Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA
Bench Bar Returns to Marylandâ€™s Eastern Shore
The Importance of Beneficiary Designations in Estate Planning
Family Court Face Lift
Bench Bar 10 Returns to
Montgomery Bar Association / Montgomery County PA
SIDEBAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS Co-Chairs
Maryland’s Eastern Shore
Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq. Gary J. Friedlander, Esq.
FEATURES Estate Planning 101.................................5
6 Welcome New Montgomery County Sheriff Russell J. Bono!
IN EVERY ISSUE... President’s Message............................4 Bits & Bytes..........................................8 Restaurant Review.............................26 Montgomery Bar Foundation.............36 Upcoming Events...............................39 Wiretaps.............................................40 Young Lawyers...................................43
Welcome New Montgomery County Sheriff Russell J. Bono...........................6 Letter to the Editor...................................7 Legal Aid: A Success Story...................9 Bench Bar Returns to Maryland’s Eastern Shore.........................................10 Courting Art Update..............................12 The Importance of Beneficiary Designations in Estate Planning........14 Establishing Trust at the Initial Client Interview.................................................16 Clerk of the Orphans’ Court Launches E-Filing....................................................18 Family Court Face Lift...........................19 2014 Legal Aid Golf Classic.................23 Diversity Committee Hosts a Day in Court.........................................................24
Family Court Face Lift
MBA Staff George Cardenas IT Manager Jack Costello Marketing Manager Jim Mathias Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs Nancy R. Paul Executive Director The SIDEBAR Committee invites articles and news information of interest. Please send content to: MBA, c/o SIDEBAR Committee, P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The SIDEBAR Committee reserves the right to edit any material submitted and/or to omit the same from publication. Most articles are written by members for members.
Montgomery Bar Association
Serving the Profession and the Community since 1885
Are There Limits to Unpaid Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation?............28
Michael F. Rogers, Esq., President Bruce Pancio, Esq., President-Elect Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., Vice-President Eric B. Smith, Esq., Treasurer Wendy G. Rothstein, Esq., Secretary
Paralegals: Regulation vs. Certification .....................................30
Publisher Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2921 Windmill Road, Reading, PA 19608
Spotlight on Diversity...........................32
610.685.0914 x201 | HoffPubs.com
MBA Speakers Bureau........................33
Advertising Contacts Andrea Krantz 610.685.0914 x205 | Andrea@HoffPubs.com
Law Day Celebration............................27
Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. Cynthia L. Brennan, Esq. Richard E. Cohen, Esq. David H. Comer, Esq. Jack Costello Charles V. Curley, Esq. Lindsay Hanifan, Esq. Mary Kay Kelm, Esq. Jim Mathias Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Kelley L. Menzano, Esq. Craig Oppenheimer, Esq. Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.
MBA’s New Incapacity/Guardianship Panels......................................................34 PA Enacts New CLE Guidelines.........35 A Message from USI Affinity...............38
Karen Zach 610.685.0914 x213 | Karen@HoffPubs.com
LEGISLATORS SEEK INPUT FROM MBA MEMBERS By Michael F. Rogers, Esq., MBA President
ost of us have heard stories about laws that were once appropriate, but if still in force would make modern life unimaginable. My favorite such law is the long-repealed requirement in some states that an automobile driver had to send notice of at least one half-hour before entering a town so the streets could be cleared. While important when automobiles were not common and their presence caused panic among horses, modern commerce would come to a halt if such a law was still in force. Because the law evolves, legislation that was once appropriate sometimes outlives its usefulness, and its continued enforcement is counterproductive. Earlier this spring, local members of the Pennsylvania legislature attended a breakfast meeting here at the Bar Association. The meeting, chaired and hosted by longtime chairs of the MBA Government Relations Committee Mark A. Kearney and Jeffrey M. Lindy, included over twenty-five members of our Bar Association, dozens of state
representatives, and PA State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf. The meeting provided a forum for members of the Bar Association, including leaders of the charitable organizations we support, such as Montgomery Child Advocacy Project and Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, to have frank discussions with the legislators who were present regarding the future of funding for their activities. Those in attendance gained insight from the legislators into the current budget process and other issues of importance. Of particular interest to members of the Bar was pending legislation which proposes to affix sales tax to legal services. Another piece of proposed legislation would revise the procedure for legal advertising, which would directly affect the Montgomery County Law Reporter. Although the legislators were from different parties, the exchange was frank and cordial and everyone in attendance thought it was a very worthwhile opportunity. One other take-away from the meeting was the possibility that members of the Bar can directly influence the modernization of statutes and regulations. The legislators pointed out that very often there are provisions in our statutes and regulations which, although appropriate at the time they were enacted or promulgated, have
outlived their usefulness and should be repealed or substantially modified. The legislators indicated that members of the Bar are in the best position to identify such antiquated provisions, due to our intimate knowledge of statutes and regulations that we work with when serving our clients. Such long-standing statutes and regulations may be rarely, if ever, reviewed by the legislature or regulatory authority, so they have no awareness of the need for change. This is our golden opportunity to bring such issues to their attention. To that end, the MBA will be soliciting your ideas as members of the Bar on particular components of legislation and/ or regulations which you believe are no longer appropriate, are counterproductive or are otherwise in need of revision. Please submit such ideas to Nancy Paul at the MBA (NancyPaul@ montgomerybar.org). After we receive your suggestion, it will be presented to the appropriate MBA substantive law committee for review and possible adjustment. It will then be referred to the appropriate legislator for consideration. This is an opportunity for each of us to help advance the cause of justice in the Commonwealth as we have a unique vantage point in these areas and are best able to identify issues for our clients and the citizens of Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. The legislators openly and warmly welcome our participation.
MBA / FEATURE
Estate Planning 101:
Essential Considerations for Clients Beyond Traditional Tax Planning By Michael J. Moyer, Esq.
ounseling clients on estate planning should go well beyond the traditional and complex world of federal estate and gift tax planning. Regardless of age, marital status, or net worth, your clients will frequently have complex and often competing personal goals that need to be considered in planning for the transition of assets. Tax laws often provide useful solutions to accomplishing a client’s dispositive goals, but nontax goals can be at least as important to consider. The matters of selecting a guardian, establishing trusts for minors, and planning with digital assets are important considerations briefly discussed herein.
More emotional for most parents in planning for the orderly disposition of their assets is the thought of what would happen if they were no longer alive to provide guidance for their children. Appointment of guardians for minor children in a client’s will requires thoughtful consideration. This is often a very difficult choice for your client, who knows their children and personal values best. As with any appointment, alternates and succession need to be considered. Consideration of the client’s values and trust in others to do the right thing are at the forefront of these
decisions. Avoiding the issue altogether in a client’s will may lead to litigation over who would be the best guardian, which can be costly, time-consuming and destructive to family relationships in a time when the minor children need stability and guidance. While this is an issue the client must ultimately decide upon, estate planning attorneys must be prepared for these discussions and help facilitate a thoughtful decision.
Trusts for Minors
Trusts are often used for reasons beyond planning for the reduction in federal estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer, and inheritance tax. Spendthrift protection offered by trusts is one fundamental reason clients implement them for children or grandchildren, with the goal of ensuring a young or inexperienced beneficiary spends their inheritance in a way that serves their longer term best interests. Appointment of trustees and successors who understand a family’s value systems can ensure that the goals of the client’s trust are achieved. Virtually every estate plan should have basic minor’s trust provisions as a catch-all to ensure a plan for holding property until at least the age of the majority. More complex trust planning is commonly used to ensure funds will be used for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance, and support expenses and to help a beneficiary start their life, which often puts the discretion in the care of a Trustee to make distributions of principal and interest. Trusts will frequently terminate in tiered stages and ages, to allow the beneficiary more than one opportunity to use the funds in a prudent manner. As with any planning, the attorney must plan for contingencies with an eye toward the reduction of adverse tax consequences. SIDEBAR
An evolving area is the planning for the transition of digital assets, which may include any online account, file, website, social networking site, or other computeraccessed program. At a minimum, trusts and estates attorneys should advise their clients to prepare an inventory of such digital assets and to carefully consider how to preserve access to such digital assets in the event of incapacitation or death. Aside from websites—social networking or otherwise—for which a client may have certain memorial wishes, most financial institutions have made brokerage, insurance, banking and retirement accounts completely accessible online. Without an inventory of all digital assets, it may be very difficult for an executor or trustee to marshal a decedent’s assets and access the accounts. In fact, without paper statements coming in the mail, it may be challenging for your fiduciary to even discover these digital assets, which can cause significant tax problems and delays in the estate and trust administration. Federal and state laws concerning the growing area of digital asset planning are still evolving, and there will continue to be an evolution of techniques for planning with digital assets with a special focus on privacy and concern for the avoidance of identity theft. As an attorney engaged in estate planning, you may be asked to provide insight and guidance on your client’s values in guiding them with their selections of guardians, establishing trusts for minors, and planning with digital assets. Approaching these complex issues with an open mind, attention to detail, and a solid understanding of the law is essential in helping your clients make decisions that protect and preserve their wealth for future generations. Michael J. Moyer, Esq. (LL.M. in Taxation) is an Associate Attorney at Friedman Schuman, P.C. in Jenkintown.
MBA / FEATURE
Welcome New Montgomery County Sheriff Russell J. Bono! By Kelley L. Menzano, Esq.
n May 9, 2014, new Montgomery County Sheriff Russell J. Bono was officially sworn in after appointment by Governor Tom Corbett and unanimous confirmation by the Pennsylvania Senate. A Montgomery County native, Sheriff Bono attended Bishop Kenrick High School and Montgomery County Community College. After graduating high school, Sheriff Bono served in the United States Army Military Police from 1966 through 1968. Sheriff Bono was honorably discharged after serving in both the Military Police Office and in the Tactical Weapons Unit. In 1971, Sheriff Bono began his career as a Norristown Police Office. He swiftly moved up the ranks in the Police Department where he served as a Detective, Sergeant, Acting Lieutenant, Captain, K9 Officer, Shift Supervisor, Press Relations Officer, and more, showing an enthusiasm and aptitude for each position. During his time in the Police Department, Sheriff Bono recognized the value of education and went back to school under the GI Bill as a night/ part-time student studying criminal justice at Montgomery County Community College. It was not easy at the time given that he had an already demanding career and a young
wife with three children, but with the support of his family and the Police Department, Sheriff Bono graduated with an Associate’s Degree. Sheriff Bono also participated in additional police leadership and training classes at the Law Enforcement Officers Training School, the University of Virginia (in connection with the FBI National Academy), Pennsylvania State University, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General, the National Law Enforcement Institute, the Philadelphia Police Department, York College and the Pennsylvania State Police. In 1998, Sheriff Bono was appointed Chief of Police and served the Norristown community in that capacity for 15 years, until 2013. While Sheriff Bono was Chief of Police, he was also the Acting Public Safety Officer coordinating the efforts of all of Norristown’s public safety agencies such as the Fire Department. While serving as the Chief of Police, Sheriff Bono was responsible for coordinating the efforts of approximately 70 officers and 30 civilian staff as well as managing a budget of approximately $8 million. Sheriff Bono really enjoyed his time in the Police Department and refers to all those he worked with as “competent and professional” and that “they made him look good.” Sheriff Bono is now responsible for SIDEBAR
the Sheriff’s Department which handles the administration of court orders, transporting prisoners, security in the courthouse and courtrooms for judges, attorneys and parties, the administration of bench warrants, civil service of process and Sheriff’s sales. Sheriff Bono coordinates approximately 110 deputies and 20 staff members as well as a Bomb Squad, K-9 Unit and S.W.A.T. Team. When Sheriff Bono arrived on the job in March 2014, he quickly assessed the Sheriff’s Department. He immediately noticed that there were 10 unfilled positions and that, as a result, his Department was understaffed. Sheriff Bono made it a priority and filled those positions. One of Sheriff Bono’s other goals for his Department is to crack down on dead beat parents. Sheriff Bono believes that there “is no greater obligation than for a parent to provide for their children” and therefore he is using his best efforts to round up the worst offenders. As of the writing of this article, there were approximately 278 outstanding warrants in Montgomery County for parents who have not paid their support obligations. While this is approximately 100 less than many of our neighboring counties, it is still far too many from Sheriff Bono’s perspective and he hopes that our county will see a decline in that number during his tenure as Sheriff. Sheriff Bono is working closely with Montgomery County Domestic Relations on this issue. Sheriff Bono has three children and seven grandchildren. He lives in East Norriton with his wife. Sheriff Bono is active in the local community beyond his official Sheriff duties.
Welcome Sheriff Russell J. Bono! Kelley L. Menzano, Esquire, is an associate at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller specializing in family law matters.
