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The Official Publication of the Berks County Bar Association
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Eugene Orlando, Jr., President G. Thompson Bell, III, President-Elect Jesse L. Pleet, Vice President James m. smith, Secretary eden r. bucher, Treasurer tonya A. butler, Director andrew f. fick, Director karen h. cook, Director Alisa r. hobart, Director Jill Gehman Koestel, Director Elizabeth A. Magovern, Director Frederick K. Hatt, Past President Justin D. Bodor, President YLS
BAR ASSOCIATION STAFF
DONALD f. SMITH, JR., Esquire, Executive Director andrea j. stamm, Lawyer Referral/Secretary Karen A. Loeper, Law Journal Secretary Paula j. ziegler, Communications Manager Eric J. Taylor, Law Journal Editor Roarke Aston, Law Journal Assistant Editor Matthew M. Mayer, Barrister Editor
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The Commonwealth Court Comes to Berks Long Awaited Rules Bring Changes to Custody Practice NEVER LOST poem by William W. Runyeon 2013 Solo & Small Firm Conference
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32 2013 Annual Giving Campaign 33 Annual Meeting
President’s Message: Opening Locked Doors.......................................................... 1 Book Review: “Lean In”......................................................................................... 12
Miscellaneous Docket ....................................................................................... 20 Restaurant Review: A Dilemma is Solved...............................................................24 Spotlight on New Members .............................................................................. 26
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President’s Message Eugene Orlando, Jr., Esquire, 2013 President
Opening Locked Doors.
y dad said “A locked door only keeps an honest man honest.” A group of mostly older hunters was sitting around the dinner table at deer camp in Potter County many years ago discussing the recent burglary at a neighboring camp. As we finished eating, several old timers marveled about times when people didn’t lock their doors and always left the keys in their cars. They lamented about a changing world. I was the youngest person in the room. A young boy with any sense would have stayed mum and soaked up some wisdom just listening to the banter of the older men. I should have kept quiet, but I chimed in that we all needed to get stronger locks. Dad answered me with the quote above. That not only ended the conversation about that subject, but it also had all of the otherwise jocular men nodding with solemn approval. They obviously understood what he said and their expressions evidenced that it might even border on the profound. I did not speak further, but I confess that I wasn’t sure exactly what he really meant. It sounded like an oxymoron to me. If a man was honest - he was honest. Period! He shouldn’t need locks. I knew that a determined thief will always gain entry, but I just could not connect this to the relation between locks and honest people. It didn’t make sense and frankly I struggled
to understand for some time thereafter. But, with age comes experience, and with experience hopefully a little wisdom. I now realize what a truly remarkable window on the human condition this simple saying provides. And now I understand and appreciate the almost solemn reverence I saw on the faces of those old hunters years ago after dad spoke those words. As lawyers, we see the truth of this every day. If we wanted to apply it to what we do, we might reformulate the saying as “laws only keep good people law-abiding”. Of course this phraseology doesn’t have the snappy ring to it that the “honest men and lock doors” version has. But, I think it does capture that same truth about human nature that lawyers see in our daily experience. Just as a locked door will not deter a thief determined to enter, neither will anything in the law stop a determined man or woman from taking bad actions merely because there is a law against it. Although this has always been true, there does seem to be more of it going on today. Long-standing criminal laws prohibiting assault have not stopped the tidal wave of spousal abuse and protection from abuse petitions. Men and women, teachers and ministers alike are not deterred from trying to fulfill their aberrant sexual desires with children merely because the law prohibits it. In every area of practice we can find
examples of determined individuals doing things regardless of the law. Laws did not stop the teenage Columbine murderers, the Virginia Tech assassin, the Sandy Hook shooter, the Colorado movie theater shooter or the Washington Navy Yard gunman. The sad truth is the law does not stop evil. Only good conquers evil. Conversely, even people who desire to be good are tempted and sometimes even cross the line, reflecting the imperfect and fallen nature of human beings. This was the insight I missed that night at hunting camp long ago. Most people are good, and most aspire to do good. But, all of us fail from time to time. The existence of the law can encourage good people in time of temptation to stay the course. Since even good people have low points and weaknesses, the need to encourage positive outcomes by having basic societal structures and boundaries guiding human interaction is obvious. However, as our own experience shows us day in and day out, the law by itself is not enough! Having boundaries by itself isn’t enough, at least not in a free society. As one who has devoted his entire career to the law, I feel a little humbled by the thought that we are only a part of the broader context of human affairs. But this by no means denigrates our profession which of course remains an essential component of society.
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Berks Barrister | 1
The Investiture Ceremony for Federal District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl was held on September 27. President Orlando spoke on behalf of the Berks County Bar Association and gave the new federal jurist the Association’s gift of a new robe for his new duties.
So what else is there? What makes people mostly good or aspire to do good? One analogy can be found in 12-step programs. These organizations help others overcome addictions by establishing “boundaries” around the context of individual accountability, regular meetings and community encouragement of others with common problems. But these steps by themselves do not achieve results. It is only when individual participants seek the aid of and surrender to a “higher power” that these structures and the community boundaries begin to work in overcoming addiction. From the founding of our country and up until modern times, the commonly accepted “higher power” in American society was Christianity. Consider the words of our founding fathers. Patrick Henry said “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very
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reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” (Henry, Trumpet Voice of Freedom). George Washington said “Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. “(Washington’s Farewell Address). John Adams said: “our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade Massachusetts Militia 1798). 100 years after the constitution was adopted a unanimous US Supreme Court after a detailed review of colonial charters and documents said “These, and other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian Nation.” Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892). These are but a small sampling of numerous similar statements and writings that can be found through- out documented history. We must be careful not to over generalize, but history is replete with evidence that in broad terms the “ higher power “ of American society until recent times has been the Christian Trinitarian God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit albeit worshiped and understood in a variety of sects and denominations. Increasingly, this is no longer true. It is not an overstatement to say that this somewhat homogenous belief system from earlier times is no longer the overarching societal ethic in 21st century multi-cultural America. Like the old timers at the hunting camp, I could lament this shift in societal assumptions but that would not be productive here. The challenge for all of us is to rediscover a common bond,
a common goal, borne of a diverse yet morally common heritage. Since lawyers have historically been leaders in society we have our work cut out for us. In my self- study of history over the years, I am frequently struck by the stark contrast between actual historic documents and what some people believe and say about them in newspapers and on the internet. Of even more concern to me is that today’s political dialogue seems mired in superficial name calling and labels that obscure solutions to pressing issues. Absent a change in direction this does not bode well.
But one thing is clear. As I look at our little microcosm of the Berks County Bar Association, I see a community consisting of republicans and democrats, “ultra conservatives” and “flaming liberals”, Catholics, Jews, and Protestants of every persuasion, all of them economic competitors, yet all willing to work together for the common good of the organization and common service to the community. The devotion of time and talent by our members in service to the organized bar, to those involved in the legal system, to the court and to the community is truly edifying. That spirit of service to others, to something greater than ourselves, to a profession that helps good people stay good, can perhaps offer a key to opening otherwise locked doors.
The Commonwealth Court Comes to Berks: Three Observations from Counsel By David W. Crossett, Esquire
“Counsel, would you like to reserve time for rebuttal?”
rather innocuous question. A question you won’t hear from the Supreme Court of this Commonwealth – having a longstanding tradition of not permitting rebuttal. A question, when asked by the Commonwealth Court to Appellant’s counsel, which really means: “In how many minutes less than eight do you want to try to argue your case?”
On September 12-13, 2013, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania traveled to Reading by invitation of the Berks County Bar Association. The Commonwealth Court presented a seminar on the Right-to-Know Law, mingled with the local bench and bar for an evening reception, dined with the young lawyers, and then sat in special session to hear argument for cases arising from Berks and immediate surrounding counties. Having had the privilege of both participating in this visit and arguing during the special session, three observations follow: First: Paring argument down to eight minutes can be a miserable task.
With at least a full minute of required introductory comments and one minute for rebuttal, you are left with six minutes. My particular case involved four separate legal issues, which were presented in almost thirty pages of briefing and reply. After a year of litigation, I have grown rather fond of my four arguments; it feels like abandonment to rely entirely on the hope of a judge’s memory of my brief – a memory that has just been taxed with hearing six cases before mine on a Friday afternoon. I am left thinking, “What
could I possibly say that would be more persuasive than what I already wrote?” If I could possibly think of anything that fits this category, I would be left to kick myself for not including it in my brief.
My best hope is that what I wrote will prompt an immediate robust questioning from the bench. Of course, this hope is a double-edged sword because questions from the bench take precious time. So, now, it is something like five minutes in which to argue, and I must prepare for a silent bench.
Based on recent experience, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is permitting up to eighteen minutes per side for argument. In the Superior Court, each counsel is given fifteen minutes if either so desires. In the Third Circuit,
when oral argument is granted, counsel may make a specific request of how much time is desired; fifteen minutes per side is regularly granted. Although the Commonwealth Court’s Internal Operating procedures permit each side seven and one-half to ten minutes for argument before a panel, the presiding judge has discretion to make the final decision. So, eight minutes it was. Lesson learned: when before the Commonwealth Court, brief exhaustively then talk fast.
