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Monroe County Bar Association

Celebrating 100 Years

Monroe County Bar Association

Celebrating 100 Years

Copyright Š 2015 by Monroe County Bar Association All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Monroe County Bar Association. Published by: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc.,; Designer, Kim Lewis Monroe County Bar Association 913 Main Street Stroudsburg, PA 18360 Phone: 570-424-7288 Fax: 570-424-8234 ISBN 0-9801009-8-4

Table of Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 1 Mission ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Monroe County ....................................................................................................................... 5 The Founding ........................................................................................................................... 9 Chapter One: The Founding Members ............................................................................ 13 Chapter Two: Changes ...................................................................................................... 29 Chapter Three: A Growing Organization ...................................................................... 45 Board, Trustees, Officers & Past Presidents........................................................................ 72

Foreword The 100th anniversary of the Monroe County Bar Association provides an opportunity to reflect on the people and events that have shaped the Association’s history. Growing from seventeen founding members to almost three hundred current members, the Association has developed over the last century into a vibrant group of lawyers focused on professional development, the administration of justice in the community and camaraderie. The history of the Association is built upon the significant contributions of its members and is reflective of the development of the County throughout the Twentieth Century. This book preserves and honors that history as a foundation to propel the Association into its second century. The seeds for this book were planted in early 2014 when the Association’s Executive Board set a priority to create a historic archive for the Association in anticipation of our 2015 Centennial celebration. What you hold in your hands is the culmination of the collective efforts of many individuals.

In June 2014, David Brodsky, a Master’s candidate in History at East Stroudsburg University, accepted the task of sorting through boxes of material stored in the attic of the building at 913 Main St., compiling oral histories from members, locating material at the county archive, ESU library, Pocono Record archives, local library and Monroe County Historical Association, and reading through decades of memorial resolutions and member meeting minutes. With the enthusiasm of a historian, David brought organization to a gargantuan task of compiling the Association’s history. To members who contributed to this project with a suggestion, remembrance or photo, much gratitude is due. To members who missed the opportunity to contribute, this book perhaps will prompt a commitment to stay connected by joining a committee, attending a meeting or reading a newsletter. Once the material was assembled, the focus shifted to identifying talented people who would shine a light of creativity on the project. My much relied upon co-pilot on the project, Denise Burdge and I looked no further than Taharah Nix for editing and revising early drafts of David’s manuscript. Former administrative assistant at the Association and presently my paralegal, Taharah enthusiastically accepted the challenge. With a degree in Journalism and English, Taharah organized the outline and polished the text till it shone. Tim McManus and I had an “aha” moment at the 2015 Conference of County Bar Leaders earlier this year when we sat in on a discussion of methods of communicating to members and came across bar association publications produced by Hoffmann Publishing in Reading, Pennsylvania. From the first meeting with Tracy Hoffmann, I knew the project was in good hands. One of the many challenges of producing the book was developing a theme. While the theme of the text was clear: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future; the book needed to somehow express that theme visually. David Coulter to the rescue. He photographed the beautiful architectural details of the historic building at 913 Main St. and with those timeless pictures we visually tied our theme to the book. Finally, you will note the absence of advertising and congratulatory messages in the book and that is due to a decision of the Executive Board who never wavered in their commitment to this project. This book is truly meant to be a gift to our members. Centennial Congratulations to you all— Lori J. Cerato, Esq. Immediate Past President

Monroe County Bar Association 2015

Introduction -

“The history of the Bench and Bar is but a biography of men of honor and integrity who comprised it. Their sterling characters, unfaltering courage and high sense of justice have contributed immeasurably to the development of the County.” Arlington Williams, President Judge, 1968 – 1978

Monroe County Bar Association 913 Main Street Stroudsburg, PA 18360 Building purchased October 16, 1996

Celebrating 100 Years


Monroe County Court House


Monroe County Bar Association

Mission The mission of the Monroe County Bar Association is to uphold the honor and dignity of the profession of the law, to cultivate social interaction among its members, and to increase its usefulness in promoting the due administration of justice. During its “100 years of service� the MCBA has grown from an exclusively male membership of only 17, to the fully functional association of over 290 diverse men and women who make up its membership today. The MCBA makes charitable donations, sponsors fundraising events, assists with connecting indigent residents with low-cost legal counsel and provides members with the opportunity to learn and enhance their practices by hosting Continuing Legal Education courses and an annual Bench Bar Conference. Yet, in spite of its steady growth, the MCBA has maintained its dedication to the progression of the legal profession and to helping to ensure all members of the community have equal access to the justice system.

Celebrating 100 Years


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Monroe County Bar Association

Monroe County Monroe County was founded in 1836, having been reorganized from portions of Northampton and Pike Counties, and named after President James Monroe. Initially, the new county had little need for a large legal presence of its own, having been assigned to the 11th Judicial District which was comprised of parts of Luzerne, Pike, and Wayne counties. However, over the next 65 years, Monroe County would have its judicial district changed three more times before becoming the 43rd district, as it remains today.

Celebrating 100 Years


Original handwritten notes of Judge Dreher.


Monroe County Bar Association

Judge Samuel S. Dreher Early in the county’s history, there were few highly qualified legal practitioners. It was not until 1870 that “native Monroe Countian” Judge Samuel S. Dreher ascended to the local bench. Dreher was born in Stroudsburg in 1824 to Michael and Elizabeth Dreher. His father held various positions of authority throughout his professional career including prothonotary, associate judge and register and recorder. His reputation was, as his son’s would be, untarnished. It was during Dreher’s tenure as judge that Monroe and Carbon counties were split into the 43rd judicial district. He remained on the bench for 23 years until his death in 1893.

John B. Storm John B. Storm succeeded Dreher and served for less than one year, returning to private practice shortly thereafter. Storm went on to have a significant impact on the county and played a part in several careers of the founding members of the MCBA.

Celebrating 100 Years


MCBA Articles of Incorporation


Monroe County Bar Association

The Founding The exact date of the founding of the MCBA remains somewhat unclear. Some believe that the date on the notarial seal of the MCBA charter should be used, while others cite dates before or after. What is clear, however, is that in the century of its existence, the MCBA has developed into a major force both in protecting the profession of law and its practitioners, and in assisting the community of which it is a part, in a variety of ways. The MCBA charter was signed on March 24, 1915. While there are no records to indicate the motivation behind incorporating on this particular date or even during this year, it did occur during a time where professionalization had been growing in many different fields. The creation of the MCBA was preceded by the creation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 1895 and the American Bar Association in 1878. The founding of the MCBA came fairly late in comparison to other more densely populated areas. The population of the county in 1900 was just over 21,000, while that of neighboring Pike County was under 9,000. The small population and thus, exponentially smaller number of attorneys in the area delayed the necessity of the development of a professional organization among them.

Celebrating 100 Years


Joseph H. Shull Joseph H. Shull, known as the Dean of the Monroe County Bar, Wilton A. Erdman, a Monroe County native, Frank B. Holmes, son of District Attorney Stephen Holmes, John B. Williams, who served as District Attorney for several terms, and Chester H. Rhodes, who went on to become President Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, held the seats of the original Board of Directors.