MBA / FEATURE
Letter to the Editor Dear [Editors]:
The article entitled “Sidebar: A Look Back” in the Winter 20132014 issue of Sidebar brought back memories. The article makes the point that Sidebar has evolved “from a simple black & white newsletter” to the full color 35-page publication that it is today. However, the fact is that for several years before 1986, all we had was a purple and white single page that Nancy Hagner would grind out on a device that today’s millennials never heard of called a mimeograph machine. Nancy would fill the mimeograph drum with a gooey purple fluid, then hand crank the drum handle to produce the mimeographed page that barely qualified as a newsletter. Before that, there was nothing except occasional mailed notices and announcements. In the 1960s and 70s, there were so few members that the need for a newsletter was minimal
because everyone knew everyone and word traveled fast. By 1986, we had fewer than half of the 2,100 members we have today, but we had a sufficient number to support the idea of a regularly published newsletter. It has been most gratifying to see Sidebar develop over the years from that one page “mimeo” to a professionally produced magazine under the auspices of the MBA Sidebar Committee. Sidebar is a significant component in support of the unique community of interests that is today’s Montgomery Bar Association. Very truly yours, Stephen G. Yusem
for making a mark in Montgomery County. FRIEDMAN SCHUMAN is a full-service regional firm headquartered in Jenkintown, PA. We have proudly served clients for over 25 years and are pleased to recognize the
firm’s 2014 HONOREES.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the name PNC Wealth Management®, to provide investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services and lending of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association, which is a Member FDIC. Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. ©2013 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
101 Greenwood Avenue, 5th Floor | Jenkintown, PA 19046 (215) 635-7200 | www.fsalaw.com
BITS & BYTES
By Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq.
wo recent U.S. Supreme Court cases involving technology caught my attention and provide interesting issues for discussion. In Anthony Douglas Elonis v. United States, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the issue of whether individuals who post violent and threatening language on Facebook (and by analogy, other social media) can be arrested and prosecuted based on the online posting alone, or is it necessary to prove the postings are “true threats” to harm someone? Put another way, the justices said they will decide whether federal law “requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten.” This matter arises from a Pennsylvania case which resulted in Anthony Elonis’ conviction and being sentenced to four years in federal prison for posting on his Facebook page photos and violent rants directed against people he worked with, law enforcement and especially his soon to be former spouse. He contends that his postings, which included lyrics from songs by rapper Eminem, were protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. His attorney argued in his brief, “communication online by email and social media has become commonplace...the inherently impersonal
nature of online communication make such messages inherently susceptible to misinterpretation.” The interesting question is whether these new digital types of communication are protected by the First Amendment even though they did not exist nor were even contemplated at the time the Constitution and subsequent amendments were drafted. Mr. Elonis posted about blowing up schools and killing his former wife, among other rants. The issues are relevant beyond criminal prosecution. Are such postings admissible and therefore a basis for protection from abuse orders? Custody issues? Denial of employment? The Court will take this matter up in the fall – stay tuned. The second case was decided by the Supreme Court on June 25th. It involved Fourth Amendment privacy rights and illegal searches of data on mobile phones incident to arrest. Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), involved an individual who was pulled over for an expired auto registration. When the police inspected his car, they found loaded guns and a mobile phone in plain sight. The police opened the phone and viewed entries which they associated with a street gang. A
more thorough inspection produced information which linked Mr. Riley to a shooting. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to fifteen years to life. A companion case referenced in the Riley decision involved a warrantless search of a mobile phone’s “recent calls” log that produced evidence which ultimately resulted in convicting the Defendant of gun and drug crimes. A lower federal appeals court threw out the tainted evidence. The interesting issue presented is whether the police and other law enforcement agencies can continue the policy of warrantless searches of mobile phones. In Riley, the Supreme Court found that warrants are required to search individuals’ phones incident to arrest. I did not find answers to whether this decision extends to phones which are password protected or laptops or automobile information systems that store text messages and emails as well as recently called phone numbers. For now, search warrants are required. Again… stay tuned. Please continue to send me your questions or comments, I want to hear from you regarding this article and any other topic you find interesting.
MBA / FEATURE
“Your Help Changed My Life” By Ann Tydeman-Solomon
Venezla Moses, one of the paralegals on the LASP toll-free, regional Helpline, provides easy access to legal advice, and to an appointment with a LASP attorney.
s. C (not her real name) couldn’t enter a job training program, because she had a criminal record: a shoplifting charge from 1966. Now that she needed to go back to work, that juvenile mistake suddenly was having an enormous impact on her life. An attorney with Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) helped her get the record expunged. Now successfully enrolled in school, she took the time to write her attorney the thank-you note quoted above. The generous support of attorneys from the Montgomery Bar Association
helps make it possible for LASP to serve people like Ms. C. LASP’s attorneys represent very low income individuals who cannot afford an attorney and who face serious legal problems. LASP’s civil law services help people protect their homes, their families, and their ability to earn a living or to receive lawful benefits. Another example is Ms. Q., a young widow with 3 children who fell behind in her mortgage when her servicer began to require escrow for unpaid property taxes. School taxes are high in her community, so requiring escrow more than tripled her original principal and interest payment. Since she contacted
IRS, State & Philadelphia Tax Controversies & Litigation Audit and Appeals Representation Offers in Compromise Chapters 7 and 13 Bankruptcy www.brandywinetax.com 150 N. Radnor Chester Road / Radnor, PA 610.235.7577 Referral Fees Paid As Permitted By The Rules Of Professional Conduct
LASP before she actually went into foreclosure, LASP was able to prevent fees and costs from accruing during a lengthy process of obtaining approval for a loan modification. After 2 years, she was approved for an affordable loan modification that reduced her interest rate by more than 4%, significantly reducing her monthly housing expense and allowing her to keep her home. For more information about LASP, visit the website, www.lasp.org. Ann Tydeman-Solomon is the Development Director at Legal Aid of Southeastern PA.
MBA / FEATURE
Bench Bar Returns to Maryland’s Eastern Shore A
uthor James A. Michener’s classic novel Chesapeake charts generations and the fortunes of four established families living in the Chesapeake Bay area along Maryland’s Eastern Shore from early colonization to more modern times. Like many of Michener’s novels, the storyline places fictitious families in the throes of historically accurate events or “voyages” as the timeless setting along the Choptank River in St. Michaels and Cambridge almost becomes a character in itself. The first voyage begins on an American Indian battlefield in 1583 and over a dozen follow, taking readers on a rollercoaster of epic American battles, socialization and well documented
historical events; concluding with the Watergate scandal of the 1970s and the final voyage: a funeral in 1978—the same year Chesapeake was published. Fast forward another 35+ years to September 12-14, 2014 as families, friends and colleagues of our Bar Association gather for an epic voyage of their own to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina for Bench Bar 2014. Just a three hour drive from our county courthouse and situated on 400 rolling acres along the banks of the Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland, the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina is the perfect destination for an early autumn getaway. Whether
In fact, according to MBA President Michael F. Rogers, when tasked with selecting a location for this year’s conference, “It was the overwhelming recommendations from those who attended in ’04 and recommendations from others who had been there more recently made the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake an early favorite.” After visiting the resort and weighing other options, President Rogers didn’t hesitate when making his decision to go there, adding, “it’s family friendly, easy to get to and on the water.”
it’s retracing Michener’s footsteps, climbing aboard an authentic skipjack or trying your hand at kayaking, sporting clays, golf, fishing, or bicycling – this place has it all. Need a break from adventure and looking to relax and unwind? You can do that too. Why not enjoy some couples time in the spa or take in some of the nearby restaurants, antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, theaters, and museums? It’s hard to believe nearly a decade has passed since 2004 MBA President Cheryl L. Young led us to this premier Eastern Shore resort. While the resort at that time was in its infancy, many who attended reflect fondly on the variety of activities offered, the breathtaking views, and the lasting friendships they made that year.
The format will be similar to past Bench Bar Conferences with checkin scheduled for Friday afternoon. A welcome reception will follow at the picturesque River’s Edge and Friday night hospitality for our night owls. Saturday morning will begin with continental breakfast, a special CLE and State of the Judiciary. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy lunch at any one of the resort’s restaurants or off-site eateries and to spend your free time as you wish. A special Saturday night President’s Dinner will follow as well as late night hospitality. As in past years, the conference will wrap up with a Sunday morning sendoff breakfast buffet, leaving you the rest of the day to enjoy at your leisure. Wherever your interests may lie, September is the perfect time to sail into Cambridge for a nice long intimate weekend with friends and family. Learn more about this year’s Bench Bar on our Bench Bar 2014 website – easily accessible from our homepage at montgomerybar.org. Be sure to register early – last year’s Bench Bar Conference was an early sell-out and with this year’s early-bird rates and popular destination, a repeat wouldn’t surprise us. We hope to see you there so don’t delay, after all – it just wouldn’t be the same without you there!
MBA / FEATURE
THANK YOU ARTISTS, SPONSORS and P
erhaps one of the toughest challenges our Community Outreach Committee faced in 2014 was finding a way to top last year’s award-winning Courting Art initiative. Thanks to our talented artists, community partners and the extreme generosity of this year’s sponsors, our 2nd annual “What I Love About Montgomery County” Art Contest and Exhibition has done just that. Over 250 guests were in attendance for this year’s Premier Night VIP Reception and Media Event, including artists and guests, sponsors, bar leaders, judges and dignitaries and over a dozen members of the local news media. In
addition to making front-page news in over a dozen general circulation newspapers and their respective websites, our opening night event and monthlong exhibition at The Fine Arts Center at Montgomery County Community College generated enough buzz to garner coverage on Action News and in popular magazines like Main Line Today. This year’s program was even featured on The Pursuit, a widely read blog published by the Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau. Please take a moment to recognize the following sponsors, whose generous contributions have helped make this initiative a reality, and whose
contribution will soon give life to another wing of the Montgomery County Courthouse. Courting Art is a multi-faceted community outreach initiative: part courthouse beautification project, part community art contest, and part public art exhibition and like most outreach efforts, there is an underlying community relations component to the program. If you would like to learn how to join in support of this important community outreach effort, please visit CourtingArt.com or email: PR@montgomerybar.org.
