Brian L. Nagle, President
Donald B. Lynn Jr., Vice President
James Doyle, Treasure
Catherine H. Voit, Secretary
New Matter Committee
Maria Janoski, Editor
Mark Blank, Jr.
Charles T. DeTulleo
Mary Wade Myers
Karyn L. Seace
Greg Nardi Executive Director
Melissa Willson Communications, Events, and Marketing Manager
The Chester County Bar Association’s quarterly publication, New Matter, has been provided to Bar Association members for four decades. A valuable aspect of CCBA’s membership, New Matter aims to provide our members with information pertaining to current issues facing the practice of law, historic legal issues, continuing legal education opportunities, Chester County Bar Association activities, programs, meetings, functions, practice tips, procedures for attorneys, and items of personal interest to our membership.
The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific legal or other advice or recommendations for any individuals. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by the Chester County Bar Association.
All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written permission of the publisher or editor.
Dear Esteemed Members of the Chester County Bar Association,
As we reach the mid-year mark, it is with great pride and gratitude that I must reflect on the exceptional support and camaraderie displayed within the CCBA and our legal community. Your unwavering commitment to one another, the legal profession, and Chester County has been nothing short of extraordinary. Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones and orchestrated numerous successful events that have further strengthened our bond.
One of the standout events this year was the Spring Bench Bar Conference, where our Bench, members, and other legal professionals came together to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and foster meaningful connections. The enthusiasm and passion exhibited by all attendees was truly inspiring. It’s great to run into one another throughout the low-key but engaging event.
The support that our membership and the community provided to the Foundation at this year’s CCBF Key Gala was outstanding. This year’s live auction set in the newly renovated ballroom of the Downingtown Country Club was particularly impressive in terms of the amount we raised to support the grant programs that benefit our community. Many thanks to Michelle Bernardo-Rudy, the Board of the Directors of the CCBF, and the Key Gala Committee for making this year’s event particularly special.
Another memorable event that showcased our strong sense of community was the Bar Sail in Annapolis. It provided a refreshing and relaxing opportunity for members to unwind and strengthen relationships beyond the confines of the courtroom. These interactions outside the professional sphere are integral to fostering a supportive environment where members can thrive both personally and professionally. Please encourage
our younger members to participate in this great event –calling all young captains for next year!
The beginning of the summer was marked by our first ever CCBA Job Fair, held in our lower level on June 8, 2023. We had at least 25 legal and paralegal job candidates who visited about 13 different employer tables. It was thrilling to see employer and potential employee boots on the ground in West Chester. Tables were hosted by law firms, large and small and everything in between. One potential employee, and quite a good prospect, drove from 2 hours away to be there. I received a lot of positive feedback from members, and we learned a few things to implement for next year. I hope this event can be a resource for our membership and jobseekers for years to come. From chatting with members that day, and learning from members at our managing partners breakfast, it’s clear that we all face challenges finding and retaining talent. My goal is to see our Association offer a platform and some opportunities to help in the effort.
Just before the Job Fair, CCBA Family Movie Night was well attended with a picnic in the early evening, followed by a large screen showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Malvern Memorial Cabin was the perfect spot for this fun summer event. Meanwhile, after lots of hard work running the Mock Trial Competition, the YLD is continuing with its recent pace of events, including happy hours, and meetings that are so well attended, they had to move to a larger room! I’m looking forward to co-captaining the newly named “ELD” division (Experienced Law Division) with former CCBA President John Fiorello. The YLD will have their hands full with this not-so-old group!
The Bylaws Committee and the Board of Directors are working hard and meeting regularly now to formulate a sensible CCBA Bylaws change to improve our judicial plebiscite. I think the membership will be pleased with the proposal that will be circulated in advance of our annual meeting and proposed at the annual meeting in accordance with our Bylaws.
Finally, while there are really too many exciting happenings to report on all of them here, I want to extend a special thanks to our Federal Court Section and especially its Chair Lou Kupperman as well as our Executive Director Greg Nardi and our staff for their work to plan the first Induction Ceremony and Reception for the members of the Bench of The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Seven members of our Federal Bench attended, together with numerous members of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Row Officers, County Commissioners, State Representative and other dignitaries along with a strong showing from our membership. About 10 young lawyers were moved for admission into the Eastern District Court by District Attorney Deb Ryan, Member Eric Brown and Mr. Kupperman. The Honorable Mark A. Kearney presided, and His Honor delivered a rousing address, including an incredible story about George Washington and some wise words that our members all took to heart about each of our roles and duty to respect and defend our independent Judiciary. The energy and momentum of the event, I know, was an inspiration to all who attended.
The Fall Bench Bar Conference promises to be another enlightening occasion, where we shall continue our tradition of knowledge sharing and collaboration. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful location that has a lot to offer the attendees. The conference has always been a highlight of the year and this year promises to continue that tradition. I very much look forward to seeing you all there as we wind down summer on the Chesapeake!
CVC Then and Now: A history of CVC as told to Christine Zaccarelliby Peggy Gusz By Christine Zaccarelli, Esquire
In case you haven’t heard, The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. (affectionately known to many as “CVC”) turns 50 this year! We have been putting “Victims First” since 1973 and in honor of our anniversary, I had the opportunity to sit down with founding member and former Executive Director Peggy Gusz to talk about how CVC got its start and grew to the agency we know today.
Peggy shared with me that at some point during the early years of The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc., someone referred to the group of women that had the idea and followed through as “pioneers.” Peggy paused and said, “Well, we never thought of ourselves like that but yeah, I guess we were.” That is how most of our conversation went, with Peggy crediting many for the idea and creation of CVC including CVC’s first CEO, Connie Noblet. Connie unofficially served as CVC’s Executive Director and she officially took the title in January of 1974. Peggy moved into the role in 1988 and retired in 2016.
The idea for CVC came about in the summer of 1972 when Linda Bocher, whose husband was a doctor in the Emergency Room in Chester County Hospital, began to share with her friends and others concerned in the community her belief in the need for a support system for victims of sexual violence. Peggy joined the group a few months after these conversations had started and after much discussion, the group decided to put themselves out there as a resource and advocates for victims of sexual violence. At first, everyone was a volunteer and they operated informally as a resource to law enforcement from the top floor of a local church, who donated the space and one phone line. Just like today, news of the services they were providing spread by word of mouth through law enforcement and the community in general. In the fall of 1973, the group finally obtained a small amount of funding and officially formed the Rape Crisis Council of Chester County, and that started the story of CVC as a trusted resource for victims and their families here in Chester County.
When I asked Peggy how we got our start, she replied that “We were all at the right place at the right time.” Women from different backgrounds, professions, and with different connections all came together and recognized a need for services for victims/survivors of sexual violence. From the hospitals, to law enforcement, to the courts and in the schools, it worked because they had the right people to connect with so many different parts of the system. Peggy shared that they faced many obstacles in all those different parts of the system. Nurses were allies and they helped to change attitudes of doctors and police officers in the emergency room. Even back then, Chester County had so many local police departments, the group talked to them one on one and one at a time about their services. And in the schools, reaching out to one school at a time to talk about prevention and education.
Today, CVC has two hotlines, one for victims of sexual violence and one for victims of all other crimes. These hotlines are answered 24/7 and 365 days a year. Back then, we didn’t have a hotline; we relied on the network of local law enforcement throughout Chester County to refer clients to us, so the system was even more difficult for victims to navigate. And unfortunately, the attitude of law enforcement towards victims of sexual assault was
not always ideal so the group focused attention to make sure to bring law enforcement in as a true partner in the organization. Word spread through law enforcement of the work they were doing and they slowly began to reach out to the group to help with difficult cases.
So how did we get from the Rape Crisis Council of Chester County to The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc.? Funny you should ask! In 1976, one of the local police departments reached out for help with a homicide case because they were familiar with our work with victims of sexual assault. We provided supportive services to this family and from that the notion of a “comprehensive victim advocacy agency” was born.
Interesting fact that Peggy shared with me that I didn’t know: the sexual assault hotline was first and then a few years later we created the second “other crimes” hotline. But, our hotline for victims of sexual violence spells “rape” which was intentional to make it easier for people to remember. Our other crimes hotline was just picked at random because “help” was already taken at that time. Our Prevention Education Department got its start in 1974. Our first “PE presentation” was a joint effort between Officer Nick Bereda from Tredyffrin when he invited Peggy to give a brief presentation after his presentation at a local junior high. She talked about child abuse prevention. She was adamant that this presentation would not be in an assembly form to large groups but smaller groups. It was a difficult contrast in that the officer would talk about prevention in terms of self defense. From that contrast was born the concepts of primary prevention taught by our educators today.
As we grew from serving victims/survivors of sexual violence to victims of all crimes, there was also some concern raised about the word rape being in the name of the organization. So, we changed our name from the Rape Crisis Council of Chester County to the Victim and Witness Assistance Services of Chester County, Inc. Then, we were working with the DA’s office and they decided to staff a victim witness unit within the DA’s office to coordinate the appearance of victims and witnesses to court. We began to get calls about subpoenas and other questions related to the DA’s Office Unit so we changed one last time to avoid confusion with the victim unit at the DA’s office. In 1986, we officially became The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc.