Second: Justice came to the people, and was appreciated. As Bar Association President, Eugene Orlando, Jr., noted in his introductory
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Berks Barrister | 3
whom I represented before the Court in this special session would not have been able to travel to Harrisburg for a full day to view the arguments. He was, however, able to take an hour out of his day to stop in Courtroom 5A and observe argument of his case. It is wonderful to hear my client explain his satisfaction with the Commonwealth Court panel and the appeal process. The rule of law is mightily advanced when a client walks away from oral appellate argument with the thought that “win or lose, the panel understood the issues and I got a fair shake at justice.”
remarks to the special session, making the workings of our appellate process accessible to the people breeds a general respect for the law, growing from the conviction that the process is fair and impartial. This was anecdotally confirmed to me. Like most clients, the individual
A heartfelt “Thank You” to the Court for their accessibility to the people, delivered at the expense of their own convenience, and to the Bar Association leadership for pulling it all together. Third: A shared reading list provides common ground.
While gathering informally with members of the Commonwealth Court,
the issue of reading lists arose. Amidst all of the reoccurring attacks against the qualifications of an elected judiciary, it was refreshing to discover that this elected judge was currently devoted to reading a recently published thick treatise on sound methods to interpret legal text—the sort of continuing personal legal education that doesn’t qualify for CLE credit, but that does worlds to further the rule of law. I find a profound reassurance in this. While infrequency of contact may prevent arguments highly tailored to each appellate bench, I find encouragement in the knowledge that our appellate judges are reading the same books as I in the ongoing debate about the meaning of legal text. It means that, just maybe, there is a common ground from which to persuade in eight minutes. Editor’s Note: David W. Crossett, Esquire, is an associate with the Smith Law Group, LLC.
Linda Faye Epes and Judge Robert Simpson
Members mingled with the Judges of the Commonwealth Court and the Common Pleas Court
Judge Patricia A. McCullough, Alisa Hobart, Beth Dodson and Julie Ravis
Past President Heidi Masano and Bob Hobaugh David Krisch, President Judge Dan Pellegrini and Greg Shantz
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Justin Bodor, Matt Setley, Julie Marburger, Mike Wieder, Judge Boccabella and Sam Adenaike
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson led seminar on the Right-to-Know Law
Judge Brobson, Gabriela Raful, Melissa Boyd Freeman and Katie Zimmermann
Jason Ulrich, Jesse Kammerdeiner, James Mancuso and Judge Leavitt
LISTENING TO PJ PELLEGRINI (L-R):Â Julie Ravis, Ben Leisawitz, Thad Gelsinger and Mike Krimmel
Far right: Alex Elliker, Ben Nevius, Judge Simpson, Timothy Frey and Joshua Prince
BCBA Secretary Jim Smith, Judge McCullough, Deputy Judicial Law Clerk Lucinda Glinn and Immediate Past President Fred Hatt
President Judge Paul Yatron, BCBA Vice President Jesse Pleet, Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson, Chief Clerk of the Commonwealth Court Michael Krimmel, Federal Judge Jeffrey Schmehl, Judge Timothy Rowley and Judge Thomas Parisi
BCBA Treasurer Eden Bucher, President Orlando, YLS President Justin Bodor, Judge Simpson, Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt and BCBA Board Director Tonya Butler
President Judge Pellegrini, BCBA Board Directors Karen Cook and Jill Koestel and Judge John Boccabella
Berks Barrister | 5
Long Awaited Rules Bring Changes to Custody Practice By Lisa A. Siciliano, Esquire, Family Court Administrator
he Custody Act of 2010 effective on January 24, 2011 brought sweeping changes but offered little guidance on implementing those changes when it took effect on January 24, 2011 (23 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 5321 – 5338). We now have statewide rules to guide us with many of these provisions. Here is a summary of the new rules since May 2013 that affect custody practice and information on some of the forms the Court requires for custody cases. The effective dates for the respective rules are in parentheses. Definitions: Rule 1915.1 (September 3, 2013) removed “Partial custody and visitation”, and added new definitions to clarify the various forms of legal and physical custody. Look at the rule for all the definitions. Custody now includes: “Supervised physical custody” replaced “supervised visitation”. There is also a new definition for “relocation” referencing a significant impairment to the custodial rights of the nonrelocating party. The custody definition changes also affect Rules 1915.3; 1915.4-1; 1915.4-2; 1915.5; 1915.6; 1915.7; 1915.10; 1915.12; 1915.13; 1915.14; 1915.15; and 1915.16. The definition changes affect the language we all include in standard custody pleadings and agreements, so this may be a good time to look at all of your standard custody documents and update them to make sure they comply with the current rules. Remember to delete or archive the former versions so you don’t use them.
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Family Court Cover Sheet and Scheduling Order: The Court has revised their standard Family Court Cover Sheet to add a notation about the existence of related dependency court cases. The Court also revised the custody scheduling order to comply with the notice requirements of the recent rule changes. COPIES OF BOTH FORMS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE at www.countyofberks.com under Courts, Family Court, Forms. Custody Complaint and Petition to Modify: In addition to the language changes mentioned above in the definitions section, there are new requirements for grandparents and great-grandparents asserting custody to specifically plead facts establishing standing. These requirements are in Rules 1915.3 (September 3, 2013) custody complaint and 1915.15 (September 3, 2013) giving the form of the custody complaint and petition to modify. The new notice provisions and reference to the criminal or abuse history verification in these rules are included in the Court’s current Scheduling Order. Section 10 of Rule 1915.15 requires you to include a reference to attaching the criminal or abuse history verification as required by Rule 1915.3-2. Criminal or Abuse History: Rule 1915.3-2 (September 3, 2013) requires a verification regarding any criminal or abuse history of the plaintiff/petitioner and anyone living in their
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household to be filed at the time the complaint or petition to modify is filed. Rule 1915.15 requires you to include a reference to attaching this verification to the notice and complaint. Although not specifically mentioned in the rule, you may want to include the reference to the verification form in petitions to modify as well as complaints since Rule 1915.3-2 applies to both. In addition to filing their completed verification form, the plaintiff/petitioner must also attach a blank verification form for the defendant/respondent to complete. The notice on the scheduling order informs the defendant/respondent that they must file their completed verification in the Prothonotary’s Office before the first in-person contact with the Court. The first contact with the Court includes conferences or hearings with the Judges or the Custody-Support Masters, but specifically does not include Mediation Orientation. If the first in-person contact with the Court is more than 30 days after service, they must file the completed verification no later than 30 days after the complaint or petition is served on them. If the case eventually goes to trial, both parties are required to serve updated verification forms five (5) days prior to trial. C
The Judge or Custody-Support Master will perform an initial evaluation on whether any identified criminal or abuse history poses a threat to the child and whether the parties need counseling. After this initial evaluation, the Court may order further evaluation or counseling and may enter a temporary custody order pending the outcome of the evaluation or counseling. The notes accompanying this rule give the Court guidance on performing the initial evaluation. A COPY OF THE VERIFICATION FORM IS AVAILABLE ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE at www.countyofberks.com under Courts, Family Court, Forms. Relocation: Rule 1915.17 (September 3, 2013) clarifies the procedures for relocation cases. The parties can handle relocation issues out of court if there is no custody action and the parties agree. However, if a relocation issue arises where there is no custody action and the non-relocating party sends a counteraffidavit objecting to the relocation, the party wishing to relocate should file: 1) a custody complaint, 2) a copy of the proposed relocation that they served on the other party, 3) a copy of the
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represented party must enter a written entry of appearance that includes their telephone number and must serve a copy on all other parties. When they have an attorney of record, they may file a praecipe to assert their self-representation and direct the Prothonotary to remove the name of their prior counsel of record. The self-represented party who does this must give notice to their prior counsel. Forms that comply with this rule are available in Custody and Support Hearing Rooms 7C and 7D for use as needed.
counter-affidavit showing the objection, and 4) a request for hearing. If there is an existing custody action, the non-relocating party must file their counter-affidavit in the Prothonotary’s Office in addition to serving it on the other party. The party proposing relocation should then file: 1) a petition to modify, 2) a copy of the proposed relocation that they served on the other party, 3) a copy of the counteraffidavit showing the objection, and 4) a request for hearing. The non-relocating party can also file to try to prevent the relocation. The Court should promptly schedule relocation hearings. Please read this rule carefully to make sure that you are complying with the service requirements, proposed forms and timeframes. Also, please make sure that ALL CUSTODY ORDERS that you prepare put the parties on notice to follow the requirements of Rule 1915.17 if there is a future relocation issue. See Rule 1915.1 for the definition of “relocation.” Practically, you can have a relocation case when one party moves to a new location within the County, but not have a relocation case for a party who moves out of county. It all depends on the impact on the custodial rights of the nonrelocating party.
the Court to state the reasons for their decision on the record in open court, in a written opinion, or in the custody order. The rule requires that the terms of custody orders be specific enough to enforce and that they include safety provisions to protect a child or endangered party if the court finds that either is at risk of harm. The explanatory comment gives several examples of safety provisions. Based on recent case law, custody decisions should address all 16 of the best interest factors and in relocation cases, the 10 relocation factors. SEE A.M.S. v. M.R.C., 2013 Pa. Super 156 ( June 28, 2013).