THE MONTGOMERY BAR ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY OUTREACH COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE ARTISTS, COMMUNITY PARTNERS, AND THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS WHOSE GENEROUS SUPPORT WILL ALLOW US TO BEAUTIFY ANOTHER WING OF THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT HOUSE. WE CAN ALL TAKE PRIDE IN KNOWING THAT THE RENAISSANCE THAT’S TAKING PLACE BEFORE OUR EYES COMES AT NO COST TO TAXPAYERS, THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF OUR SPONSORS. LEARN HOW YOU CAN TAKE PART IN THIS IMPORTANT INITIATIVE ON OUR PROJECT WEBSITE, WWW.COURTINGART.COM. PRESENTING SPONSORS
EXHIBITION & VIP SPONSORS The Honorable Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio and Thomas E. Carluccio, Esquire
WINNING ART SPONSORS
FRIENDS OF THE ARTS STATE REP. KATE M. HARPER • CAROLE DOTSON GREEN, ESQ. • FOULKEWAYS AT GWYNEDD KRAUT HARRIS, P.C. • STRADLEY RONON STEVENS & YOUNG, LLP • MontcoElderLaw.com HOWLAND, HESS, GUINAN, TORPEY, CASSIDY & O’CONNELL, LLP
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING COMMUNITY GROUPS & ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR PROMOTIONAL SUPPORT: ABINGTON ART CENTER • ACLAMO FAMILY CENTERS • ACPPA COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER • ARTFUSION 19464 • ARTIST & CRAFTSMAN SUPPLY • BLICK ART MATERIALS • BROOKSIDE HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER • COLUMBIA COTTAGE • CONSHOHOCKEN ART LEAGUE • CREATIVE MONTCO • FREE WILL BREWING COMPANY • GREATER NORRISTOWN ART LEAGUE • HISTORICALSOCIETY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY • LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP TELEVISION • MAIN LINE ART CENTER • MINE BY DESIGN • MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA MONTGOMERY COUNTY-NORRISTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY • NORRISTOWN.ORG • NORTH PENN ART ALLIANCE • OFFICE OF AGING AND ADULT SERVICES • PERKIOMEN ART CENTER • RAINBOW ARTS & CRAFTS • ROUND GUYS BREWING COMPANY • THE VIOLETTE DE MAZIA FOUNDATION • THEARTBLOG.ORG • VALLEY FORGE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
MBA / FEATURE
The Importance of Beneficiary Designations in Estate Planning By Lisa A. Shearman, Esq. This article is being reprinted courtesy of the Commission on Women in the Profession of the Pennsylvania Bar Association
ohn and Jennifer have been married for 2 years. Both were previously married and they have children from their former marriages. They are expecting another child this year. After meeting with their attorney recently, they signed “sweetheart” wills, leaving all of their assets to the surviving spouse and then among their children in trusts until each child is age 30. John has an interest in a business and he and his partners have partnership agreements to control transfers of their interests. Jennifer stays at home to care for their children. Tragically, on the way home from a party, John is killed by a drunk driver. Shortly after his death, Jennifer learns that the primary beneficiary on John’s life insurance is his ex-wife. The contingent beneficiary is his children. She also learns that his partners did not have life insurance on John’s life, so under the partnership agreement Jennifer is only entitled to a buy out of his interest over 20 years. John also had an IRA, but after his divorce he changed the beneficiaries to his children without making any further changes when he married Jennifer. Where does this leave Jennifer? Yes, John and Jennifer have wills, but since a majority of their assets are not controlled by their wills, Jennifer now is left to fight with John’s life insurance company, his partners and the custodian of his IRA. The likelihood of Jennifer’s success is negligible. The facts of this case illustrate the importance of beneficiary designations and how they impact your estate plan. Estate planning involves many more aspects than just preparation of a will. A will can only direct property under its control, commonly referred to as “probate property.” It is vitally important that attention is paid to ownership of assets and how your beneficiary designations are set up. Property SIDEBAR
that passes outside of a will (“Non-probate property”) is controlled by the ownership or beneficiary designation. The table on the next page summarizes certain types of assets and how their ownership or beneficiary designations can affect their disposition. Of course there are exceptions to these general rules. Contractual rights may affect ownership or disposition that will supersede directions in a will, ownership or beneficiary designation. A pre-nuptial agreement can override a person’s directives, if the property is covered by the agreement. Further, changes in legal status due to divorce, separation agreements and property settlement agreements can also change disposition as well. Most people take time to create their wills, paying particular attention to its provisions so that their wishes are honored and their beneficiaries receive the assets as directed. However, more often than not they overlook the impact of their beneficiary designations and the ownership of their assets. Designations of beneficiaries on accounts, retirement assets, life insurance and similar assets should be given as much attention and care. We use a team approach to estate planning, integrating all of a clients’ advisors. In the case of John and Jennifer, they had wills in place, but since the beneficiary designations were never updated, John’s will had little significance to effectuate his wishes. It is imperative that all aspects are coordinated carefully. It is also equally important to understand how the beneficiary designations will function. If a life insurance policy designates spouse as primary beneficiary, and minor children as contingent beneficiaries (rather than the trust created under a will for the children), and both parents die, the children would SUMMER 2014
receive the life insurance proceeds at age 18 when they reach the age of majority. If the intent is that the assets be held in trust for minor children until an older age, then the beneficiary designations need to be changed to direct them to that trust. Alternatively, if a trust was originally named as beneficiary of a life insurance policy and the will is later changed to remove the trust, but the beneficiary designation is not changed, it can cause significant issues. Ultimately, the money may end up in the estate and flow through to the estate beneficiaries, but it also is made available to pay creditors. To the extent that children are named as contingent beneficiaries of life insurance or retirement plans, but the Type of Property Real Estate
Bank Accounts/ Brokerage Accounts
401(K) Retirement Accounts
Pension Accounts Trust owned property
Individual Owned Annuities Savings Bonds
designation does not specifically indicate a per stirpes designation, then if one of the children were to predecease the insured, the deceased child’s share will not pass to his or her children, but instead to his or her siblings. Special care must be taken in naming trusts as beneficiaries of retirement plan monies. There are specific provisions that must be included in a trust that is going to hold retirement monies to assure that the trust is eligible to hold the benefits and comply with distribution rules. Jointly owned assets are another form of ownership that can sidestep a client’s intent. In general, jointly owned bank accounts pass to the surviving joint owner. However, does that apply to an account belonging to a parent who puts one Disposition is Controlled by Will Directs Disposition of child’s name on the bank or Ownership/Designation: Property: brokerage account for purposes If owned with a spouse presumed to If in individual name – 100% of convenience? Does that be tenants by the entireties – property passes under will child inherit the account to the passes to spouse If owned with one or more exclusion of his or her siblings? If owned with another as joint tenants people as tenants in common with rights of survivorship – property - % interest in property passes The answer is yes, unless passes to joint owner(s) under will circumstances indicate a different If contains designated beneficiary – If in individual name with no result. Under 20 Pa.C.S.A. 6301 passes to designated beneficiary beneficiary designations – 100% et seq. which governs multiIf contains POD, ITF or TOD – then passes under will party accounts, unless there is passes to the beneficiary named to clear and convincing evidence of receive the property a contrary intent, the surviving • If unmarried and no Primary beneficiary designated and joint owner inherits the account named beneficiary beneficiary is living– will pass to upon the death of the other joint named primary beneficiary; or, if • If Estate is named as primary beneficiary is deceased and owner. beneficiary there is a contingent beneficiary Furthermore, clients who own • If named beneficiary is named – account passes to contingent business assets need to separately deceased and no continbeneficiary evaluate how their interests will gent beneficiary named Some plans provide benefits pass to be owned after their death and a surviving spouse even if no named whether the company governing beneficiary documents adequately provide • If no named beneficiary Primary beneficiary is designated and for their family, while also trying beneficiary is living– account passes • If Estate is named as to named primary beneficiary; or, to minimalize the impact on the beneficiary if primary beneficiary is deceased business. • If named beneficiary is and there is a contingent beneficiary Proper estate planning cannot deceased and no continnamed – account passes to contingent be done in a vacuum. There gent beneficiary named beneficiary are many possible pitfalls of Depends upon plan – but often ends Depends upon plan – but often navigating estate planning with death of participant ends with death of participant and beneficiary designations Passes to trust beneficiaries. Not covered by will alone. We recommend a “team If all beneficiaries are not living, could approach” with all advisors pass to intestate heirs to assure that the plan that is If a beneficiary is named - benefits will No beneficiary is named be paid to the beneficiary - benefits pass to estate formulated is implemented. beneficiaries under will Clients need to be more If named beneficiary or a joint owner If in decedent’s sole name proactive in their planning so passes to the named beneficiary or joint passes under will that all moving pieces work owner together to provide the result the No ability to name a beneficiary Passes to beneficiary under will, client desires. but should have specific powers to executor to handle
MBA / FEATURE
At The Initial Client Interview By Robert H. Nemeroff, Esq.
irst impressions are critical in securing the trust and confidence of a new client who has been injured in a car accident. It is stressful enough being injured, facing the prospect of extensive medical treatment and the disruption to one’s activities of daily living. That stress is compounded by the decision to retain a lawyer who has likely been referred to you but, who you may not know. You want that lawyer to be empathetic, competent and effective so that you can rest easy that you are in good hands. My goal as an attorney meeting with a new client for the first time after a car accident, is to have that new client leave my office at the end of the initial interview feeling fully informed about everything that is germane to his or her case. I will commonly ask the client at the end of the initial interview, “Do you feel like you know a lot more now than when you first walked into my office?” Invariably, the answer is yes. Taking the time to educate a new client is the key to obtaining his or her trust and confidence in you as an attorney during that first meeting. The subtle message being sent to the client is this: I am committed to taking the time to ensure that you understand all aspects of your case because I care about you and about doing a good job for you. How does the attorney accomplish that goal? My approach, honed over 33 years as a personal injury attorney, is a three step process which usually takes 90 minutes in my office or at the home of the new client. The first stage of the meeting involves educating the client about each type of coverage on his or her car insurance policy using the client’s declaration page. 99% of new clients do not understand how their coverages work. Understanding your insurance coverages is critical not only to your making proper coverage selections, but also critical to understanding the claims available to you as a result of your car accident. Once I conclude the explanation, I then take the time to recommend changes to the client’s policy to better protect the client’s interests going forward. This initial stage of the interview usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, by the end of which, the new client is very appreciative of my having taken the time to explain and simplify the SIDEBAR
insurance coverages, which most people misunderstand. I have done two things to instill trust and confidence. I have demonstrated my knowledge and understanding of insurance issues and, I have demonstrated that it is important to me that my client fully understand matters which others have never taken the time to explain to the client. The underpinning of trust has been established. The second stage of the interview involves making a detailed record of all of the client’s necessary biographical information, facts surrounding the accident, injuries sustained, medical providers seen and to be seen, as well as a thorough exploration of the client’s prior accident and medical history. I do not, however, elicit this information in a vacuum. I provide the client with explanations of why and how the information may be important to the case. Again, demonstrating your genuine interest in the well-being of the new client is accomplished through a willingness to provide thorough explanations. The third stage of the interview ties everything together. I provide the client with a detailed explanation of the claims available and how the law in Pennsylvania applies to those claims. My explanation incorporates my client’s newly enhanced understanding of insurance coverages which now dovetails with an understanding of the claims available to him or her as a result of the accident. I then emphasize that the client’s current priority is to do everything the doctor tells him or her to do to recover from the injuries, with regaining good health as the goal. While it is undeniable that injured car accident victims retain a lawyer to obtain compensation for their damages and, it is the lawyer’s responsibility to try and accomplish that objective, I believe that human nature is such that a new client wants to believe that you care about his or her well-being. As a personal injury attorney, I do care about the well-being of my clients and I try to demonstrate my genuine concern through my dedication to fully educating the client during the initial interview. When the new client leaves my office at the end of the initial interview, shakes my hand and expresses gratitude for having taken the time to thoroughly explain everything, I know that the client now trusts me and has confidence in me.
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MBA / FEATURE
CLERK OF THE ORPHANS’ COURT
LAUNCHES E-FILING By the Honorable D. Bruce Hanes
he Orphans’ Court Division may seem to be bound by tradition and use quaint or antiquated terms, but gone are the days of required blue backers for your filings. In a project spearheaded by Orphans’ Court Judge Lois E. Murphy, the Montgomery County Clerk of the Orphans’ Court has leaped into the 21st Century and is now accepting filings electronically! Attorneys have been using the program and have successfully filed hundreds of documents electronically since January 20, 2014. Local Rule 3.7A of the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court, which became effective on January 6, 2014, permits e-filing. The Rule requires all parties – whether filing on paper or electronically – to redact personal identifying information including Social Security numbers and financial account numbers from all pleadings and exhibits filed. The Honorable Stanley R. Ott expressed his enthusiasm for the new project, saying “I am delighted that we have implemented this system which we believe will improve access to Justice for litigants before the Orphans’ Court and increase our efficiency.” Attorneys participating in the pilot program have provided positive feedback. Tom Boulden of Timoney Knox said, “We think the online system is fantastic.
It is easy to use, efficient and a real time saver.” If you are interested in e-filing a document, please go to the Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans’ Court webpage, https://webapp.montcopa.org/ ROWEFiling. You will be asked to create a username and password, just as you do in the Prothonotary’s system. If you are already registered in the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s system, be aware that you will use the same username and password. When registering, you will also be asked to provide your email address. In our continuing efforts to improve our efficiency and conserve county resources, we will be sending all notices and copies of court Orders electronically to those who participate and provide an email address. When you complete your e-filing, you will be asked to attach all exhibits as separate pdf documents, and you will be asked to confirm that you have redacted all personal identifying information in the documents filed. To insure a smooth user experience, the Court has set up a discussion board that allows lawyers and the Court staff to post questions or share experiences aimed at identifying any problem areas, sharing best practices and obtaining feedback on what is working well and what can be improved.
To date, feedback from attorneys participating in the project has been overwhelmingly favorable. More important than that, participating attorneys have provided valuable questions and feedback giving important insight to issues that may arise when filing specific types of pleadings with specific issues. This feedback allows the Court to tweak the system, ironing out bugs before we expand the participation. A CLE on e-filing in the Orphans’ Court is planned for September 30, 2014 at 12 noon. Pro se parties also have the option of signing up to use the e-filing system. Only those lawyers who have entered their appearance in a particular case and pro se parties signed up for that case will be able to access documents filed in the case. Additional measures are in place to insure privacy and security of sensitive matters including adoptions, proceedings related to incapacitated persons, medical records, minors’ applications for judicial authorization of abortions, or sealed documents. Again, here is the web address to begin e-filing: https://webapp.montcopa.org/ ROWEFiling
MBA / FEATURE
Family Court Face Lift By the Honorable Kelly C. Wall, with contributions and edits from Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq.
rior to going on the family bench, I practiced family law for several years. I remember showing up at the judges’ courtroom for short list conferences; there were so many lawyers present in the Courtroom that it felt like a social hour. My fellow lawyers would sit and catch up on each other’s lives as we waited for our turn in the judges’ chambers. That was the perception I had when I was assigned to the Family Bench in January of 2010. Boy was I shocked! The first few months I kept questioning my staff about the whereabouts of the attorneys of record for the conferences. I quickly learned that the days of litigants having two attorneys were gone and we were lucky if there were one or two cases on the list with even one attorney! The dockets were littered with the names of attorneys who, long ago, were fired, replaced or simply not being paid. I soon discovered that the Family Court system was overwhelmed with self-represented parties. This problem was so pervasive that in 2013 a new rule was passed requiring Pro Se litigants to enter their appearances in support and custody cases if there was no active attorney. I also learned that there was a plethora of repetitious filings; the Pro Se parties would often file several petitions at one time containing the same averments but different titles, or they would file petitions for modification within weeks or months of agreed orders or comprehensive orders entered after protracted hearings. The cases were burdened with economic issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and/or mental health problems. With no attorneys available for guidance or counsel, the judges
were forced to wear several hats: judge, attorney, therapist and parent. We were seeing people at their lowest point with no legal assistance and no place to turn but to the Court system. The end result was a family court system burdened with climbing inventories, escalating emergency petitions, long delays in scheduling, and a drain on the Court and Court Administration’s time and resources. In 2013, President Judge William J. Furber, Jr. asked me to step in as Administrative Judge of Family Court. I was both flattered that he believed I was capable of taking on that role with only three years under my belt in the third largest County in Pennsylvania, but I was also scared - very scared! It was a big undertaking and I never do things half way. I agreed to take on the challenge but only after Judge Furber assured me he would support my changes and commit to recognizing the importance of the Family Bench. I accepted the challenge and then the fun started! I met with a diverse group of family attorneys and together we came up with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Family Court, from the Bar’s perspective. Michael R. Kehs and Cheryl Leslie from Court Administration were extremely supportive and helpful in adding to the Court’s perspective. As a result of those meetings, a big picture plan emerged to make our Family Court more responsive to the needs of the litigants. Now, I just needed to figure out how to get there! Some of the changes were easy: We initiated fees for petitions to modify, provided more stringent requirements for informa pauperis status, and encouraged our judges to enter more interim orders.