At this point you may be thinking, how long is this article going to be, Zaccarelli? Fifty years is an awfully long time! Let’s focus on some highlights and you can always stop by
our office on Market Street to say hi and hear the whole story including our feature in a Japanese documentary! We were not the first sexual assault center in PA; Pittsburgh (H2P!) and Philadelphia were first and others shortly followed. In 1975, those centers already in existence as well as people interested in forming their own center held a three-day conference at West Chester University and attendees were from across the entire Commonwealth. The conference was called “Concern 1975” and it is credited with starting PCAR, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, which continues today to be one of our largest funders.
Community outreach was a huge part of the early success of CVC. Each member of the group went out regularly to talk to small local clubs and women’s groups about the services they offered and the first fundraising event held for the group was a small cocktail party that raised $750. Those small presentations were key to the group’s early success, and small talks like that continue to be a critical part of CVC’s outreach. New Century Club and Junior New Century Club were some of CVC’s first supporters.
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Our Annual Candlelight Vigil was first held in 1991. It was a joint effort between Chester and Montgomery Counties and eventually it grew so large that in 1994 we held our own Chester County-based event. The Crime Victims’ Memorial in Kardon Park, where the Vigil is held today, was built in the early 2000s. Dr. Mario Spoto lost a family member to homicide, and he and the victim’s family came to Peggy with the idea to do the Memorial. It was built in the early 2000s and Peggy credits Dr. Spoto and the victim’s family with organizing and obtaining most of the funding for the project.
One last highlight: the John Crane Child Advocacy Award and Peggy Gusz Victims’ Advocacy Award. John Crane was an Assistant District Attorney in the Chester County DA’s Office, who was a tireless advocate for victims and their families, and in particular child victims. To honor his work, in November of 1998, CVC, along with the Crane family, announced the establishment of The John J. Crane Allied Professional Award to memorialize his amazing service to child victims and their families and his dedication to his work. John passed in 1998; we lost a dear friend and victims lost a caring, committed ally. In 2018, CVC’s Board of Directors voted to create the Peggy Gusz Victims’ Advocacy Award to recognize Peggy’s amazing contribution to the victim advocacy field.
Please join The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. in celebrating our 50th Anniversary at our Night of Hope Gala on November 9th at the Farmhouse at People’s Light; tickets are on sale now through our website!
The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. (CVC) is a nonprofit agency providing free, immediate, and confidential crisis response and compassionate support to children and adults impacted by sexual violence and all other crime.
We provide assistance through counseling, advocacy, resources, and education. The Center fosters community awareness and understanding through its comprehensive outreach and prevention programs. To learn more, visit www.cvcofcc.org.
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Chester County Bar Foundation Key GalaBy Michele Bernardo-Rudy, Esq.
This year, I am honored to serve as the President of the Chester County Bar Foundation. I am very proud of the work we do and funding we provide to area legal-related non-profits in Chester County. Each year, we hold a fundraiser to help support the mission of the Bar Foundation. On May 4, 2023, we held the 9th Annual Key Gala. As many of you are aware, the Key Gala was so named because the original Chester County Courthouse Key from 1724 was found during renovations of our building back in 2015. Currently, the Gala is the only fundraiser we do for the foundation.
This year’s Gala was held at the Downingtown Country Club. Upon entering the venue and walking down the staircase, we were met with an abundant charcuterie table. Our executive director, Greg Nardi, put together a great raffle “basket” containing all Star Wars-themed items in honor of May the Fourth! All proceeds from the raffle went to the Bar Foundation. We also sold raffle tickets again this year. Some of the prizes included gift certificates for golf and local restaurants, tickets to Longwood Gardens, a signed soccer jersey and the “grand prize” of the Big Jewelers necklace, graciously donated by Ron Gadol each year.
As we continued into the main ballroom area, there were features such as signature drinks sponsored by Gawthrop Greenwood – the Gawthropolitan, inspired by Cosmopolitan, and the Fizzy Gawthrop, inspired by whiskey fizz – hors d’hoeuvres, a carving station, amazing pasta dishes and desserts provided by Yori’s Bakery – one of my personal favorites! We had the music stylings of Greg Ralls, as he played his keyboard during the cocktail
hour. He had such incredible range – from Elton John to the Cure! He was a fun addition to the evening!
The weather was beautiful, and the country club provided a lovely area outside for more of those Gawthrop-inspired libations. We started the evening with the silent auction on trips to Italy, Africa and Spain, golf outings and many other overnight trips at places like Omni Bedford and The Alexandrian Hotel.
Last year, the Chester County Bar Foundation gave out an amazing $192,000.00 to local nonprofits for their work in law related fields. This is thanks to the generosity of our members and sponsors. This year, we raised $49,899.00 for the bar foundation at the Gala. The funds raised through this fundraiser, and generous donations throughout the year, will help fund programs like Access to Justice, the Law Day scholarship, Chester County Crime Victims Center, Domestic Violence Center, and many more organizations.
Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors who, year after year, never fail to step up and support the Foundation. I would like to thank the Key Gala Committee for their hard work in putting this event together. I also want to thank the Bar Association staff for their hard work leading up to and during the Gala. We are grateful for you all!
Next year’s Key Gala will be in an exciting new venue. It will be held at the Brandywine Museum of Art on May 16, 2024. Save the date for this beautiful new location! I look forward to seeing everyone there. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
My Benefit Advisor
THE RECENT TREND IN EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
The latest trend in employee benefits is a shift towards more personalized and flexible offerings that cater to the needs and preferences of individual employees. This trend is being driven by several factors, including the growing importance of work-life balance, the rise of the gig economy, and changing demographics in the workforce.
One example of this trend is the increasing popularity of “cafeteria-style” benefits plans, which allow employees to choose from a menu of options to create a personalized benefits package. This can include options such as health insurance, retirement plans, and wellness programs, as well as more unconventional benefits such as pet insurance or paid time off for volunteering.
Another trend is the focus on mental health and wellbeing. Many companies are recognizing the importance of supporting employees’ mental health and are offering benefits such as access to counseling services,
mindfulness and meditation programs, and flexible work arrangements.
Finally, companies are also recognizing the importance of financial wellness and are offering benefits such as student loan repayment assistance, financial planning services, and access to low-interest loans.
Overall, the latest trend in employee benefits is a move towards more personalized, flexible, and holistic offerings that reflect the changing needs and priorities of today’s workforce.
The Chester County Bar Association offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at ccba.mybenefitadvisor.com or contact Christopher Sloane at (610) 684-6933.
We Asked, You Answered: Advice for Those New to the Legal Profession!
If you could send a message to yourself back when you first became an attorney, what one piece of advice would you give to yourself? Our members offer their perspective for those considering or new to the legal profession.
Many members encouraged those new to the profession to ensure they are in it for the right reasons and have their eyes open to the realities of the profession, finding the right practice area, and building a new career. Of course, there is a lot of advice on client interactions, courtroom behavior, and building relationships with others in the profession.
Work Life Balance & Perspective
Learn how to balance work and life…. Work will always be there. Family/Friend relationships need as much energy and time as your work.Kristin S. Camp, Esq., Buckley Brion McGuire & Morris LLP
Do not sweat the small stuff and look at the bigger picture. Also, work on developing a thicker skin sooner than later.Rami Bishay, Esq.,Cox & Bishay, LLP
Listen to the “Little Voice” in your head. Call it intuition, inner dialogue, that little voice inside of ourselves whispering words that we may or may not care to hear. Consider what you hear – what you are telling yourself – and decide whether to set boundaries or walk away from a difficult situation rather than prolong something that is less than ideal.Richard N. Lipow, Esq.
In addition to the advice focused on the profession, there is also the ever-present focus on Work-Life Balance to ensure a new professional enjoys what he or she is doing and keeps some focus on family and friends outside of professional life.
Our members are always full of candor. While the profession has been fulfilling to a majority, there are some who provide warnings to really, really, really make sure that the legal profession is the right path.
Don’t be so hard on yourself!Brendan Burke, Esq.
Most of the stress comes from taking on more than you can do. Learn to turn away work or refer it to others when it begins to pile up.Edward M. Foley, Esq., Brutscher, Foley, Milliner, Land & Kelly, LLP
The Importance of the Bar Association and Other Professional Associations
Join your local bar association ASAP, get involved, and participate in the social events. You never know, you may meet someone who will be very important in your future.Honorable Ann M. Wheatcraft, Chester County Court of Common Pleas
Get involved with the Bar Association much sooner.
Karyn L. Seace, Esq., Seace Elder Law, PLLC
I’d tell myself to join and get involved in the Bar Association. I missed out on years of learning from and networking with my colleagues!
Margaret Rover, Esq.
The importance of your values
This is a service business, not a money making business . Service , ethics. professionalism and collegiality must always prevail.
Samuel Stretton, Esq.
Never compromise your honesty or integrity.