Reasons for Custody Decisions: Rule 1915.10 (September 3, 2013) requires
Self-Represented Parties: Pursuant to Rule 1930.8 ( July 5, 2013), a self-
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Withdrawal/Discontinuance of Custody Cases: Rule 1915.3-1 ( July 25, 2013) changed the requirements for when and how a custody action can be withdrawn or discontinued. Once the Judge signs the scheduling order or notice of hearing, you can only withdraw claims with leave of court after notice to the other party or by written agreement of all parties. You can no longer simply file a praecipe to withdraw. You can only discontinue a matter by praecipe if the praecipe contains a verified statement that the complaint was not served yet.
Custody Appendices A, B and C: Please make sure that you are attaching Appendix A detailing the standard custody provisions to all custody orders except those where one party has sole legal and primary physical custody. If Judge Bucci is the assigned Judge, you should also attach Appendix B providing the entire relocation rule and Appendix C providing the definition of shared custody. COPIES OF APPENDICES A, B, AND C ARE AVAILABLE ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE at www.countyofberks.com under Courts, Family Court, Forms. Parenting Coordination: 1915.11-1 (May 23, 2013). Only Judges may make decisions in child custody cases. Masters and Hearing officers may only make recommendations. The Court shall no longer appoint parent coordinators, and any existing orders appointing parent coordinators are deemed vacated effective May 23, 2013, the effective date of this rule. Attorney for the Child: Counsel for the child to represent any legal interests the child may have is provided for in Rules 1915.11 and 1915.19 (September 3, 2013). The form of the appointment order specifies the role of counsel for the child and requires third parties to cooperate with counsel. Counsel is now separate from a guardian ad litem for the child. Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the Child: Rules 1915.11-2, 1915.21 and 1915.25 (September 3, 2013) detail the form and procedure for appointing a GAL to represent the best interest of a
child in a custody action. The form of the appointment order specifies the role of the GAL and requires third parties to cooperate with the GAL. This GAL can be either an attorney or a mental health professional. Rule 1915.25 suspends the Acts of Assembly so that the GAL is no longer required to be an attorney, the best interest of the child is separated from their legal interests, the GAL no longer has the right to cross examine or present witnesses or evidence at hearings, and the GAL can now be called to testify by the parties or the Court. The Court may require either or both parties to pay all or part of the costs of appointing a GAL. The GAL is required to file their report and provide copies to all parties at least 20 days before trial. Prompt Disposition of Custody Cases: Prior to the rule changes, Rule 1915.4 ( July 25, 2013) required that the Court dismiss custody actions that were not scheduled for trial within 180 days of filing. Effective July 25, 2013, the amended rule gives the Court the authority to find that dismissal is not in the best interest of the child and to grant an extension for good cause. The motion to consider if the case should be dismissed may be raised sua sponte by the Court, or on motion of a party. If an extension is granted, the rules specify that the extension shall not exceed 60 days beyond the 180-day limit, but if it does, the Court sua sponte or on motion of a party, shall dismiss the case, unless the Court finds that dismissal is not in the best interest of the child. If the Court does intend to dismiss a custody matter sua sponte, the Court is required to give notice that any objections to the dismissal must be filed within 20 days of the notice. Pre-Trial Procedures: Rule 1915.44 ( July 25, 2013) sets forth uniform procedures for pre-trial conferences. The new rule may be a major change in some counties, but will be very familiar to Berks County family law practitioners. See the rule for any particular changes with timeframes, content, attachments and service on the other side. Justice Saylor’s Dissent to the Rule Changes Effective September 3, 2013: Justice Saylor dissented to some
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of the rules that became effective on September 3, 2013. Specifically, he differs with the Rule 1915.17(c) statement that a change of residence of the child will not be considered “relocation” if no objection to the relocation is timely served after notice. Agreement or consent is one of the ways relocation can occur. Justice Saylor also dissents to the partial suspension of the Acts of Assembly regarding GALs. See
PA Supreme Court Amended Order dated August 1, 2013 for his full dissent. Conclusion: It appears that the recent rule changes have remedied some of the issues that the Custody Act created when it became effective, but I expect that new rules will continue to be passed to refine and clarify custody procedures. Check the current issue of the PA Bulletin published every Saturday to stay up to date.
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NEVER LOST By William W. Runyeon
with its drive toward definition, its ambiguous endpoints,
As each of us brings to life
provides marks, or sign posts,
something that came before
clear most often in retrospect,
conception and birth
that each retained image,
and each of us
of the mind and of the heart,
changes the life
has a force and meaning of its own,
of what came before
even without the language of definition,
by how we dream and breath and do in this life, let us also see that each soul has
of patterns or of meaning, such being a weight upon the spirit surviving, already enhanced beyond human endurance,
its own way of belief,
and alive with lifeâ€™s images and feelings,
its own language,
whether retained, or
and that this life,
thought to have been lost.
2013 Solo & Small Firm Conference On September 25th, the Solo & Small Firm Conference was held to address the needs of solo and small firm practitioners by seminar presentations and by networking with vendors and colleagues.
Some of the solos and small firm practitioners who attended the BCBAâ€™s very first Solo and Small Firm Conference. David R. Beane, chair of the Solo and Small Practice Section, and Ellen Freedman, one of the seminar presenters.
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ANNUAL SOFTBALL BATTLE
between the Seasoned Bunch and the Youngsters’ Crew.
Whose sunglasses are more stylish? Julie Marburger, Mike Wieder or Matt Setley?
THE YOUNGSTERS’ CREW (L-R): Front row-David Krisch, Mike Wieder, Julie Marburger and Matt Setley; Back row-Greg Shantz, Eric Gibson, Jason Ulrich, Mike Cammarano, Jr, Dave Miller, Bill Rush and Sam Adenaike
THE SEASONED BUNCH (L-R): Jim Smith, Judge Rowley, Mark Merolla, Andy Howe, Dan Degler, Kurt Geishauser, Judge Lash, Allen Shollenberger, Judge Schmehl, Judge Fehling, Todd Cook and Robert Timothy Mills
Julie Marburger connects
Jason Ulrich on the “mound,” Bill Rush at short, Eric Gibson in left and David Krisch in center
Judge Fehling, Lisa Siciliano and Judge Lash
The newly engraved trophy. Note the asterisk
David Krisch blasts a triple! Judge Schmehl gives Youngster Shantz the trophy for a fifth time
Dan Degler brought his own cheering section ENJOYING POST-GAME FEAST (L-R): Jim, Judge Schmehl, Kurt, Eric, Todd and Andy
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Book Review By Sheryl Sandberg Reviewed by Jill M. Scheidt, Esquire
hen I first heard that Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book about women and leadership I thought, “Here we go again.” Another feminist manifesto written by a rich mom. I avoided the media coverage about the book, assuming a recycled message far from my reality of a Berks County lawyer, wife and mother. But after many months of sustained media excitement, I caved and read a review of the book. I found Ms. Sandberg’s message to be provocative and her style down-to-earth and convincing. At the same time, I was intrigued at how much sharp criticism her message has drawn because she invites women to examine the barriers women create for themselves. I was hooked – enough to spend $14.33 for a copy of the book. Ms. Sandberg and I are of the same generation, having attended high school, college and graduate school in the 1980’s and 1990’s. An era of big dreams (and big hair) for women. Although we were both raised by mothers who had been forced to conform to what are now considered pre-historic feminine housewife roles, we were told we could “have it all.” We both witnessed and participated in huge professional strides taken by women. For
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instance, my graduating class of 1992 at Villanova Law School was the first to have a majority of women graduates. Yet when I look around now, over 20 years later, where have many of my female graduates gone? For example, of our 641 members in the Berks County Bar Association, only 172 are female, or 27%. Ms. Sandberg noticed the lack of female colleagues as well. She started asking questions and experiencing the demands of pregnancy and family life first hand. She became acutely aware of the mixed messages women perceive and deliver. She set about to do something: talk about what she experienced and struggled with. And she dared to challenge women to examine their decisions and change themselves. Sheryl Sandberg is a multimillionaire. Married to a multimillionaire. She left Google to become COO of Facebook. Pretty remarkable and different from the reality of anyone I know. But her experiences as a parent juggling a career with family are identical to what we all experience no matter how much money we have. Family life, much like attending law school, sitting for the bar and practicing law, is a universal experience, a common denominator for all of us regardless of
financial status. Those of us who have carried children know the pains and joys of pregnancy and delivery. All parents of newborns recall the sheer strength of will that carry us through the sleep deprivation. All of us who return to work while taking care of infants navigate the terrain. And it is not pretty, rich, middle class or poor. I was surprised by how much Ms. Sandberg’s experience was like my own. Even though she has enough money to afford whatever help she needed, she felt torn and sometimes guilty for not being home and at the same time guilty for not working more. She also struggles with the ubiquitous guilt of not being perfect,
whatever that means. Yet she had the courage to talk about it with her colleagues, something that most of us avoid. Ms. Sandberg tackles some taboo subjects. One is her belief that men and women are different. I used to espouse that belief until I had two boys...I also used to believe women had the same opportunities as men in our profession. I no longer do. And I am willing to talk about it now, not to agitate or prove anything, but rather to acknowledge that there are differences and we can effect change by recognizing how we, yes women, hold ourselves back. By trying to do too much, or too little. By leaving a job before we actually leave. By failing to “lean in”. By not being assertive enough in advocating for ourselves. By not negotiating better deals for ourselves at home and at work. By not recognizing that we have to take care of ourselves first, and that means sacrificing attempts at perfection in other areas. By feeling guilt over anything.