Thanks to Judge Del Ricci, my colleagues on the Civil Bench cheerfully adopted some family cases in 2013 and were immensely helpful in putting a dent in our huge inventories. Those small changes were very positive and have laid the framework for the bigger changes that are in motion at this time. With the assistance of Sarinia M. Feinman, Chair of the Family Law Section, and various volunteers from the Section’s sub-committees, we have made great strides. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the new rules that have been passed or are forthcoming and introduce the new programs that will streamline Family Court procedures and bring aid to the Pro Se litigants. Finally, I want to recognize the people who are willingly lending their assistance and expertise to changing the face of the Family Court.
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION & DIVORCE Moving Equitable Distribution online Much to my surprise, I discovered that the equitable distribution (ED) scheduling system was not automated and the filing system was comprised of 5 x 7 cards! There was no way to track cases once a Grounds Order was issued moving the matters to equitable distribution, and there were open cases from the late 1990s! An intern painstakingly created a spreadsheet identifying cases where Grounds Orders were filed before 2012, which were then Continued on next page
designated for the ED Special Master program as described below. Cheryl Leslie is in the process of working with our IT department to incorporate the scheduling of ED cases into the existing family scheduling system. The new ED system will allow the Equitable Distribution Masters’ office to issue scheduling orders and Court Administration will be able to track the cases and keep them moving on a timelier basis from the date of the Grounds Order through the entry of the final Divorce Decree.
on August 4th, you will have to pay the $400.00 fee to get to the Master. Further, as part of the new Rule, you will not be able to get scheduled before an ED Master until you certify that your discovery is completed and you are ready to have a meaningful conference and/or hearing with the Master to work towards settlement of the case. The hope is that this will force parties to come prepared to the first conference before the Master with an informed knowledge of the assets and liabilities that comprise the marital estate, so that the parties can discuss settlement or be able to schedule a timely hearing. Moreover, the new Rule should reduce the number of Pro Se filers who are simply seeking to divide up personal property where there are no other marital assets. In summary, the new Rule will ensure that only those cases that really need the Masters’ attention will have to be scheduled, thereby resulting in less delay and a reduced inventory for the ED Masters. If you would like to hear more about the new ED process that went into effect as of July 7th, please attend the Family Law Section Meeting and luncheon on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at noon for a Town Hall Meeting, where there will also be an opportunity for feedback and questions from practitioners. Special thanks to Cheryl Leslie, Erin Carter, our Equitable Distribution Masters, Gordon M. Mair and Bruce L. Goldenberg, and the Family Law Section’s Equitable Distribution Sub-Committee for their hard work, assistance and cooperation in updating our Equitable Distribution System.
Equitable Distribution Special Master’s Program Once we identified the 220 plus oldest cases with no current activity, we designated them for the ED Special Master’s program. We enlisted the aid of the Honorable Arthur R. Tilson, who agreed to sit as a special master in equitable distribution to hear these cases and enter recommendations. Within a few months, through the combined efforts of Cheryl Leslie, Judge Tilson and Margaret Carter, administrative assistant to the senior judges, we were able to reduce the inventory of the oldest cases by nearly 200! The program will continue indefinitely as we try to bring the inventory up to date to prepare for the automation of the equitable distribution scheduling system, the new local equitable distribution rule, and the new Court procedures to effectuate the new rule. Equitable Distribution Rule Change After working with the Family Law Section Chairs, Christian V. Badali in 2013 and Sarinia M. Feinman in 2014 for over a year, as well as the ED SubCommittee of the Family Law Section, President Judge Furber and I signed NEW Local Rule 1920.73(c), which was certified by the Prothonotary, Mark Levy, on May 20, 2014. This Rule was to become effective 30 days after it was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on June 7, 2014. Thus, the new Rule became effective as of Monday, July 7, 2014, but the new ED Fee ($400.00) that accompanies the Rule will not become effective until Monday, August 4, 2014, as the Prothonotary needed more time to get all of the computer programming and forms in place. The new Local Rule includes a slightly modified Form for the Praecipe to Transmit the Record, and completely new Form for a Motion for Entry of Grounds Order and Appointment of Equitable Distribution Master. In an effort to avoid the extreme backup in the ED process, in order to obtain a Grounds Order and proceed to an ED Master, beginning
Date of Separation Issues Another change that has been enacted is the elimination of Special Masters being assigned to deal with date of separation issues that arise in divorce cases. It came to the Court’s attention, via the Chair of the Family Law Section, Sarinia M. Feinman, that there was no clear path of what was to occur procedurally once a full hearing was held before a Special
Master regarding date of separation and Exceptions were filed to the Special Master’s Recommendation. There were no clear rules outlining whether this would be a De Novo Hearing or Oral Argument before the assigned Judge. I discovered that Pro Se parties and/or cases with counsel were having full “on the record” hearings before the Special Master only to be potentially obliged to have another full hearing before the assigned Judge. This not only seemed like a waste of time and money for the clients, but also for the Special Masters and Judges. Therefore, since there are no state or local rules designating special masters for date of separation issues, moving forward, if a date of separation issue arises, the assigned Judge will hear that issue from the outset, and Special Masters will no longer be utilized for this purpose, so as to promote efficiency for everyone and limit the delay.
be as follows: July 30; August 27; September 10 & 24; October 15 & 20; November 12 & 26; and December 10 & 22. Commencing in January of 2015, my Motions Court will generally be scheduled on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. The Honorable Gail A. Weilheimer will also be participating in the Motions Court, and she will be providing her Motions Court dates in the near future. Some of the other Family Court Judges have expressed an interest in the new Motions Court rule, so that they may also participate in this program for their cases. Special thanks to Cheryl Leslie, Joel B. Bernbaum, chair of the Family Law Section Motions Court sub-committee, as well as the other members of the sub-committee for their hard work, assistance and cooperation in assisting to get the Family Motions Court underway.
MOTIONS COURT Overwhelmingly, the biggest request I received from the family lawyers was to create a Family Court Motions Court. One of the greatest challenges we face is crafting procedures for a dedicated Motions Court while maintaining the integrity of our “One Judge - One Family” policy which ensures that one judge is assigned to a family throughout the case. The advantage to our “One Judge - One Family” system is that we have a unique perspective of our individual families and can enter comprehensive orders rather than having litigants appear before a different judge every time they enter the Courthouse. Presently, family judges conduct short list conferences which are scheduled four to six weeks after a petition is filed. Parties can file emergency petitions seeking a quicker disposition of matters; however, judges are often inundated with petitions that do not rise to the level of an emergency and they have to weed out the real emergencies from the cases that can wait for a short list date. A dedicated Motions Court would allow judges to hear certain matters on their cases much more quickly and efficiently. The benefits to a motions court system are threefold; parties can resolve problems quickly as a matter could be scheduled within days, orders will be issued that same day from the bench, and judges will reduce their short list matters which will allow more timely listings for protracted cases. Although the details of the Motions Court are still being worked out with a local rule anticipated to go into effect in early 2015, you can expect that the matters handled in Motions Court will be those that are appropriate for decisions to be made from the bench and those matters that take no more than 10 minutes to argue on both sides. As of now, my Motions Court dates for the remainder of this year will
FRIEND OF THE COURT Presiding over Protection from Abuse (“PFA”) cases is one of the more challenging opportunities the family judge faces. There are well over forty cases per week and the litigants are angry, scared or emotionally drained. We are extremely fortunate to have the presence of Carol Horvitz and the volunteers from the Women’s Center who lend assistance and guidance to the Court. However, it quickly became apparent to me that a majority of the cases involved deteriorating familial relationships rather than domestic abuse. The volunteers are wonderful at working with the parties to encourage settlements; however they are limited to what kind of advice they can give as they are not attorneys. I have observed numerous lost opportunities to direct Pro Se litigants toward the Lawyer Referral Continued on next page
Service for consultations or to Domestic Relations or Court Administration to file family petitions. I originally teamed up with Joo Park and Harry Byrne, cochairs of the Pro Bono Committee, to discuss putting together a group of volunteers to represent Pro Se litigants in PFA Court. Our project got a big boost when Sharron L. Rex, a former Custody Conciliator in Montgomery County, offered to help launch a PFA volunteer program. The MBA has also expressed an interest in teaming up with the Temple University Beasley School of Law to enact a third-year student volunteer program for PFA Court. Additionally, we are in the process of observing similar programs in both Allegheny and Bucks Counties and have received insightful input from Legal Aid representatives and the Women’s Center. With the help of a talented group of people, we are currently in the process of developing a “Friend of the Court” program, whereby both plaintiffs and defendants may receive free representation in our weekly PFA Court by licensed attorneys or students working under the guidance of a licensed attorney. The goal is to provide training to the volunteers in exchange for CLE credits who will, in turn, donate their time and efforts to representing both plaintiffs and defendants and lend guidance to steer Pro Se litigants away from PFA Court and toward the services they need to resolve their domestic disputes. Although there are many factors yet to be determined such as funding, office space, and administration, we are very excited about this program and hope to see a working model in the late fall.
seeing a judge. If a payment is obtained, the case is removed from the list and scheduled for the next court list before the assigned judge. The case is then monitored for the next several months’ payments and the cycle continues until such time as the payments are received for four to six months consecutively, or the defendant obtains employment and a wage attachment is issued. If a hearing is necessary, the assigned judge has the option of finding the defendant in contempt and ordering incarceration or placing them in the monthly monitoring program. The key for the program to be a success is the rapid access directly to the court in front of the assigned judge, who is familiar with the party and the history of nonpayment. Another benefit is that the program will reduce the Friday lists and eliminate multiple judges making decisions on the same group of delinquent obligors. Although the program is still in its infancy, to date, more than 70% of the cases identified have made regular payments. In addition to the new support monitoring program, our new Sheriff, Russell Bono, has committed the resources of his office to the ongoing collection of outstanding child support. The Sheriff has turned up the pressure on support delinquents by conducting routine roundups which are covered by the media and have resulted in the collection of thousands of dollars in a short period. Moreover, Gary Kline was happy to report that Montgomery County has the lowest number of DRO bench warrants it has ever recorded, and has over 100 less than the closest similarly sized county in the region. Gary Kline reported 267 outstanding warrants at this time (which includes defendants who reside outside of the state) as compared to 800 a few years ago. Way to go Gary Kline and Sheriff Bono!
SUPPORT Gary Kline, Director of the Montgomery County Domestic Relations Office (“DRO”), has been recognized by the Commonwealth on an annual basis for the record amount of past due support collected by his office. To ensure that the trend continues, we have been collaborating on ways to decrease the number of contempt hearings that the judges have to hear on a weekly basis and put pressure on the defendants to force them to pay up. Every Friday morning, the DRO officers wheel over large boxes filled to the brim with the files representing the obligors who failed to pay their monthly support orders. Defendants often have multiple cases with large arrears and many are repeat offenders. In a project aimed at reducing delinquent child support among the most egregious payers, DRO has selected specific cases and assigned them to Judge Barrett and me. The goal for the officer in DRO is to have the case removed from the general Friday contempt list by obtaining an initial payment on the support obligation. The defendants are contacted after being scheduled and told this is their last chance to comply before
SUMMARY There are still so many things to do! We will continue to assess programs and staff duties to improve Family Court services. We will continue to identify any problems as they arise and strive to find solutions for those problems, so as to promote efficiency and expediency in the Court system. Many thanks to Court Administrator Michael R. Kehs and President Judge William J. Furber, Jr. who kept his promise and supported the new changes, and a special thanks to Sarinia M. Feinman, of the law firm of Vetrano & Vetrano, for her incredible contributions, support, and hard work. Finally, I want to acknowledge the Honorable Rhonda Lee Daniele for her many years of service as Administrative Judge of Family Court. I have gained new found respect for her and wish to thank her for all of her hard work.