The “Dean of Monroe County Bar” Joseph H. Shull was one of the original Board of Directors of MCBA.


Joseph H. Shull was the first and longest serving president of the MCBA having held the position for nearly 30 years. Today, the MCBA elects a new President each year, ensuring that new ideas and fresh perspectives are consistently introduced to the organization. On account of this and the hard work of its officers and members, the MCBA has thrived for a century. Throughout Shull’s presidency and beyond, the MCBA has helped to develop a culture of honesty and sense of community for the county.

Monroe County Bar Association

Celebrating 100 Years


Loise W. Mirandon, Esq. Room (dedicated November 14, 2003)


Monroe County Bar Association

Chapter One

The Founding Members MCBA Charter The names that appear on the MCBA charter are: Joseph H. Shull, Rogers L. Burnett, John B. Williams, Cicero Gearhart, A. Raiguel Brittain, Harvey Huffman, Wilton A. Erdman, Stewart S. Shafer, Frank B. Holmes, W. B. Eilenberger, Claude C. Shull, Samuel E. Shull, Harry K. McNeal, Chester H. Rhodes, C. Raymond Bensinger, Ira A. LaBar, and William A. Shafer.

Celebrating 100 Years


Within this small group there were judges, district attorneys, congressmen, senators, entrepreneurs and, in its first President, a physician. Throughout the years, as the county grew in population and in industry, Monroe County began to attract more and more young professionals. As such, the county and the Bar Association began to diversify. As a sign of the times, this change was not met without opposition, but it was eventually embraced to become a core value of the MCBA. The relatively small number of attorneys present in Monroe County at the time of the Bar Association’s charter in 1915 was not indicative of the level of brilliance present among them. Joseph Shull had begun his professional career as a physician. In addition to serving as MCBA president, he gained admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States at age 95. Because of Shull’s long and prosperous career, Judge Arlington Williams heralded him as “belonging to the past and the present.” He operated a private practice, Shull and Shull, for many years with his two sons, Claude and Samuel, whose names also appear on the charter.


Monroe County Bar Association

MCBA Articles of Incorporation

Celebrating 100 Years


Harvey Huffman Harvey Huffman, a Marshalls Creek native, represented Monroe, Carbon, Pike and Wayne counties in the state senate in the elections of 1910, 1922, 1926, and 1934 where he sponsored several important bills, including the Milk Price-Control Act and the Fair Employment Act. In 1937, he was elected President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate, becoming the first Democrat elected to that position in 90 years. He died on November 30, 1938 at the age of 70. It would have been the last day of his term. His partnership with William B. Eilenberger, through their practice, Eilenberger and Huffman, is said to have contributed greatly to the development of South Stroudsburg as the two, along with A. Raiguel Brittain, had been involved with manufacturing and industry as well.


Monroe County Bar Association

Cicero Gearhart Cicero Gearhart, a Stroudsburg native, and Ira LaBar both served as District Attorney. Gearhart was also solicitor. Harry K. McNeal chaired the Law Library Association which dates back to at least 1912. The maintenance of the Law Library, which each county is required by law to have, was run by the Monroe County Bar Association for a period of time before it was taken over by the county.

Rogers Burnett Rogers Burnett received his education from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1900, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The incredibly accomplished Burnett, Huffman, and Stewart Shafer, a Monroe County native and also a charter member of the MCBA, all read law under the Honorable John B. Storm.

John B. Storm During Storm’s career, he served in the 42nd, 43rd, 48th, and 49th Congresses representing Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional district, which included Monroe County. After his final term in Congress, Storm was nominated to succeed Judge Samuel Dreher. Storm served one year as judge and returned to private practice. It was then that he took on young A. Mitchell Palmer as his apprentice, eventually partnering to form Storm and Palmer.

Monroe County Law Library Chairman, Harry K. McNeal, details expenditures in 1912.

Celebrating 100 Years


A. Mitchell Palmer Palmer had won admission to practice before the local court by the age of 21. He later formed Palmer and Bensinger with his own apprentice, C. Raymond Bensinger and continued to practice locally until 1919 when he was appointed as United States Attorney General under the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. Among his many titles held were President of the local Democratic Club, owner of Stroudsburg Times Democrat, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, floor leader for Woodrow Wilson at the Democratic National Convention, and Alien Property Custodian during World War I.


Monroe County Bar Association

Throughout his career, Palmer fought for “progressive reforms in labor laws and women’s rights.” As U.S. Attorney General, he was responsible for “Palmer Raids” which resulted in the deportation of a large number of communists, anarchists, and radical leftists. However, despite his national prominence, Palmer kept his ties to Monroe County, where he had been a charter member of the East Stroudsburg Elks Lodge 319 at its inception in 1895. Today, the stillstanding Elks Lodge hosts an annual A. Mitchell Palmer dinner in collaboration with the MCBA, to honor an outstanding member of the community. Fittingly, the first ever AMP award was given to Alex “Buzz” Bensinger, son of C. Raymond Bensinger of Palmer and Bensinger. This honor was awarded in 2007 and has been given annually to a member of the community, four of which were MCBA members: Judge Ronald E. Vican, William B. Cramer, Alan Price Young and Samuel W. Newman. The dinner benefits the A. Mitchell Palmer scholarship fund. Palmer maintained a residence on Thomas Street as well as his private law practice until his death in 1936, though he was much less involved with his private practice following his appointment. Following Palmer’s death, C. Raymond Bensinger, who had worked at his firm since 1907, bought Palmer’s interest in Palmer and Bensinger to form the Law Offices of C. Raymond Bensinger. He was joined in the following years by his sons Charles “Chud” Bensinger and Alex “Buzz” Bensinger. C. Raymond retired in 1953 and died the following year. He served as MCBA President and president of the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce. His sons continued the practice as Bensinger and Bensinger until their merger with John J. Pentz, Jr. in 1969. The firm then began operating as Bensinger and Pentz with the three named attorneys and Richard D. James. Pentz became a sole practitioner in 1987.

Celebrating 100 Years



Monroe County Bar Association

Both Bensinger brothers, along with attorney Edmund “Ned” Flynn and Elizabeth Bensinger Weekes, daughter of Alex, continued as Bensinger, Flynn & Weekes. After Charles’ passing in 1993 and Flynn leaving the firm in 1994, Alex and his daughter Elizabeth continued the family practice as Bensinger and Weekes as it is so named and run today, with the addition of Attorney Barbara O’Neill Reinhart. So stands a law firm that has been around longer than the Bar Association has been incorporated, demonstrating the strength and support given to and by the community that is necessary to survive for over a century through various economic and social changes. “Buzz” has served in various positions in the community. He is a cofounder of the Camelback Ski Area, former President of the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce and former MCBA President. With such strong beginnings, it is not surprising that Monroe county would be home to such committed and honorable law professionals, nor that those with roots in the area would wish to remain.

