SIDEBAR Fall 2023

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Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA FALL 2023
Magazine Special Pro Bono Issue
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Serving the Profession and the Community since 1885 2023 OFFICERS

Justin A. Bayer, Esq., President

Lisa A. Shearman, Esq., President-Elect

Seth D. Wilson, Esq., Vice President

Colin J. O’Boyle, Esq., Treasurer

Hon. Joseph P. Walsh, Secretary


Gary J. Friedlander, Esq.

Franqui-Ann J. Raffaele, Esq.

Lydia Terrill, Esq. Vice-Chair

Gregory Gilston, Esq.


Justin A. Bayer, Esq.

Jack Costello

Michelle R. Dempsky, Esq.

Jason Edwards, Esq.

Marion Hoffman Fraley

Kate Harper, Esq.

Timothy M. Knowles, Esq.

Jim Mathias

Mary C. Pugh, Esq.

Rebecca Sallen, Esq.

Lydia S. Terrill, Esq.

Denise S. Vicario, Esq.

Jennifer Whitehurst, Esq.


Denise S. Vicario, Esq., Executive Director

Jack Costello, Deputy Executive Director

Hazel Bergquist, Accounting Manager

Jessica Deazle, Lawyer Referral Service and Front Office Coordinator

Jessica Gambone, Montgomery County Law Reporter Desktop Publisher

Jim Mathias, Director of Marketing, Development, and Public Affairs

Megan Ware, Event and CLE Coordinator

Sherry Sutton, Membership Coordinator

Sandy Whittington, Accounting

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: 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 Montgomery County, PA Magazine SIDEBAR Magazine is published by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2669 Shillington Road, #438, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 | | 610.685.0914 For Advertising Information & Opportunities Contact: Sherry Bolinger 717.979.2858 Alicia Lee 610.685.0914 x210 FALL 2023 In Every Issue & Short Features: Plus: 4 President’s Message 5 Judiciary Committee Recommendations for the 2023 General Election 8 Young Lawyers Section Update 9 Movie Review 10 Career Corner 22 Pro Bono, Access to Justice, and Community Service Committee Update 23 Montgomery Bar Foundation –Issues Involving Domestic Violence Are Real And You Can Do Something About Them 24 MCAP Update 25 MBA Partners with Prothonotary for Virtual Name Change Clinic 26 Bar Foundation Tees Off to Help Legal Aid! COVER: Features: 12 The Equity Stop 14 Restaurant Review 15 Probate & Tax Section: The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law 16 A Word From USI Affinity 29 Justice Art Camp 30 MBA Hosts Naturalization Ceremony at the Montgomery County Courthouse 32 Integrate for Good 33 Team MBA at NAMI Walks Montgomery County May 6, 2023 at Temple University Ambler Campus 34 Summer Happy Hours 36 The Robert E. Slota, Jr. Diversity Internship and Development Program 38 Member News 39 New and Retiring Members 39 Upcoming Events 18 For the Public Good


“Serve the public. That’s what a Montgomery County lawyer does.” Those wise words were written by Bill Pugh, IV in his 1995 President’s Message and were republished in our last SIDEBAR magazine.

Today, I ask that you please serve the public by reminding your friends and family that our Judges do not serve political parties or ideologies. It is too common for a judge’s political party or the name of the appointing President to be identified in a news report of a particular trial or decision. Implicit is the suggestion that the information is potentially relevant. The impact is an erosion of faith in the independence of our judiciary. Judicial independence is paramount to the success of our system and is one of the crown jewels of our system of government. However, our judicial independence will not protect itself. It needs our help.

Please share your first-hand experiences with people outside our bar association. Tell them of our Judges who you know to be hard-working and fair-minded. Share the stories of our Judges who regularly do their best to facilitate the administration of justice with integrity. Let them know that you may not always agree with every decision, but that you’ve never doubted the independence of our judiciary for a moment. Sharing your experience is the best way that we can help protect the judicial independence that is critical to our system of government.

Tell those who will listen that here in Montgomery County – your bar association vets every single candidate running to join our esteemed bench. Proudly mention that our non-partisan committee of 34 of your fellow bar members interviews and performs background research on every individual running to be a judge in Montgomery County. Let them know that your Pennsylvania Bar Association has a similar process for state-wide judicial races. Better yet, share the results of the committees’ hard work (re-published on the following pages) and encourage them to consider the findings when making voting decisions.




Monday thru Friday

8:45 AM - 4:45 PM

ADDRESS: 100 West Airy Street

P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268


Phone: 610-279-9660

Fax: 610-279-4321 & 610-279-4846


Recommendations of the Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association for the 2023 General Election

As a service to the electorate, all candidates on this year’s ballot have been given the opportunity to be independently reviewed by an autonomous, nonpartisan committee of 34 members of diverse backgrounds, geographic areas, ages, and areas of practice.

The autonomous and non-partisan Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association, tasked with the obligation to pass objectively upon the qualifications of candidates for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has rated the following candidate Highly Recommended:


This candidate possesses superior qualifications to serve with distinction as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He possesses an exceptional level of integrity, good moral character, industry, legal ability and experience, courtroom experience, humility, and judicial temperament, to be rated HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This candidate, through these traits and his legal experience, his commitment to justice, the community, and the practice of law, has earned this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating from the Committee. A candidate earns the rating of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if eighty percent (80%) or more of the voting members of the Committee deem the candidate “Highly Recommended.”

NOT RECOMMENDED Charles Rosenbaum

This candidate does not possess the qualifications to serve as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and is NOT RECOMMENDED. The opinion of the Committee is that this candidate failed to sufficiently demonstrate the criteria for the office of Judge, which include integrity, good moral character, industry, legal ability and experience, courtroom experience, and judicial temperament, necessary to serve in the important public office of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Further, the candidate possesses limited jury trial experience and engages in a limited practice area, preventing the Committee from assessing his legal abilities pertinent to all criteria for the office of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Therefore, the candidate is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Committee Note: The Committee notified this candidate, Charles Rosenbaum, of his “Not Recommended” rating and, in accordance with the Committee’s rules, provided the candidate the opportunity to withdraw his candidacy for Judge without publication of the “Not Recommended” rating. Mr. Rosenbaum agreed in writing to withdraw his candidacy for Judge and the Committee did not publish the “Not Recommended” rating at that time. In breach of that agreement, Mr. Rosenbaum continued his candidacy for Judge, after representing to the Committee that he would withdraw his candidacy, which he did not do. As a result of the continued candidacy for Judge by Mr. Rosenbaum, the Committee now publishes this “Not Recommended” rating for the candidate.

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Recommendations of

the Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association


Continued from page 5

the 2023 General Election

Judicial Retention Recommendations of the Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association for the 2023 General Election

The Committee considers and rates the candidates on the following criteria: Integrity;

Good moral character; Industry;

Good health; Legal ability;

Bench trial, jury trial, or evidentiary hearing experience; Judicial temperament (patience, courtesy, compassion, impartiality, humility, even temper, sense of fairness).

The Bar considers this process a service to educate the public concerning judicial candidates.