MBA / FEATURE
Diversity Committee Hosts a Day in Court
he Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, in partnership with Lower Merion School District, hosted the third annual Day in Court program on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at the Montgomery County Court House. The Honorable Cheryl L. Austin welcomed the group of ninety (90) high school students from Lower Merion School District into her courtroom to observe live court proceedings. After the proceedings, Judge Austin entertained questions from the students about court procedure and the consequence of actions. The students were then given the opportunity to meet with such dignitaries as The Honorable Garrett D. Page, Chief
Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Green II, Esq., and County Detective Tyrone Tate. Each speaker shared their success stories, as well as lessons learned along the way. While each speaker’s road to success was unique, their stories shared a common thread – the value of hard work, courage and perseverance in achieving your dream. The students then enjoyed lunch at One Montgomery Plaza, where they were joined by the Honorable Gail A. Weilheimer and the Honorable Richard P. Haaz, along with Montgomery County Commissioners Leslie S. Richards and Josh Shapiro, who educated the students about local government. Throughout the day, students
partnered with mentor attorneys Marilou Watson and Eric Spangler of Fox Rothschild LLP, Shelly Smith of the Law Offices of Charles Daly, Ellen S. Fischer of Clover & Coval, LLC, and Leno Thomas of Solomon and Berschler, P.C. The PBA award-winning Day in Court program is part of the Montgomery Bar Association’s efforts to promote diversity within the legal community. Other initiatives include the 1L Summer Internship for diverse first year law students. In the fall, members of Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee will teach courses in the law to high school students throughout the Lower Merion School District, with hopes to extend the program to other school districts in Montgomery County.
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Po Le Cucina
By Richard E. Cohen, Esq.
It’s worth following the American dream.” This is a direct quote from the website of Po Le Cucina, an outstanding BYOB which opened last September in Spring House and which has already developed a huge following. Executive Chef Po Le emigrated from Vietnam to New York City in 1982. He got his break in America as a pot washer at La Grenouille in New York City, and by 1990, his brilliance as the pastry chef for that restaurant was prominently recognized in the October 1990 issue of Gourmet Magazine. With no formal training and limited English language skills, for 30 years he worked diligently for and learned from some of the finest chefs in America. His stellar pedigree includes working with Francois Payard at Le Bernardin in New York City, La Veranda in Philadelphia, and Susanna Foo in Philadelphia. For the 13 years prior to opening his own restaurant, Po Le was the executive chef at one of the finest suburban Philadelphia Italian restaurants, San Marco, in Spring House. Po Le Cucina is small - very small with a seating capacity of approximately 40. Their permit is pending to allow seating outside the restaurant, which would add another approximate 24 seats in nice weather. Reservations are strongly recommended and consider yourself fortunate to get one on a Friday or Saturday night. We dined on a Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. and by 8:00 p.m. when we were leaving, there was not one seat available. Very impressive. The restaurant is modestly attractive. The centerpiece is the large open kitchen leading into the black and white tiled floor dining area. Part of the restaurant’s charm is Po Le’s family, who work with Po. Dee (Po’s daughter), Phillip (Po’s son), Patrick (Dee’s boyfriend), and Patricia (Patrick’s sister) are gracious, knowledgeable, and efficient. This Italian/Mediterranean restaurant’s menu is not extensive but is well represented. Additionally, there are a multitude of daily specials. We began with Clams Casino ($10) and one of the appetizer specials, Soft Shell Crab ($16). The clams are six mid-necks, chopped and stuffed with onions and red peppers, topped with bacon, baked to crispy perfection, and garnished with halved grape tomatoes. The Soft Shell Crab (which also was offered as an entrée at $30) may very well be the best I have ever had. Dusted in flour and flash fried, the crab sat atop a lemon vinaigrette salad with fennel, sautéed garlic, and orange slices which provided a beautiful acidic balance. Other appetizers of note are the Grilled Calamari ($10 and can be prepared fried),
Eggplant Rollantini ($10), and the Spinach Salad ($10-baby spinach with caramelized walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries in an orange vinaigrette). For our second course, we shared the Pappardelle Duck Ragu ($22). Fresh homemade ribbon pasta tossed with a sauce of mirepoix, mushroom, vegetable stock and a touch of cream topped with shredded pieces of braised duck; a deliciously rich combination which certainly could stand alone as an entrée. Po Le Cucina offers a variety of pasta and risotto dishes including Rigatoni Bolognese ($22) and Seafood Linguini ($28-shrimp, scallop and shellfish with marinara or garlic white wine sauce). All pasta and risotto dishes are offered in two sizes and priced accordingly with the smaller size at $14-$18 and the larger size at $18-$28. I think the emphasis at Po Le Cucina is the seafood. The wide selection of seafood offered is always fresh, as evidenced by the fact that there are no seafood entrées listed on the menu (with the exception of the pasta and risotto). Tonight, they offered Salmon with Baby Lobster topped with sundried tomatoes, capers and scallions ($28), Barramundi with Scallops topped with artichokes, asparagus and roasted peppers ($28), Grilled Swordfish with shrimp and a mango salsa ($28), and two whole fish, Dover Sole ($35) and salt encrusted Bronzino ($35). We selected the Dover Sole, and from the menu the Rack of Lamb ($30). The Sole is impressively fileted tableside, drizzled with an olive oil, capers and lemon sauce, and served with roasted potatoes and sautéed mixed vegetables. It is a pricey fish but Po Le makes it worth the splurge. The lamb rack was four Frenched double chops in a port wine reduction with dried fruits, also served with the roasted potatoes and sautéed mixed vegetables. Savory, tender, and apparently quite popular with the crowd at the restaurant. Some other entrées of note: Po Le Chicken ($19-seared chicken with mushroom, bacon and cream sauce), Veal Osso Buco ($30-one of the specialties of the house), and one of the owner’s personal favorites, Veal Chop ($35-charcoal grilled and served with sautéed onions, mushrooms and a demi glaze). We certainly left no room for dessert, however, Po Le is an expert pastry and dessert chef. They offer a variety of homemade pastries, sorbet, and ice creams. As a show of the family’s generosity, a complimentary plate of homemade warm chocolate chip and cranberry cookies, sprinkled with powdered sugar, is served to each table. Bring a high end bottle of wine to complement the top shelf food served at Po Le Cucina and definitely make a reservation. The only thing that could bridle this restaurant’s success are the four walls surrounding it. Indeed, the American dream remains alive and well in Spring House.
MBA / FEATURE
Law Day Celebration
May 1, 2014 Montgomery County Court House Courtroom “A”
Courthouse Employee Award Recipient: Kathryn L. Taxis, Esq.
Mock Trial Award The Haverford School, Team A
Henry Stuckert Miller Public Service Award Recipient: Joseph P. Lynch, Esq. MBA New Admittees
Public Service Award to Citizens Recipient: Juan Guerra
MBA / FEATURE
ARE THERE LIMITS TO UNPAID LEAVE AS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION? By Michael D. Kristofco, Esq.
he concept of employers providing reasonable accommodations to disabled employees is a key part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is generally understood by employers. What many employers do not fully appreciate is that unpaid leave is considered a reasonable accommodation. Courts have explained that leave is considered a reasonable accommodation when the leave will enable an employee to perform the essential job functions in the near future. Employers must remember that decisions regarding any reasonable accommodation, including leave, must be made after engaging in a dialogue with the employee and taking into consideration an employee’s individual needs. Thus, while requests for indefinite leave have routinely been considered unreasonable, leave requests that give an approximate date of return have routinely been found to be reasonable unless the employer can demonstrate undue hardship. If the requested period of leave turns out to be incorrect, the employer may seek medical
documentation to determine whether it can continue providing leave without undue hardship or whether the request is essentially for leave of indefinite duration. Additionally, the ADA requires that requests for additional periods of leave, beyond what is required by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), be evaluated on an individual basis. This means that while an employee may have no right to continued employment under the FMLA for failing to return to work after the end of an FMLA leave, the employee’s rights under the ADA may still require the employer to provide an additional period of leave. Finally, the EEOC vigilantly pursues employers that set maximum leave policies, no matter how reasonable the maximum period may be. Recently, a federal judge refused to dismiss a case brought by the EEOC against UPS. EEOC v. UPS, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17187 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 11, 2014). In that case, the EEOC challenged UPS’ policy of terminating employees who could not return to work after 12 months of leave as discriminatory. UPS defended
the policy as an “attendance policy” that is permissible under the ADA, since attendance is an essential job function for any employee. The court agreed with the EEOC that this policy can give rise to liability under the ADA. Thus, under the ADA, employers cannot by policy or work rule place an outside limit on leave (regardless of how long) and must modify leave policies to provide disabled employees with additional leave, unless the employer can show that granting additional leave would cause an undue hardship. Michael D. Kristofco is a partner of the law firm Wisler Pearlstine, LLP. He is Chair of the Firm’s Employment and Labor Law Group and currently serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Kristofco’s practice involves the representation of employers in personnel matters and the representation of school districts, private companies and individuals in litigation involving employment disputes, discrimination claims, commercial disputes and claims involving estate and trust administration.
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MBA / FEATURE
Regulation vs. Certification By Annette M. Long, CRP, Pa.C.P.
he American Bar Association endorsed the use of paralegals in 1967 and adopted the Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Legal Assistant Services in 1991.
“A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.” (ABA House of Delegates, 1997) Paralegals are generally trained in all aspects of the law, but may very quickly adapt and become specialists in just one field. While the use of paralegals is seen throughout all areas of practice, duties delegated vary greatly from firm to firm. Paralegals perform legal work that would otherwise be completed by attorneys. As viewed in the ABA definition of a paralegal, the work performed should be substantive in nature. While the terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are generally accepted as synonymous titles, they are not the equivalent of a “secretary” as clerical work is not substantive legal work.
Responsibilities most often assigned to paralegals include: • Maintain Client Files • Perform factual research • Draft correspondence, pleadings, discovery requests and responses • Perform factual, legal research, both conventional and computer aided • Research public records • Investigation and analysis of documents and records • Summarize depositions and other discovery responses • Coordinate and manage document production • Client and witness interviews • Attendance at court proceedings and depositions with attorneys • Organize pleadings, trial exhibits and other documents • Prepare witness and exhibit lists • Prepare trial notebooks • Prepare for the attendance of witnesses at trial • Assist attorneys at trials A regulation is an authoritative rule dealing with details or procedure, issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law. To date, California is the only state that directly regulates paralegals. In 2000, California adopted a regulation that requires persons using the title of paralegal to meet educational requirements and continuing education requirements. For details, see the law at California Business and Professions Code, Sections 6450 through 6456.
A new class of legal professionals may now be on the horizon. Legislation in 2012 in the State of Washington provides for Limited License Legal Technicians (see APR 28 Washington). Having determined that the legal needs of the general public are not being met, the purpose of the new rule is to authorize certain persons to render limited legal assistance or advice in approved practice areas. The Washington rule seeks to provide limitations for services. With carefully regulated circumstances, ensuring that only qualified practitioners provide the assistance, while also expanding the affordability of quality legal assistance and protecting the public. Although Family Law is the first area of limited practice, it is anticipated that the Washington Supreme Court will be adding additional practice areas in the near future. Similar regulations are pending in Alaska, Georgia, New York, Oregon, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Certification is a process by which a non-governmental agency grants recognition to an individual. The individual must meet pre-determined qualifications and typically involves passing an examination, meeting specified educational requirements and continuing education requirements. In 2008, the Pennsylvania agency, Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations began to offer a voluntary certification program. Individuals who choose to become a Pennsylvania Certified
Paralegal (Pa.C.P.) provide a benchmark of qualified paralegals, competent to provide legal services under the supervision of an attorney. The American Bar Association does not certify Paralegals. Presently, there is no mandatory certification examination in the United States. However, several national organizations offer certification exams for paralegals. • The National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) • NALS. . .the Association for Legal Professionals • The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. The certification issue has been a subject of considerable interest and debate for the past several years among paralegal associations, bar associations and legislatures. States which currently have a voluntary certification program through Bar Associations or Paralegal Associations include: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Texas. As attorneys continue to tackle the challenges faced by daily practice, attorneys can be assured that the certified paralegals they employ are better equipped to assist and provide legal services.