Celebrating 100 Years


Brodhead Murder Trial & Charles Boone Staples

Notes taken by C.B. Staples on November 28, 1913. While MCBA had not yet been chartered, the local attorneys met regularly with then President Judge Staples. The history of the bench and bar meeting together continues today.

Prior to his career as judge, John B. Storm served as one of three defense attorneys for William Brooks and Charles Orme in the 1868 Brodhead murder trial. Brooks and Orme were accused of shooting brothers Thomas and Theodore Brodhead, killing the latter. They were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. After the pair lost their appeal to the Supreme Court, they fled from jail in an attempt to escape execution. While both were found, only Orme was captured. Orme became the first man to be hung in Monroe County. During the trial, a 15-year-old hardware store clerk named Charles Staples was called to testify. Staples was robbed by Brooks and Orme the night before the murder. According to the History of Monroe County, written by Robert Keller Brown, this young man was the Honorable Charles Boone Staples. He went on to study law under William Davis, one of three prosecutors in the trial, the other two being Frank B. Holmes and Samuel S. Dreher. The Honorable William Davis, by the account of A. Mitchell Palmer, “may be truly denominated the father of the Monroe County Bar since his professional career is co-eval with the county itself,” as expressed in Palmer’s handwritten resolution following Judge Davis’ death in 1893. He was the first resident attorney of Monroe County. The fact that Judge Staples studied under Judge Davis speaks highly of his education and ability.


Monroe County Bar Association

Staples served as district attorney for two years and, as a judge, had a reputation of being tough, but particularly human – a perspective so highly and widely admired that he was often asked to sit in the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia. During his early career, Staples was active in politics having been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and a member of the Democratic State Central committee. His involvement in politics, was not unlike that of his wife, Althea Staples, who was largely expressive of her political ideals. According to an article published by the Monroe County Historical Association, Mrs. Staples became the chairwoman of the Women’s Suffrage Society of Monroe County in 1915. “Suffrage gardens began to appear throughout Stroudsburg; such gardens were easily recognized as they were comprised entirely of yellow flowers. Yellow became the color of the suffrage movement. Even local business owners decorated their window fronts with yellow ribbons and flowers to support Monroe County women’s suffrage.”

Celebrating 100 Years


Samuel E. Shull Upon Staples’ death in 1917, he was succeeded by Samuel E. Shull. Among the many cases over which Shull presided was the Good Friday bombings case of 1936. Michael Fugmann was accused of mailing six cigar boxes filled with dynamite. Three people were killed in the explosions, one being the four-year-old son of an intended target. Fugmann maintained his innocence despite the facts that the cigar store clerk identified him and dynamite had been found in his basement. It was also found that he had strained relationships with some of the victims. Fugmann was convicted and executed after exhausting all of his appeals. Judge Samuel E. Shull was appointed to the bench in January 1919 with his term beginning in 1920. He was President Judge through 1945.


Monroe County Bar Association

New Responsibilities of MCBA By 1939, the MCBA had begun to expand and take on new responsibilities. The Monroe Legal Reporter had been established in 1939 as the official legal journal of Monroe County by the Court of Common Pleas, to be owned and operated by the Monroe County Bar Association. Prior to this, legal opinions, sheriff sales, foreclosure notices, and other legal notices were published mostly by private organizations. As more legal associations began to form, the United States Supreme Court and lower level courts began to assign such responsibilities to the professional organizations, decreasing the likelihood of impropriety and ensuring publication was made in accordance with the law.

Celebrating 100 Years



Monroe County Bar Association

Monroe Legal Reporter The Monroe Legal Reporter became a significant source of income for the MCBA. Today, the Monroe Legal Reporter remains the county’s official legal journal and the leading source of revenue for the MCBA. All of the developments that the MCBA had undergone up to this point had been done under the direction of Joseph Shull who remained MCBA President until his passing in 1944 at the age of 95. In its first 30 years, the Bar Association had amassed a membership of men who were competent and dedicated to the administration of justice. However, the inequality that plagued the country as a whole during the first decades of the MCBA’s existence was reflected in the singular demographic of its membership, comprised entirely of white men. Eventually the MCBA would diversify not only in membership, but also in its role as an association and a resource to the surrounding community.

Celebrating 100 Years



Monroe County Bar Association

Chapter Two


The mid-twentieth century brought significant changes to the county, the Monroe County Bar and the MCBA. Even still, there were very few attorneys practicing in Monroe County. The fact that the county had a small, close-knit community of law professionals came with its advantages and disadvantages.

Celebrating 100 Years


This is exemplified in District Attorney Detleff Hansen’s letter dated April 31, 1951 in which he wrote: “Dear Mr. LaBar, This is to advise you that you must discontinue annoying your mother-in-law or she will put you and your daughter out of her home. Yours truly, D.A. Hansen, District Attorney.” As a result of the small number of attorneys, many issues were resolved outside of court. As Judge David J. Williamson related, his father, Robert Williamson, would often deal with opposing attorneys amiably over the telephone or over lunch. This is consistent with Judge Jerome Cheslock’s memory of the relationship among the MCBA members in earlier years as being very congenial. Senior members would assist the newer attorneys and try to point them in the right direction, even if they were on opposite sides. It was a small world in Monroe County, where everyone knew everyone. Attorney Edwin Krawitz related a story from these middle years of the MCBA when he was asked by the court to provide defense for a man accused of car theft. Seemingly, the facts were not on the defendant’s side, but Krawitz managed to get his client acquitted. Upon returning to his apartment one night after dinner, Krawitz noticed his car was missing. When he contacted the police, he learned that they had his car and had apprehended the man who had stolen it. Perhaps in those years of low population and low crime, Krawitz was less surprised than one would be today to find that his client, the accused car thief had, in fact, stolen his car. The Daily Record, in a 1958 article appropriately titled “Biting the Hand that Freed Him”, covered the incident.


Monroe County Bar Association

Maxwell Cohen Opposition The close-knit nature of the small group also created a sort of “good ol’ boys” club, of which outsiders could potentially be refused entry. The first instance of this was in 1950 when Maxwell Cohen, a Jewish attorney from Philadelphia, moved to Stroudsburg in search of a more honest legal community than what the big city had to offer. However, when he attempted to join the Monroe County Bar Association, he was denied. He was told that a residency requirement had recently been enacted, disqualifying him for membership. Cohen knew, however, that he met all of the requirements for admission and, as the first member of his family to receive a higher education, he refused to be pushed aside. The vague wording of the admission requirements had been used against him to require more of him that it would another applicant. It is said that while there was no general anti-Semitic culture present in the area as a whole, there was a network of attorneys who were vehemently opposed to the admission of a Jew to their ranks. Some believe that Judge Fred W. Davis was at the head of the group that opposed Cohen’s admission and that he was the one who gave the order to deny Cohen. Eventually, Cohen hired an attorney and, after losing his initial case, won admission to the MCBA on appeal in 1951.

Attorney Maxwell Cohen moved to Monroe County in 1950 searching for a more honest legal community. What he found was prejudices because of his faith. Through his resolve, he persevered and became a respected member of the community and MCBA.