The Montgomery Bar Association RECOMMENDS that the following Judges be retained:

The Honorable William R. Carpenter

The Honorable Steven T. O’Neill

The Honorable Thomas P. Rogers

The Honorable Steven C. Tolliver

The Honorable Gail A. Weilheimer

About the Montgomery Bar Association’s Autonomous Judiciary Committee

In its present form since 1965, the Committee is an autonomous, self-governing, committee within the Montgomery Bar Association charged with the obligation to pass upon the qualifications of every candidate for the office of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and to advise the public accordingly. The Committee is composed of the Association’s ten most recent Past-Presidents as well as elected rotating panels of 24 of the Association’s members-at-large. The Committee’s members are lawyers of diverse backgrounds, ages, practices and geographic areas of Montgomery County with hundreds of years of collective legal experience.

Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission Issues All Ratings for Candidates Seeking to Fill Seats on Pennsylvania Appellate Courts

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission (PBA JEC) has released its final list of ratings for judicial candidates seeking to fill one open seat on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, two seats on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and one seat on the Commonwealth Court.

Each candidate requesting an evaluation by the PBA JEC is eligible to receive a rating of “Highly Recommended,” “Recommended” or “Not Recommended.”


Highly Recommended

Judge Carolyn T. Carluccio (Montgomery County)

Judge Deborah A. Kunselman (Beaver County)

Judge Daniel D. McCaffery (Philadelphia County)

Not Recommended

Judge Patricia A. McCullough (Dauphin County) –for failure to participate


Highly Recommended

Jill L. Beck (Allegheny County)

Judge Timika R. Lane (Philadelphia County)


Judge Harry F. Smail, Jr. (Westmoreland County)

Not Recommended

Maria Battista (Clarion County) – for failure to participate

Judge Patrick F. Dugan (Philadelphia County) –for failure to participate




Megan L. Martin (Cumberland County)

Bryan S. Neft (Allegheny County)

Judge Matthew S. Wolf (Philadelphia County)

Not Recommended

Joshua G. Prince (Berks County)

Additional information about the PBA Judicial Evaluation Commission, including a descriptive paragraph about each candidate’s rating, as well as links to each candidate’s questionnaire and signed Judicial Candidate’s Pledge, can be found on the PBA website,, and the association’s voter information website,

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Young Lawyers Section Update

YLS took a breather from its monthly meetings in June, July, and August. On June 29th, YLS held its first summer happy hour at Harry’s Blue Bell Taproom in Ambler. It was a well-attended happy hour with MBA leadership, local Magisterial District Judges, and interns from the MBA Robert E. Slota, Jr. Diversity Internship & Development Program all in attendance. On July 26th, YLS held its second summer happy hour at Well Crafted Beer Company in Lansdale. In attendance were new members to the MBA who had an opportunity to network with MBA leadership and other MBA members. One new member who attended the happy hour learned about the YLS Development Program, and will be attending the YLS Development meeting in September! On August 16th, YLS held its third and final happy hour at The Alley on High Street in Pottstown as part of the MBA’s Get in the Loop series.

On September 27th at the MBA, YLS teamed up with the Trial Lawyers Section for a CLE titled, “A Strategic Orientation to Mediation.” The speaker was Louis Hockman, Esq. The program was an introduction to the spectrum of dispute resolution processes with a focus on mediation, mediator styles, developing mediation strategy and finding the right mediator for the case.

As the fall approaches, YLS leadership will be meeting to discuss appointments to leadership roles in 2024. If you are interested in a YLS leadership role, please provide a short writing prompt (3-5 sentences max) on why you want to be part of the YLS leadership, what position(s) you are interested in being appointed to, what YLS can do better as a Section, your favorite part of YLS as a member, and what you want to see YLS do that it is not currently doing. This can be sent to myself, Robert Sebia, Chelsey Christiansen, or Franqui Raffaele. As a reminder, the following positions will be available for appointment: Treasurer, Chair of Liaison/Law School Committee, Chair Social/Event Planning Committee, Chair CLE/101 Series Committee, Chair Mock Trial Committee, and Chair Community Service/Outreach Committee.

Lastly, the YLS holiday party will take place at Top Golf in King of Prussia this year on December 12th! YLS wanted to “spice up” its holiday party and do something a little more active. I hope to see everyone there to celebrate a year of rejuvenation of the YLS section.


Review of Jury Duty

If you are looking for a quick, hilarious, absurd comedy to watch this fall, I highly recommend checking out Jury Duty, available on Freevee through Amazon Prime Video. The concept behind Jury Duty is similar to the concept behind The Truman Show, which is that the show’s producers take an unsuspecting individual and drop them into a situation which they believe to be real but is actually entirely scripted and staged.

In Jury Duty, this concept is applied to a civil jury trial. Ronald, the main character, thinks that he is showing up to court for jury duty. Over eight (8) thirty-minute episodes, the cameras take us through the entire process, from Ronald’s arrival at jury duty, to waiting in the waiting room (and meeting some of his future co-jurors), to voir dire, to jury selection, to trial, to deliberations, to the verdict, and culminating in the big reveal during the last episode, whereby the producers reveal to Ronald that the entire production was staged.

The bulk of the series follows the actual trial itself. The trial is a civil trial involving a ridiculous set of facts, with

many absurd twists and turns thrown in to make for entertaining television. Every character in the trial is an actor, from the plaintiff and the defendant to the attorneys, to the judge, to the witnesses, to the bailiff (my personal favorite character). It is a testament to the actors’ amazing acting abilities that they were able to perform this nonsensical trial without breaking character. To add an additional element of absurdity, the jury ends up being sequestered into a hotel together for the duration of the trial, with cameras filming inside the hotel rooms, making the show feel a bit like The Real World.

Jury Duty walks a fine line between being believable and being unbelievable. Anyone who has sat through a jury trial knows that it can be, at times, completely absurd. Jury Duty does a great job of reflecting the inherent absurdity of a trial, and the absurdity that we, as a society, have determined that leaving the verdict in the hands of a jury of twelve of our peers is the best way to achieve justice. On some level, I believe that the show can be read to be a commentary on the American justice system.

However, I don’t recommend watching Jury Duty with an eye toward taking it too seriously, because it really is just a good, wholesome, fun show. The characters are incredibly likable, and I found myself laughing out loud over and over. The final episode, in which Ronald learns that the entire trial was fake (and that all of his new friends are actors), is incredibly satisfying, because it answers the question that I had during the whole show: how will Ronald react to the news of learning that this was all made up?

If you need a little lightness and levity after a long day in court, watch an episode or two of Jury Duty and you surely won’t be disappointed.


Career Corner

As we await July bar exam results and associate-level hiring continues through the Fall, I want to share some tips and tricks for young lawyers navigating common interview questions.

Tell Me About Yourself

Interviews often start with some iteration of one of the hardest questions known to any interviewee: “Tell me about yourself.” This seemingly benign question trips up interviewees for a few reasons. First, it’s generally asked early in the interview before you have established rapport with the interviewer. Second, it’s open-ended, and thus easy to provide too little, or too much, information (usually, the latter). Finally, it’s just plain tough; how do you sum up the whole of your professional self and make someone want to hire you in just a few sentences?