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MBA / FEATURE
Spotlight on Diversity:
Summer 1L Diversity Internship Program Renamed
Members of the Robert E. Slota Summer 1L Diversity Program’s “Class of 2014.” Since its inception, the program has welcomed 53 1L interns from diverse backgrounds into our legal community.
ontgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee recently paid tribute to one of its founding fathers. A special ceremony marked the tributary name change of the committee’s award-winning Summer 1L Diversity Internship Program to the “Robert E. Slota, Jr. Summer 1L Diversity Program.” The dedication was held during the committee’s annual reception at the law offices of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, P.C. in Lansdale where Slota served as a partner prior to his untimely passing of a heart attack in November of 2013. Throughout his term as an officer of the Montgomery Bar Association, Slota worked tirelessly to advance the cause of diversity within our legal community and to promote inclusion. While serving as President in 2007, he appointed a special Diversity Task Force to draft a mission statement and to lay groundwork for what would later become a standing committee of the association the following year. Along with a long list of other accomplishments, Slota’s Diversity Committee would later launch its first annual Summer 1L Internship Program. Now in its 6th year, the program has introduced fifty-three (53) new 1L student interns from diverse backgrounds into our legal community and to law offices throughout Montgomery County; several of whom have since accepted fulltime positions with their respective employers and remain active members in our bar association today. During the ceremony, two of Slota’s original Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs, Hon. Cheryl Lynne Austin and Daniel Clifford, praised Slota for his courage, dedication, perseverance and hard work. The announcement was made before a packed house of friends, family members, colleagues, bar leaders, judges and 15 past presidents of the MBA. .
From L-R: 2014 Diversity Committee Chair Mohammad Aleem Ghiasuddin, Carolyn Slota and Slota’s original Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs, Daniel Clifford and Hon. Cheryl Lynne Austin
1L students take advantage of some quality face-to-face networking time as they do throughout the summer at various events hosted by sponsoring law firms.
MBA / FEATURE
The MBA Speakers Bureau:
The Bar’s Voice in the Community By Karl S. Myers, Esq.
he Speakers Bureau has long served as a bridge of personal connection between the Bar and the community. Members have spoken on a vast number of topics, be it at the request of the community or the Bar, to a wide array of community groups in countless types of forums. The Bureau, through its speakers, educates and informs the public and fosters a better understanding of our judges and lawyers. As Chair of the Speakers Bureau for 2014, I encourage the community and MBA members to connect with the Speakers Bureau to continue and grow this fine MBA tradition. Members of the public should know that the Speakers Bureau is constantly at the ready as a resource of public speakers to give informative and educational talks. We serve you by tailoring and delivering presentations - free of charge - on virtually any legal topic for any size group. Each of our speakers has expertise in a specific area of law and in communicating that knowledge and experience. We will custom tailor your speaking engagement to meet your needs. Our speakers have
addressed such interesting and vital topics as adoption, bankruptcy, child and spousal support, elder law (wills, living wills, powers of attorney, grandparent’s rights), small business, consumer rights and protection, creditors rights, and employment issues. Speakers have addressed a wide variety of audiences, including at retirement and personal care homes, schools, veterans’ groups, social and civic service organizations, and other community organizations. We can speak at a career day, as part of a debate or roundtable, or on a panel. While these have been the traditional topics and audiences, there are no rules or limits on subjects or groups. The Speakers Bureau also encourages MBA members to proactively engage the Bureau if any member has interest in speaking to the public on areas of interest. Public engagement is an important part of giving back to the community and public outreach. A number of MBA members have already volunteered to speak, and we are currently making arrangements for speaking engagements. We also will be working to advertise the Bureau’s services
and will be making personal contacts with local groups to generate community interest in speakers. For any interested MBA member, we will work to identify a topic and constituency that would be interested in hearing from interested speakers. We can also cross-promote other MBA services and initiatives at our speaking engagements. For members of the public interested in hosting a speaker, please request a Speakers Bureau Request Form by calling (610) 279-9660, extension 232. You may also download a copy of the form from the MBA website (at http://www. montgomerybar.org/public/documents/ SpeakersBureauRequestForm.pdf) and emailing the completed form to MBA Public Relations at pr@montgomerybar. org. We will promptly respond to you and collaborate with you on an event. For MBA members interested in speaking to the public please contact either Jim Mathias at 610-279-9660, ext. 232 or myself, your humble 2014 Speakers Bureau Chair, at (215) 5648193.
MBA / FEATURE
MBA’s New Incapacity/Guardianship Panels Aim to Prevent Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in Montgomery County By Robert C. Gerhard, III, Esq.
inancial exploitation of senior citizens happens in Montgomery County much more frequently than most people realize. The MBA is actively working with other local organizations to stop financial abuse of the elderly, and can provide lawyers who know how to address instances of elder abuse. A significant red flag is a dependent adult child who resides with the senior, especially one who appears to be living with no visible means of self support. In some cases, the abuser has drug or alcohol problems, or mental illness. A huge warning sign is the calculated isolation of the senior from friends and family. Sometimes a controlling caregiver accompanies the senior to the bank in an effort to make large cash withdrawals or large asset transfers. Occasionally this person has been designated to serve as financial power of attorney (POA) without oversight and is misusing the authority set forth in the POA document. Financial institutions have regular training sessions so their branch managers can spot this issue and take appropriate action. Even though there is no mandatory reporting requirement, bankers regularly report suspected financial exploitation of the elderly to Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services (Protective Services) or local law enforcement. In the absence of supervision, an abuser can devastate a senior’s resources with major consequences to the family. Notably, asset transfers can create ineligibility for Medicaid long-term care benefits. The senior may then be shut out of quality nursing homes, unable to secure public benefits to pay for in-home care, and without money to privately pay
for assisted living or other personal care. To make matters worse, Pennsylvania’s filial support law can force the “good children” who had nothing to do with the financial abuse to privately pay for their parent’s long-term care, regardless of fault. Perform an internet search for the terms “HCR Manorcare v. Pittas” and “filial support” to learn more about the surprising personal liability that exists for children to support their parents under Pennsylvania’s filial support laws. Elder abuse is a crime which often goes unreported. If you suspect elder abuse, you can make an anonymous report to local law enforcement, or call Montgomery County’s Elder Abuse Hotline at (800) 734-2020. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office maintains an Elder Abuse Hotline dedicated to stopping financial exploitation, (866) 623-2137. An estate planning attorney can draft power of attorney documents to include safeguards which reduce the chances of financial abuse. The POA document can require two signatures in order to spend large amounts of money; prohibit or restrict gifting to the agent; and can require the agent to regularly send copies of financial records to a third party. Oversight of an agent’s actions in some form is simply good business practice, and can be critical to stopping financial exploitation. A senior with diminished mental capacity or dementia may not have planned ahead by preparing a power of attorney. In these situations the only proper alternative may be to initiate guardianship proceedings with the court. A legal guardian can also be appointed where the agent under a POA has been self-dealing, taking money, or otherwise SIDEBAR
not acting in the senior’s best interests. The MBA’s Elder Law Committee has been working diligently to help make it easier for the public to secure the representation of lawyers who are skilled in handling guardianship matters. In situations where resources exist, the MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service has a panel of estate planning and elder law attorneys who offer a very low cost consultation. The fee is $40 for an initial meeting with a lawyer on the Incapacity/Guardianship Panel. In appropriate cases, the MBA will make a referral to Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (Legal Aid). Many members of the MBA volunteer their time at Legal Aid to provide free legal assistance to those in need. For seniors with modest resources who do not qualify for help through Legal Aid, there is the “MBA Legal Access Project” with lawyers who have registered to accept guardianship cases at greatly reduced fees. The MBA cares about access to justice and the prevention of elder abuse and neglect. Whether it is preparation of a quality power of attorney or having a guardian appointed to force a bad POA agent to formally account for his or her actions, the bar association’s member attorneys can be part of the solution. Call the Bar Association at (610)2799660, Ext. 201 to secure legal help in the effort to stop financial exploitation of the elderly. Robert C. Gerhard,III, Esquire limits his practice to elder law matters and has served as chair of the MBA Elder Law Committee for the past 15 years.
MBA / FEATURE
NEW CLE GUIDELINES Submitted by Pennsylvania Bar Institute
he April compliance deadline for CLE credits has just passed and attorneys with that deadline may
have put their CLE requirement out of mind for another year. Recent changes to the CLE Rules suggest that may be a bad strategy.
You should also be aware that the PBI simulcasts to the Montgomery Bar Association are not subject to the “cap” on distance education credits. They combine the convenience of local programming with quality instruction by statewide experts. Time spent in these outstanding seminars will help satisfy your full twelve (12) credit requirement and can be carried forward to two future years. Live webcasts, viewed on an attorney’s own computer at his office or home, on the other hand, are subject to the six (6) credit cap. Be mindful that CLE “bundles” available from some national online providers may offer so many credits that attorneys will not be able to use most of them to satisfy the Pennsylvania CLE requirement.
In January, the Supreme Court made these two changes: • Attorneys are now required to have at least two (2) ethics credits every year; • Attorneys have permission to use up to six (6) distance education credits to satisfy the annual 12 credit requirement. Both changes became effective for CLE compliance periods beginning May 1, 2014, which means that the increased ethics requirement will be enforced for compliance periods ending on April 30, 2015. After twenty (20) years of satisfying the requirement with one (1) ethics credit, it will be easy for attorneys to find themselves out of compliance with the ethics credit responsibility next April and through the remainder of 2015. Many CLE courses include one hour of ethics training related to that field of practice. For example, PBI offers a group of one hour ethics courses near the end of each compliance period under the title Ethics Potpourri. Keep the new rule in mind to avoid getting an unpleasant reminder and possible fine after your 2015 deadline. The distance education changes offer 24/7 convenience in meeting the CLE requirement, but there is a nuance in those changes, too. “Distance education” credits, as defined by the CLE Rules, do not, like other credits, carry over to subsequent years. For example, an attorney who viewed six (6) hours of CLE from PBI’s Online Campus before her deadline in 2014 will not be able to count two of those credits toward either her 2014 or 2015 requirement.
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Bar Foundation Announces Recent Contributions
ontgomery County Paralegals Association Donates $1,000 - The Bar Foundation is proud to announce that it has received a contribution of $1,000 from the Montgomery County Paralegal Association. The grant will be used to support the Bar Foundation’s grants program. “We deeply appreciate this generous contribution from the Montgomery County Paralegal Association. Paralegal professionals are integral to the practice of law and to this legal community, and we are proud to have their support. We commend the MCPA for taking leadership in demonstrating the importance of broad-based support for the Bar Foundation’s efforts to foster equal access to justice,” stated Montgomery Bar Foundation President Steven H. Lupin, Esq. of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin. “The members of the Montgomery County Paralegal Association believe that giving back to the community is vital. This is a value that our Association shares with the Montgomery Bar Foundation, which we are proud to support. This gift reflects the desire of MCPA’s membership to make a deeper investment in the Bar Foundation’s efforts to foster equal access to justice,” stated Tracey Barnes, RP, Pa.C.P., President of the Montgomery County Paralegals Association. The Montgomery County Paralegal Association (“MCPA”), established in 1999, is a professional organization of members of the paralegal profession working with numerous law firms and businesses throughout Montgomery County. The MCPA’s mission is to provide a network of communication and support to all of its members, to act as a forum for the interchange of ideas and to take an effective role in the development and growth of the paralegal profession by complying with the applicable legal authority governing the jurisdiction in which the paralegal is practicing.
New Bar Foundation Fellows – Contributions received from Bar Foundation Fellows are the primary source of support for the Bar Foundation’s grants. We are pleased to welcome the following individuals who joined the Bar Foundation Fellows Program since February 2014. Alfred Abel, Esq. Heather M. Bendit, Esq. Elizabeth Wood Fritsch, Esq. Gregory R. Gifford, Esq. Harold M. Goldner, Esq.
Carole Dotson Green, Esq. John P. Gregg, Esq. Lindette C. Hassan, Esq. Andrew J. Levin, Esq. Annette M. Long, CRP
Betty Lupo, Esq. Colin J. O’Boyle, Esq. Karl S. Myers, Esq. Sheryl R. Rentz, Esq.
Dues Check-off Contributions – Dues check-off contributions are an equally important source of funding for the Bar Foundation’s grants program. We gratefully acknowledge the following individuals who elected to make a contribution to the Montgomery Bar Foundation when renewing their Montgomery Bar Association membership for 2014. Dues check-off donations amounted to over $9,000 this year, and will be used to help fund the Bar Foundation’s 2014 grant distributions. Alfred Abel, Esq.* Warren J. Adair, Esq. Daniel Paul Alva, Esq. George M. Aman, III, Esq. Hon. Mason Avrigian* Mason Avrigian, Jr., Esq. Paul S. Badame, Esq. Joseph M. Bagley, Esq. G. Alan Bailey, Esq. Michael L. Barbiero, Esq. Robert L. Bast, Esq. Michelle C. Berk, Esq.* Richard W. Berlinger, Esq.* Jenna Berman, Esq. Jean M. Biesecker, Esq. David K. Bifulco, Esq. George F. Bihn, III, Esq. Joseph M. Blackburn, Esq. William G. Blasdel, Jr, Esq. Wendy F. Bleczinski, Esq. Craig B. Bluestein, Esq. William J. Bonner, Jr., Esq. Jessica Borno, Esq. Paula M. Borradaile, Esq. Adam N. Bram, Esq. Sharon A.L. Brass, Esq. Michael F. Breslin, Esq. Joseph E. Bresnan, Esq. Amy T. Brooks, Esq. Marjorie A. Brown, Esq. Mitchell E. Burack, Esq. Edmund J. Campbell, Jr., Esq. Robert W. Cardwell, Jr., Esq. Margarete Choksi, Esq. Francis X. Clark, Esq. M. Joseph Clement, Esq. Michael J. Clement, Esq. Patricia Leisner Clements, Esq.