One of the most powerful messages that Ms. Sandberg delivers is an interesting psychological phenomenon. It is quite remarkable that she is aware of this given the fact that she has an MBA and not a psychology degree. She discusses the tapes we play in our heads. She encourages us to write down what we tell ourselves. What a fruitful exercise. She recognizes that women, and many men, give themselves negative messages through self-talk. We need to reprogram this negativity. Additionally, she encourages women to own our lives and be decisive rather than passive about decision making. We need to fight our natural or taught tendencies to “do it all.” We need to create boundaries with our children and our spouses. Although our family wants all of our time, they don’t need it. She encourages us to talk to the men in our lives at home and at work about our realities without fear of incrimination. And above all, she encourages us to work for what we want and work hard. Be creative with
scheduling. Be realistic about goals. Don’t be afraid of being disliked. Her message resounds with men and women. And I agree with her that we have to take responsibility for ourselves. I invite you to read the book. Her style is refreshing and light. Talk about it with the men and women, boys and girls in your lives. You’ll walk away with something.
Jill M.Scheidt, a partner at Masano Bradley, is a past president of the Berks County Bar Association.
Jill M. Scheidt, Esq.
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Berks Barrister | 13
A New Novelist Asks: “If an Act Does Not Harm Another, Why is it a Crime?”
Could we have a future Grisham in our ranks? By Donald F. Smith,Jr., Esquire
ur colleague, Michael J. Restrepo, has written and self- published a novel, “Consensual Crime.” He defines a crime of consent as those committed by “drug users, prostitutes, gamblers and doctors who increase the morphine level on a terminally ill patient just enough to accelerate the dying process to ease the pain.”
His first novel raises the question of whether drug users, prostitutes and gamblers should be treated as criminals simply because their activities do not comply with the moral code of the moral majority. With that issue as the backdrop, the novel follows the life of William Walker from when, as a 12-year-old, he saw his mother convicted of drug possession and sentenced to three years to his then being in law school to go on to a prestigious Philadelphia law firm to only return home and hang out his own shingle, concluding with a judicial campaign. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to make it an easy read and hard to put down. The writing is descriptive and thoughtful.
How did Mickey Restrepo come up with this idea for a book? In an introductory note to the book, the self-described libertarian explains that, while waiting to appear in Lehigh County criminal court, he observed a man in his 50s being sentenced on charges of growing marijuana in his backyard. The judge asked if the defendant had anything to say. He “started by saying he was sorry. Then he changed course. He went off about how if he was some rich person with a blue chip health plan and a family physician for a neighbor, he could simply stock up on Prozac and Xanax and perhaps some Quaaludes if he was lucky. Instead, he only wanted to grow some weed to self-medicate while he hung out at home. Who was he hurting? The Judge gave him a mandatory sentence of one year without ever looking up. Not that
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the Judge didn’t care. He had no reason to care. He was bound by the law of Pennsylvania to hand down a mandatory minimum sentence in this drug case. Now, the taxpayers would spend about $40,000 to keep this ex-hippie ‘off the streets’ where he might hurt someone.” As the 12-year-old boy, Will was upset with the three-year mandatory sentence given to his mother, a family person of good character and a first-offender. He had read in the newspaper that drug crime had doubled in the five years since authorities had become tougher on drugs, a reference to the unintended consequences of the War on Drugs.
Those consequences are also a theme of Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher’s recent book, “Justice or Just This? A Constitutional Trespass” (reviewed by this writer in the Spring 2012 issue of The Berks Barrister). But instead of dwelling on the evil of handcuffing judges with mandatories and sentencing guidelines, the Restrepo novel really moves the reader to question why a consensual crime is even a crime.
When Will returned to his hometown with his law degree, he became a skilled criminal defense attorney, only taking cases involving charges of drugs, prostitution and
gambling and becoming quite successful at it. Then, as a judicial candidate, Will created a stir when he espoused the following in a televised debate: “I believe that those adults charged with acts of consent with no immediate victim are not criminals. They’re not hurting anyone. They simply have not conformed to society’s code of morality. We don’t put adulterers in jail, do we?...The point is not that the law shouldn’t be enforced. It’s what the law should be. Laws that restrict our personal freedom should be limited.
Criminal laws should be meant to deter and punish behavior that injures others. It’s that simple.” (Emphasis in original.)
Interestingly, when “Consensual Crime,” the novel, landed on this writer’s desk, I was already reading “Let’s Get Free – A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice,” by Paul Butler, currently a law professor at Georgetown. A former United States prosecutor, Professor Butler has written an indictment of the criminal justice system, particularly in regards to nonviolent crimes, such as drug possession. He writes: “The biggest threat to freedom in the United States comes not from some foreign or terrorist threat but rather from our dysfunctional criminal justice system. It is out of control. We define too many acts as crimes, punish too many people far longer than their crimes warrant, and therefore have too much incarceration. Some people deserve to be in jail, but not two million...”
Like Judge Sprecher, Professor Butler stresses the failure of the War on Drugs, but unlike the Judge, the Professor sets forth seven ways to, as he writes, “Take Back Justice.” Some only the government can tackle, some ordinary citizens can do and some are controversial, such as jury nullification (voting “not guilty” in drug cases as a form of protest). Nevertheless, it makes for interesting reading. The Butler book is a perfect companion to “Consensual Crime” supplying a factual background to a work of fiction.
Last year’s publication of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, also underlines the timeliness of the Restrepo novel. She finds fault with the War on Drugs as well. The War’s declaration caused “arrests and convictions for drug offenses to skyrocket, especially among people of color.” Generally, the ratio of blacks to whites in prison is 8 to 1. However, studies “show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.” The Alexander book really focuses on the fact that, once their time is served, the released “prisoners enter a hidden underworld of legalized discrimination and permanent social exclusion.” Former prisoners are discriminated against in voting, employment, housing, education, public benefits and jury service, and it is all legal. She calls it the “New Jim Crow.” Both Butler and Alexander make clear that we need to recognize, as a fact, a point
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driven home by the Restrepo novel – drug abuse is more of a public health problem than a crime.
Indeed, author Michael J. Restrepo has some familiarity with the health care field. His wife, Sharon, is a registered nurse at Allergy & Asthma Center of Wyomissing, and their daughter, Hilary, 22, is a nurse as well, employed by the Surgical Institute of Reading. They have two other daughters: Corinne, 24, a teacher in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District, and Shannon, 16, a student at Exeter Township High School
where she is All-State and All-Berks in volleyball.
Mickey has five older siblings, two of whom entered the health care field and became medical doctors: William who died twenty-two years ago and James, an ENT specialist in Wyomissing. His other siblings pursued different interests. Robert is CEO of State Auto; Ronald is a lawyer in Houston; and the lone sister, Kathryn, has been busy raising five children.
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The Restrepo family traces its roots to Medellin, Colombia, where the Restrepo name is as common as Smith in the United States. Mickey’s great-grandfather was a lawyer in Medellin, but his grandfather immigrated to Philadelphia to attend dental school, only to drop out. Ironically, he became a translator for a dental magazine. His son, Robert, Mickey’s father, was born in Philadelphia, attended Saint Joseph Prep and graduated from Villanova University with a degree in chemical engineering. Robert moved to Berks County where he worked at General Battery until retirement. In the Restrepo household, education was a priority. Two sons did their undergraduate work at Yale, two at Johns Hopkins, and the daughter went to Barry University, a private Catholic school in Miami Shores, Florida. When it came time for Mickey to matriculate, he decided on Tufts University. “I wanted to go to school in Boston.”
At Tufts he majored in political science, and it is there that the “writing bug” bit. “I really came to enjoy writing, more than reading.” Following graduation his work included one year as an Allstate insurance adjuster – not exactly creative writing. He decided to pursue law and followed in his brother Ron’s footsteps to the Georgetown University Law Center. “I loved the diversity of the student body, and being in Washington was a treasure.” After earning his law degree, Mickey returned to Berks County and worked for two different firms before striking out on his own. From 1993 to 1997 he served as a Child Custody Hearing Officer. In 1997 he campaigned unsuccessfully for a position on the Berks County Court of Common Pleas bench. It was during that experience when he began thinking of the issues he explores in “Consensual Crime.”
Beginning in 1998 he worked at the Forry Ullman law firm in the area of personal injury insurance defense. The year 1998 was also the year he began writing the novel. In the Author’s Note at the front of the book, he writes: “I started with the idea of writing a page a day. If Grisham could do it, then I could do it. Then, the first week, a teething baby interrupted that schedule. Next, a sick child needed night shift nursing. A month later a big trial took over. What I found was that life just wouldn’t go away long enough for me to get it done. In the end, though, I got it done.” After his stint at Forry Ullman, Mickey worked for a Philadelphia plaintiff ’s firm before again going solo in 2009, concentrating his practice in personal injury, workers’ compensation and social security disability. “I love what I am doing.”