Celebrating 100 Years


Loise Weiss Mirandon Six years later, on May 6, 1957, Loise Weiss Mirandon, with seemingly little or no opposition, became the first female member of the MCBA. Mirandon had worked for the Federal Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. Though she certainly stood out in the all-male crowd, she was not exactly an outsider. Her father, Frank Weiss, who had died just four years prior to her admission to the MCBA, was a respected attorney in the area. Mirandon returned from Washington to take over his practice. It was her father who presented Judge Fred Davis when he was admitted to the Bar Association, and Judge Davis had sworn in Mirandon. According to Daily Record article dated May 7, 1957, “members of the Bar Association were heard to comment on the pride Mirandon’s father would have felt had he lived to see his daughter sworn in. Mirandon went on to practice law in Monroe County for the next 39 years, focusing on real estate and investment law. She was also the first woman to serve on the MCBA board.


Monroe County Bar Association

Celebrating 100 Years


In 1958, there were 22 attorneys in Monroe County. During this period, the county itself had been undergoing significant developments. Construction of Interstate 80 through Pennsylvania had begun creating easier access to Monroe County from New York and New Jersey which contributed to the growth in population throughout the years. With the rise in general population also came a rise in membership, though it had still been a slow increase. Throughout its development, the Bar Association continued to operate without a permanent office, inevitably leading to the loss of records and historical information related to the Association and its membership. However, though there are no records to indicate the exact years that they served, it is known that between the years of 1944 and 1966, Harold Edwards, Russell Mervine and Arlington Williams all served as presidents of the Bar Association as evidenced by the presentation of silver gavels to these men as living past presidents during a 1971 board meeting led by MCBA President Elmer D. Christine, Sr., who was a MCBA member from 1939 to the time of his death in 2004. While the MCBA continued to develop as an organization and its dedicated members consistently contributed to the modernization of the Monroe County legal system, the MCBA maintained its role as an organization dedicated to serving not just its members, but the entire community at large.


Monroe County Bar Association

Law Day In 1961, the U.S. Congress designated May 1st as the official day for celebrating Law Day. The MCBA has utilized this day to initiate interaction between the legal community and citizens at large and to educate and foster the success of the youth in the community through various events that would eventually include the presentation of the Liberty Bell Award, Fairy Tale Trials, and Law Day Race as well as essay and art contests. When it was initially established, the Liberty Bell Award was to be given to “some member of the Law enforcement agencies.” Today, the MCBA “presents the Liberty Bell Award to a man or woman, who has promoted better understanding of the rule of law, encouraged greater respect for the law and the courts and continually stimulates a sense of civic responsibility.”

Celebrating 100 Years


Community Programs The MCBA had no shortage of community-oriented programs. In 1967, MCBA President George Robinson appointed a committee to consider the request of the principal of the Pocono Mountain School District for the MCBA’s sponsorship of an everyday law course as part of their adult education program. The committee, consisting of Peter O’Brien, Robert Williamson and James Scanlon, recommended that the Bar Association sponsor the program for the 1968 spring term. The course had been so well-received that it was offered again the following year with the sponsorship of the MCBA. Through the 1960s, there were fewer than 40 attorneys in the county and by 1968, the work load of the court had grown larger than could be reasonably accommodated by the current administration. President Judge Arlington Williams opined that “if the work of this judicial district is to be kept current, one of two things must occur: either an additional law judge must be added, or Monroe County made a separate judicial district…” The issue was resolved by the MCBA’s Committee on Judicial Work Load appointed by President Robinson and consisting of: Alex Bensinger, Harry F. Lee, Samuel W. Newman and John J. Pentz. It was determined that the “immediate and pressing need for an additional law judge would be most quickly met by adding one more law judge to the present district.”


Monroe County Bar Association

Public Defender’s Office Created On January 6, 1969, Jerome Cheslock, prior to being elected judge, and James F. Marsh were appointed as the first Public Defenders in Monroe County. They agreed, as a condition of their appointments, that they would not undertake paid representation of any other criminal defendants during the term of their appointment as Public Defenders with the exception of those criminal defendants whose representation they had undertaken prior to their appointments. Prior to the establishment of the Public Defender’s office, there was a pool of attorneys for defense of indigents. This was overseen and operated by the Committee on Indigents of the MCBA. Though the pool had been operative, it was noted that several attorneys would have to be contacted before representation could be obtained. In 1970, the Public Defenders office began expanding when it was given a private office in the courthouse and received money from the county to hire a part-time secretary. The first full-time Public Defender position was held by Janet Jackson.

Jerome P. Cheslock was elected Judge of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas and began his term on January 1, 1994.

Celebrating 100 Years


Similar to the Public Defender’s office, the District Attorney’s office, at its inception, was a part-time office and significantly understaffed. Seeing no direct conflict of interest, attorneys were, at the time, permitted to keep their private practices open while serving in a public position. James F. Marsh, who served as D.A. for four terms, described the complications and difficulties inherent in such a system. After law school, he had begun to work out of his uncle, James R. Marsh’s, law office. When James R. Marsh was elected judge in 1972, the younger Marsh inherited his practice. In his words, he now had two jobs: servicing the clients he had developed as a sole practitioner working out of his uncle’s office and paying a percentage to his uncle for overhead and rent, and working with those clients he had inherited from his uncle due to his election to the bench – all while maintaining his position as District Attorney.


Monroe County Bar Association

Monroe County Legal Aid Society As the Public Defender’s office was solely for representation of criminal defendants, the County had, up to this point, still lacked a similar resource for civil matters. Representatives of the United Church of Women requested a meeting with the members of the Bar Association to discuss the creation of such a resource. The issue had been referred to a committee for “study.” President George T. Robinson, however, “enjoined the committee not to take the matter lightly as there should be a reasoned disposition of the problem.” On April 25, 1973, five years after the initial request, the motion that the Monroe County Bar Association create and finance the Legal Aid Society of Monroe County was unanimously passed. The new nonprofit corporation was initially funded with $5,000 from the MCBA under President Kennard Lewis. By 1975, the Monroe County Legal Aid Society had been approved for a grant in the amount of $25,645, from the Pennsylvania Legal Services Center, which had itself only been created two years prior. The PLSC eventually merged with the Law Coordination Center and operated under the name Pennsylvania Legal Services. It has since changed its name to what is now known as Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc.

Celebrating 100 Years


Linda Wallach Miller It seems that women had been making quite an impact on the Bar Association and the county at this time. The 1970s also brought the admission of the second female to the MCBA, Linda Wallach Miller. In an interview for a Pocono Record article dated November 9, 1977, Miller recalled her experience in law school and subsequently in the professional world. While she had not experienced overt sexism, she did recall the “subtle things.”

A woman of many firsts in Monroe County, Senior Judge Linda Wallach Miller was the first female president of MCBA, the first female Assistant District Attorney and the first female elected to the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas.


Monroe County Bar Association

“For example, social events were planned for ‘law students and their wives.’ ” In her third year, she said, that was changed to ‘law students and their spouses.’ When she started law school, there were 120 students in her class, 12 of whom were women. When she graduated, she added with a smile, “there were 96 members of the class, 12 of whom were women.”