Giving some advance thought to how you might answer this question will help alleviate early interview jitters and ensure that your interview starts off on the right foot. Generally, I like some version of the following format:

(1) your current role headline (ex: “My name is Jane Doe. I am an Associate Attorney at Really Great Law Firm.”)

(2) education and relevant experience (keep this highlevel and focused only on experiences that highlight your suitability for the position);

(3) basic details of your current role and how it relates to the desired position;

(4) why you’re interested in this position; and

(5) wrap up (ex: “I’m excited to talk to you today to learn more about the firm.”)

Of course, follow the format that works best for you and the position. Just keep these goals in mind as you craft a response: project confidence; convey enthusiasm; and, when in doubt, leave it out. You have the whole interview ahead; don’t let your valuable experience get lost in a recitation of your entire resume.

Competency Based Questions

After the initial “get to know you” questions, there are several other types of questions you are likely to encounter, including competency-based questions and behavioral questions.


Competency based questions seek to determine whether you have the necessary skillset for the position. Some examples might be: “How have you improved during your tenure at your current role?” or “What are your greatest strengths?” To prepare for these questions, think through what skills would be necessary for the position and how your skillset and experience meet those requirements. Be sure to provide examples and highlight specific results or experiences for each answer.

Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions focus on how you would act in certain situations. They help interviewers learn more about your past experiences and predict how you might handle challenges in your prospective role. Examples of these questions include “Have you had a difficult situation with a co-worker? How did you handle it?”; “Describe to me a time that you worked well under pressure”; or, “Share an example of how you set goals and achieve them.”

Behavioral questions can be tricky. They often deal with tough topics, like failure or conflict. Conversely, they might require acknowledgement of personal successes or achievements, which can be equally challenging for some candidates to articulate. Luckily for us lawyers who love a good paradigm (hello, IRAC and CREAC), there is a simple formula to effectively answer these questions: the STAR method. The formula is as follows:

(1) Situation: give a brief explanation of the situation you faced;

(2) Task: a brief description of your assigned task;

(3) Action: describe the action you took to complete the task; and

(4) Result: describe the result of the action.

Before your interview, practice identifying some situations that might fall within these behavioral categories and answering with the STAR method. As you prepare, remember that your goal in answering these questions should be to end the answer on a positive note. If the question is inherently positive (ex: “Tell me about your greatest accomplishment”), spend time focused on what you did to effectuate a positive outcome. However, if the question is negative, (ex., “Tell me about a time you failed”), briefly address the negative situation, but shift back quickly to positives of how you rectified the situation, what you learned, and how you will address similar future situations.

Know Your Materials

Anything contained in your application materials is fair game for interview questions. You should be comfortable talking in detail about anything included in your resume, cover letter, or academic transcript, if applicable. To the extent that an interviewer asks questions about tough topics gleaned from your materials, like a bad grade or brief tenure at a previous employer, answer these questions like you might a negative behavioral question, ending on a positive note. If you were asked to provide a writing sample, be prepared to discuss the substantive legal issues, including case law.

There is no way to know exactly what questions an employer might ask at an interview, but some basic preparation will help you succeed. I hope that these tips are helpful as you prepare for your next interview.

Jen is the Director of Career Strategy at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law’s Career Strategies Office. You can reach Jen with questions regarding professional development and law student recruitment at jmw575@


The Equity Stop

A Little Liberty: Mary C. Pugh, Esq.

Looking to get involved? Think about participating in the Liberty and Law Program.

Launched in 2010, the Liberty and Law Program has been a premiere community outreach opportunity for lawyers and judges to interact with our young citizens and teach them about the Constitution, the rule of law, and our civic duties. As participants in this civics education program, teams of judges and lawyers teach seventh-grade students in the Norristown School District about Constitutional topics throughout the school year.

Currently, we are updating the curriculum and planning for the relaunch of five sessions for the 2023-2024 school year. At this point, we are only asking for you to notify us of your interest by emailing We will then follow up with you with more details. Thanks so much for your interest.

A Truly EPIC Program: Michelle R. Dempsky, Esq.

Since 2018, the Eviction Prevention and Intervention Coalition (EPIC) program has been operating to prevent evictions and settle cases in Montgomery County. EPIC was a partnership project between the Montgomery Bar Association, Your Way Home of Montgomery County, and Legal Aid of Southeastern PA. The program has expanded from one Magisterial District Court in Norristown, to 8 courts throughout the county.

EPIC is a program that seeks to address evictions in Montgomery County. EPIC seeks to address homelessness ‘higher’ in the stream by preventing evictions. The EPIC program does so by combining rental assistance and same day pro bono representation for tenants who have been sued in District Justice Court. The program has had great success, with a 78% success rate in the cases where it has intervened. The program currently operates in Norristown, Pottstown, Norriton, Lansdale, and Jenkintown, before Magisterial District Judges Cerski, Levine, Kropp, Paladino, Hunsicker, Ashe, Lawrence, and Alfarano.

With the expiration of ERA Rent Relief in Montgomery County, EPIC is re-invigorating its pool of volunteers. Volunteer attorneys appear in court to help those facing eviction. It is

anticipated that the need for volunteers will skyrocket in the coming months. For more information or to volunteer, please email me at

The DEI committee, in partnership with the Pro Bono committee, hosted a CLE on Landlord-Tenant matters and the EPIC program specifically. Michelle R. Dempsky, LASP Staff Attorney,, presented a CLE May 31 at the Montgomery Bar Association. The moderators were Timothy M. Knowles and Kathryn M. Palladino, LASP Staff Attorney & Montgomery County Pro Bono Coordinator. They co-chair the MBA’s Pro Bono, Access to Justice & Community Service Committee.

EPIC helps to stabilize vulnerable families and individuals in Montgomery County who are facing eviction by providing them with free legal and social services support on the day of their eviction hearing. The CLE trained volunteer attorneys on the basics of appearing in landlord-tenant court and how to volunteer for the Eviction Prevention & Intervention Coalition (EPIC). As of now, the first shadow date was successful, and the program is gearing up to allow new volunteers to gain the experience.

We have wide availability, and the CLE is available on video from the MBA. Anyone interested in volunteering (even if you miss the CLE) should contact DEI co-chair Michelle Dempsky at for more information.

Previous Events

MBA Name Change Clinic: The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Family Law Section, and the Pro Bono Committee of the MBA partnered with the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s office to host a free virtual name change clinic on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. While the Montgomery County clinic was open to all county residents, there was a deliberate effort to invite transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. Furthermore, the MBA currently offers a recorded 1-credit DEI CLE on the name change process and social awareness for transgender and non-conforming issues relative to legal practice.

The cases came up for a hearing in early August. A total of eleven name change petitions were completed, and all participants were able to get a copy of the name change order the same day. With the second success of the program, the MBA and


Prothonotary’s office intend to continue the program. The court agreed to waive the filing fees even as the Montgomery Bar Association offered free publication in the Bar Reporter. With the success of the previous hearings in mid-December of 2022, and the upcoming success of the second clinic session, the DEI committee is committed to the program in the future and looks forward to this being an ongoing clinic for Montgomery County.