How does someone with the first name Michael come to have Mickey as his nickname? “With my older siblings, it was Bobby, Ronny, Billy, Kathy and Jimmy. My mother is German-Irish, and Mikey was not going to cut it. An Irish background demanded that it be Mickey.” His wife points out, “As in Mickey Mantle, not Mickey Mouse.” Soon, though, Sharon will be saying, “His nickname is Mickey, as in Mickey Spillane, famous novelist!”
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time to cheer on girls and women who want to sit at the table, seek challenges, and lean into their careers.”
Giving a Nod to Successfully Weaving Work and Family By Alexa S. Antanavage, Esquire
found myself nodding my head. Then I realized that several women in the row in front of me were nodding their heads, too. I am sure that if I had been using the mommy-eyes in the back of my head at that time, I would have seen women sitting behind me nodding their heads, too. We were listening to Kristin van Ogtrop, managing editor of Real Simple magazine and author of Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom, share her candid views on working, mothering, fitting them both into twenty-four hours and then getting up and doing it again the next day.
The occasion was the launch of Women2Women’s third year of programming earlier this fall. The organization, begun by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the Berks County Bar Association as a major sponsor, is Greater Reading’s premiere resource for women who want to learn, share ideas, build connections and mentor each other. The organization’s goal is to create more women leaders in Berks County. Membership is free and open to all women in Berks. The organization’s logo trumpets “Purpose, Possibilities, Potential.”
What makes Women2Women distinctive, though, is its enormous slate of programming, designed to encourage women
to create connections, gain knowledge, open doors and build strategic alliances. It is at these Women2Women events that over 5,600 women from diverse backgrounds are meeting, talking, and then going on to impact their homes, workplaces, and the community with what they have heard and shared. Women2Women has recognized that, in the words of Sheryl Sandburg, “it is
Kristin van Ogtrop, managing editor of Real Simple magazine and author of Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom
Women2Women’s breadth of programming falls into several categories. The first of these is the Women2Know speaker series which features notable, inspiring women, who share their life experiences, stories, lessons, successes and failures. Each Women2Know event couples the featured speaker with networking opportunities prior to the event. This year’s Women2Know series continues on December 10, 2013 with local business owners, Patricia McLaughlin and Megan Bauer, founder and President and Vice President, respectively, of Coventry Corners. The pair will speak about the keys to success for a mother-daughter team in growing their family business. Following on January 14, 2014 Michelle Kissinger, Director of Business Development at Kissinger Associates will share her own story, as well as speak about the power of storytelling and how it can impact how we view our own life events. The series closes on May 13, 2014 with Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane discussing women in public service.
The second category of programming is the Growth2Go leadership series, which is a lunch series designed to highlight skills to help women succeed, be it in the workplace, home or public service. This year’s Growth2Go series opened on October 8, 2013, with Toni Reece, President of the People Academy, offering tools to help in our quest for better communication. The series continued on November 12, 2013, with Joni Naugle, Principal of Focused, LLC, discussing the various types and causes of conflict, conflict resolution skills and ways to minimize conflict. On February 11, 2014, Alvernia University’s Daria LaTorre, Dean of the School of Graduate and Adult Education and Mary Ellen Wells, Associate Professor and a member of the Berks County Bar Association, will discuss how gender issues affect the ethical challenges and communication issues we face in our lives, particularly in a professional setting. Finally, the series closes on March 11, 2014, with Rhonda Campbell of Rhonda Campbell Consulting Solutions, discussing ways to be an empowering leader, both at work and in life. The organization also offers some behindthe-scenes initiatives to support these two series and is pleased to announce some changes with regard to this year’s schedule and pricing for events. The Women2Women
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Chamber of Commerce has honored 29 women through this program since 1993.
Ambassador Committee builds awareness of Women2Women in the community, and takes the role of host at every event, making sure all women find their experience with the organization a positive and empowering one. It is intimidating for anyone to walk into a room full of strangers, but the Ambassadors continue to do an incredible job of quelling those fears and making everyone feel welcome at Women2Women events. As an organization, Women2Women has always strived to make its events accessible to all women. To further that, this year’s program includes new times for events besides the lunch hour. As well, the organization has made a commitment to decrease costs for event participation this year.
Beyond these two series, Women2Women also sponsors several initiatives targeted at mentoring, business development, and health and wellness. Women2Women started a discussion on mentoring in January at a mentoring launch event, recognizing that while mentoring is one of the best ways to connect, develop and grow as women leaders, it can also mean many different things to different people. The current objective of the Women2Women mentoring program is to create the opportunity for anyone interested, to gather as a group in an informal setting to hear from other women on topics such as building confidence, work/life balance, career guidance, and handling stress. The goal is for these meetings to be a springboard for women to meet, network, exchange ideas and perhaps find a mentor. These events are offered free of charge, on alternating months. For a second year, Women2Women is offering round tables for women business
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owners beginning in October. During the first year of the program, over twenty women participated, giving them the opportunity to gather together, share best practices, learn from one another and network. Finally, for its third year, Women2Women will be offering the Women’s Expo on April 17, 2014. This event provides women with the opportunity to focus on mind, body and soul, while networking and learning from experts. The event also showcases the ATHENA award presentation, which is an international award that honors a female leader from our region. The Greater Reading
With Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter once again bringing gender to the fore, particularly with regard to work/ life balance, Women2Women has never been more relevant. By participating in Women2Women’s variety of events, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with so many women. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences have given me insight on those questions of work and family that are woven through my life. Margaret Fuller has said that “if you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” This quote reaches to the core of how this organization impacts our community and has affected me – by gathering us to talk, for, as Sheryl Sandberg has said, “talking can transform
minds, which can transform behaviors, which can transform institutions.” It is all of those nodding heads, gathered in one
room, learning from and sharing with each other, that is the ultimate success of Women2Women.
Editor’s note: Alexa S. Antanavage, Esquire, a partner in the Hamburg law firm of Antanavage, Farbiarz & Antanavage, PLLC,is on the board of trustees for the Law Foundation of Berks County and a member of the Women2Women’s advisory council.
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Marilu Rodriguez-Bauer, of RB Legal Counsel, and Gregory Shantz, of Roland Stock, threw out the first pitches on Latino Night at the Reading Phillies. Marilu was recently elected chair of the Berks County Latino Chamber of Commerce. Greg, with his game face, was representing the BCBA who was a sponsor of the event.
Rebecca Smith and Matthew Kopecki were recently married. Becky is with Bentley Law Offices, and Matt is an Assistant Public Defender.
Receiving Alvernia Universityâ€™s Franciscan Award on October 17 was Senior Judge Linda K. M. Ludgate. She was honored for her exceptional service to Alvernia, the community and her profession.
On August 17 Bankruptcy Judge Richard Fehling completed a triathlon with his daughter, Kiki. He finished ninth in his age group. Back in January of this year Kiki had suggested that he enter the competition so as to provide incentive for him to do his rehab from hip replacement. Well done.
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During the Berks Connections/Pretrial Services Justice Hall of Fame Breakfast in early October, District Attorney John Adams received the BCPS Presidentâ€™s Award. John was chosen because of his years of service on the BCPS Board of Directors and for his outstanding service as Berks County District Attorney.
Colonel Jeffrey R. Elliott celebrated his retirement from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard during a special ceremony at Fort Indiantown Gap on August 18. Following law school, Jeff spent most of his four years of active duty as a military prosecutor. After leaving active duty, he joined Kozloff Stoudt, P. C. but continued to serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, assigned to the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), for over 26 years, holding a variety of legal positions, culminating as the Division Staff Judge Advocate. In 2006 he was promoted to Colonel and was selected the Pennsylvania State Judge Advocate, the ranking military lawyer in the PA National Guard. Congratulations, Jeff. After all those years, no more PT!
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David N. Peris and wife, Sarah, had a third child, Jacob, on October 9. He joins sisters Madeline and Violet. Dave is the law clerk for President Judge Yatron. On October 3, Graziella (Ellie) M. Sarno, husband Bob and 2-year-old Adriana welcomed Michael Robert. Ellie is an attorney with Berks Women in Crisis.
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Nolan served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve (Temporary) from 1943 to 1945
38 North Fourth Street in Reading. Nolan, a member of the Historical Society for only a year at that point (although already a contributor to its publication Berks County Historical Review), started a movement for construction of a new building.