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in some cases, superior capability, Miller and her fellow female classmates were not always well-received by potential employers. Miller recalled being asked questions about her draft status, marriage plans, and birth control methods in job interviews. As far as clients were concerned, Miller found that her capabilities were challenged mostly by women. She said that she had never had male clients refuse to speak to her, but she did meet with women who told her that “they’re here to see a lawyer, not a woman.” Miller became the first female Assistant District Attorney in Monroe County. During her time as ADA, she tried 30 cases, winning 24 of them. Despite the small-mindedness of some of those in her community, Miller went on to have an accomplished career. By 1983 Linda Miller had become MCBA president and nine years later, adding yet another first to her list of accomplishments, was elected to the bench, becoming the first female judge in Monroe County.

Celebrating 100 Years


JANE ROACH MAUGHAN The entry of the first woman to the MCBA was in 1957 and, since then, women have continued to make their marks on the history and progression of law in the County. From Mirandon to Tiracchia to Judge Miller and countless other influential female members, the MCBA has undoubtedly been pushed forward by its female members. One such member is Jane Roach Maughan. Maughan joined the MCBA in 1985 having graduated law school in 1981 and practicing law in Allentown until 1985 when she joined the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. After some fifteen years of private practice, largely in litigation, Attorney Maughan decided to expand her practice to include real estate law. In order to more fully prepare herself for her entry into a different field of law, Attorney Maughan began attending monthly Real Estate Lawyers’ Luncheons held by the Bar Association at the Willowtree Inn (these luncheons still continue to present day). The MCBA’s history of lunch table discussion helped launch Maughan into a precedent-setting crusade to protect Monroe County taxpayers and home buyers. The core issue of the case, as stated by President Judge Vican in his ruling on the matter, was as follows: “the tax collectors, following the instructions of the [Pleasant Valley and East Stroudsburg Area] School Districts, have not made returns for tax years 2002, 2003 and 2004 to the Monroe County Tax Claim Bureau…hav[ing] contracted with Portnoff Law Associates…as a result, the Bureau has no records of paid or delinquent school taxes…the information is not readily available for viewing by the general public…Consequently, title searchers, title insurance companies, mortgage companies…cannot obtain this information.” Furthermore, Portnoff charged high fees for access to this information and used draconian measures in obtaining late payments. They saved the school districts the five percent of payments to which the bureaus were normally entitled, instead relying on exorbitant attorney fees to make their own profits.


Monroe County Bar Association

In 2005, having meticulously prepared her 50page brief, Attorney Maughan embarked upon a lawsuit against the school districts involved in the illegal transfer of tax records to Portnoff. Prior to launching the suit, Maughan wrote a settlement letter to the attorneys involved, informing them that they had violated the Open Record Act and various real estate tax laws. Their response was to demand an apology for her “defamatory suggestion[s]” and to instruct her that she was wrong on the law. Maughan had faxed them the settlement letter one afternoon, and had received their demand one hour later. Naturally, she proceeded with the suit, which she filed on November 21, 2005.

The impact of the women in the bar have been felt not only in our county, but throughout the Commonwealth. Attorney Jane Roach Maughan is representative of those women who continue to lead the way for future generations.

On February 2, 2006, the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted the writ of mandamus for which Attorney Maughan had been suing. The school districts involved were compelled to comply with existing statutes and ensure that returns were filed with the Monroe County Tax Claim Bureau. The case was appealed both to the Commonwealth Court, where the plaintiffs won again, and to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, effectively upholding the decisions of the lower courts. Having won the Portnoff case, Maughan had ensured the accessibility of tax records to the public and to the financial institutions for which accurate tax records are the basis of generating loans, and collecting on liens.

The outcome of this case, fought by a small-town sole practitioner, against a large and aggressive out-of-town law firm, demonstrates the vigor of Attorney Maughan, and her colleagues in the Monroe County Bar Association – many of whom testified in the case – when it came to upholding the law and protecting the rights of the residents of the community they serve.

Celebrating 100 Years



Monroe County Bar Association

Chapter Three

A Growing Organization In 1977, there were 70 members of the Monroe County Bar Association, two of whom were women.

Celebrating 100 Years


The third woman to join was Anne Tiracchia in 1978. Tiracchia recalled that there were certainly male members who were opposed to her entry to the Bar, but there was not a general misogynistic atmosphere. Attorney Tiracchia asserted that she was deaf to any misogynistic comments and did not concern herself with the people who made them. She worked with men who would work with her and, as such, saw no real discrimination in her time as an attorney. She eventually left the practice of law in 1994. Not all the indicators marking the growing, changing organization were positive. In fact, the late 1970s saw more strife within its membership than any other decade. In 1978, during the member meeting at which a new slate of officers was to be elected, a clear division in the membership was displayed. The original slate of officers, chosen based on seniority, included Attorney Joseph McCluskey as president-elect. However, when President Kennard Lewis asked for further nominations from the floor, which was, until then, a purely formulaic request that normally resulted in the election of the nominating committee’s slate, Attorney Richard Deetz was nominated for President. In what has since been described as a sort of coup d’état, Deetz replaced McCluskey. As a result, others on the slate, notably Secretary James F. Marsh, removed themselves from consideration. Other


Monroe County Bar Association

attorneys simply stopped attending Bar Association meetings. Some described the coup as resulting from personal enmity between some lawyers and would-be president McCluskey though the precise motivations remain unclear. Based on its records, the Bar Association seems to have been in the midst of some internal friction as to what its role was to be in the growing county and how it should make use of the resources available to it. During the 1970s, some members of the MCBA were in discord over the appropriate use of funds generated by the Monroe Legal Reporter. A letter written by Sam Newman, who was the editor of the MLR at that time, indicates that there was some misconception as to what the salary of the editor was, it having been lower than some of the members had imagined. In 1978, Sam Newman relinquished his long-held editorship of the MLR. In the course of changing editors, Newman was required to have the MLR audited so as to pass on a correct record of its finances to his successor. Newman sent letters to attorneys, law enforcement officials and other subscribers to the MLR, asking them to pay their past due balances. However, several of the unpaid accounts dated to the early and middle 1950s though these subscribers had still been receiving the MLR and benefitting from its services.

Celebrating 100 Years


In response to the need for a review of the efficiency of the MLR, a committee was formed to analyze the use of its funds. The analysis, written by Attorney George Royle, discussed whether the MCBA should be permitted to profit from the MLR. The letter concluded that a “reasonable profit” was permitted and that the MLR’s profit had been reasonable. Despite the internal divisions, the Bar Association remained fully functional. At this point, the MCBA was 63 years old and had continued to progress internally as a membership and structurally as an organization. In 1978, the Bar Association continued to strength their commitment to the community by adding the essay contest to the Law Day activities to be sponsored by the Association with cash prizes of $250, $150, and $100 to the first, second, and third place winners respectively. Later that year, it was expanded to include an art contest for junior high school students.