Jamie Goncharoff, Esq., Law Offices of Jamie W. Goncharoff
Work on things you care about! Life is too short to spend much time working for things that do not matter. Have a passion! Be kind and do not worry too much about money. Money will come – enough to make it to tomorrow and beyond if you only care. Be well!
Janet Colliton, Esq., Colliton Elder Law Assocs., PC
There is NO client worth losing your good reputation with fellow attorneys for; clients come and go but a reputation as difficult or untrustworthy can negatively impact the rest of your career. The time WILL come when you need grace from some opposing counsel or fellow attorney. Don’t burn that bridge now for a client you may not even recall when the time comes.
Katherine B.L. Platt, Esq.
Coaching and Mentoring
My advice would be to find an experienced attorney to be your mentor. There are invaluable lessons to be learned from seasoned practitioners.
Steven M. Pacillio, Esq., Omnis Law Group, LLC
Try to work alongside the best lawyer(s) in the practice area you’re interested in, regardless of the money, and watch how they do it.
Barry Rabin, Esq., The Law Firm of Barry S. Rabin
Find a few trusted mentors and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Elizabeth Srinivasan, Esq.
Have one or two great mentors. Also focus on shadowing more senior attorneys to really learn the practical aspects of being a lawyer and the tricks of the trade.
Jennifer M. Breton, Esq., Buckley Brion McGuire & Morris LLP.
Keeping a Sense of Humor is Always Important
Forget the law and try to get into medical school.
Elliott Goldberg, Esq., DiGiacomo & Goldberg
Buy Microsoft stock.
John A. DiSantis,Esq.
A.J., trust me (you), you know that silly website with the awful web design that you just used to sell your law books back for a few bucks, well it’s going to catch on...I know, just stick with me here. Whatever money you make from the law books sale, take it and go buy that company’s stock because it’s less than $2. Just do it and you won’t be practicing law for long. Separately, someday that same goofy company is going to have a slew of drivers that deliver random things to your door, like fragrance free, organic, homeopathic, edible, invisible deodorant; pickleball (it will make sense later) sporting goods; and endless amounts of holiday decorations to celebrate everything from Cinco de Mayo to Victoria Day in Canada –they will visit your house so often you’ll start to wonder if your future wife is having an affair – but don’t worry, she’s not...but thank god you bought that stock because your credit card bill is a doozy.A.J. Ober, IV, Esq., Law Offices of A.J. Ober, IV & Assoc.
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Just good, practical advice….
The best piece of advice I received was from my first boss, on the day I passed the New Jersey Bar Exam. If I could, I would go back and tell myself that this pearl of wisdom should be followed without deviation. John Waters called me into his office, and he bluntly told me, “The most important thing for a young lawyer is to know, is that you don’t know anything.” My initial reaction was shock. It brought me down to earth. He elaborated that I needed to keep my eyes and ears open, and I would learn what it means to be a lawyer. My license represented that I passed the bare minimum requirement to be considered a lawyer. From that point forward, I should observe and listen to other attorneys, judges and most importantly my support staff. I have tried to adhere to that policy, but I would tell myself to do a better job of paying attention and respect every opportunity to learn from others.
Donald F. Kohler, Jr., Esq., Kohler Law Offices, LLC
Time management is everything. No matter how much pressure you feel from anyone; slow down and do it better than right. Do it excellent and push back against anything trying to rush you. Just don’t miss any statutory or judicially set time periods.
Nathan Volpi, Esq.
Return all calls. Clients, other counsel, community contacts, your Mother.
Randall C. Schauer, Esq., Fox Rothschild LLP
The Perspective of Retirement
Take a gap year. Go get a Masters in Law (LL.M.) at N.Y.U. Law School. Teach for awhile, like for maybe 30 or more years. Don’t try to be something that you are not, never will be and don’t even want to be. Don’t try to be somebody else. Just be yourself. If you are miserable with what you are doing, don’t give up. It will be better by the time that you turn 50. It is of utmost importance in being a recognized member of the Chester County Bar. There are 200 members of the Chester County Bar Association . Get to know them all, and get them to know you. Always keep in mind that there is an ancient custom of courtesy in the traditional Bar of Chester County. And don’t ever forget it or even let it slip your mind, even in the face of pressure from your client(s) and the everchanging face of America in the midst of an evolving Western World. Where there is anxiety, there usually follows success. Do not let that anxiety and/or depression lead to excessive
Take a time management class early on, maybe after a year or two of practicing.
Thomas X. McAndrew, Jr., Esq., Siana Law
Be diligent about billing for your services and make sure to get a reasonable deposit up front.
Henri Marcial Esq., Marcial & Haye
Work hard to: listen to the client so you truly understand what the client wants. That sometimes takes many questions. Next: work hard to understand what is driving the other side; what are their needs/desires…this will help you advance your client’s goals.
Andrew Bellwoar, Esq., Bellwoar Kelly
My advice would be “Pace Yourself!” I practiced law for just over thirty years and am semi-retired now. I tremendously enjoyed a very rewarding legal career. If I had done a better job of pacing myself, I might have lawyered longer!
Kimberly Smith, Esq.
Be confident. You’re smarter than 90% of the rest of these lawyers.
Peter E. Kratsa, Esquire, MacElree Harvey, Ltd.
alcohol use, tranquillizing drugs, eating disorders, tobacco use, gambling or other addictions. And don’t give up your health. Exercise is not only necessary for your physical health, but mental as well. Do plenty of pro bono work for Legal Aid or what other organizations that now exist or may come into existence. And, finally, be happy. Remember, your profession is your life; however, there is other life after law school. Alcohol in moderation is fine. And a healthy diet can be enjoyable. Occasional trips to a casino can be recreational and even relaxing. Just don’t let any of that get the best of you. Zealously represent your client, but do not be overly zealous and never get personally involved with your client’s cause. Do not be intimidated by clients. Money is very important, but equally so is peace of mind and quality of life. Some cases can be extremely stressful. The money isn’t worth the headaches, the loss of sleep and the cost of Prozac. I could go on, but I think that that is enough for now.Mark Blank, Jr., Esq.
No Fear! Be curious, Be Persistent!
Do not be afraid to fail and take chances.Robert Jefferson, Esq., Gawthrop Greenwood, PC
Do not be afraid to ask questions and question what is asked. There is more than one way to skin a cat.Steven Koense, Esq.
Don’t be afraid to try cases. Your expertise is valuable and so is your time—bill accordingly. Don’t let the practice of law control your life. Relax, you will survive. Losses are tough— you will survive. Always ask others what they think about your theories for trial. Don’t take every case. Fire clients when you can’t control them with reason. Be kind to all including the idiots on the other side. People look up to you – remember that when you want to respond to unwarranted attacks. Write out a response to hurtful or maddening messages then sleep on it before sending. You represent your client; your actions and appearance count. When you need help professionally or personally ask for it! Help is always there for the asking. We —you—are not alone. When all else fails—pray. Pray before all else fails, too.Tom Wilson, Esq.
I would tell myself that I am capable of more than I realize, if I only give myself the credit I deserve and work harder than I thought I could.Erin Bruno, Esq.
Be persistent, educate yourself, read everything, go get clients.Ted Murphy, Esq.
Follow through on your representations to your clients, to the court, and to your adversaries. You want to develop a reputation as a lawyer who can be trusted in everything you do.Mark J. Connor, Esq., Law Office of Mark J. Connor
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you don’t know something. I’ve found that colleagues are always willing to help especially within this Bar Association.
And, take care of yourself…..achieving a work/life balance is critical, especially with the demands of this profession and of clients, otherwise burnout is likely!Kristin A. Molavoque, Esq., Molavoque Law LLC
The Bar Association Supports and Celebrates our Vets!By Jamie W. Goncharoff, Esq.
Proudly, with the announcement by CCBA President Brian L. Nagle, the Bar Association has established the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Shortly after the announcement, some 20 Bar members jumped on board and have agreed to help lead the charge to accomplish the mission of the committee. The mission of the committee is to study and make recommendations, provide educational programming, and coordinate countywide efforts on legal matters affecting active, reserve and National Guard military service members, retirees, veterans, and their families. The committee will also work with the courts to support the Chester County Veterans’ Court, as well as support the Bar Association’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony.
And speaking about our Veterans Day Ceremony, on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 3 PM, this year’s spectacular Veterans Day celebration will take place outside the Historic Courthouse in West Chester. In addition to military aircraft flyovers, our Guest of Honor will be Congresswoman Chrissy Houlihan, a US Air Force veteran who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The courthouse will be patriotically decorated, and the Valley Forge Military Academy Regimental Band will be performing prior to their participation in the New York City Veterans Day Parade the following day. Revolutionary War reenactors and veteran organizations will also be participating alongside of active-duty service members, all in an effort to make this year’s Bar Association’s Veterans Day celebration the best ever!
Express your patriotism and come join your fellow Bar Association members, dignitaries, and fellow citizens for a memorable celebration, to be followed by a free reception, with good food and drink – on a Friday afternoon!
