept the ball rolling in 2007 by starting off the year with performances at Comedy Central's South Beach Comedy Festival that would lead to taping his first 1/2 hour special with the network, "Comedy Central Presents Dan Cummins," later in the year. In Nashville, Dan then performed at the National Association for Campus Activities National Showcase, and had a set memorable enough to become the most requested comedic performer of the event. All in all, Dan performed at 110 campuses from Maine to Washington during the 2007-08 school year alone.

2008 was even better, with Comedy Central being so impressed with his 1/2 hour special that they put it on their season premiere. Also, Dan was on prime time NBC, reaching the nationally televised semi-finals of the sixth season of "Last Comic Standing" where he received a standing ovation from many in the audience. Additionally, Dan will be releasing his first national comedy CD, with many of his favorite jokes from several TV appearances Revenge is Near.

Finally in 2009 Dan shot his Comedy Central 1 hour special "Crazy With a Capital F" set to debut in Spring 2010.

The YLD's 5th Annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction includes an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and a DJ. Register online here ($65 before May 7; $80 after; registration deadline May 17, no walk-ins). Download the official event flyer here. All proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

Message from the Chair

I can't believe it is April already! Thank you to everyone who attended the YLD's Annual Meeting last week. It was great to see so many people there and meet our dedicated award winners: Lloyd Freeman of Archer & Greiner won the Craig M. Perry Service Award for exceptional volunteer service; Djung Tran of Smith & McMaster won the F. Sean Peretta Award for community outreach through unique programs; and Ace Reporters, Inc. won the Vision Award for supporting YLD programs throughout 2009. We also heard an informative speech from Sharon Pinkenson about what it takes to make movies and draw celebrities to Philadelphia.

April will be another busy month for the YLD. I am excited for Law Week to kick off on Monday, April 26 and the activities to continue through May 3 with programs in local schools, the Courts and select Free Library of Philadelphia branches.

To make Law Week a success we will need a large number of volunteers with different levels of experience and backgrounds. I encourage you to sign up to volunteer for at least one activity whether you are an attorney, law student or paralegal. My main reasons for encouraging you to volunteer are:

1. I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of every lawyer to give back to the community and to foster an understanding of what lawyers really do;

2. Many young lawyers who participate in Law Week activities are fortunate enough to establish new, invaluable connections in a smaller setting;

3. The events are fun!

If you have any questions about Law Week or any other YLD event, please do not hesitate to contact me at adufrayne@petrellilaw.com. I hope to see you during Law Week!

Albertine DuFrayne is the 2010 Chair of the Young Lawyers Division and an associate at the law firm of Petrelli Law, P.C.

FJD E-Filing Training Session, April 22

The First Judicial District will hold a training session on electronic filing on Thursday, April 22 at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 380 of City Hall.

Electronic filing of all civil matters became mandatory in January 2009. This program will provide in-depth instruction on the use of the electronic filing system. It was designed to allow for the filing of all civil cases and legal document via the Internet from anywhere at any time. The system currently provides attorneys and litigants with unlimited online access to all papers and legal documents filed in their cases.

The faculty for the program includes President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe, Administrative Judge D. Webster Keogh, Supervising Judge William J. Manfredi, Deputy Court Administrator Charles A. Mapp Sr., Deputy Court Administrator Dominic J. Rossi, Prothonotary Joseph H. Evers, and Deputy Prothonotary Deborah E. Dailey, along with Harold Palmer, director of application systems development and Steven Wulko from quality assurance.

The program begins at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 380 of City Hall. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. CLICK HERE for an electronic fillable registration form. Completed registration forms can be e-mailed to kara.behlau@courts.phila.gov. The cost of the program is $125 and includes and electronic version of the e-filing manual. The program has been approved for 3 substantive CLE credits.

Understanding Luzerne County: Ordinary Injustice-How America Holds Court, April 13

On April 13 at 4 p.m. join attorney and author Amy Bach for "Understanding Luzerne County: Ordinary Injustice-How America Holds Court," a plenary program co-hosted by the Young Lawyers Division, the Public Interest Section and the Criminal Justice Section.

Bach is the author of a groundbreaking new book, "Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court," which describes the day-to-day workings and various failures of the criminal justice system, discovered by the author during eight years of investigation and observations of criminal courtrooms across the county.

The program will be held from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a wine and cheese reception and book signing from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

This event is free for Association members, but pre-registration is required. CLICK HERE to register.

Enter the 8th Annual Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, Due May 10

Entries are being accepted for the Philadelphia Bar Association's Eighth Annual "Pursuit of Justice" Legal Writing Competition in honor of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2009-2010 academic year at one of the following schools: Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law and Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus).

CLICK HERE for a link to the contest rules. Entries must be received by Monday, May 10 at 4 p.m.

The Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in an American Bar Association-approved area law school for authoring a top-quality competition submission.

Part-time law students in their third or later year of study are also eligible. Students must be in good standing at their institutions. The submission may not have been published previously, although it may have been prepared in connection with a law school course or for a law journal. The submission also may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this competition, until after the time when awards are announced. The submission must be the work of one author alone (joint submissions will not be considered), and the author must certify that the submission has been prepared without substantial editing from others.

Candidates may submit a law review quality submission on any topic relating to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law. The author of the winning submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, the publication of the winning submission on the Bar Association's Web site and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner will be presented with the award at the Association's Quarterly Meeting in October.

The co-chairs of the competition are Kathleen D. Wilkinson, partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker LLP and Secretary of the Association, and Diane Penneys Edelman, assistant dean for international programs and professor of legal writing, Villanova University School of Law.

"How to Handle a Child Abuse Case," April 26

On April 26, the Support Center for Child Advocates will present the volunteer training workshop "How to Handle a Child Abuse Case" at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program is approved for 6 CLE credits.

Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m. Attendees are on their own for lunch.

The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy to abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County. Child Advocates is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country. Each pro bono attorney is teamed with a staff case manager and assigned one child or sibling group. The child advocate team conducts home visits, participates in service planning meetings and court hearings. All volunteers must attend this full-day training program, which includes presentations on the Juvenile Act, the Child Protective Service Law, the role of a child advocate in a criminal case, representing parents in Dependency proceedings, service planning, and the dynamics of child abuse. Our training manual How to Handle A Child Abuse Case, with the latest Juvenile Act amendments and Family Court rules, is provided to attendees. This course also provides certification for eligibility to receive court-appointed dependency cases.

For registration and fee details, click here. For further questions, contact Child Advocates at 267-546-9200.