Monroe County Bar Association

Law Day Race Edwin Krawitz has been a long-time contributor to the community and to the Bar Association through his creation of and dedication to the Law Day Race or “Race Judicata” which has raised funds for local charities since 1983. MCBA’s centennial year marked the 33rd Annual race which raised funds for Pocono Greyhound Adoption. The 32nd annual race raised $2,300 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters. Attorney Krawitz maintained his practice, Krawitz & Krawitz, on Main Street, Stroudsburg, with his son Steven Krawitz, until his recent passing in July 2015. Race Day: Ed & Steve Krawitz

Celebrating 100 Years


Judge Ronald Vican In 1982, Judge Ronald Vican was elected to the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas. He served 31 years on the bench and is the longest serving judge to date. He served 17 years as President Judge. Judge Vican died in 2014 leaving only the fondest memories within the hearts of his friends and colleagues. As mentioned in his resolution, Judge Vican never shrank from making a ruling that he felt was right legally and morally. After his passing, the Monroe County Bar Foundation announced the creation of the Ronald E. Vican Scholarship Endowment Fund to award an annual scholarship to a Pocono Mountain East High School senior who plays varsity sports, achieves academic success, is involved in their community, and displays exemplary personal attributes. In honor of the late Pocono Mountain graduate and star athlete, the fund is intended to support a well-rounded athlete in pursuit of his or her dream of further education.

President Judge Ronald E. Vican at his retirement dinner in 2011.

Standing left to right: Russell House, the first Pocono Mountain East graduate to be awarded the Ronald E. Vican Memorial Scholarship, William J. Reaser, Jr., Chairman of the Monroe County Bar Foundation and Foundation Trustee Thomas F. Dirvonas.


Monroe County Bar Association

Commonwealth v. Ludwig 1985 As the state of the Monroe County Bar continued to show evidence of growth in terms of diversity, so did it show progression in the process of law. In 1985, the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas heard the case of Commonwealth v. Ludwig – a criminal trial in which the defendant, Paul Ludwig, was accused of molesting his fiveyear-old daughter. Unfortunately, a majority of the evidence against the defendant relied upon the testimony of the accuser, his daughter. Relying on a procedure he had witnessed earlier in his career, then Assistant District Attorney E. David Christine, Jr., requested of Judge Vican that the child be questioned via closed-circuit television. This would minimize the potential of the child being intimidated by the face-to-face interaction with the alleged abuser and would not prevent the defense attorneys from questioning her. Judge Vican approved this request, in the words of A.D.A. Christine, “to his great credit.” Paul Ludwig was found guilty of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison. In 1986, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Senate Bill 176, which “makes amendments to the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure including provisions for the rights of child victims and witnesses of criminal acts.” Governor Richard Thornburgh signed the bill into law on February 21, 1986. A.D.A. Christine, because of his excellent work and extraordinary devotion to protecting child rape victims, was invited to the signing and was presented with one of the pens used by Governor Thornburgh to sign the new law, giving credit to A.D.A. Christine, Judge Vican, and the other MCBA members who assisted during this precedent-setting case.

Celebrating 100 Years


Senate Bill 176 was signed into law on February 21, 1986, by Governor Richard Thornburgh.

However, in the Spring of 1989, and again in January 1991, Ludwig appealed to the PA Supreme court, on the grounds that the accused had a constitutional right to confront his accuser. Since the Senate Bill was passed after the conclusion of the case, it had no effect on it. Despite the fact that similar rulings had been made by the U.S. Supreme Court utilizing these same procedures, Ludwig’s conviction was overturned and he was released from prison.


Monroe County Bar Association

The PA Supreme Court opinion read, in part, “while we have recognized exceptions to the constitutional right of confrontation, we have done so only in those instances in which the accused has already had the opportunity to confront the witnesses against him face-to-face.” The court argued further that “The record in this case does not disclose any conduct by the appellant during the proceedings that would give rise to the need to isolate the witness. The subjective fears of the witness… are insufficient to restrict this important constitutional right.” This decision, however, was not unanimous. In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix wrote, “The (court) majority’s assertion that face-toface confrontation is mandatory in all cases, rather than just preferential …[and their] insistence that the policies underlying the adoption of hearsay exceptions are not present in this case is plainly ludicrous.” Nix argued further that since the defendant’s attorneys had been fully able to cross-examine the witness, there were no grounds upon which to overturn the conviction on the basis of a “relatively minor curtailment of the defendant’s right to confrontation,” a curtailment made essential by the necessity of “protecting the psychological well-being of a minor of tender years who claims to have been abused.” In spite of Nix’s well-reasoned arguments, Ludwig left a free man. On May 13, 1991, now District Attorney Christine issued a press release informing the public of his “sadness and regret” upon hearing the high court’s ruling. He further announced that “the Commonwealth would not retry the Defendant, for it would be unconscionable to force the victim to relive the tragic rape perpetrated upon her over six years ago, and to re-traumatize her after successful rehabilitation with her adopted parents.” David Christine served as the elected district attorney of Monroe County from 1988 through 1991 and since 2004.

Celebrating 100 Years


Maxwell Cohen In 1985, Maxwell Cohen became the MCBA president – a drastic turn from the rejection of entry he faced when he first moved to the area. In fact, the membership at the time of his presidency consisted of a number of attorneys who were affiliated with him including Peter O’Brien and Richard Deetz. By this time, Cohen had clearly shattered any misconceptions and proven his status as a worthy colleague. He was ranked AV Preeminent by his peers on the Martindale-Hubbell rating scale, proving true the words of his son, Barry, who said in his eulogy that the members of the bar “[rose] above misguided prejudice to embrace a man who possessed the highest degree of professionalism and collegiality as one of their own.” That same year, Cohen ran for judge. His campaign was co-chaired by Sheriff Forrest Sebring and though he had a strong group of supporters, he was defeated by his colleague Peter O’Brien, whose first job was at Cohen’s firm.


Monroe County Bar Association

Peter J. O’Brien Judge O’Brien began his term as judge in 1986. His oath was administered by Judge Fred W. Davis, then retired, who had also administered O’Brien’s oath when he was admitted to the Bar Association in 1966. According to a Morning Call article dated January 7, 1986, “O’Brien remarked that each election holds a ‘time of renewal... a renewal of law and justice; a remembrance that all men are created equal in the eyes of God. Everyone is created equal under the law as well and the only thing that matters is the merit of their cause.’” O’Brien served 20 years on the bench where he made significant contributions to the practice of law in the County such as creating a rule that anyone ordered to pay child support must pay 75 percent of it after the ruling, regardless of whether or not they appeal. He also ordered defendants to attend drug and alcohol counseling, which has since become common practice. In a Pocono Record article dated September 22, 2004, Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso observed that “O’Brien [was] especially precise when deciding what evidence to accept or dismiss in a trial.” He also observed that he was especially adept in instructing juries so that they did not get confused by the terminology or procedure. He announced his retirement at the annual Bench Bar Conference in 2004 at age 66, four years prior to reaching the age of mandatory retirement.