New personal and professional updates
The Pennsylvania Bar Association recently announced their 2023-2024 Committee & Section chairs. Congrats to our following members:
CHARLES T. DETULLEO, Esq., Law Office of Charles T. DeTulleo, Kennett Square, was elected chair of the PBA Criminal Justice Section.
MAUREEN M. MCBRIDE, Esq., Lamb McErlane PC, West Chester, was renamed co-chair of the PBA Appellate Advocacy Committee, which promotes, supports and improves post-trial and appellate advocacy through regular member dialogues, seminars, a newsletter and interactions with the courts and similar national and state organizations.
THEODORE J. MURPHY, Esq., Murphy Law Firm PC, West Chester, was renamed co-chair of the PBA Immigration Law Committee.
On July 10, 2023, CCBA member Captain Jamie W. Goncharoff, Jr. was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for meritorious service and outstanding achievement as a Marine Corps Judge Advocate. Jamie served as the officer-in-charge of the Legal Assistance Office and Tax Center, as well as a military defense counsel with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. He was nominated as the USMC Legal Assistance Attorney of the Year and served as an Articles Editor for the US Naval Law Review. Jamie is now completing his active-duty service and will then serve with an artillery reserve battalion, while obtaining his LLM. at the University of Pennsylvania this fall.
Young Lawyers Division 2023 Quizzo Fundraiser
Location: Wrong Crowd Beer Company, West Chester
Date: November 2, 2023 | 5pm
The Chester County Paralegal Association has elected Gawthrop Greenwood Paralegal CATHIE O’DONNELL as vice president.
Gawthrop Greenwood attorney, LAUREN NEHRA, has been elected to the board of directors of the Chester County Food Bank.
TO CATCH A THIEFBy Mark Blank, Jr., Esquire
Yes; that is correct. The title of this article matches that of a 1955 Alfred Hitchcock classic (both a comedy and a thriller) starring Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and Jesse Royce Landis. Although the flick is one of my favorites, this article is not meant to be a film review. Instead, the subject is a case in which the plaintiff, as it turned out, was a thief; the defendant was a lawyer (a civil practitioner), who was honest but maybe a bit naive at the time. The plaintiff (Jeb) sued the lawyer (the writer) for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty (i.e., malpractice). It all began some years ago when Jeb, a middle-aged man, waltzed into my office. He had been sued in a Michigan state court by his former employer1. The Michigan lawsuit in which Jeb was the defendant was for breach of contract, fraud, fraud in the inducement, embezzlement, conversion, misrepresentation, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty (you know, all of the usual garden variety), etc. The ad damnum was for in excess of $1,100,000. Three of the counts were to be tried by bench and the remainder by jury. When Jeb first consulted me, the Michigan case was in the pretrial stages. Jeb’s local counsel referred him to me to explore bankruptcy. After I analyzed the situation and Jeb’s personal information, I advised against bankruptcy, but invited Jeb to return for a reevaluation should there be an unfavorable verdict. Jeb was smug. He acted confident that there would be a defense verdict, that he would be fully exonerated, but that if there were a plaintiff’s verdict, he assured me, at most it would be for a nominal sum on breach of contract. “All the other claims are just bullshit,” Jeb reassured me.
Well, guess what. Yes; the inevitable: a plaintiff jury verdict for $1,100,000. So Jeb took me up on my return invitation and came to me in a panic, and his attorneys, spread out over Pennsylvania, Florida2 and Michigan, were all rooting for bankruptcy3
Under pressure (duress, coercion, are probably the more appropriate terms) to try to save Jeb and his assets and to put a halt on the Michigan state court proceedings, I put together a bankruptcy, mostly in hopes that this would stop the roller coaster, and we could work something out.
Jeb’s bankruptcy was, on the trustee’s motion, ultimately dismissed. Among other problems, Jeb had not filed tax returns for several years. (The filing of returns is a requirement in most bankruptcy chapters.)
Following the dismissal, Jeb consulted another lawyer, who filed a second bankruptcy. Between the dismissal of the first and the subsequent filing, the Michigan court proceeded on the nonjury counts and entered judgment in the amount of $700,000, bringing the total verdict to $1,800,000. The court also placed a constructive trust on Jeb’s personal residence, his retirement fund with Raymond James, his Rehoboth beach house and his Disney timeshare. Meanwhile, the bankruptcy court (in the second bankruptcy filing) held that most of Jeb’s property, for various reasons, was not exempt pursuant to Bankruptcy Code Section 522 (relating to exemptions). Jeb was compelled to settle with Jon, the Michigan plaintiff. As a result, Jeb was forced to disgorge, as well as to relinquish the Disney timeshare and
1Partner, colleague, co-owner; although the subject company was a corporation, I was never clear as to the precise business relationship between Jeb (the Michigan defendant) and Jon (the latter being the Michigan plaintiff).
2There was litigation in Florida over Jeb’s participation as a principal in an alleged fraudulent scheme involving the transfer of a Disney timeshare.
3Often attorneys labor under the impression that bankruptcy is a be-all end-all, a fail-safe that will get them off the hook. This notion is misconstrued and could not be further from the truth.
the Raymond James retirement fund. The remainder of the debts, mostly attorney’s fees and litigation costs, with a scattering of some credit cards, were discharged in the bankruptcy. Jeb’s Philadelphia attorneys had me served with the complaint4. I was, of course, blamed for everything that Jeb had lost.
I was oblivious to it all. Nevertheless, I wrote a three page, single spaced memorandum to the representative of my insurance carrier as to why, whatever I did or did not do, was not the cause of Jeb’s losses. (To put it in legal terms: causation, proximate cause.)
As the case unfolded, things became clearer and clearer. As it turned out, Jeb’s and his wife Jane’s principal residence had been transferred from ownership as tenants by the entireties to a family limited partnership, supposedly to protect it from creditors. Jeb had formed a corporation designated RUSI, Inc., the initials of the name of Jon’s company that Jeb had looted. (RUSI, Inc. most probably was established for the purpose of deceit, snaking customers, misappropriating funds and other miscellaneous trickery.)
The Disney timeshare was acquired by Jeb as the result of a fraudulent transaction involving, among other things, misrepresentations, forgery and identity fraud.
Although the home in Rehoboth Beach was owned as tenants by the entireties, that real estate was purchased with ill-begotten cash that had been funneled from the Michigan corporation. Lastly, the retirement fund with Raymond James was owned by
4The lawsuit against me was brought in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The attorneys initially tried to lure me into Philadelphia to accept service so as to make it a clear case that Philadelphia was the proper forum. I did not fall for it. Instead, I was served the conventional way, that is, by the Chester County Sheriff. Nevertheless, the subsequent motion for change of venue was denied, and so the case proceeded in Philadelphia anyway.
5Just as I, the second lawyer initially did not know that the Raymond James retirement fund was held by RUSI, Inc. This is probably why, after that fact was discovered, the attorney filed a Chapter 11 on behalf of RUSI, Inc. to try to protect the asset. 6Plaintiff was Jeb along with his wife Jane. I never met Jane, never talked to her or even knew who she was. I saw her for the first time on the day of the trial.
RUSI, Inc., the shell corporation that Jeb had created5. (I had never heard of a retirement fund that was owned by an entity rather than a human being. That is why I did not think to ask in the first place. How Jeb maneuvered this, I will never know.)
All of this information was revealed piece by piece in the civil action – law Jeb and Jane vs. Mark Blank, Jr 6. My counsel’s motion for summary judgment was summarily denied (per Judge Annette Rizzo).
Continued from page 19
In preparation for trial, five defense motions in limine were filed and brought before the court. (The motions were carbon copies of the summary judgment motion.) Prior to Judge Alfred J. Snite’s rulings on the motions, my counsel suggested going nonjury. “I want to be tried by a jury of my peers,” Jeb told his counsel, who advised mine accordingly. My attorney’s response: “His peers, are you kidding?
A Delaware County plaintiff in Philadelphia, complaining about losing his beach house, in front of a jury of single mothers on welfare and unemployed men trying to support their families? Come on!”
The trial was converted to nonjury. But it did not matter anyway. Four of the five motions in limine were granted. For all intents and purposes, the trial was over. The next day Jeb’s attorneys filed a motion for a voluntary nonsuit. In open court, Jeb’s counsel and Jeb engaged in a colloquy, in the presence of the judge, that almost sounded like a guilty plea. By that time, my counsel had already prepared a motion for an involuntary nonsuit. (Obviously, it was not needed.)
Jon spent hundreds of thousands in litigation fees. Jeb’s state trial attorneys were out several hundred thousand dollars as a result of the second bankruptcy (those fees and costs having been discharged). Jeb’s foolish Philadelphia lawyers, working on a contingency, put forth a lot of time and effort for, as it turned out, nothing, in a case that they mistakenly thought would be an easy winner. If the latter attorneys (1) had done a thorough investigation; (2) learned all of the facts and history; (3) researched bankruptcy law ; and (4) were more professional, they might have rejected the case. They were naive, as was I. The case cost me over $12,000. Okay, the thief got caught, but was it worth it?
The biggest mistake (and my only one at that) was taking the case in the first place.