Keith J. Cohen, Esq. Timothy S. Cole, Esq. Zachary B. Cooper, Esq. David W. Cornish, Esq. George C. Corson, Jr., Esq. Dominic P. Costa, Esq. Lindley M. Cowperthwait, Jr., Esq. Theodore S. Coxe, Jr., Esq. Charles V. Curley, Esq. Clinton J. Cusick, Esq. Megan D. Dalton, Esq. Jennifer Damelio, Esq. Peter I. Daniele, Esq. Joseph C. De Maria, Esq. Thomas F. Delaney, Esq. John M. Demcisak, Esq. Regina Diamond, Esq. Silvia Diaz, Esq. Brian Scott Dietrich, Esq. Mark N. Dilts, Esq. Alan Jay Dion, Esq. Hon. J. William Ditter, Jr. Therol Johnson Dix, Esq. Lawrence D. Dodds, Esq. Mary Cushing Doherty, Esq.* Drew S. Dorfman, Esq. Michael Drossner, Esq. David I. Dubin, Esq. Michael F. Dunn, Esq.* John B. Egner, Esq. Gary R. Egoville, Esq. William Ehrich, Esq. Michael E. Eisenberg, Esq. Todd Eisenberg, Esq. Jonathan H. Ellis, Esq. Thomas Jay Ellis, Esq. Daniel Jay Ely, Esq. Karen Fairlie, Esq.
Steven F. Fairlie, Esq. Kristen Zollers Fath, Esq. Joanne Steinke Faul, Esq. Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq. David A. Feldheim, Esq.* Risa Vetri Ferman, Esq. Adam L. Fernandez, Esq. Robert C. Fernandez, Esq. Rosemary R. Ferrino, Esq. Cary B. Fleisher, Esq.* Cary L. Flitter, Esq.* Glenn D. Fox, Esq. Andrew R. Freimuth, Esq. Jeannie E. Fridey, Esq. Gary J. Friedlander, Esq. Pamela B. Gagne, Esq. Joshua Ganz, Esq. Mark D. Garawitz, Esq. James J. Garrity, Esq. Stephen M. Geday, Esq. John F. Gehring, Esq. George Gerasmowicz, Jr., Esq. Robert C. Gerhard, III, Esq.* Sharon L. Giamporcaro, Esq. Gregory R. Gifford, Esq.* Jay H. Ginsburg, Esq. Gerald F. Glackin, Esq. Michael D. Goldberg, Esq. Daniel R. Grabianowski, Esq. Marshall L. Grabois, Esq. Carole Dotson Green, Esq.* Anne L. Griffin, Esq. Rhonda K. Grubbs, Esq. John A. Guernsey, Esq. Richard A. Hall, Esq. Mark S. Haltzman, Esq. Lindsay Hanifan, Esq. Susan M. Harmon, Esq.
Roger J. Harrington, Esq. Mindy A. Harris, Esq. Stephen G. Heckman, Esq. James J. Heffernen, Esq.* Jason J. Herron, Esq. Thomas L. Hoffman, Esq. R. Kurtz Holloway, Esq. Sherry L. Horowitz, Esq. Mark A. Hosterman, Esq. John R. Howland, Esq.* Claudia L. Huot, Esq. Marcia Binder Ibrahim, Esq. Jamie Jamison, Esq. David A. Jaskowiak, Esq. Robert M. John, Esq. Laurie R. Jubelirer, Esq. Andrew S. Kasmen, Esq. Madeleine R. Kaufman, Esq. Mark A. Kearney, Esq.* Thomas R. Kellogg, Esq. Mark S. Kenney, Esq. Turrey A. Kepler, Esq. Richard A. Kessler, Esq. John J. Kilcoyne, Esq. Frederick Kim, Esq. Joanne E. Kleiner, Esq. Timothy Knowles, Esq. Hon. Michael Krancer* Michael D. Kristofco, Esq. William L. Landsburg, Esq.* John W. Lauffer, Esq. Douglas Lavenberg, Esq. T. Matthew Leckman, Esq. Stephen R. Leibowitz, Esq. Suzan G. Leonard, Esq. Ronald J. Levine, Esq. Max L. Lieberman, Esq. Norman M. Loev, Esq. Louis P. Lombardi, II, Esq.
E. Nego Pile, Esq. Peter J. Pinnola, Esq. Charles K. Plotnick, Esq. Mary Podlogar, Esq. Michelle R. Portnoff, Esq. Dana Rakinic, Esq. Susan Z. Rees, Esq. Michael B. Reese, Esq. Evelyn W. Reichman, Esq. Sheryl R. Rentz, Esq.* Miles B. Rittmaster, Esq. Kenneth J. Roeberg, Esq. Matthew J. Rogers, Esq. Kenneth A. Roos, Esq. Suzanne Root, Esq. Rodman M. Rosenberger, Esq. Hon. Maurino J. Rossanese, Jr. Jack A. Rounick, Esq.* Michelle Rounick, Esq. Scott L. H. Rubin, Esq. Anna Sappington, Esq. Eileen A. Schaeffer, Esq. Henry J. Schireson, Esq. Nancy B. Schneider, Esq. Mark C. Schultz, Esq.* Andrew J. Sciolla, Esq. Anthony J. Sciolla, Jr., Esq. Meredith L. Seigle, Esq. David M. Seltzer, Esq. Bruce Spencer Shaw, Esq. Everett K. Sheintoch, Esq. Lori K. Shemtob, Esq. Thomas W. Sheridan, Esq. Michael C. Shields, Esq. Bernard F. Siergiej, Esq. Lynn B. Silver, Esq. Robert M. Slutsky, Esq. Barbara M. Smith, Esq.* Charles Wharton Smith, Esq.
Theodore E. Lorenz, Esq. C.J. Lyford, Esq. Joseph P. Lynch, Esq. Robert Emmett Madden, Esq. Matthew M. Maertzig, Esq. Christy Martin, Esq. L. Stanley Mauger, Esq. Joseph B. Mayers, Esq. Benjamin J. Mayerson, Esq. Frederick W. McBrien, III, Esq. Margaret A. McCausland, Esq. Randal J. McDowell, Esq. Edward J. McGlinchey, Jr., Esq. John F. McGreevey, Esq. Brian P. McVan, Esq. Richard J. Mennies, Esq. Eric C. Milby, Esq. Leslie Anne Miller, Esq. Jeremy Z. Mittman, Esq. Richard J. Molish, Esq. Andrew J. Monastra, Esq. Betty Narducci Montana, Esq. Andrew P. Moore, Esq. Peter E. Moore, Esq. Frank P. Murphy, Esq. Leigh P. Narducci, Esq. Amy S. Newman, Esq. Timothy O. Nolen, Esq. Justin M. O’Donoghue, Esq. Michael J. O’Donoghue, Esq. Albert C. Oehrle, Esq. Benjamin S. Ohrenstein, Esq. Lawrence Pauker, Esq. Karen Ulmer Pendergast, Esq. Dominic A. Penna, Esq. Gary M. Perkiss, Esq. Samantha Phillips, Esq. David J. Picker, Esq. Jonathan Picker, Esq.
WHY I GIVE
Nancy Neff Solnick, Esq. Paul B. Solnick, Esq. Marla D. Sones, Esq. Marc Robert Steinberg, Esq.* Richard F. Stern, Esq.* John M. Stevens, Esq. Harvey F. Strauss, Esq.* David W. Sumner, Esq. Leslee Silverman Tabas, Esq. Kathryn L. Taxis, Esq. Richard K. Teitell, Esq. Allen K. Tomlinson, Esq. Barry Jon Tomlinson, Esq. Paul A. Tornetta, Esq. Stephen A. Tornetta, Esq. Julianna Van Duyne-King, Esq. Anthony J. Vetrano, Esq. Kathleen Bilotta Vetrano, Esq. Valentina G. Viletto, Esq. Dennis C. Vondran, Jr., Esq. Francis M. Walsh, Esq. Thomas M. Ward, Esq. John R. Warner, Esq. Melissa Murphy Weber, Esq. Bridget Weidenburner, Esq. Debra B. Weidman, Esq. Peter J. Weidman, Esq. Richard E. Wells, Esq. Hon. Diane M. Welsh Thomas E. Wiener, Esq. Terry Wilson, Esq. Michelle A. Winter, Esq. Diane H. Yazujian, Esq. John G. Younglove, Esq. Hon. Patricia A. Zaffarano Richard Zimmerman, Esq.
* In addition to making a dues-check off contribution, this individual is a Bar Foundation Fellow. (List complete as of 3/12/14. We regret any gifts that may have been inadvertently omitted.)
As a member of the profession, I believe that the ability to secure justice and fair treatment should not depend upon the ability to pay for legal services. Unfortunately, some of the most vulnerable members of our community cannot afford this assistance and must fend for themselves in the face of crime, abuse or discrimination.
Seth D. Wilson, Esq.
A recent issue of the Bar Association’s SIDEBAR magazine spotlighted this legal community’s strong commitment to give back to the communities in which we live and work. This commitment is reflected in the work of the Montgomery Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of our Bar Association. Through its annual grants program, the Bar Foundation provides funding to organizations that offer free legal assistance to disadvantaged individuals. These grants are made possible by private charitable contributions from members of the Montgomery Bar Association who wish to give back to the community in this way. Last year, I joined the Bar Foundation’s Fellows Program so that I could contribute to its efforts to ensure that the protections afforded by the law are available to those who often need it most. I encourage you to join me. SIDEBAR
MBA / FEATURE
Can an Employer Reimburse an Employee’s Individual Insurance Premiums on a Tax-Free Basis?
ne of the more frequent questions we get from employers is whether they are able to help pay for an employee’s individual health insurance policy on a pre-tax basis. This article should help to shed some light on the topic and opinions within the industry. The IRS recently issued a FAQ addressing the potential consequences of an arrangement where an employer reimburses employees for the purchase of individual health insurance premiums on a tax-favored basis (referred to as an “employer payment plan”). For this purpose, individual health insurance premiums include individual coverage purchased either inside or outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace. The FAQ follows up on earlier guidance describing these types of arrangements (Notice 2013-54). Employer payment plans include arrangements that reimburse some or all of an employee’s individual health insurance premiums on a tax-free basis, including reimbursement through a health reimbursement arrangement (“HRA”) or a direct payment by the employer to an insurance company. Under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), an employer payment plan is considered a group health plan subject to the market reforms, including the prohibition of annual dollar limits for essential health benefits and the requirement to provide certain preventative care without cost sharing. These arrangements cannot be integrated with individual policies to satisfy the ACA’s requirements. Consequently, employer payment plans will not satisfy the market reforms under the ACA and employers offering such a program may be subject to a $100/day excise tax per applicable employee (which is $36,500 per year, per employee). An employer payment plan generally does not include an arrangement under which an employee may have an aftertax amount applied toward health coverage or may take that amount in cash compensation. But some have argued that there is a way to reimburse an employee’s individual health plan premiums on a pre-tax basis through a health reimbursement arrangement. From the New York Times: “The issue, at least on the surface, is language in the health law meant to make sure there are no dollar limits on the coverage for a person’s basic medical needs, which the law calls essential health benefits. The IRS asserts that a plan reimbursing employees for insurance they buy on their own cannot comply with this prohibition on annual limits because the company’s contribution is by definition limited — even though the health
insurance the employee ends up buying would have no annual limits.” The argument is that since the ACA does not specifically list insurance premiums as an “essential health benefit,” reimbursing for them does not violate the law. Many experts and attorneys disagree with this stance though and admit the approach is very risky. “In a technical guidance issued last year and reiterated in May, the Internal Revenue Service issued a clear warning about such health reimbursement arrangements, according to eight health and tax lawyers as well as a half-dozen lobbyists and analysts who have followed the Affordable Care Act’s adoption. The guidance ‘makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for an employer to pay for an employee’s individual insurance with tax-free dollars,’ said Seth Perretta, a health and tax lawyer with the Groom Law Group in Washington.”1 Another issue with offering employees tax-free reimbursements for individual health insurance plans is the potential that it disqualifies employees from receiving premium tax credits in state or federal exchanges. The ACA states that employees who are offered health insurance coverage by their employers are not eligible to receive tax credits or subsidies in state or federal exchanges, even if their income is below the acceptable threshold. Since a health reimbursement arrangement is considered a group health plan, the opinion of many attorneys is that employees who receive contributions into an HRA would be disqualified from receiving subsidies. Employees who receive a subsidy and do not disclose the reimbursement from their employer (into the HRA) could be required to repay the subsidy at tax time. The Treasury Department has said that the government plans to offer additional guidance on the topic but final determination may ultimately have to come down to a legal challenge by a group who gets penalized. For now, the overwhelming majority of industry experts and attorneys agree that reimbursing an employee on a tax-free basis for their individual insurance premiums is NOT permitted by the law. Brian McLaughlin (Brian.McLaughlin@usiaffinity.com) is vice president of USI Affinity’s Benefit Solutions Group. For more information about health insurance, you can access the MBA Insurance Exchange at www. usiaffinityex.com/MBA. For Lawyers’ Professional Liability and other business coverages, you will still use the MBA Insurance Program website at www.mybarinsurance.com/MBA. If you want to talk to someone about insurance and benefits options for MBA members, call USI Affinity Benefit Specialists at 855-874-0267.