The Robert E. Slota, Jr. Diversity Internship & Development Program: The Montgomery Bar Association remains committed to connecting with under-represented law and pre-law students and providing them with opportunities and resources to support their goals. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity committee is proud to volunteer for the Hybrid Diversity Internship & Development Program. As in previous years, the participants will be considered for internship opportunities, learn from Montgomery County lawyers, judges, and leaders in the legal profession, and receive mentorship and instruction from MBA leaders, including DEI attorneys.

This year, DEI volunteer attorneys and others assisted by offering sample test interviews for the interns, as well as reviews of their resumes and writing samples, and acting as mentors for advising on potential legal career opportunities. Another successful program occurred this year, and DEI remains committed to assisting in the future.

Upcoming Events

While the DEI committee has been very active this year, plenty of other events are scheduled for the rest of the year. Between CLEs, events, and further committee meetings, all members should be aware of the planned activities.

CLE - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Estate Planning: on October 17, join Michelle Dempsky and Rhonda Anderson in this program that discusses diversity and inclusion and why it matters. You will leave this webinar with answers and information on the following: the application of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion includes, common Scenarios in Estate Planning/Probate, and how DEI Awareness can Improve Client Results.

The CLE is sponsored by the MBA Probate & Tax Section and the MBA DEI Committee. The CLE will be exploring how diversity impacts estate planning, especially regarding cross-cutting relationships between income/class and race. The CLE also includes a cultural sensitivity portion, and the course will offer 1 ethics credit. All attorneys, especially those practicing in estate planning, should consider the benefits of the course.

DEI Outreach/Career Day at Area Schools

The DEI committee is encouraging younger participation in the DEI Committee specifically and MBA generally. The DEI committee has reached out to the area law schools in collaboration with the Young Lawyers Section. Some outreaches have already been set up. For example, DEI members manned tables at a Temple Law Orientation last week, with an additional meeting on August 30, 2023 at 5pm. As other opportunities arise, we will inform the group and seek other volunteers.

If anyone wishes to volunteer to perform outreach and community education on the law profression for local area high schools and colleges, please reach out to Lucy Qui at lqiu@

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I’m already planning my next trip to Autana, a small Venezuelan restaurant located right off of Suburban Square in the space occupied by the Ardmore Station Café (formerly Peace A Pizza). And I will probably continue to go back until I’ve tried everything on the menu, because the food there is just that good.

Autana is a small BYOB serving authentic Venezuelan food in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. Upon first glance at the menu, it became immediately apparent that we were going to have a hard time deciding what to order. They do have a tasting menu option, but there was just too much we wanted to try.

We started with the Empanaditas, deep fried dumpling-esque crescents filled with assorted savory fillings, with two delicious dipping sauces to allow for a variety of flavor combinations. We also tried the Trio of Patacones, which are like little sandwiches with two disks of fried green plantains as the “bread,” and the Tartara Criollo, fresh diced tuna and salmon over avocado accompanied by tostones. We then moved on to the main courses, which included the Costillitas, oven cooked pork ribs which were melt-in-your-mouth perfection, the Cachapas, a folded sweet corn pancake with a queso de mano and pernil (pulled pork) filling, and the Arepas, grilled cornmeal dough sandwiches with a filling of shredded beef, black beans, cheese, and sweet plantains. We finished with the Tres Leches cake, which one reviewer described as “the best I’ve ever had, all milky and soft and dosed with cinnamon.”

Other menu highlights include the Tequenos – cheese wrapped in crispy dough and fried, the Mandocas – sweet plantain, cheese, and sugar rings served with cheese, and the Asada Negro – steak slow cooked in sugar cane and red wine sauce. They also have a variety of soups (Chicken Chupe, Shrimp Chupe, Pumpkin and Lentil) which I can’t wait to try when the weather gets cooler.

If you live in the area, or even if you don’t, I highly encourage you to make a special trip to Autana. You will not be disappointed.

4 Station Rd., Ardmore, PA 19003 Esq.

Probate & Tax Section:

The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law

Recently, the Probate & Tax Section and Family Law Section collaborated on August 2nd’s CLE entitled “The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law.” I had the pleasure of hosting the seminar along with Inna Materese, Esq. It featured speakers Jennifer Kosteva, Esq., and Kimberly Dudick, Esq., who provided valuable information tailored to advising clients undergoing divorce on estate planning matters.

For estate planners, this CLE taught how to assist with clients’ goals. For example, if a Will is being modified during the pendency of a divorce, timing is crucial: only once grounds have been established, the divorcing client may completely disinherit his or her spouse. If not, other steps may be taken to limit the soon-to-be ex-spouse’s possible recovery, primarily through planning with non-probate assets. If grounds for divorce have not been established yet a Will has been updated removing a spouse, that spouse has an elective share claim which is often at odds with bequests to the parties’ children. Attorney Kosteva discussed how a divorcing spouse might consider adding “sweeteners” to his or her updated Will in order to prevent an elective share claim. During a divorce, removal of a spouse as named Executor in a will is always advisable, along with removal as agent in Powers of Attorney.

For family law attorneys, the CLE provided valuable insight as to how to advise their clients as they go through the divorce process. Attorney Dudick discussed her recommendations to clients beyond updating their Will, such as how to change beneficiary designations during the divorce process in certain circumstances. Care must be taken not to name minor children as beneficiaries. Creation of a trust can alleviate this concern.

Trusts are useful for many purposes but were examined by the panel when set up by a spouse at or near to separation in a way that implicates marital assets. The recent Mohen

v. Mohen case, 264 A.3d 386 (Pa. Super. 2021), was discussed by Attorney Dudick. In that matter, the court voided transactions to trusts created by the husband for the parties’ children as fraudulent, since they were for inadequate consideration and made outside of the knowledge of the other spouse. Lesson learned: agreement by both spouses and active participation in the creation of trusts is best practice.

And what of trusts not set up by spouses, but created for their benefit by family members or others? If a spouse would like to preserve a separate trust interest already created or expected in the future, a valid Prenuptial is preferred vehicle. An important tip to family law practitioners is to include expansive language in the Prenuptial including known and unknown gifted assets, future inheritances, and trust interests.

Delving into trusts established by 3rd parties, the CLE underscored the use of valid Prenuptial Agreements to preserve existing or anticipated trust interests. Given the evolving landscape of estate tax laws and federal estate tax laws expiring at the end of 2025, gifting has emerged as a favored estate planning technique. In the context of divorce, thorough analysis is advised, such as to whom the gift was made, timing of the gift, and form of the gift. When held in a separate account without commingling into the marital estate, the gift will retain its status as separate property.

In summation, “The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law” CLE spurred lively dialogues on pivotal subjects vital to both family law practitioners and estate planners. By seamlessly integrating the realms of estate planning and family law, this event illuminated the complexities and opportunities inherent in assisting clients through divorce while preserving their estate interests. If you missed it live, you may purchase the course for ondemand viewing at



Introducing My Benefit Advisor

We Focus on Your Benefits. You Focus on Your Business.