Bankruptcy was not, never was, and never could be a solution for Jeb.
7At oral argument on the motions in limine, after repeated questions by Judge Snite, which Jeb’s counsel could not answer, the latter conceded: “I don’t know anything about this area of the law”! Counsel telephoned his expert who came to court to help him out, which he could not do, since the latter seemed to be in the dark about the case, tort litigation and lawyer malpractice. (I perused his expert report, and it was a joke.)
8As for me, Jeb did not tell me the half of it and, all the while, played the role of the victim, as thieves often do.
For the readers, there are a lot of lessons, among them:
(a) don’t take a case under pressure; (b) know all of the facts and history; (c) your client could be a thief and, if so, probably will not be forthright8;
(d) even if she/he is not a thief, beware, as any case has the potential of blowing up, and the aftermath could prove to be disastrous.
There is much more to the story. Space limitations and the potential “all right, enough is enough Blank, we get the point” factor preclude any further discussion. Oh, just one more thing. My insurance premium - did it go up? No! Why not? Well, among other things, I was not (never have been, am not and never will be) a thief. And the lawsuit against me was frivolous.
Navigating the Trail: The Benefits of a TEAM, The Benefits of MEMBERSHIPBy Greg Nardi | CCBA Executive Director
Recently, I took a weekend to backpack along a section of the Appalachian Trail with a few friends. We decided to check out the section of the trail near Hawk Mountain here in our great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. My friends and I are not new to backpacking – we know just enough to be dangerous (to ourselves). We also have a very clear belief that what we were able to do at any point in our lives (especially in our mid-twenties), we should be able to do anytime. With too much weight on our backs, 10 miles of steep, rocky trail in front of us, and not enough conditioning leading up to our trip, we set out on a beautiful Saturday morning. It became clear to us very quickly that, while we weren’t in over our heads, we definitely were up for a little bit more of a challenge than the leisurely stroll that we originally thought it might involve.
The first part of the trail hit us like a brick in the face. Just north of Eckville, PA, the trail gains almost 1000 feet in just under one-half mile of distance. This had all of us in the group huffing and puffing, hearts pounding like bass drums, and a couple of us wondering if we remembered anything from our recent CPR training. Needless to say, it was time to fake a rock in the shoe to force a break and allow all to save face. No reason to
admit that we all needed a break – just need to blame the stop on a faulty piece of clothing or equipment.
As we continued this challenging hike along a section of the Appalachian Trail, I quickly realized the significance of having companions by my side. Together, we faced a few obstacles, shared insights (about life and about backpacking), and provided support that made the journey easier and more enjoyable. During some moments of reflection, it struck me that perhaps our group and the challenges of the trail were similar to what we try to accomplish at the bar association. That is, in the professional realm, membership associations play a vital role in assisting individuals along the trail of their careers in a variety of ways.
Connection & Strength in Unity:
Just as our small-but-mighty group found strength in numbers, professionals find solidarity and support within membership associations. We try to provide a platform for like-minded individuals to come together, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. By connecting with others who share similar interests and goals, members can tap into a network of resources, expertise, and opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible.
One of the most valuable aspects of hiking with others is the exchange of knowledge and experience. At one point, very technical knowledge is needed to fix a pack with a specific knot. At another point, we were sitting around a campfire, drinking a brown colored beverage, sharing life-experiences and professional advice more akin to mentoring. Similarly, membership associations serve as a rich repository of collective wisdom. Through CLEs, meetings, conferences, and simple happy hours, members can gain insights, learn from experts, and stay updated on industry trends. We work hard to ensure that our bar association, in particular, provides our members with continuing education programs – especially countyspecific knowledge – allowing them to enhance their knowledge and remain at the forefront of their field.
Mentorship, Advice, and Guidance:
During one of our (many) rest stops, one member of our group noticed a porcupine in close proximity to our group. Most of us couldn’t see him with his effective camouflage. I realized it’s good to have others around you who see things in a slightly different way. Sometimes it’s for something interesting even if not important. Sometimes friendly advice helps you avoid a rattlesnake out sunning himself. On a challenging trail, experienced hikers can offer guidance and mentorship to those who are just starting out. Similarly, membership associations often provide formal and informal programs that connect experienced professionals with emerging talent. These mentor-mentee relationships foster personal and professional growth, offer guidance, advice, and become a platform for skill development. As many of you have shared with me, bar associations offer mentorship opportunities that can shape the trajectory of a successful legal career.
Advocacy and Representation:
Just as hiking partners advocate for each other’s wellbeing on the trail, membership associations work to protect and advance the interests of their members. They serve as a collective voice, representing their members’ concerns, lobbying for favorable policies, and shaping the industry’s landscape. The CCBA actively works to uphold the standards of the legal profession, advocating for fair practices, access to justice, and the rule of law. We continue to monitor legislation in Harrisburg to ensure the independence of the judiciary, changes that impact the practice of law in general or in a particular practice area, and changes which impact the CCBA or CCBF.
Networking, Collaboration, and Building Business:
Hiking with others creates opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, leading to new friendships and partnerships. Similarly, membership associations facilitate networking opportunities, allowing professionals to connect with peers, potential clients, and the leaders in our legal community. These connections can lead to collaborations, business opportunities, and a stronger professional network and community.
Support – Fun, Commiseration, and Wellness
Perhaps the most important takeaway for me on this short adventure is that having a group of good, likeminded people around during a challenging period just makes those tough parts that much easier. From venting and commiseration to true support during a trying period, having a group around makes those periods more bearable. And if there ever was a true crisis, having that support around would have been lifesaving. Our association helps enable awareness of critical services and support to foster relationships that can save us all in a moment of need. Our professional associations can make the journey more fun and also enable us in critical periods.
As we navigated this challenging section of the Appalachian Trail (challenging for me at least), I realized the greater value of companionship and support, both in backpacking and in our careers. The staff and I will continue to work hard in playing a role in helping legal professionals along the trail of their careers. By fostering unity, sharing knowledge, providing mentorship opportunities, advocating for members’ interests, and promoting networking and collaboration, our association will continue to assist our members in overcoming challenges and building their careers. Just as my hiking partners made the journey easier and more enjoyable, the CCBA will continue to provide the support needed for legal professionals to succeed on their career paths.
MASTERING PRODUCTIVITY: Tips, Tools, and Strategies for Legal ProfessionalsBy Hannah Bruno
In a world where time is money, maximizing productivity is crucial in any profession—the legal industry is no exception. Increasing productivity and efficiency in how you spend your time as a legal professional is important for several reasons, including cost savings, creating a competitive advantage, increased job satisfaction, and preventing burnout.
LEGAL PRODUCTIVITY HACKS
Legal professionals can use these tips to increase their productivity, manage their workload effectively, and provide high-quality service to their clients:
1. Use technology to automate repetitive tasks
2. Set realistic deadlines
3. Avoid multitasking
4. Take breaks and practice self-care
5. Learn to say “no” to low-value work
3 TOOLS THAT HELP LAWYERS INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
Time-tracking software enables better time management and makes it simple to accurately track the time spent on different tasks. And, it provides visibility into how time is being spent, enabling them to identify areas where they can improve efficiency.
Legal work requires tracking billable hours and expenses and preparing detailed client invoices. This process can be time-consuming and prone to errors, impacting productivity and profitability. Invoicing software can automate this process, enabling legal professionals to generate invoices quickly and accurately, saving them valuable time and increasing cash flow.
Online payment acceptance
By accepting online payments, legal professionals can reduce the time and resources spent on billing and collecting payments, freeing up time for other essential tasks. Additionally, online payment acceptance can help legal professionals manage their cash flow more efficiently by providing real-time payment processing and notifications, allowing them to stay on top of their finances.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BILLING LIKE A PRO
Reference this checklist to bring your billing process up to the gold standard:
• Use time-tracking software or tools to accurately track your work hours.
• Record your time daily or at regular intervals to avoid forgetting important details.
• terms, and payment methods.
• Create detailed invoices outlining the work performed, hours billed, and any expenses incurred.
• Invoice clients promptly and regularly, preferably on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
• Include a due date on your invoices and send reminders to clients about upcoming payments.
• Keep detailed records of all client invoices and payments, and reconcile your records with your bank statements regularly.
• Review your billing and invoicing process regularly to identify areas for improvement.
• Be transparent and responsive to client questions or concerns about billing.
Meet LawPay Pro
LawPay Pro is a cloud-based software developed specifically for lawyers, designed to handle the entire billing process from end to end. With LawPay Pro, legal firms can use the technology needed to create and grow a successful business without dealing with the steep learning curve.
Some of the top benefits of LawPay Pro include:
• Streamlined and automated billing and payment services
• Accurate and easy time and expense tracking
• Sending invoices via text and email
• Increased organization and productivity
You can try a demo of LawPay Pro, with packages starting as low as $19 per month per user. We invite Chester County Bar Association members to learn more today by visiting lawpay.com/chescobar.