MONTGOMERY BAR FOUNDATION
Upcoming MBA Events August-November 2014
Bar Foundation Announces Special Opportunity for Young Lawyers to Join Bar Foundation Fellows Program he Montgomery Bar Foundation has created a special opportunity for young lawyers to help
Aug. 5, 2014
Old vs. Young Lawyers Softball Game
Late Aug. 2014
foster equal access to justice. Members of the Young Lawyers Section of the MBA are invited to join the Montgomery Bar Foundation Fellows program upon contributing the equivalent of one billable hour per year. The Montgomery Bar Foundation Fellows Program was created in 2008 by then-MBF President William Pugh, V. At that time, participation in the Fellows program required a minimum pledge of $1,250, payable over five years. Nearly one hundred leading members of the bar and Bench made this pledge, together contributing more than $110,000 towards the foundation’s annual grants program. Those original pledges were fulfilled by 2012, and many of the charter members have continued to contribute to the foundation. In 2013, the MBF Board of Trustees removed the five-year, $1,250 pledge requirement in order to encourage broader support for the program. This resulted in a significant increase in new Fellows over prior years, and enabled the foundation to distribute larger grants to organizations affording access to justice. This year, Bar Foundation continued its efforts to secure more wide-spread from Montgomery County lawyers by reaching out to the younger members of the MBA. Seth D. Wilson, Bar Foundation Trustee and former President of the Young Lawyers Section, and William G. Roark, current President of the Young Lawyers Section, have worked together to develop a program specifically designed to respond to the needs and interests of those new and relatively new to the profession. The Fellows Program for Young Lawyers was approved by the leadership of each organization this spring, and officially launched in June. One of the most significant aspects of this program is that the $250 contribution currently required to join the Fellows Program has been modified to reflect the reality that many young lawyers struggle with considerable law school debt while earning entry-level salaries. Instead, the Fellows Program for Young Lawyers requires a minimum contribution equivalent to one hour at the young lawyer’s own hourly billable rate.
Fantasy Football Draft Party
Sept.12 – 14, 2014 Bench Bar Conference (Cambridge, MD)
Sept. 18, 2014 Clambake
Oct. 2, 2014
The 36th Annual Ecumenical Service
Nov. 7, 2014
Annual Membership Dinner
Delaware Valley Legal Expo
*Dates subject to change. Visit montgomerybar.org for the latest schedule of events.
Members in the News Jay C. Glickman, partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was recently honored at a dinner at the Indian Valley Country Club, by the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council and Century Club in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the community over a long period of time. He was selected by the Cradle of Liberty Council and Century Club to receive the 54th Annual Malcom A. Schweiker Award.
Marc Robert Steinberg, managing partner at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was recently named an MCAP Hero by the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project. This organization is a non-profit corporation that provides pro bono legal services and support to children in Montgomery County who are victims of abuse or who are involved in a proceeding in which parents or guardians are adversaries. The legal advocates provide these vulnerable children with a voice as they navigate the legal and social service arenas.
Meyer Simon, a member of the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was recently appointed Chairman of the General Practice Committee and elected to the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Bar Association.
Jennifer Ellis, a member of the Bala Cynwyd law firm Lowenthal & Abrams, was recently appointed Vice Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the ABA Law Practice Division.
With the help of Girl Scout Troops 71600, 7356 and 71519, the lawyers and staff of Wisler Pearlstine donated $1600 to send Girl Scout cookies to US Troops serving in the military as part of the Scouts’ “Operation Cookies from Home” Program. The divorce and family law firm, Shemtob Law, PC, is pleased to announce that Abby Silverman Leeds has joined the firm as an associate where she will handle divorce, custody, protection from abuse cases and other family law matters.
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin has been named to the 2014 Honor Roll of Legal Organizations Welcoming Women Professionals by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. The firm was selected for its programs and initiatives that help women lawyers continue and advance in their professional careers, including overall culture and atmosphere, mentorship opportunities, flexible work schedules, annual women’s events, and its high numbers of female attorneys and women in positions of leadership at the firm. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman was honored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at their annual event, Take the Lead 2014. District Attorney Ferman has utilized
her unique role in the community to improve the ways children’s rights are protected. She co-founded two local nonprofits that provide support for victims of child abuse: the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), which provides pro bono legal services for abused children, and Mission Kids, a child advocacy center that coordinates a multi-disciplinary team response to child abuse.
Patrick M. Hitchens, an associate at Fort Washington-based Timoney Knox law firm, spoke at a recent Montgomery County Borough Association dinner meeting in Narberth. Hitchens, of Upper Dublin Township, was guest speaker for his talk on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and related issues during the monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Borough Associations. The law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that attorneys,
Bernadette A. Kearney, Paul G. Mullin and John J. Iannozzi, were recently elected to partnership in the firm.
Bernadette A. Kearney has practiced real estate law for over ten years and is a member of the firm’s Real Estate and Zoning Department. Her areas of concentration include municipal, real estate, zoning and bankruptcy law matters. Paul G. Mullin is a member of the Municipal Law Department and the Real Estate and Zoning Department. His practice focuses on municipal law, land use, zoning and
residential, commercial and industrial real estate transactions. John J. Iannozzi’s practice focuses on land use and zoning, municipal, business law, tax assessment litigation, and criminal defense matters. Friedman Schuman, PC is proud to announce that Robert M. Careless has become an associate of the Firm and will work in the Municipal Law Group. Prior to joining Friedman Schuman, Bob represented clients comprised of school districts, boroughs, townships, and other government entities in the recovery of delinquent real estate taxes and municipal fees. The firm is also proud to announce that
Robert A. Bacine, Robert H. Nemeroff and David
E. Stern have been named 2014
Mark A. Kearney of Elliott Greenleaf upon his June 2014 nomination from President Obama to become a United States District Court Judge subject to US Senate confirmation and his May 2014 election as the 2014-15 President of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (“PBI”) as it celebrates its fifty years of legal education.
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Michael J. Moyer has been named a Rising Star by Thompson Reuters. MacElree Harvey, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Jaime Jano has joined the firm as an associate in its family law department. Her arrival means that MacElree Harvey has the largest Family Law Group in Chester County with nine lawyers focusing on divorce, child support, and the entire gamut of domestic relations; 6 in Pennsylvania and 3 in Delaware.
Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP family law attorney Stephanie H. Winegrad has been admitted as a fellow to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
Congratulations to past Montgomery Bar Association President and past Montgomery Bar Foundation President
Marc D. Jonas has been named as “Leaders in Their Field” in the Chambers USA 2014 Directory, published by Chambers and Partners, a Continued on next page
The TheSafeGuards SafeGuards program program is is aa unique, unique, local, local,full fullcontinuum continuum of of foster foster care, care, designed designedto totreat treat sexualized sexualized children children and andadolescents adolescents who who cannot cannot remain remain with withor orreturn returnto totheir their legal legal family. family. SafeGuards SafeGuardsprovides: provides: Analternative alternativeto toresidential residential youth youth • An services services
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An affiliate of Pennsylvania Forensics Associates SIDEBAR
United Kingdom-based legal publisher. Chambers and Partners publishes the leading guides to the legal profession and has been ranking the best law firms and lawyers since 1990, covering 185 jurisdictions throughout the world. Congratulations to the MBA Members honored in May 2014 by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 lawyer in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia:
Thomas J. Elliott, Steven F. Fairlie, Mark A. Kearney, James F. Mannion, Dean R. Phillips, Daniel F. Ryan, III, Thomas W. Sheridan, Shanin Specter, Paul C. Troy and Cheryl L. Young. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that six of its Pennsylvania attorneys have been named to the 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list: Mark F.
Himsworth, Bernadette A. Kearney, Steven H. Lupin, Joseph J. McGrory, Jr., J. Edmund Mullin and Edward Rubin and two of its young lawyers
were named to the 2004 Pennsylvania Rising Stars list: John J. Iannozzi and William G. Roark. Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP is pleased to announce our attorneys that were selected as 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers®. Each year only five percent of Pennsylvania attorneys receive the Super Lawyers® honor: Michael E. Bertin, David L. Ladov and Ann G.
On May 19, 2014, Managing Partner Samuel Pond and Partner Jerry Lehocky attended the ribbon
cutting ceremony for Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business Legal Studies Department. Mr. Pond and partner made a substantial donation to the department, which will be named The Pond and Lehocky Legal Studies Department, for use to ensure its longevity and integrity. MBA Past President John R. Howland has been elected president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Conference of County Bar Leaders (CCBL). Mr. Howland is a named partner in the Huntingdon Valley law firm of Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy & O’Connell, LLP, where he specializes in real estate and business law, as well as estate planning and administration and litigates for his clients in all of these areas.
Michael Mattioni, President of Mattioni, Ltd., was elected Chancellor of the Justinian Society on June 2, 2014. He was a long term member of its Board of Directors, and served as ViceChancellor for the past two years. The Justinian Society was founded in 1935, for attorneys, judges, and law students of Italian ancestry.
Tracie A. Vizza, who specializes in Medical Malpractice and Health Care Law defense, has become a Partner at O’Brien & Ryan, LLP. The law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that attorney Lisa A. Shearman was recently elected to the Nominating Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Ms. Shearman recently addressed Montgomery County Community College faculty, alumni and retirees on the importance of estate planning.
The panel presentation focused on the importance of assembling and utilizing a team of advisors to assure all aspects of a client’s wealth planning are reviewed and addressed. Ms. Shearman also spoke at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Legal Professionals on the Wills for Heroes program. The program is staffed by lawyer volunteers and provides free basic estate planning documents to first responders and veterans. Lisa is the National Affiliate Director of the Wills for Heroes foundation and one of the statewide coordinators of the Pennsylvania program. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, PC is pleased to report that Merle R. Ochrach was recently appointed Solicitor of the Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority (MIDA). In her role as Solicitor, Ms. Ochrach will represent the Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority in facilitating loan and bond financing to borrowers throughout Montgomery County and representing the Authority in its day to day operations pursuant to the Pennsylvania Economic Development Act.
Jennifer J. Riley has been selected and named as a 2014 Rising Star by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Magazine, and as published in Philadelphia Magazine. The Rising Star distinction is an honor awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is the third consecutive year that Ms. Riley has been awarded this honor.
YOUNG LAWYERS Formerly: The Law Office of Rosemary R. Ferrino
Young Lawyers Section Month of Service
Wills -Trusts - Powers of Attorney - Guardianship Medicaid Plans -Probate -Estate Administration
hroughout the month of May, officers and volunteers from the Montgomery Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (YLS) rolled up their sleeves to serve meals to those less fortunate at the Grace and Cecil Bean Soup Kitchen, located at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norristown. Several young attorneys took time each weekend in May to serve Saturday morning breakfasts to upwards of 150 people. Those unable to volunteer time were asked to donate gift cards to stores like Costco and Giant in an effort to help the cause. YLS Chair William G. Roark hopes to see the section’s inaugural “Month of Service” initiative blossom into an annual tradition. Of course, this year’s soup kitchen campaign is just one of several outreach projects spearheaded by the Young Lawyers Section as a way to give back to the community. Other projects have included an MLK Day home makeover, held this past January in conjunction with the Souderton-based Keystone Opportunity Center, the High School Mock Trial Competitions, upcoming efforts like the Wills for Heroes program and more. “Of course, it’s never too late to help the cause. Grace and Cecil Bean have been running this soup kitchen for close to twenty years, serving meals to upwards of 600 people weekly,” adds Rebecca Cantor, who presently serves as Treasurer for the Young Lawyers Section. Aimee Kumer, who presently serves as YLS liaison to the MBA’s Community Outreach Committee, reminded members at the June 16 meeting that volunteers are especially needed during the summer months, when regular volunteers typically tend to take vacations with their families. To learn how you can help the Grace and Cecil Bean Soup Kitchen or to coordinate a volunteer effort for your firm, contact the office at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norristown by calling 610.272.4092 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Always be sure to “Share Your News” with the MBA, by signing in to our website, MontgomeryBar.org, and clicking on the “Share Your News” link, located on our “Members Only” tab located at the bottom of the left side menu.
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Montgomery Bar Association, Montgomery County, PA | Sidebar Summer 2014 Edition Visit www.montgomerybar.org