Many employers struggle with understanding and getting the most out of their employee benefits and may not be aware of the different services available to enhance their employee benefits offerings. As a solution for its members, Montgomery Bar Association is proud to offer members access to the My Benefit Advisor (MBA) program for employee benefits and health insurance.

My Benefit Advisor is designed to guide members through the complexity of planning, communicating, and managing an employee benefits program that meets the needs of their employees and is in-line with financial objectives. Our experts have an in-depth understanding of the marketplace, compliance regulations, and strategies for long-term cost containment.

MBA provides numerous resources, tools, and products to benefit our clients, strengthening their employee benefits program and setting their business up for success.

Resources for MBA Clients:

• Consulting: Our experts have a wealth of experience to help you understand your options to make an informed decision and guide you through the implementation process

• Discounted Insurance Resources: Exclusive savings and programs from vendor partners to help save money. We make it simple and can often get you more, even from your current provider.

• Unique Programs: Solutions for student loan debt repayment, PEOs, HRAs, and more

• Online Enrollment: Secure, online enrollment system to help communicate benefit options to your employees as well as improve the tracking and collection of enrollment data

• Employee Communication: Variety of resources and user-friendly technology to ensure employers and employees understand their benefit options

• Human Resources Support: Access to comprehensive HR solutions including live phone support, training courses, and an online library to assist owners and HR representatives of small and mid-sized employers

• Medicare: Many people are overwhelmed by the confusing array of choices they face; we can help those eligible for Medicare find the plans and coverage


that best fit their specific needs; and assist employers with how to best handle their Medicare eligible employees

• First-Class Service: Our service team and resources ensure employers have continuous assistance with the ongoing administration of their benefits program and access to the Benefits Service Center

• Benefits Service Center: Dedicated call center available year-round as a confidential resource where representatives can assist employees with claims issues, benefit questions, ID cards, prescription issues, and provider & network questions

• Compliance Education: It continues to be important to understand the requirements on your business to remain compliant and avoid any potential penalties. We simplify complex health care reform topics and highlight employer responsibilities.

Our experts provide insightful guidance, in easy-tounderstand resources, throughout the year so you can make informed decisions.

There are many more advantages to the MBA program; we advise clients from individuals and families to small business and large multi-location employers. Our Advisors are available to help you successfully navigate employee benefits and health insurance. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at or contact Ray Keough at (610) 684-6932.


Representation, consultation and expert testimony in disciplinary matters and matters involving ethical issues, bar admissions and the Rules of Professional Conduct

• Judge, Court of Judicial Discipline

• Former Chairman, Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania

• Former Chairman, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

• Former Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

• Former Chairman, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board

• Former Federal Prosecutor

• Selected by his peers as one of the top 100 Super Lawyers in PA and the top 100 Super Lawyers in Philadelphia

• Named by his peers as Best Lawyers in America 2022 and 2015 Philadelphia “Lawyer of the Year” Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law and Legal Malpractice Law

1500 Market Street, East Tower, Suite 1800 • Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 751-2863


For the Public Good


Acknowledgement, and Awareness of Pro Bono Work

Pro Bono work has an expansive definition in the rules of professional conduct. The American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct define pro bono work as including representing persons of limited means or charitable, or other non-profit, organizations without fee or expectation of a fee, providing services for a substantially reduced fee for individuals of limited means or participating in activities that improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession. ABA Model Rule 6.1. Pennsylvania’s respective model rules also share a similar definition. While the ABA encourages at least fifty hours of pro bono services, Pennsylvania does not have a strict hourly amount for pro bono services. Pennsylvania’s Rule 6.1 states “a lawyer should render public interest legal service,” providing a broad definition of pro bono, public interest legal services. In Rule 6.1’s comments, the code also puts an onus on law firms to encourage and enable all lawyers in the firm to provide pro bono services under this rule.

The American Bar Association (ABA) launched the National Celebration of Pro Bono in 2009 to both celebrate attorneys who donate their time and talents year-round and increase awareness of the need for pro bono work. While the celebration officially occurs during the last week of October, it has expanded to encompass the entire month.

Over the past decade, the MBA has followed suit by both honoring our many pro bono volunteers and highlighting pro bono opportunities during the month of October. Whether it was our Thanks a Latte bar, gifts, or a free reception at the MBA, we have acknowledged our valued volunteers in a number of different ways.

We are taking that a step further this year. Thanks to our incredible Pro Bono, Access to Justice, and Community Service Committee, we will be presenting our inaugural Keystone Pro Bono Attorney Awards during a special CLE and reception on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. We polled our members and asked you about your pro bono volunteer experience over the past year. All members who responded will be acknowledged during the event. Those who have rendered 50 hours or more will receive a special lapel pin and be designated a Keystone Pro Bono Attorney.

So many of our Montgomery Bar Association (MBA) members accept their professional responsibility to perform pro bono work for those who are most vulnerable in our community. Whether it’s serving as an MCAP, helping with EPIC, volunteering at a legal clinic, or serving on a non-profit board, our members step up and give back. We know you do this for the good of the community and not for personal gain, but it is past due that the Montgomery Bar Association formally recognizes you for all of your efforts.

How Can I Help?

Chief Justice Debra Todd issued two letters to the bar that highlight the desperate need for pro bono service for indigent persons and the reward of having a direct impact on those most in need. To encourage more pro bono work by attorneys, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has approved continuing legal education (CLE) credits for providing pro bono services with authorized providers. Part of each attorney’s annual licensing fee

“…by serving the public, lawyers can simultaneously do well and do good. In other words, by doing pro bono publico work, lawyers benefit not only the public, but also themselves.”
— Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School
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goes to civil legal aid through IOLTA.

PA Pro Bono Net outlines multiple reasons for attorneys to volunteer:

There is a large unmet need for legal assistance by lowincome individuals. More than half of the problems that lowincome Americans bring to legal aid will receive only limited legal help or no legal help at all because of a lack of resources to serve them.

Performing pro bono work is your responsibility as a member of the legal profession. Only lawyers have the special skills and knowledge needed to secure access to justice for lowincome people. Access to law is the right that protects all other rights.

Pro bono work is good for you, both professionally and personally. Pro bono opportunities help build lawyering skills and experience, as well as provide valuable networking opportunities. But most of all it makes you feel good. You have the opportunity to make the justice system work for people who feel victimized by it. You give them hope and provide assistance when they have nowhere else to turn.

There are so many opportunities to fulfill this aspirational duty for those who are currently practicing and even those attorneys who are retired. Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of just a sampling of volunteer opportunities here in Montgomery County.


For Montgomery County civil cases involving $50,000 or less, the parties may elect to have their case heard by an arbitration panel. This panel is made up of three local attorneys who act as arbitrators for the case. These arbitrators typically vary in years of experience, offering a president arbitrator, arbitrator and a junior arbitrator. My experience participating on these panels has been incredibly rewarding, mainly in analyzing how different styles of attorneys play out in proving, or defending, their case. The experience as a young attorney in this program has provided me great practical experience in what to do, or not do, when I’m before arbitrators or judges. Whether new or experienced, acting as arbitrator provides an opportunity to assist the bench in managing a never-ending caseload.