Remembering J. Bennett Nolan (1877-1964) Attorney, Historian, Author
By Brian C. Engelhardt, Esquire
n September the Berks County Historical Society changed the name of its building on Centre Avenue and Spring Street to the “Berks History Center” and also modified its logo. In his remarks delivered at the ceremony celebrating the new name and logo, BCHS Executive Director Sime Bertolet stated how the new logo had as its focus “our beautiful building” - the red brick building with its distinctive white cupola in which the Berks History Center has resided since its dedication in 1929. (Note-public reaction to what Bertolet termed “a rebranding in keeping with the times," has been considerably more subdued than what it was to the rebranding that occurred last year a few blocks further up Center Avenue by the Reading Phillies, as neither did the new name involve the word “Fightin” nor did the new logo feature an ostrich.) The “beautiful building” that is featured in the logo was in no small part the product of the efforts of the late Berks County Bar Association member, James Bennett Nolan. In 1927 the Historical Society, originally founded in 1869, was located in what has been described as a very crowded building at
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Born in 1877 in Milford, New Jersey, Nolan was the son of another Berks County attorney, James Nolan, and his wife Katherine. After moving his family to Reading, the elder Nolan not only was active with his law practice, he also served as President of a number of local businesses, including Reading Trust Company, Reading Power and Light Company, and the Reading Academy of Music. In addition, James Nolan was withMoore, his father and five brothers Rickinvolved Long, Kevin Andy Howe and Ron in Nolan & Brothers, the family construction Cirba business responsible for designing and building of a number of roads, viaducts, bridges and arches throughout Pennsylvania and New York. (The extended Nolan family were the original occupants of the building at 520 Walnut Street constructed in 1899 by Nolan & Brothers, now occupied by the Mogel, Speidel, Bobb and Kershner law firm.) After graduating from Reading Boys High School in 1896, J. Bennett Nolan attended Cornell University, from which he graduated in 1900. Following a year of study in Germany at the University of Bonn, Nolan returned to Reading where he was admitted to the Berks County Bar Association in 1901 and became active in what was predominantly an estate practice. As to his role with respect to the Historical Society’s building, at his insistence, Nolan was named chairman of the construction committee based upon his apparent pedigree derived from the family construction business. In the related capital
campaign, Nolan raised more money than any other solicitor. Until the dedication of the building on October 1, 1929 Nolan closely reviewed the status of the completion of the project and regularly advised the committee of its progress.
His involvement in the construction of the Historical Society’s building was just the first of many important roles Nolan would serve that organization until almost the time of his death at age 87 in 1964. These included serving on the board of trustees, on most committees at one time or another, as well as Chairman of the Publications Committee for many years. The building itself, serves as Nolan’s monument. George M. Meiser IX, now President Emeritus of the Historical Society, describes the building as “Bennett’s baby” and how Nolan not only was active in its construction, but during his tenure with the Historical Society was fastidious about its care.
On a personal note, Meiser recalls with a chuckle how in his later years on hot summer mornings Nolan, wearing a pith helmet and thick rubber sole shoes, would walk to the Historical Society from his home at 432 Oley Street only to then have Meiser give him a ride home in the afternoon. (Note: Nolan’s home, built in 1911, is a magnificent Tudor style structure that can be toured at: youtube.com/watch?v=5aDauKhR2uA).
Apart from his role over the years with the Historical Society (following his death, a tribute to Nolan in the Historical Review proclaimed him to be the “Dean of Berks Historians” for his era), during the greater part of his adult lifetime Nolan was also prominent, both as member of the Berks County Bar Association as well as in the Berks community in general, as a prolific writer. He authored 19 books, 29 articles appearing in the Historical Review, a number of historical “notes” in the Review, and approximately 100 essays on history, politics and other subjects, Nolan was published not only in the United States but also Great Britain, France, and Germany. (Nolan was fluent in German as well as French.) The majority of the books written by Nolan were published between 1921 and 1943 and related to the history of Reading and Berks County around the time of the Revolutionary War. His works included Lafayette in America (Nolan was an authority on Lafayette); Benjamin Franklin in Scotland and Ireland- 1759 and 1772 (Nolan also was an authority on Benjamin Franklin); A Tale of Reading Town: an Episode from the plot against Washington (a fictional account of the
Doug Rauch and
Ben Leisawitz and Thad Gelsinger J. Bennett Nolan in 1927
historic events of the “Conway Cabal,” a plot against George Washington that was, according to Nolan’s accounts, discovered and defused in Reading); Printer Strahan's Book Account : a Colonial Controversy (a biography of James Read, Berks County’s first Prothonotary); The Reading Militia in the Great War (Referring to WWI); Walks in Reading Town; Annals of Penn Square, Reading; The Foundation of the Town of Reading in Pennsylvania; and George Washington and the town of Reading in Pennsylvania (the titles of the latter works being self-explanatory as to their subject matter).
One of his works, The Bar of Berks County in World War II, is in the possession of Federal District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl. A copy of the Printer Strahan’s Book Account was recently donated to the Bar Association.
Two other reasons for Nolan’s prominence were very much intertwined. The first was that Nolan was “an inveterate traveler” (a phrase from another era that appeared in his obituary). The other was that he was a gifted public speaker. Former Reading Eagle Editor James L. Holton, after Nolan’s death, wrote a piece entitled “Saluting Attorney/Author J. Bennett Nolan”, in which he described Nolan’s vocabulary as “astonishing both in his writings and in his speechifying,” adding how, “Admirers say he needed only to be given a general topic and could extemporize for hours on virtually any subject.” George Meiser remembers Nolan as, “The most outstanding extemporaneous speaker I have ever come across,” adding, that he could be “eloquent and elegant – sometimes not saying really a whole lot, but certainly saying it very well.” Each of Nolan’s passions supported the other, as Nolan often negotiated passage on ocean liners as compensation for being its cruise lecturer. In the words, “the eloquent Berks County lawyer with his engaging personality was able to dazzle members of his affluent captive audiences into cozy friendships which ultimately aided his hunt for historical information and artifact ashore.”
By 1934 Nolan estimated he had journeyed more than 500,000 miles and made more than 50 trips to various destinations to Europe, Iceland, Africa and South America, and the tropics. In September of 1955 he told the Reading Eagle society editor Lillie March (in whose column his name appeared on a number of occasions) that he had just returned on the Queen Mary from his 200th trip to Europe. (Nolan once boasted that his Atlantic crossings were so frequent that he knew pursers of many ocean liners quite well.) A traveler up to the end, Nolan was en route
to the Virgin Islands to research materials there on Alexander Hamilton when he contracted pneumonia and died on December 2, 1964.
On occasion, Nolan’s trips in and of themselves were news. An article published in the August, 29, 1914 Reading Eagle related how Nolan, his wife May, their daughter Catherine and their nurse had just returned from a 10 week trip through Germany, Alsace and Lorraine as well as other parts of Europe which were soon to be embroiled in World War I. Before returning home, the family also spent time in England where Nolan related how he talked with a number of British soldiers he described as, “…Mostly young fellows in great spirits as soldiers” but who “did not impress (him) as being at this stage the equal of the trained German infantry.” An April 27, 1923 story in the Eagle described Nolan’s visit to the interior of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt after an extended tour of Mediterranean countries. Discovered only a year earlier, the tomb was a popular destination for affluent world travelers at that time (Nolan would live another 45 years after the visit, so it appears he was not affected by King Tut’s curse.) That trip also took Nolan through the Ruhr Valley in Germany, a center of a world crisis at the time as a result of its occupation by France and Belgium due to a default by Germany in its payment of war reparations. Nolan noted the political situation there as “acute” resulting from the occupation.
His travels included an annual pilgrimage to Paris to participate in the July 4 ceremony in which an American delegation and French officials would lay a wreath on Lafayette’s grave in Picpus Cemetery. Often referred to as a “Francophile,” Nolan’s attachment to that country was no more apparent than when, because of weak eyesight he
was found unfit for service in the US military during the First World War, but he travelled to France and served in the French Army’s Sanitary Corps. For his service the French government named him an officer with the red ribbon of “The Legion of Honor” and Palms Academique. Following service as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard Reserve during the Second World War, in 1946 Nolan was invited to attend the Nuremburg war crimes trials as the guest of one of the presiding jurists. He travelled there in the personal plane of Boyertown native General Carl A. Spaatz, chief of the Army Air Forces at the time. In 1953 he served as the representative for the City of Reading at Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
Aside from his lectures delivered on ocean liners, Nolan frequently spoke on historical matters to all varieties of groups, usually locally but also outside the area. Aside from frequently delivering lectures at the Historical Society in Reading, the various groups he addressed included the Wernersville Woman's Club, various Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions
Continued on page 25
Berks Barrister | 23
A dilemma is solved... By Susan N. Denaro, Esquire
n a recent rainy Thursday night, we decided we needed and deserved a civilized night out. “Civilized” use to mean we had to decide between Dans Restaurant and Green Hills Inn. Since the quality and creativity of the food was on the same par, more often than not, Green Hills won because of its beautiful setting and old world charm.