I’m not sure why I waited so long
What’s New with Offshore Wind Farms and Coastwise Trade Laws in the U.S.By Sandra L. Knapp, Esquire
to include “non-mineral energy resources.” Clearly now, any wind farm installations on the OCS must adhere to the coastwise trade laws. Transportation of merchandise from a U.S. port to a wind farm installation in the territorial sea and on the OCS must be transported on a coastwise-qualified vessel.
Offshore wind farm projects along the East Coast have been dominating the news with headlines covering everything from wildlife, to economic development, politics and clean energy. But what do these projects entail in terms of logistics, foreign vessels, U.S. coastwise vessels, crewing and maintenance?
As we know, a non-coastwise-qualified vessel cannot transport merchandise or passengers by water, or by land and water, between points in the United States. “Points in the United States” includes the territorial sea, which is a belt three miles wide. Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, “points in the United States” also includes installations attached to the seabed in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) which is erected for the purposes of producing resources or installation of a device to transport such resources. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 amended the law
This is great news for coastwise trade Jones Act operators and shipowners. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decisions clearly state that any use of a foreign vessel is prohibited from transporting cargo or people between two coastwise points including a U.S port and a wind farm on territorial U.S. waters or the OCS. The jurisdiction over the OCS is limited to the exploration or production of resources while U.S. sovereignty within the territorial sea is unlimited. The grey area in this analysis revolves around what constitutes a “point” in respect to wind farms and whether certain vessels for these projects can be a foreign vessel.
On January 27, 2021, the CBP office issued a letter ruling regarding several scenarios related to wind farms and the coastwise trade laws of the United States. It is the first
decision by CBP on the issue of coastwise trade laws and the OCS since the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 was passed.
Since then, the CBP has issued several other rulings regarding the coastwise trade law (also known as the Jones Act) and how it affects the development, constructions, cable laying, foundations, and wind turbine generator units for the projects.
The CBP has stated that the Jones Act does “not apply to activity occurring at the pristine seabed” on the OCS. Once a coastwise point is established on the seabed, then the Jones Act will apply. This analysis sounds simple enough. Nothing in the law is ever simple, however. Below are a few summaries from the rulings:
• At the time of the delivery of the first scour protection material, which is used to lay the foundation for and protect foundations for the wind turbine generator, to the pristine seabed, there is no “coastwise point” and a non-qualified-coastwise vessel can be used to transport the material (mainly consisting of rocks). Once the rocks are placed on the seabed, a coastwise point is created at that location.
• A cable laying vessel that lays cable between two coastwise points is not considered a use in the coastwise trade. That’s because the material is not laden as “cargo” or merchandise but rather is paid out in the course of the installation operation. Therefore, a non-coastwisequalified vessel may be used. However, if the cable is transported on a vessel that is not laying the cable, then a coastwise-qualified vessel must be used. Once the electric transmission cable is laid in the seabed, it is considered a coastwise point.
• When the components of a wind turbine are transported from a foreign port to a turbine installation vessel or foundation installation vessel, they are transported to a U.S. point established by the first load of scour protection material. However, since the merchandise was not transported between two U.S. points, a foreign vessel may be used.
• The installation vessels that are attached to the seabed will be a coastwise point when anchored. A dynamically-positioned vessel has been held by the CBP to lack any permanent or temporary attachment to the seabed and is not considered a coastwise point.
• A crane vessel that is moving merchandise to construct or dismantle a marine structure is not coastwise trade as long as the merchandise is moved solely by the movement of the crane.
Confused yet? There are also scenarios related to the transportation of crew necessary for the installation of the monopiles and turbines. The question there is whether the crew should be considered “passengers” for purposes of the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which requires the transportation of passengers between two coastwise points to be on board a coastwise-qualified vessel.
Attorney Sandra L. Knapp is a partner at Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, where she leads the firm’s Maritime & Transportation Law Department. In addition to marine financing, Sandy advises on maritime transportation regulatory matters, including U.S. coastwise trade and citizenship requirements. Sandy is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, past Chair of its Marine Finance Committee and formerly a member of its Board of Directors. She has practiced in the Philadelphia area for over 30 years, representing clients throughout the United States and abroad and was recently named “Female Business Leader of the Year” in Chester County. For more information, contact Sandra L. Knapp at email@example.com or 610-696-8225.
James C. Schwartzman, Esq.
• Judge, Court of Judicial Discipline
• Former Chairman, Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania
• Former Chairman, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
• Former Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
• Former Chairman, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board
• Former Federal Prosecutor
• Selected by his peers as one of the top 100 Super Lawyers in PA and the top 100 Super Lawyers in Philadelphia
• Named by his peers as Best Lawyers in America 2022 and 2015 Philadelphia “Lawyer of the Year” Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law and Legal Malpractice Law
1500 Market Street, East Tower, Suite 1800 • Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 751-2863
Swope Scholarship Essay
This year’s winner of the Charles E. Swope Scholarship is Yajat Gupta. Students were invited to share their interpretation of this year’s theme: “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.”
Winning School: Downingtown East High School | Intended University: Georgetown University
Democracy and Civics – The Heart of a Beautiful Nation
As a middle-class citizen of the United States, I am fortunate to be provided with substantial freedoms and opportunities that I do not express my gratitude for often enough. I don’t spend my days worrying about being caught in a military crossfire, living on the streets, or how I’m going to get my next meal. I can speak my mind, protest my leaders, and wear what I want. I can go to school to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, improve myself, immerse myself in the community, develop connections, and simply just have fun. Awareness of how blessed I am has been a pivotal contributor in shaping my service-mindset and motivating me to improve the lives of others. Life is valuable, perhaps the most valuable thing out there, so I intend to live it to the fullest and help others do the same.
I often ponder how our beautiful nation became the cornerstone of democracy and a place where immigrants from around the world come in hopes of achieving the “American Dream.” The answer lies in the civics (the rights and duties of citizens), which our founding fathers understood the importance of; they made it a crucial part of our democratic experiment in self-governance.
However, what exactly are these rights and duties that make up civics? As said in John Locke’s Two Treaties of Government, people join a society by agreeing to abide by the rules and decisions of the majority. However, he also insisted that people have the right to dissolve their own governments if their rights to their lives, liberty, and property are infringed upon. Every citizen is given the right to vote, and legal proceedings like Baker vs. Carr ensure that every single person can freely exercise it. Citizens are also given the ability to protest/advocate against their leaders and societal issues. They must pay taxes and obey the law, and those of suitable ages must attend school to receive an education and broaden their horizons. Law and government is more a part of our daily lives than us citizens think. Whether we take public transportation, borrow a book from the library, sign a petition, donate money, or even simply help a neighbor, this is all only possible due to the way our society is set up.
The founding fathers knew that all of these rights, duties, and ways to be involved in society would be pivotal in making America a great nation due to the power of democracy, collaboration, and being informed and involved citizens.
Democracy is about freedom – a government for the people, by the people. The founding fathers knew that it would give each citizen a voice, empowering them to choose their own representatives and make decisions for their self-governance. They also knew that it would lead to peaceful co-existence between nations, and that the United States would become a beacon of hope that many nations around the world would be inspired by and thus follow suit. Quality of life and the happiness of citizens are far greater when they have the political freedoms that democracy provides, and the founding fathers were well aware of this when constructing our society.
The founding fathers also knew the power of collaboration and diversity of thought. The juxtaposition of people with different backgrounds and perspectives can drive innovation and further respect and understanding. They knew it would make citizens kinder to one another and also lead to creative solutions. By understanding others and their perspectives, people diminish the biases they have and accept others as equal humans. The culmination of different views can introduce new methods of thinking or ideas that can improve society. Additionally, relationships formed with other people are one of the most valuable things in life, and our founding fathers wanted to establish a system where we could all be connected and work together.
Finally, the founding fathers knew that implementing civics as an important part of our society would lead to the United States having informed and involved citizens. Almost every citizen of age is involved in the political process due to being able to vote, seeing what’s going on in the news, and engaging in political activism if they so choose.
Democracy and civics truly are the heart of our beautiful nation, a heart that pumps liberty, freedom, and peace due to the impressive foresight of our founding fathers.
2023 AAML Arbitration Training InstituteBy Shelly Grossman, Esq., and Carolyn Zack
Chester County Bar Association members
, Rochelle B. (“Shelly”) Grossman and Carolyn Zack led the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) 2023 Arbitration Training Institute in Chicago on June 1 and 2, 2023. The Institute planners were Academy Fellows Amy J. Amundsen (Tennessee) and Jennifer Bingham (Massachusetts), co-chairs of the AAML Arbitration Committee, pictured at right with Shelly and Carolyn. Judge Robert Childers, a Circuit Court judge, mediator, and AAA-trained arbitrator, served as a guest lecturer and offered guidance on practical, ethical, and jurisdictional issues. The two-day in-person training provided 13 hours of CLE credits, including one hour of ethics, and participants received a certificate of training issued by the AAML. Participants also received feedback from their advisors, Academy Fellows with experience as arbitrators, on their draft agreements to arbitrate, interim directives, and arbitration awards. The attendees included more than 30 attorneys from across the country, who engaged in a lively and thoughtful discussion about the benefits of family law arbitration, shared information about their local family law practice and experience and offered their perspectives on best practices for family law arbitrators. All participants, including Shelly and Carolyn, came away from the
program feeling better prepared to tackle complicated arbitrationrelated issues. An overwhelming theme of the Institute is the need for a more uniform approach to family law arbitration and the adoption of the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA) throughout the country. Another outcome of the training institute is the demand for more certified arbitrators trained by the AAML, which is the only professional organization training family law arbitrators.