Episcopal Legal Aid partners with Montgomery County churches and community organizations to deliver free civil legal aid services to low-income individuals in their neighborhoods. Monthly clinics are held in Norristown, Collegeville, Pottstown and Ardmore. While host partners serve a hot meal or distribute food to people in need, ELA offers free legal consultations to the same individuals. ELA also provides follow-up services, which may include drafting a will, reviewing a lease or attending a court hearing. Pro bono opportunities include meeting clients

at an intake session and accepting a referral of a case in an attorney’s area of expertise. Episcopal Legal Aid is also delighted to work with law students who are interested in doing research or developing their litigation skills. For more information, visit, or contact Steve Chawaga, ELA Executive Director, at 610-709-6665 or


The Friend of the Court program in Montgomery County aims to support litigants involved in Protection from Abuse (PFA) matters, especially those without counsel. Whether it is for the plaintiff or the defendant, the program recruits local attorneys to serve their community by offering volunteer services to assist in resolving litigants’ PFA matters. While the volunteer attorney is not at liberty to give legal advice, they are trained to provide litigants’ with certain options available to resolve the PFA matter, so as to avoid a full hearing before the Court. As many litigants are often self-represented in PFA matters, trying their case before the Court can be a daunting and somewhat scary task, especially without any legal expertise. As such, the Friend of the Court attorney aims to step in to aid those unfamiliar with the process.

Not only is the program a great way to assist the local community, but also a great way to aid Court staff in efficiently moving PFA matters to conclusion. The judge handling PFA matters often has a full list of 30+ individuals seeking a final PFA order. Having the Friend of the Court attorney available to assist litigants helps reduce the number of individuals the Court has before it—a service that is much appreciated amongst all the Montgomery County Family Court judges.

For those who are interested in participating in the program, the training video is available on the Montgomery County Bar Association website: https://www.montgomerybar. org/?pg=family-law-section. Upon completion of the training video, volunteer attorneys can email Mathew Gomez, chair of the Friend of the Court Program, at mgomez@hangley. com to ensure they are on the list of volunteer attorneys for the program. Once on the list, the volunteer attorney can sign up using the following link for any days they are available to provide their services: go/60b0f4dafac28a0fa7-pfafriend#/.


Legal Aid of Southeastern PA’s Pro Bono Program offers multiple volunteer opportunities. Through a program authorized by a PA Supreme Court order in 2022, attorneys can earn CLEs for their pro bono service. LASP is an accredited CLE provider. Visit for more information on the CLE-forservice opportunity, upcoming trainings, and new volunteer opportunities. LASP’s Pro Bono Director is Jennifer Pierce, who can be reached at Current opportunities in Montgomery County include:

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Divorce cases

Pro bono volunteers are needed to represent clients in simple, no fault, no-asset divorces in Montgomery County. The divorces handled are either by consent or one-year separation. These divorces do not involve equitable distribution, custody, support, or fault grounds. Typically, a pro bono volunteer will not need to appear at a court proceeding in these cases. Learn more or sign up by contacting Kathryn M. Palladino, LASP Staff Attorney & Montgomery County Pro Bono Coordinator, at or 484-209-0892.

Custody cases

LASP needs pro bono attorneys to represent clients in custody cases at Custody Conciliation Conferences in Montgomery County. Volunteer attorneys have the opportunity to represent clients in a limited scope at the Conciliation only. All Conciliations are held via Zoom. There is no commitment for the volunteer attorney beyond the Conciliation. Contact Kathryn Palladino at or 484-209-0892.

Lansdale outreach at Manna on Main Street

LASP holds a monthly outreach at North Penn Commons in Lansdale, in partnership with Manna on Main Street. The outreach is held on the fourth Thursday of the month from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Contact Kathryn Palladino at kpalladino@lasp. org or 484-209-0892.

Eviction hearings

The Eviction Prevention & Intervention Coalition (EPIC) started in 2017 in one courtroom in Norristown and has expanded to eight courtrooms across Montgomery County, including three courtrooms in Norristown, two in Pottstown, one in East Norriton, one in Jenkintown and one in Lansdale. Pro bono attorneys are needed to represent renters at eviction hearings in all eight courts and can specify which court and date(s) they are available. To learn more or volunteer, please contact Michelle Dempsky, LASP Staff Attorney and lead EPIC attorney, at or 484-209-0945.


Attorneys are needed to give vulnerable kids a voice in and out of the courtrooms. MCAP provides free legal representation to children who are victims of abuse and neglect in Montgomery County. Pro Bono-trained MCAP attorney advocates represent and protect the needs and interests of these at-risk children, offering representation and support as they participate in the legal and social service arenas.

To become an MCAP child advocate, you will need to:

• Be a licensed attorney in good standing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

• Attend a CLE in Montgomery County or Philadelphia County certified in child advocacy.

• Complete an application to be an MCAP attorney.

• Complete an authorization form for background checks.

• Complete the state-required background/clearances/trainings as required by the PA Child Protective Services Law.

As a victim’s agency, MCAP provides child victims with a voice, helping them heal and learn to trust others. To learn more, visit and fill out the form or contact Mary Pugh, Executive Director, at marypugh@mcapkids. org.


Partnering with the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s Office, the Montgomery Bar Association provided a virtual Name Change Clinic for Montgomery County residents who are 18 years and older. This program assists individuals, including members of the transgender, non-binary, and non-genderconforming communities, to navigate the name change process. Lawyers volunteering with this clinic provide a free consultation for all participants, answering questions, offering advice, and assisting those individuals in preparing paperwork. Volunteer attorneys will learn about the name change process and may be able to assist their client on the petition hearing date as well. This clinic has seen great success since its creation in 2022. For more information, contact Denise Vicario, MBA Executive Director, at


Pennsylvania Free Legal Answers, a project of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) in collaboration with the American Bar Association Free Legal Answers, allows qualified users to submit questions about civil legal issues and receive answers from pro bono lawyers. When a response is filed by a participating attorney, the user will receive a notification by email and can log in to the website to view the answer to their question. The service is free to qualified users. Attorneys can register and learn more: https://


In an effort to support pro bono work and to bridge the gap in accessing justice for those experiencing poverty, the Supreme

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Court of Pennsylvania adopted Pennsylvania Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement 403 in 2018, creating “emeritus” attorney status. Rule 403 allows attorneys who are on retired status to continue to practice law by volunteering with a legal aid organization without the cost of maintaining an active status. To read more about Emeritus status, visit and scroll to EMERITUS ATTORNEYS.


SeniorLAW Center focuses exclusively on protecting the legal rights of older individuals in Pennsylvania and helps thousands of seniors with the assistance of pro bono counsel. In Montgomery County, several opportunities are available for pro bono attorneys to assist the Victim Services team to represent clients in tort and some complex financial exploitation cases (including fraud, conversion, fraudulent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and quiet title).