We were saddened when Green Hills Inn started to decline. Over a year ago, I wrote a review of the old Inn and how it had fallen from grace. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the restaurant had been sold, making that review moot and thus it never went to print. From the less than stellar food service to the empty tables, it was clear the place was on life support. Thankfully, Bill Woolworth and Monir resuscitated the location. Our much-anticipated first experience at the new Dans was as sublime as we had hoped. Our meal began with a surprise amuse bouche. It featured a two-bite crostini smeared with a sharp cheddar cheese spread, topped with a dollop of creamy pesto and a walnut half. It woke the palate in a delightful manner. The best part of that serving, however, was seeing it served on the original Green Hills flowered china which instantly invoked memories of wonderful meals there in the past. The most pleasant surprise of the evening was finding Doreen, our favorite server from the original Green Hills Inn, back in the Garden Room. She has a refined palate and knows how to make the guests feel at home. We always call upon her knowledge of wines to pair with each course. We last saw her working at Panevino and its loss is definitely Dans gain. The diverse menu had so many tempting main course offerings I asked Doreen to suggest her favorite. She promptly replied the duck and the chicken were two of her
24 | Berks Barrister
favorites. Since I was eyeing the duck ravioli appetizer, I opted for the chicken. After commenting about a hazelnut allergy, she quickly offered the dish without them, assuring it would not upset the chef or compromise his vision for the dish.
The duck ravioli as an appetizer did not 7 disappoint. It is also available as an entrée but it is so rich, I think I would prefer it as a starter course. The appetizer portion featured two perfectly cooked pasta rounds stuffed with delicately seasoned, minced duck. It was topped with a light pesto sauce and wilted spinach. Quite simply, it was the best meat-filled ravioli I have ever enjoyed. While the ravioli are not made on the premises, the chef made the dish his own with his sauce and plating.
The French cut serving of chicken was tender and succulent. It was nestled atop a proper proportion of hearty mashed potatoes. A simple medley of green beans, pea pods and carrots gave the plate a splash of color. It had a simple sherry sauce and that sang on the plate, even sans hazelnuts. While the chicken was memorable, the halibut addition to the menu that night surpassed it. The pure white-fleshed fish boasted a perfect sear and was incredibly light despite the fact that the serving itself was generous. The plate was balanced by a combination of Swiss chard, mushrooms and asparagus with roasted potatoes.
Our son ordered the strip steak, which was cooked to a perfect medium. The kitchen had no hesitation in serving it with whipped potatoes in place of the mushroom risotto. The burgundy sauce was served on the side as an accommodation to our teenager who found the soft, warm rolls addictive. My
biggest disappointment of the night was realizing my refusal to accept my son’s offer to trade my roll for his untouched crostini was ill-advised since we later learned extra rolls were available upon request.
Strictly for “research” purposes, we ordered dessert. The Valhrona molten chocolate cake was a little less stellar than the version that the original Green Hills Inn served. It was always a favorite of ours. Happily, we found a new favorite to replace it: the white chocolate bread pudding, studded with chocolate chips and dried cranberries. It was topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream that melted into the dish in such a way that there was an overflow from the dish when the spoon entered the pudding for the first time. It was warm and satisfying and hit all the right notes for a fall dessert. Surprisingly, it did not have that cloying sweetness that is often found in desserts featuring white chocolate.
All in all, we were pleased to find that all the details we loved about the original Green Hills Inn are still there but have been made even better by the flair and culinary magic Bill and Monir have brought to it. Best of all, we will no longer have to decide between the two when the world has beaten about and we feel the need for a little pampering.
Editor’s Note: Susan N. Denaro, Esquire, is with a Wyomissing law firm.
The former Nolan home at 432 Oley Street
Clubs, the American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Montgomery County, the Maryland Historical Society the National Reciprocity Club, the Schuylkill Navy Club, various groups of the Knights of Columbus, to name a few.
Nolan’s popularity was evident in that he continued to receive invitations. In 1932, when Nolan addressed the Reading University Club about his travels throughout Greenland, Iceland, and Norway the Eagle noted that it was the best attended meeting ever held by the club. However, an illustration that indeed hindsight is 20-20 is evident in a 1933 article in the Eagle headlined, “Hitler's Power Not Great Says Nolan” relating that after a recent trip to Germany Nolan expressed the opinion to the Rotary Club of Reading that, “ Hitler has an unseen enemy in Germany. There is proof in the many plots against him with his iron rule he has not the power of our president Roosevelt or that of Mussolini in Italy.” In his later years, Nolan often said to close friends that, “when I die a good deal of local history will die with me.” Again, quoting the Reading Eagle editor Holton, “that curious homemade epitaph was a left-handed way of bragging that he composed virtually all of his best output of historical writings from memory. His daughter Catherine says Nolan abjured the use of notes during his extensive research expeditions, adding admiringly, ‘it was all in his head.’” Holton continues that this “explains the glaring deficiency that (Nolan’s) critics level that errors in dates names and vital facts crop up here and there in many of his works.” Holton went on to relate, that, “Even his most outspoken critics admired Nolan's enthusiasm for the story which drove the man on his pell-mell searches for information (all over the world).”
Holton described Nolan's process of composition that when “time came to put his ideas to paper he would, ‘Go to his law office at 36 N. Sixth Street where he would dictate
to a secretary he shared with another attorney whatever current book essay or article he was working on, drawing from his bag of memory.’” (Holton also noted that in his later years, Nolan’s legal practice consisted almost entirely of serving as a court appointed master in divorce proceedings.) The absence of historical references, footnotes, or any other bibliographical references in Nolan’s historical works compromises their value as historical sources. Holder of an honorary doctorate in literature from Albright College, Nolan bequeathed his library and approximately $5000 for equipping a room to be named for him, which was to include a fireplace and a portrait of Nolan. A sign for the “J. Bennett Nolan Room” now marks its location on the second floor of the Albright College Library. Dedicated on October 23, 1964, less than two months before Nolan’s death, the Nolan Room contains a collection of about 400 volumes, cataloged and stored behind glass doors. The collection is comprised of copies of a number of Nolan’s works, plus various volumes on American history, the larger portion of which are biographies of figures from the time of the American Revolution, including several on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Marquis de Lafayette. Since 1993, Nolan’s collection has shared space in the room with the Holocaust Research Center, whose materials occupy the greater portion of the shelf space in the room.
According to Sidney Dreese, Archivist at Albright College whose duties include overseeing the Nolan Room, the Nolan collection contains only these books, without any personal documents, manuscripts or other papers. Dreese said that, although it is fully available to students wishing to do research on the era, Nolan’s collection is seldom used, with most of the traffic in the room being students using the Holocaust Research Center. The fireplace designated in Nolan’s will remains, but his portrait has been moved to Albright’s Freedman Gallery, where it was determined it would be better maintained. In “My Day and Time,” a short autobiographical memoir which he wrote
in 1953, Nolan recounted his contacts with prominent men and women of the day including Presidents Cleveland, Wilson and Truman, Secretary of State John Hay, authors Somerset Maugham and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, British statesman Cecil Rhodes, Empress Eugenie (widow of Napoleon III), Kaiser Wilhelm II, Cole Porter, and George Bernard Shaw. Each of them, in the words of a Reading Times editorial written immediately after his death, “crossed Nolan's path in unusual circumstances, which according to his account, were more than just a ‘How do you do.’” Again it is appropriate to quote Nolan’s friend and contemporary, James Holton, who wrote, “for most mortals from Berks County a chronicle of such epic encounters would be regarded as outlandish. But for the redoubtable James Bennett Nolan with his sharp resourcefulness determination and selfconfidence the skeptical reader should just discard that grain of salt and just enjoy the reminisces of this remarkable man.” For private reasons Nolan had a falling out with the Historical Society that caused
him to execute a codicil on November 20, 1964, less than two weeks before his death, in which he directed that the share of his estate that had originally been designated as going to the Historical Society to instead be divided among other institutions named in the will. Following Nolan’s death, the Historical Society published a resolution reciting his accomplishments, thanking him for his contributions over the years (which included mention of his leadership in the construction of a building “especially designed for the needs of a historical society and worthy of our past”), and expressing sympathy to his family for their loss. Accompanying the Historical Review’s publication of the resolution was a profile of Nolan titled, “Dean of Berks Historians” which concluded, “Truly this Reading man touched the edge of Clio’s sheaf of papyrus and achieved Ruskin’s ideal – ‘to be at home in all lands and ages.’”
Berks Barrister | 25
Spotlight on New Members By Donald F. Smith, Jr., Esquire
David W. Crossett is an associate at Smith Law Group, LLC, practicing in the area of civil litigation. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute and graduated magna cum laude from Regent University School of Law, where he was on law review. Before law school, David’s work background includes that of Director of Recycling for a nonprofit organization, Residential Drug Rehabilitation Counselor and high school teacher in inner-city Chicago. He and his wife, Cheryl, have a two-year child, Sophia, and a second child is due in March 2014. David teaches scripture at Fleetwood Bible Church and enjoys cycling and sailing.
Katherine Parr Zimmermann is a recent hire as a MidPenn staff attorney where her practice areas are consumer protection, landlord-tenant and mortgage foreclosure. Katie’s college degree is from Western New England University while her law degree is from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, earned at its historic campus in Carlisle. Before coming to Berks, she worked in Cumberland County as a Senior Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable J. Wesley Oler, Jr. and Executive Law Clerk for the Honorable Thomas A. Placey. Katie and her husband, Chad, have no children but do have a dog named Rory. She cites as her only hobby: following the Boston Bruins (Seriously? Only a matter of time until it’s the Flyers). Last year’s intern at Rabenold Koestel, Sara R. Haines, went on to graduate from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, where she was active in the Children and Families Clinic. She is now employed as an associate in Lancaster’s Pyfer Reese Straub Gray Farhat, P. C. Sara is primarily practicing family law with some criminal defense work mixed in. Her undergraduate degree was earned at University of South Florida, majoring in political science with a minor in business. In her spare time Sara plays soccer, travels and reads. She and her boyfriend spend a lot of time with family, nieces and nephews.