Celebrating 100 Years


Mock Trial Competition In 1986, the first mock trial competition was held. The finalists were Pleasant Valley School District and Notre Dame High School. Since the initial competition began, MCBA expanded the program to include an invitational mock trial competition each November, providing students in surrounding counties the opportunity to practice in a judicial setting before the annual statewide competition begins in the late winter.


Monroe County Bar Association

Helping the Community Since 1987, the MCBA underwrites an annual holiday party for dependent children and foster families serviced by Monroe County Children and Youth Services. By 1995, it had donated over $20,000 to this cause, and to date has contributed over $50,000 to Children and Youth, including visits from Santa, and gifts to children who would otherwise be left without any celebration during the holiday season. While there may have been a lot of tension in the 1970s about the place of the MCBA and the use of its funds, it appears that by the early 1980s, that issue had been largely resolved as the Bar committed itself to community service in addition to helping its members. A few years of strife gave birth to a powerful new commitment on the part of the Bar Association to helping the residents of the community of which it has become an integral part. The 1990s continued the Bar’s growing trend. It was during this period that the membership of the Bar, reflective of the population explosion around it, rose into the triple digits where it remains today.

Celebrating 100 Years


New Location In 1996, the Bar Association found a permanent location in what had previously been the home of the Monroe County Public Library. The MCBA purchased the building for $175,000 and proceeded to renovate. During the extensive renovation, the large main staircase that now leads to conference rooms on the second floor was discovered, having been blocked by a wall that was erected during the library’s ownership. 913 Main Street befire renovation.


Monroe County Bar Association

Celebrating 100 Years


The building proudly displays portraits of such Monroe County greats as Dr. Joseph Shull and A. Mitchell Palmer. It also has a room named in honor and appreciation of the long and successful career of Alex “Buzz” Bensinger, whose family has been practicing law in Monroe County for longer than the Association existed. In 2007, Bensinger and Weekes celebrated its 100th year. To this day, however, not everyone approves of the prosperity that has allowed the Bar to progress so far in its first century of existence. According to some, it may be inappropriate for the Bar to so ostentatiously display the profit earned by the MLR “on the backs of people losing their homes.” However, even among those who initially were opposed, there are those who have seen the utility of the building. Attorney Ed Krawitz, when asked if he was wrong in opposing the purchase of the building at 913 Main Street, viewed it as less a matter of being wrong then, as of seeing the light now.


Monroe County Bar Association

Judge Worthington congratulates Buzz Bensinger in 2007.

From left, Joan Vican, Jeff Weekes, and Elizabeth Bensinger Weekes, with Buzz Bensinger, at the firm’s 100-year anniversary dinner.

Margherita Patti-Worthington – YLD First President to First Female President Judge By 1996, the Young Lawyer’s Division of the MCBA had been in operation with its own by-laws. Margherita Patti Worthington and Nicholas Masington held the first seats as President and Vice President of the YLD. The Division had embarked on several communityoriented projects including the Adopta-Highway program, Walk for Aids, and Relay for Life. The first event held by the YLD was a largely successful blood drive with the Red Cross which had 142 donors. After working as a Monroe County Public Defender, Worthington was hired by the firm Zulick and Muth where she became a partner. She was the first custody conciliator and Dependency Master for Monroe County. She was elected to the Court of Common Pleas and following Judge Vican’s retirement in 2011, she became the first female president judge of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas.

The annual YLD Blood Drive was initiated by YLD President then Attorney Margherita Patti-Worthington in 1996. Pictured left to right at the 2014 blood drive: Elizabeth Field, Esq., President Judge Worthington, Brian Jordan, Esq., YLD President and Michelle Akritas, Esq.

Retiring President Judge Ronald E. Vican swearing Margherita Patti-Worthington as the first female President Judge in Monroe County, December 29, 2011.

Celebrating 100 Years


Bench Bar Conference The first annual Bench-Bar Conference was held on September 19, 1997 at the Shawnee Inn. This all-day event hosts courses to provide local attorneys with the opportunity to earn several of the substantive and/or ethics credits that are required annually. The MCBA has managed to maintain a high degree of integrity by being a fair resource for its members and the community alike. Along with the multitude of community-centered programs that it offers, it continues to offer benefits to its members, one of which is its hosting of several continuing legal education programs in a convenient location. The MCBA hosts about seven programs each month.

President Judge Worthington’s State of the Bench address at Bench Bar Conference 2014.

Vice President and Conference Chair Todd Weitzmann, President Lori Cerato, President Judge Worthington and Pennsylvania Bar Association President Frank O’Conner at Bench Bar Conference 2014.


Monroe County Bar Association

Conference Chair Todd Weitzmann

Judge Jonathan Mark

Bill Cramer with George Westervelt

Geoffrey Worthington, Barry Cohen and Deborah Huffman

Celebrating 100 Years


Together the members of the board and staff of Pocono Medical Center and members of MCBA celebrate the largest single donation from MCBA to a non-profit in the history of the Association. Together the MCBA and MCBF have committed to and donated over $450,000 to the community.

In 2010 the Young Lawyers Division hosted the first annual Wills for Heroes event in which lawyers prepared estate planning documents for first responders. Within a one-hour session with each first responder, the attorney inputted information from a questionnaire that the responder had previously completed. The attorney then reviewed and explained the documents to the participant, making sure that he or she fully understood and agreed with what had been drafted. By the end of the hour, the first responder left with fully executed and effective documents compliments of the Wills for Heroes program. The program continues today. In 2012, an action was taken by the membership to pledge the sum of $150,000 over a period of five years to the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center at Pocono Medical Center. This decision was as thoroughly discussed as it was benevolent, but it highlighted the need for the MCBA to create a strategic plan so that its members had a bigger picture of where the Association was headed. In 2014, under the direction of MCBA President Lori J. Cerato and the strategic planning committee, the MCBA’s first strategic plan was put into place.


Monroe County Bar Association

Also in 2014, the members of the Monroe County Bar Association voted to provide North Penn Legal Services with a donation of $80,000. This donation would fund a fulltime staff attorney and a part-time support staff person for one year to assist qualified consumers with legal matters who met the qualifications of NPLS for legal representation. MCBA continued its support in 2015 by committing to provide funds for another year. The MCBA and North Penn Legal Services, which has been operating in Monroe County for over 25 years, have a long-standing relationship. Attorney Vicki Coyle, Executive Director for NPLS said of the donation, “The Monroe County Bar Association… [has shown] a strong commitment to our clients, who are those denied access to justice due to poverty, or vulnerabilities such as lack of education, language access or disabilities. As our funding continues to decrease and we face deficit budgets year after year, meaningful donations such as these reaffirm to my staff that their work is valued.” The Lawyer Referral Service was created in the late 1990s to further the community outreach effort of the MCBA. Through the Lawyer Referral Service, Monroe County residents gained access to low-cost legal consultations with attorneys in several different fields. While this has become a widely-used resource for the community, it has also served the MCBA membership by channeling business to local attorneys. It has since been renamed the “Find a Lawyer” program, and in 2014 alone, produced 3,900 referrals to participating members.