Additionally, attorneys can volunteer for the statewide PA SeniorLAW HelpLine, which serves seniors in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. Attorney volunteers provide legal advice, counsel and information (limited representation) by phone to seniors at scheduled times on defined matters. This can be done from your office or anywhere after completing the training on HelpLine procedures and resources. More substantive pro bono opportunities may be available on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to Joanna Jarzebowska, Director of Intake, Education and Pro Bono at SeniorLAW Center, at to discuss more.


The collaborative effort of many local county partners, such as the SeniorLAW Center, the Tri-County Active Adult Center and Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Montgomery Bar Association, and the Elder Law Committee, has created several seniors’ clinics in which indigent older adults meet with volunteer attorneys to discuss, draft and execute estate planning documents, including wills, financial power of attorneys, living wills and healthcare power of attorneys. Volunteers for these clinics receive training on each of the estate planning documents and what the attorneys should expect when counseling clients on these documents. The clinics are a rewarding experience for newer and more experienced attorneys alike. Those newer to this area of law receive a basic understanding of estate planning documents. Keep an eye out in MBA communications for future Wills Clinics!


A program co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Wills for Heroes provides free basic estate planning documents to a variety of heroes, including police, fire, emergency medical personnel, other first responders, military veterans and essential personnel. Wills for Heroes provides those on the front lines for our personal safety with the tools they need

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to prepare adequately for the future. Learn more at, or contact David Keller Trevaskis, PBA Pro Bono Coordinator, at


• PA Pro Bono Net:

• Pro Bono Net:

Giving back with pro bono work is just another way that you give back to your community – however you choose to give back, know that it is always appreciated and makes a difference.

Special thank you to Franqui-Ann Raffaele, Esq., of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, PC, and Marion Hoffman Fraley, of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP), for contributing to this article.

Tues-Fri 9-9 • Sat. & Sun. 9-5, Closed Mon.
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Pro Bono, Access to Justice, and Community Service Committee Update

The Pro Bono, Access to Justice, and Community Service Committee continues to have a productive year. As part of our support of the EPIC program, we followed up on our EPIC CLE with in-person trainings at the Norristown Magisterial District Courts. Michelle Dempsky, Esq., from Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP), had volunteers shadow her as she assisted tenants facing eviction. There’s still time for anyone to reach out who wants to get involved. Contact Michelle Dempsky at for more information about ways to volunteer.

Looking to the future – we are in the midst of planning our events for Pro Bono Month in October. On October 21, 2023, we have a volunteer event at the Cecil and Grace Bean Soup Kitchen in Norristown from 7:00am to 10:00am. MBA members and their kids over 12 are welcome to join us as we serve breakfast for those suffering from food insecurity in the Norristown community.

On October 25, 2023, we are sponsoring a CLE and reception at the Montgomery Bar building. David Trevaskis, Esq., will be discussing the Free Legal Answers program. We will follow with a reception to introduce the Keystone Attorney Award. This award will be given to any attorney who completes 50+ hours of pro bono service within a one-year period.

Looking toward the end of the year, we are planning a possible wills clinic and clothing drive. Keep your ears open for these and other events.

The Pro Bono, Access to Justice, and Community Service Committee continues to be a valuable MBA committee. Our next meeting is November 17, 2023 at noon. This will be a hybrid event that can be attended in-person and via Zoom. Come join us! Contact committee co-chairs Kate Palladino ( or Tim Knowles (tknowles@wmpalaw. com) if you’d like to get involved.

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Pictured from left to right at a recent committee meeting: Leigh Fuga, Co-Chair Timothy Knowles, Co-Chair Kathryn Palladino, Jennifer Pierce, and Guy Marinari

Issues Involving Domestic Violence Are Real And You Can Do Something About Them

Did you ever have a client come in, tell you they were having a “family law issue” or that they were “thinking of divorce” but could never quite get around to making a move? Maybe a relative brings them in but they never follow up? Did you think to ask whether they were having issues with domestic violence and needed help dealing with that?

The Women’s Center of Montgomery County can help. The staff and volunteers at the Women’s Center understand that domestic violence is really about power and control. “Physical and sexual assaults, or threats to commit them, are the most apparent forms of domestic violence and are usually the actions that allow others to become aware of the problem. However, regular use of other abusive behaviors by the batterer, when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, make up a larger system of abuse. Although physical assaults may occur only once or occasionally, they instill threat of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to take control of the woman’s life and circumstances.”

For that reason, the Women’s Center wants anyone who comes into contact with a person caught up in such a relationship where they are being dominated by a partner or other person exercising control over them to know they are right here, in Montgomery County, to help a victim understand her situation and get out of it or get some support.

On their website (, they come right to the point: “a pattern of behavior that includes the use or threat of violence and intimidation for the purpose of gaining power and controlling another person” is abuse and can result in physical violence, making it hard for a victim to take independent action to remain safe.

“Domestic violence robs women of their fundamental right to maintain control over their own lives. Women who are abused live in fear and isolation in the one place they should always feel safe – their own homes.”

The Women’s Center of Montgomery County is an organization supported by the Montgomery Bar Foundation — the Bar Association’s charitable arm since it unquestionably helps to promote justice in the county and provides valuable services to victims of domestic violence.

The men and women who volunteer there or work there maintain a 24/7 tollfree hotline 1-800-773-2424 that anyone can call for help in:

• Assistance filing Protection from Abuse Orders onsite at courthouse

• Court accompaniment to PFA, district court, preliminary hearings

• Legal advocacy and options counseling

• Assistance with Crime Victim Compensation and restitutions filings

• Court orientation and instruction for victims on legal procedures

• Individualized and Support Groups counseling

• Emergency cash assistance for victims escaping an abuser

• Assistance locating emergency shelter, affordable and/or temporary housing

• Information and referral for crisis callers

• Advocates to intervene on a victim’s behalf with employer or creditor

• Assistance to victims with immigration issues related to their victimization

The Women’s Center has been serving Montgomery County victims of domestic violence since 1976. Executive Director Maria Macaluso told me they work hard to educate people to recognize the signs of domestic violence – whether they are court officers, healthcare providers, police officers, social service agencies or others – to make sure victims know where to go for assistance. In that vein, they also provide prevention education in schools, workplaces and community settings.

As a Montgomery Bar Fellow or MBF donor, you can help the Women’s Center do this important work. You can also do your part – if you encounter someone who shows signs of domestic violence – to ask the question and offer The Women’s Center of Montgomery County’s Hotline information.

The Women’s Center also needs attorneys with time to help pro bono since the domestic violence counselors are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice. To help respond to these unmet legal needs, the Women’s Center seeks pro bono and discounted assistance for survivors such as Attorneys willing to provide assistance with:

• Donating a free half-hour consultation through a WCMC referral to victims who have legal questions;

• Providing pro bono representation to survivors for the duration of their family law case; or

• Participation in a 90-minute virtual self-help workshop offered to survivors providing general (not case specific) information on selected topics.

Contact Maria Macaluso at the Women’s Center to get more details or to volunteer and thank you for helping promote Justice in Montgomery County.