As a new staff attorney with MidPenn Legal Services, Melissa Boyd Freeman brings a wealth of experience. For the past twelve years she was engaged in the general practice of law, including criminal, family, housing, Social Security disability and personal injury. She holds a LL.M. with honors in trial advocacy from Temple Law. Her undergraduate degree is in political science and the sociology of law from Purdue University, and her law degree is from Widener University. Melissa enjoys museums, playing the flute, dancing and watching her 11-year-old son Robby’s baseball games. Maybe Robby will grow up to attend another Big Ten college, preferably the one in Pennsylvania!
26 | Berks Barrister
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Berks Barrister | 27
bench bar getaway Held October 4 to 6 at Seaview Resort, New Jersey. The getaway had three events: Welcome Reception, Seminars and Getaway Breakfast
Beth and Andy Fick, Judge Mary Ann Ullman and Kathy Boccabella
Ann and Andy Howe
Bob Ullman and Judge John Boccabella
Vicki Shollenberger, Jennifer Grimes, Latisha and Raymond Schuenemann
Retreat CoChair Allen Shollenberger and Judge Thomas Parisi
Barbara Bradley enjoys seeing Jill Koestel give a birthday kiss to Matt Mayer on the occasion of his 40th
28 | Berks Barrister
PAST PRESIDENT TRIUMVIRATE (L-R): Jim Snyder, Fred Mogel and John Bradley
The Gurwitzs: Jacob, Gabrielle and Jennifer
Sarah and Ron Cirba, Past President Lisa Ciotti and Sharon Gray
Michele and Ben Leisawitz
VIEW FROM THE BENCH (L-R): Judges Boccabella, Rowley and Lash, Retreat Co-Chair and moderator Jill Koestel, Judges Parisi, Ullman and Sprecher
Municipal Law presenters Allen Shollenberger and Joan London
A few of the attentive audience
Karen Cook, Walt Diener and Joan London
Joe and Danielle Guillama
Jennifer Grimes, Matt Mayer and their offspring
Berks Barrister | 29
pro bono celebration On October 23, as part of national Pro Bono Celebration Week, the BCBA honored its Pro Bono Team members with a luncheon, an afternoon of seminars, and a concluding reception.
Over 90 Pro Bono Team members attended the luncheon
Kathy Gees-LaRue, Judy Kline and Kelly Kline
Clockwise from Lower Left: President Judge Yatron, Joe Guillama, Kevin Forry, Andy Fick, Adam Levin, Jacob Gurwitz and Tom Smock of Penn National Gaming, Inc., sponsor of the Celebration
Osmer Deming and Ben Nevius
Clockwise from Lower Left: Ryan McAllister, Drew Schwartz, Sal Folino, Julie Marburger, Aaron Bell, Scott Jacobs, Mark Zimmer and Jay Tract
Below: Chad Rick, Tony Rearden, Past President Ed Stock and Mike Boland
Clockwise from Lower Left: Richard Grimes, Clem Page, Richard Curley, Chris Spang, John Forry, Tom Beaver and Rev. Kim Lengert
30 | Berks Barrister
John Miravich, Rob Katzenmoyer and Dave Campbell
Rolando Ramos-Cardona and President Gene Orlando
Jim Maroulis, Eric Diggan, Jay Davis and Phil Edwards
Joan London and Peter Schuchman
Michelle Rhizor, Tom Anewalt, PBA Deputy Executive Director Fran Oâ€™Rourke, Past Presidents Terry Weiler and Jill Scheidt with Rick Guida
Valeen Hykes and David Miller
Frank Mulligan accepting the PBA Pro Bono Award on behalf of Sharon Gray from PBA President Forest Myers
Child Custody Presenters Carrie Bowmaster and Judge Scott Lash
Tom Boland and John Stott
Listening Presenter Sharon Browning with PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis
Rebecca Bell and John Grenko
Walt Frankowski and Immediate Past President Fred Hatt
Paul Herbein, Fred Mogel and Herb Karasin
Berks Barrister | 31
Law Foundation of Berks County 2013 Annual Giving Campaign The Law Foundation of Berks County 2013 Annual Giving Campaign is continuing. As of October 23, those listed below have graciously given to the Foundation. If you have not already given, contributions may be sent to Law Foundation of Berks County, P. O. Box 1058, Reading, PA 19603. Bridge Builder ($1,000 or more) Leisawitz Heller Abramowitch Phillips, P.C. Anonymous Juris ($500 to $999) Richard A. Bausher Brumbach, Mancuso & Feley P.C. Donald F. Smith, Jr.
Allan Sodomsky Partner ($100 to $249) Frances A. Aitken Donald K. Bobb, Esq. (In Honor of Sidney D. Kline, Jr.) Mark S. Caltagirone Alfred W. Crump, Jr. Pamela A. DeMartino
President ($250 to $499)
Patrick M. Donan
Antanavage, Farbiarz & Antanavage, PLLC
East Penn Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Lisa M. Ciotti
Susan E. B. Frankowski
Ken and Bonnie Hartman
James A. Gilmartin
Brett A. and Joanne Huckabee
Barry D. Groebel
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Millman
Joseph L. Haines
Frederick M. and Nancy Nice
Frederick K. Hatt
Jill M. Scheidt
Joanne M. Judge
James M. and Kathy Snyder
Robert D. Katzenmoyer
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Charles F. Fitzpatrick
Honorable Scott D. Keller
Lynn E. Feldman
Marcia and Thomas Martell
Alisa R. Hobart
John J. Miravich
Darlington Hoopes, Jr.
Scott C. Painter
Koch and Koch
James M. Polyak Marc Sigal Christopher A. Spang Anonymous Masano Architects Group, Inc. Chris and Ann Kraras
Joan E. London Jim and Janice T. Loomis Alan McGlone J. Randall Miller Robert L. Moore Amy Nieves-Febres
Michael J. and Mary Jean Noon
Connors Investor Services, Inc.
Betty J. Schafer
Laura E. Cooper
Deborah A. Sottosanti
Barbara Kern Dietrich
Honorable Mary Ann Ullman
Michael C. Wieder
Honorable Richard E. Fehling & Marcia A. Binder (In Honor of Sidney D. Kline, Jr.)
Michael G. Wolfe Honorable George C. Yatron
Beth Dodson, Stacey Scrivani, Julie Ravis, Liz Ware and Alan Miller
Past President Frank Mulligan and Ed Houseman
Jack Mancuso, John Badal, Mike McGuckin and Mark Merolla Recently retired Deputy Court Administrator Cathy Marburger (L) with Amy Good (R). Cathy was honored by the Bar Association for her 38 years of service with the county, always willing to assist Berks lawyers. She had played a leading role in the launch and success of the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program
Theresa Johnson, Judge Keller and Jim Greene
Susan Rife-Smith, President Gene Orlando, Secretary Jim Smith, President Judge Yatron and Past President Jill Scheidt
Kevin Moore, John Muir, Retired Judge Stallone and Ben Leisawitz
Berks Barrister | 33
Dan Nevins, Senior Judge Grim, Susan Frankowski, Liz Ebner and Senior Judge Ludgate Jim Maroulis and Abe Cepeda received Presidential Awards of Merit for their work on behalf of the immigrant community. They planned and executed two Citizenship Days whereby volunteer attorneys helped immigrants complete applications for citizenship. They have also planned a series of educational programs for immigrants.
Past President Heidi Masano, Adam Levin and Bar Director Andy Fick
Ben Nevius, John Miravich, Eleni Geishauser and Jeff Bukowski Bernie Gerber was recognized for his 50 years of membership in the Bar
The Past Presidents passed the gavel to the incoming President, and in so doing, hopefully, passed along their wisdom and experience in leadership (R-L): Dick Bausher (1987), Frank Mulligan (1990), Dave Kozloff (1992), Al Readinger (1995), Heidi Masano (1998), Jim Snyder (1999), Don Smith (2000), Terry Weiler (2001), Dan Bausher (2007), Jill Scheidt (2011), Fred Hatt (2012), Gene Orlando (2013) and Tom Bell (2014) David Beane received a Presidential Award of Merit for his work on behalf of solo and small firm practitioners this year. He hosted a series of â€œHappy Hour Mixersâ€? for solo and small firm practitioners to meet and discuss common concerns as well as planning and hosting a Conference providing a forum for vendors and CLE programs targeted to solo and small firm practitioners. President-Elect Bell presents President Orlando with a gift of a personally engraved lamp for his year of devoted service
Cheryl Allerton, Dominic DeCecco, Chris Hartman, Bar Director Liz Magovern and Kurt Geishauser
Despite appearances, the Bar-Tender is not asleep (L-R): Treasurer Eden Bucher, Secretary Jim Smith, Executive Director Don Smith, President Gene Orlando, President-Elect Tom Bell and Vice President Jesse Pleet
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