Attorneys Kelly Lombardo and Brandie Belanger meet with first responder families providing them with free wills through the Wills for Heros program at the Jackson Township Fire Hall in 2011. In 2014 the Wills for Heros program was expanded from first responders, including volunteer firemen, police and search and rescue, to now include military veterans.

Furthermore, MCBA hosts depositions, mediations, continuing legal education courses, Bar Association meetings and events as well as mortgage modification meetings in its building. MCBA welcomes the use of the building by members for client meetings and special events sponsored by members. Celebrating 100 Years


Monroe County Bar Foundation The Monroe County Bar Foundation was established in 2004 by the Board of Directors of the Monroe County Bar Association. Serving as the charitable giving arm of the Association, the Foundation grew naturally out of years of care, concern and contributions which Monroe County lawyers dedicated to improving the lives of local children.

Bill Cramer and Victoria Strunk present a check to Betty Russo of East Stroudsburg University Foundation.

Since the formation of the Foundation, through donations from MCBA members and fundraisers, over $100,000 has been contributed to non-profit agencies, and scholarships have been awarded to graduating high school students.

Check Presentation to Jane Koelble, Executive Director, Women’s Resources

Former MCBF Trustee Alex “Buzz” Bensinger and Current MCBF Chairman Bill Reaser present a check to East Stroudsburg University Foundation for $500.00 to benefit the university program “Camp Colours.” In the center is Frank Falco, 2012 President and CEO of the ESU Foundation.


Monroe County Bar Association

Strongly dedicated to improving the lives in our community, the Directors of the Association and Trustees of the Foundation worked closely to advance the mission of the Foundation from its original focus on children to a more expansive one. In 2015, the Board of Trustees of the Foundation approved the new mission. Today the mission reads: The mission of the Monroe County Bar Foundation is to carry on educational and charitable activities for the general wellbeing of the residents of Monroe County and to aid nonprofit organizations primarily benefiting residents of the Monroe County Community. With this significant change, together the MCBA and MCBF will continue to grow and provide our community with resources which will enhance the welfare of our community well into the future.

Bill Reaser with Sharon Gilbert, Director of the Re-entry Program of Monroe County, Inc.

Check Presentation to the YMCA.

Celebrating 100 Years


The Future of the MCBA In an article for the Monroe Legal Reporter, PA Superior Court Justice and MCBA founding member Chester H. Rhodes wrote, “The administration of justice touches human life and relations at many vital points, and offers many dramatic situations… In litigation, we may observe the evolution and the progress of the law. In this connection we frequently find that customs are turned into law by judicial decision. Decided cases often reflect economic and social conditions of the time as well as the law. In them may be found, to a large degree, the story of the law and its development.” Similarly, in the decided cases of Monroe County there may be found the story of the County, the story of the Monroe County Bar and the story of the Monroe County Bar Association. In an interview for this history, Judge Cheslock cited one of his law school professors who told him, “Son, if you’re going to be connected with the law as a career, you have to remember this: there is justice in America, but not enough to go around.” While this statement still holds true, it is evident that the lawyers of Monroe County, both past and present, and the Association of which they are a part, have committed themselves to the administration of justice, giving us hope that, within the next 100 years, there may be enough to go around. If only in that respect, each member of MCBA has made the most honorable contribution to this county and to this community.


Monroe County Bar Association

Past President Jane Maughan, Bill Maughan and Past President Alan Price Young enjoy Social Hour on the porch following a member meeting on July 13, 2015.

John Parker with Past Presidents Mary Louise Parker and Jerry Hanna.

Barbara and Bill Cramer with Jane Maughan.

Tim McManus with Past President Judge Cheslock.

Past President Dan Corveleyn with President Todd Weitzmann.

Celebrating 100 Years


Past Presidents Bill Reaser and Lori Cerato

Hillary Madden, Michelle Akritas, Shamira Cooper and Brandie Belanger Deborah Huffman and Jane Maughan

MCBA Holiday Open House December 19, 2014

Joe Hanyon, Casey Sauerwine and Connie Merwine


Monroe County Bar Association

Pat Morrissey

Tim McManus and Todd Weitzmann

Bob Nothstein and Ed Krawitz

Angelo Ortenzi, Steve Krawitz with Past President Mark Love.

Bob Lear with Tim McManus

Past Presidents: Andy Wolf, Tom Casale, Charlie Vogt

Celebrating 100 Years


Monroe County Bar Association 2015 Board of Directors Todd W. Weitzmann, President Jeffrey A. Durney, Vice President Timothy J. McManus, Secretary Mark A. Primrose, Treasurer Lori J. Cerato, Immediate Past President Elizabeth Bensinger Weekes, Member at Large Elizabeth M. Field, Member at Large Brian C. Jordan, Member at Large and Young Lawyers President Denise M. Burdge – MCBA Executive Director

Monroe County Bar Foundation 2015 Board of Trustees William J. Reaser, Jr., Chairman Victoria Strunk, Secretary Thomas V. Casale, Trustee Diane L. Dagger, Trustee Thomas F. Dirvonas, Trustee Lara Kash, Trustee Denise Murray, Trustee

Young Lawyers Division 2015 Officers Brian C. Jordan, President Kathleen Walters, Vice President Jason LaBar, Secretary Elizabeth M. Field, Treasurer


Monroe County Bar Association

Past Presidents: Joseph H. Shull Harold C. Edwards Phillip H. Williams George T. Robinson Elmer D. Christine, Sr. James C. Scanlon Detleff A. Hansen Kennard Lewis Richard E. Deetz Alex L. Bensinger Jerome P. Cheslock Linda Wallach Miller Maxwell H. Cohen Robert Williamson Charles P. Eyer James F. Marsh C. Daniel Higgins, Sr. Daniel M. Corveleyn Jerry F. Hanna Bernard M. Billick William J. Reaser, Jr. Mary Louise Parker Charles J. Vogt Mark S. Love Joseph P. McDonald, Jr. Thomas V. Casale Gerard J. Geiger Alan Price Young Stephen M. Higgins David J. Williamson F. Andrew Wolf Jane Roach Maughan Lori J. Cerato

Celebrating 100 Years


Research Sources The Citizen. (Honesdale, Pa.), 14 Feb. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < sn87078082/1913-02-14/ed-1/seq-5/> Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 18 March 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < lccn/sn83045211/1915-03-18/ed-1/seq-14/> Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 16 March 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < lccn/sn83045211/1915-03-16/ed-1/seq-1/> Harrisburg Telegraph. (Harrisburg, Pa.), 15 March 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < sn85038411/1915-03-15/ed-1/seq-1/> Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 09 Aug. 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < lccn/sn83045211/1915-08-09/ed-1/seq-1/> Harrisburg Telegraph. (Harrisburg, Pa.), 23 Aug. 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < sn85038411/1915-08-23/ed-1/seq-3/> Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 07 July 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < sn83045211/1915-07-07/ed-1/seq-7/> The Star-Independent. (Harrisburg, Pa.), 16 March 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. < sn86081330/1915-03-16/ed-1/seq-7/> Pocono Record


Monroe County Bar Association

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