If you are interested in attending the AAML Arbitration Training Institute next year, please reach out to Shelly at shelly@ pottsshoemaker.com or Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sackett II – Waters of the United States –The Definition Is Still Not Water ClearBy John R. Embick, Esquire John R. Embick, PLLC Chair of the CCBA Environmental Law Section
On May 25, 2023, the United State Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) again revisited the definition of Waters of the United States (“WOTUS”) in Sackett et ux v. U.S.EPA, et al., No. 21-454 (“Sackett II”). I’ve written several times in the past about this issue, which involves the scope of federal jurisdiction over wetlands, as set forth in the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§1251 et seq. (“CWA”). Curiously, the decision in Sackett II does not specifically evaluate the facts associated with the Sackett’s case, and does not explain in depth why the Sackett’s lot (see below) is not a wetland subject to the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“ACE”). We must infer that the Sackett lot did not meet the new test articulated by the SCOTUS majority. The justices split 5 (Roberts, Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito (who authored the decision of the majority) and Barrett) to 4 (Kagan, Sotomayor, Jackson and Kavanaugh (!)) on the test to be used to determine if a wetland is subject to federal control under the CWA. However, even more curious, all nine of the justices agreed with the judgment that the lot was not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. pursuant to the CWA (presumably no matter what test was used).
This case involves the misfortunate Sacketts, who purchased a lot “adjacent” to Priest Lake in northern Idaho. Priest Lake receives flow from the Selkirk Range and is known for its exceptional water quality. Priest
Lake is an intrastate lake, and is part of the Priest River system, and in turn is part of the Columbia River Basin, and so presumably Priest Lake is part of traditional WOTUS (although Justice Thomas and Justice Gorsuch are not so sure). The Sackett lot was not a waterfront lot and was located several hundred feet inland from the lake shoreline, and was also situated near a road which separated the lot from a large wetland area known as the Kalispell Bay Fen. There appear to be no surface water connections between the Sackett lot and Priest Lake, the Kalispell Bay Fen, or any tributaries.
From a scientific standpoint, however, you don’t need to be a wetlands delineation expert to conclude that the Kalispel Bay Fen, the Sackett’s lot and Priest Lake are probably hydrologically and ecologically associated with one another (but that is not the issue here – the question is whether the Sackett’s lot is subject to federal authority). The lot apparently was wet and the Sacketts placed fill on the lot in anticipation of building a home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency learned of the activity and ordered the Sacketts to cease the deposition of fill and remediate the site, claiming that the lot was a jurisdictional wetland adjacent to WOTUS, and that the deposition of fill into the wetland without a permit was illegal. The Sacketts sued, claiming their lot was not a wetland subject to the authority of the CWA. The District Court below found that the lot was subject to the CWA, and the Ninth Circuit agreed. SCOTUS granted certiorari to decide the proper test for determining whether wetlands are “waters of the United States.” 595 U. S. ___ (2022).
The core problem in this dispute relates to the definitions of “navigable waters” and WOTUS, as set forth in the CWA. This issue (as it relates to wetlands and other waters) has been contested for years and has been the subject of waxing and waning rulemaking which spans
eight presidential administrations.
The relevant statutory language can be summarized as follows. The CWA prohibits the discharge of pollutants into only “navigable waters,” which it in turn defines as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas,” 33 U. S. C. §§1311(a), 1344(a), 1362(7), (12)(A) (2018 ed.). The “waters of the United States” also includes wetlands that are “adjacent” to waters covered by the Act—for example, wetlands that are adjacent to covered rivers or lakes. §§1344(g), 1362(7). The individual states, of course, are free to regulate the discharge of pollutants into waters which are not WOTUS.
SCOTUS had occasion to address this issue earlier but failed to resolve the question in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). In Rapanos, the matter involved the filling of wetlands that were located miles from traditional WOTUS (and with no surface connection to WOTUS). A plurality opinion by Justice Scalia decried ACE’s excessive and over-broad interpretation of jurisdictional wetlands. In order to be a proper subject for regulation, Scalia opined, a wetland had to be permanently and directly attached to traditional navigable waters. This became known as the “continuous surface connection” test.
In an opinion concurring only in the Rapanos judgment, Justice Kennedy outlined a “significant nexus” standard, which he opined must be used on an ad hoc basis. So, the dispute in Rapanos was resolved, but a single test to determine WOTUS failed to attract a majority of votes in Rapanos. EPA and ACE ended up trying to utilize elements of both tests on a waterby-water basis, but certainly depended heavily on the significant nexus standard.
This is likely, in my view, because the science underpinning water quality improvement and wetlands protection techniques recognizes multiple and essential interconnections between groundwater, wetlands and surface waters. EPA and ACE likely have concluded that the goals set forth in the CWA (fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters) can’t be achieved without rigorous and extensive control over the broadest range of WOTUS, including wetlands with significant nexus to traditional WOTUS. Whether Congress actually intended this result was one of the issues addressed by the SCOTUS majority in Sackett II.
The new test adopted in Sackett II is presented as follows:
In sum, we hold that the CWA extends to only those “wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies that are ‘waters of the United States’ in their
own right,” so that they are “indistinguishable” from those waters. Rapanos, 547 U. S., at 742, 755 (plurality opinion) (emphasis deleted); see supra, at 22. This holding compels reversal here. The wetlands on the Sacketts’ property are distinguishable from any possibly covered waters.
Majority slip op., at 27.
To get to this result, the Sackett II majority analyzed several major subsidiary questions: (1) what is the historic meaning of “navigable waters?”; (2) is the “significant nexus” test too vague such that it subjects citizens to significant CWA civil and criminal penalties for conduct that the average citizen could not discern?; (3) did Congress in passing the CWA intend to authorize EPA and ACE to extend broad control over wetlands with a significant nexus to navigable waters and traditional WOTUS?; (4) how does that broad scope of federal control relate to the prominent role the states were given by the CWA?; (5) what does “adjacent” mean in the context of the statutory language?; and (6) should ecological concerns play a part in the statutory analysis?
Regarding the meaning of “navigable waters,” and WOTUS, Justice Alito concluded that navigable waters were traditionally intended to refer to actual avenues of water that could be traversed for commercial endeavors, and WOTUS traditionally means open waters like rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and territorial seas. Justice Alito concluded that wetlands are not WOTUS except in very limited circumstances. Majority slip op., at 16-18.
Regarding the vagueness argument, Justice Alito opined that the significant nexus test was too complicated, too expensive, and too risky for an average citizen to understand and to comply with. Majority slip op., at 13-14.
Regarding the authority of the states under the CWA, Justice Alito notes that the CWA expressly “protect[s] the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution” and “to plan the development and use . . . of land and water resources.” §1251(b). Justice Alito notes that it would be difficult for the states to assume that role with an expansive definition of WOTUS. Majority slip op., at 17-18.
Regarding the meaning of “adjacent,” Justice Alito noted that an amendment to the CWA in 1977 gave EPA and ACE the authority to delegate to individual states the ability to regulate the discharge of dredge and spill materials into WOTUS, except for traditional navigable waters (which in turn included adjacent wetlands). CWA
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§1344(g)(1). Justice Alito had to concede that Congress intended some wetlands which were associated with navigable waters to be included in WOTUS. Majority slip op., at 18-19. However, Justice Alito decides that the way to harmonize this category of wetlands with the waters that constitute WOTUS, is to determine that those wetlands must be indistinguishably part of a body of water that itself constitutes “waters” under the CWA. Majority slip op., at 19. This condition therefore informs the meaning of “adjacent” in the CWA §1344(g)(1). Accordingly, in this context, “adjacent” means adjoining or contiguous or bordering (and not neighboring or nearby).
Regarding the ecological concerns that the EPA advanced about the consequences of a narrower definition of WOTUS, Justice Alito summarily states: “But the CWA does not define the EPA’s jurisdiction based on ecological importance, and we cannot redraw the Act’s allocation of authority.” Majority slip op., at 27.
Regarding the asserted intention of Congress (with respect to the addition of the term “adjacent” wetlands in CWA §1344(g)(1)), Justice Alito opined that “SCOTUS requires an explicit statement of intent if Congress wishes to alter the balance between federal and state power and the power of the Government over private property.” Majority slip op., at 23.
Against this backdrop, Justice Kavanaugh wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment (i.e., the Sackett’s lot is not subject to federal jurisdiction), but dissenting from the majority’s narrowing of the definition of WOTUS. Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson joined in this opinion.
In his opinion, Justice Kavanaugh advances a largely textualist argument, and notes that:
In my view, the Court’s “continuous surface connection” test departs from the statutory text, from 45 years of consistent agency practice, and from this Court’s precedents. The Court’s test narrows the Clean Water Act’s coverage of “adjacent” wetlands to mean only “adjoining” wetlands. But “adjacent” and “adjoining” have distinct meanings: Adjoining wetlands are contiguous to or bordering a covered water, whereas adjacent wetlands include both (i) those wetlands contiguous to or bordering a covered water, and (ii) wetlands separated from a covered water only by a man-made dike or barrier, natural river berm, beach dune, or the like. By narrowing the Act’s coverage of wetlands to only adjoining wetlands, the Court’s new
test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States.
Kavanaugh slip op., at 2 (note that Justice Kavanaugh also specifically rejects the significant nexus test).
Justice Alito dismisses this textualist argument summarily: “Textualist arguments that ignore the operative text cannot be taken seriously.” Majority slip op., at 27.
Justice Kagan wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment, but also disagreeing with the new WOTUS test and joining the Kavanaugh opinion. She concludes with the following:
So I’ll conclude, sadly, by repeating what I wrote last year, with the replacement of only a single word. “[T]he Court substitutes its own ideas about policymaking for Congress’s. The Court will not allow the Clean [Water] Act to work as Congress instructed. The Court, rather than Congress, will decide how much regulation is too much.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 32). Because that is not how I think our Government should work—more, because it is not how the Constitution thinks our Government should work—I respectfully concur in the judgment only.
Kagan slip op., at 6 (referring to Justice Kagan’s dissent in West Virginia v. EPA, 597 U. S. ___, ___, ___ (2022) (in which SCOTUS struck down an EPA-mandated air pollution control measure using the then-new Major Decisions Doctrine)).
It is my view that the new test, while certainly reducing the scope of federal jurisdiction over wetlands (as predicted by Justice Kavanaugh), will continue to produce uncertainty, e.g., what does “indistinguishable” really mean (wetlands usually have a different appearance than open water)?; what is the consequence of temporary interruptions in continuous connections?; and what about storms or floods which sever continuous connections or create new ones?). So, despite a lot of statutory, historical, etymological, and policy analysis, the new test is not (in my view) “water clear.”
This federal court decision may not mean a sea change in Pennsylvania, since groundwater, surface water and wetlands are included in “Waters of the Commonwealth,” and Pennsylvania maintains a robust wetlands regulation program.
So, to paraphrase the polymath Benjamin Franklin: When the wetlands are dry, we will know the worth of wetlands.
Trademarks, Spoofs, and Dog Toys: Jack Daniel’s Properties v. VIP ProductsBy Shannon K. McDonald, Esquire
Recently a unanimous United States Supreme Court rebuked dog toy maker VIP Products for infringement on Jack Daniel’s famous whiskey bottle. In a case that seems so obvious, but also so harmless to the dog toy owner, Jack Daniel’s sued to stop the production of a certain dog toy. They toy was apparently a squeaky toy “about the same size and shape as an ordinary bottle of Jack Daniel’s.” The Court notes that the font on the label of the toy is similar to that of the Jack Daniel’s bottle as well. And, the court notes, even the slogan is pulled from Jack Daniel’s; “Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet” it says.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the opinion that all joined, and gave a nice primary on trademark law, for those of us who don’t consider it often. First, she reminds us, that a trademark identifies a product’s source and distinguishes it from any other brand. And second, trademark law only allows “infringement” where there is confusion “about source of a product or service.” This source issue becomes the central matter in the case: Bad Spaniels appears to use the same source for its toy as Jack Daniel’s for its whiskey.
Justice Kagan thus waived away any First Amendment claims of parody, because although you might think the toy is a good joke, it does not use Jack Daniel’s mark in a “non-source identifying way.” That is, a consumer, Justice Kagan states, could easily think that the same maker was making the dog toy and the whiskey. She sums it very nicely by stating at the close of the opinion: “[t]he cardinal sin under the law … is to undermine” the ability reliably to indicate the source of goods. “ [C]onfusion is most likely to arise when someone uses another’s trademark as a trademark … rather than for some other expressive function.”
Thus they overturned the lower court’s excusing the dog toy on First Amendment grounds. As other readers of the opinion note, it’s an unusual case in that it focuses on core issues and lays out very vigorous discussion on the importance of confusion.
LEGACY PHILANTHROPY: LIKE THE MOON & THE SUN, NOW & FOREVER
There is a Korean folktale in which siblings face a dangerous situation together and ultimately sacrifice for each other’s well-being.
As the story goes, sister and brother were home alone when they heard a knock at the door. Thinking it was their mother, they went to check. Horrors! It was a tiger who tricked the pair into letting it in.
The children ran and climbed a tree to evade the hungry tiger. They pleaded for help from the heavens and a rope came down from the sky. The siblings climbed and climbed until finally they were in the sky. The brother became the sun and the sister became the moon.
However, the sister was afraid of the dark. The brother, showing love and compassion, let the sister become the sun and he became the moon in her place.
This traditional folktale explains the origin of the sun and the moon. It also relates the closeness between brother and sister, who face danger together, help each other, and sacrifice for each other for all eternity.
The Brenneman family of West Chester knows this folktale well. In 1995, Steve and Elaine Brenneman adopted brother Asa who was born near Seoul, Korea, and soon after, sister Mia.
Asa In Hyuk Brenneman’s adventurous spirit and creative pursuits illustrated his love for life. Asa loved animals, nature, and spending time outdoors. He volunteered at an animal adoption agency and Tristate Bird Rescue.
610.696.8211 | chescocf.org
Growing up, Asa enjoyed karate, art, skateboarding and climbing anything he could find. Asa pursued many artistic endeavors. After graduating from Hill Top Preparatory School in 2014, after a series of varied and interesting jobs, Asa finally settled on private finance. He was very happily studying economics and investing his portfolio in everything including crypto, watches, cars, stocks, gold and unique commodities.
Asa’s journey was not met without challenge. Asa faced tiger-like adversity due to autism. Asa never let his diagnosis define him, despite facing difficulties forming connections. He sustained many meaningful friendships and exhibited remarkable courage and persistence.
Asa liked to drive and he knew most everything about cars. Tragically, on October 16, 2022, at the age of 27, Asa’s life was cut short by a motorcycle accident.
As the grief-stricken Brenneman family met with their attorney, John R. Twombly Jr., Esq., of Kennett Square, they expressed their desire to somehow honor Asa’s legacy.
John Twombly mentioned the Community Foundation as an option to consider in creating a legacy fund. Another client of his, the Daley Family, had established a Community Foundation legacy fund several years ago, and John knew of their ongoing satisfaction.
After an introductory meeting, the Brenneman family signed a straightforward fund agreement with the Community Foundation. In consideration of the core values defining Asa’s life, they called their charitable fund the Brother Moon & Sister Sun Fund.
Reflecting Asa’s concern for food insecurity, homelessness, education, international adoptions, and developmental needs, the Brother Moon & Sister Sun Fund supports causes that assist these pressing issues.
The Community Foundation is humbled to be entrusted with carrying forth Asa’s legacy of shining light on the world. We also gratefully spotlight estate planner John R. Twombly Jr., Esq.’s role in opening the door to legacy philanthropy. Like the moon and the sun, Now & Forever.
Chester County Community Foundation 28 W. Market St., The Lincoln Building West Chester, PA 19382 www.chescocf.org |
Karen Simmons, President/CEO
Jason Arbacheski CAP®, Gift Planning & Stewardship Director
Winifred Sebastian Moran, Esq., Chair of the Board
this year’s Door Opener Award Winner Twombly Jr., Esq., of Kennett Square who helped create the Brother Moon & Sister Sun Legacy Fund at our Annual Meeting to be inspired Mon., Oct. 23, 2023 at 5pm Uptown Knauer PAC, West Chester email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan M. Jennings, EsquireChair Elect, Young Lawyers Division
Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys at Law | rjennings@UTBF.com
What is your favorite way to spend your free time? Doing something active (sports, hiking, biking).
What is your favorite food? A pasta & seafood combo or sushi.
Where do you live? Chester Springs.
What is your greatest extravagance? Dining out often.
Who is the person you are most interested in meeting? Living: Pope Francis. Deceased: Chris Farley.
What is something people would be surprised to hear about you? I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker. I’ve skydived and scuba dived with sharks.
What is your favorite website? Sadly, amazon.com.
What was your first job? Paperboy.
What word best describes you? Thoughtful (I think/hope).
What is your favorite vacation destination?
The Caribbean Islands. I’ve been to a bunch, but have plenty more to visit.
What was the last book you read? The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant.
What is your favorite TV Show? Survivor.
What goals do you still have that you have not achieved yet? To achieve and maintain a comfortable work/life balance.
What would you be if you were not a lawyer? A pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon or meteorologist.
Where would we find you on a Saturday afternoon? Somewhere outside with my dog (Oliver).
What is a little-known fact about you? I was my college’s mascot for a year.
What is your favorite thing about the bar association? The enriching educational, professional, and social opportunities the CCBA consistently provides.