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Pro Bono Month

October has been designated by the American Bar Association as Pro Bono month. According to the ABA, “Pro bono work is a professional responsibility and an individual ethical commitment of each lawyer.” The National Celebration of Pro Bono was launched in 2009 because of the increasing need for pro bono services during difficult economic times and the unprecedented response of attorneys to meet this demand. Since 2009, legal organizations across the country participate in the National Celebration of Pro Bono in October to “draw attention to the need for pro bono participation, and to thank those who give their time yearround.”

Every month is pro bono month at Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP). Founded as a pro bono model with specially trained attorneys across Montgomery County volunteering their time and talent to represent at-risk children in our communities, we thank our committed volunteers who dedicate their legal expertise to helping keep kids safe. Consider these statistics about MCAP and our pro bono attorneys:

• Since 2004, MCAP attorneys advocated for over 9,200 children, giving them a voice in all types of cases in Juvenile, Criminal, Civil, and Orphans’ Courts

• MCAP trained over 3,000 attorneys providing continuing legal education opportunities and other outreach seminars about child advocacy, signs and indicators of child abuse, resources for families facing child maltreatment, trainings for professionals, parents, community members, and so much more

• MCAP celebrates 20 years as a nonprofit in 2024

13th Annual Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Auction:

Saturday, November 11, 2023, 6 pm to 10 pm

Join us as we celebrate Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Ken Lawrence at this year’s Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance and Auction. This year, we

are thrilled to honor Commissioner Lawrence for his commitment to the people of Montgomery County, especially children and families.

Commissioner Lawrence has been a huge supporter of MCAP, not only in his duties as a Commissioner, but as a hands-on volunteer at all of our events. He truly lives what he believes and shows everyone the endless benefits of living in Montgomery County. The evening includes fabulous silent & live auction items (trips, nights out, jewelry), dancing, and delicious food and drink at the beautiful Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel! All proceeds of this highly anticipated annual event go to MCAP’s life-saving work. For more information, go to our webpage for the event at

In 2024, MCAP will celebrate its 20th anniversary and we are already working on making this a great year! Save the date of September 27, 2024, for MCAP’s 20th Anniversary Dinner Dance & Auction Celebration!

MCAP welcomes Alex Felt to the MCAP Family! Alex comes to MCAP as a new Staff Attorney. Alex attended Penn State University for his undergraduate degree and Penn State Law School for his J.D., which he obtained in May 2022. In 2021, he worked as an intern in the Adams County Public Defender’s Office in Gettysburg, PA. Upon passing the bar exam, Alex moved to Montgomery County and started working for the Honorable Daniel J. Clifford as his law clerk where he participated in hundreds of court proceedings involving protections of abuse, custody, support, contempt and divorce actions. He also drafted orders, appellate opinions, and conducted research for Judge Clifford. Alex lives in Manayunk and enjoys watching sports, especially Penn State Football, reading and spending time with friends. Welcome Alex!


MBA Partners with Prothonotary for Virtual Name Change Clinic

The MBA proudly partnered with the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s Office and Legal Aid of Southeastern PA once again to present a virtual pro bono name change clinic on May 17, 2023.

Nine attorney volunteers assisted 11 individuals throughout the county, many of whom are members of our LGBTQ+ community. The virtual clinic was held via Zoom and attorneys guided the clients through the name change petition process, provided advice, and answered any questions about the process. The attorneys then attended the hearings on August 9th, during which the name change petitions were granted by court.

Congratulations to all of the clients and thank you to all of our volunteers, especially Prothonotary Noah Marlier and Ann Cornell of the Prothonotary’s Office, and Michelle Dempsky of Legal Aid of Southeastern PA for organizing the event!

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Pictured above: Prothonotary Noah Marlier, Esq. (left); Michelle Dempsky, Esq. (third from left); Ann Cornell (fourth from left); and name change clients.

Bar Foundation Tees Off to Help Legal Aid!

The Montgomery Bar Foundation held its annual Legal Aid Golf Classic on June 26, 2023 at Green Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, PA. About 90 golfers participated in the event, with dozens more joining us for the post-golf Awards Dinner. The Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event was High Swartz, LLP.

Continuing the change begun last year, the outing began with lunch and a 1:00 PM tee time. Golfers enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on a beautiful course.

A special Awards Dinner was held after the outing, where the Montgomery Bar Foundation presented the Honorable Louis D. Stefan Law Enforcement Award to Sergeant Mark Huzzard of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. We also distributed prizes for the winners of the golf outing, and selected dozens of raffle prize winners. Congratulations to the Family Law Section who won the MBA Section Challenge by selling the most raffle tickets. Thank you to all our sections and their respective leadership for helping to sell tickets and raise funds for the event!

All in all, our 2023 Legal Aid Golf Classic was a tremendous success thanks to the generosity of our participants, sponsors, and supporters. Proceeds will be matched by the MBA and donated to Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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FALL 2023 27 MONTGOMERYBAR .ORG Special Pro Bono Issue

Justice Art Camp!

Anyone driving on Main Street in Norristown surely will notice the delightful art on display around the perimeter for the Montgomery County Justice Center construction site. This artwork was created by young artists in Montgomery County under the stewardship of Fresh Artists. Fresh Artists is an innovative nonprofit empowering compassionate, creative, and capable young people to tackle the critical shortage of arts funding in our public schools by creating real-life opportunities for kids to engage as philanthropists and exhibit their artwork in high profile places.

The Fresh Artists largest and most complex project to date will be creating artwork to adorn targeted areas of the Montgomery County Justice Center which will be 325,000 square feet of space. To bring this project to fruition, the Fresh Artists team launched a 2-week Design Camp to make artwork especially for this grand, new iconic building. Twenty-one ‘Justice Art Stars’ were nominated by Norristown art teachers for their talent, focus, and enthusiasm and ranged from 5th through 11th grade, with one spunky 3rd grader added for good measure!

The two-week Camp began with a short video introduction to the Justice Project, produced by the Fresh Artists team, in which Fresh Artists Deputy Director, Lauren-Ashley Howard (both an artist and an attorney), told the children, “Justice is like the sun: it shines for all of us, the world would be dark without it, and we need it to survive.” This stems from a new Fresh Artists art project titled “My Time to Shine,” which challenges MONTCO’s K-12 students to use a myriad of positive themes and brilliant colors to portray themselves as artful suns – beacons of justice, hope, happiness, and beauty in the world.

Twelve Justice Art Stars returned for a third week at the Fresh Artists Studio in East Falls and were specifically tasked

with designing wallpaper for the Justice Center, with particular focus on the two floors of Family Court areas and Court Care, the children’s day care facility for people with business in the courthouse. Judge Daniel J. Clifford, Administrative Judge of Family Court, visited the children at the Fresh Artists Studio to describe what happens in Family Court and noted how he would like the kids to make art that will welcome, uplift, and comfort family spirits during particularly difficult, frightening, and stressful times. Judge Clifford remarked: “The talent displayed by these students is absolutely spectacular. Their artistic contributions and vision will provide both inspiration and enjoyment for all who enter the Justice Center for many decades to come.”

The cheerful result is an eclectic showcase of their skills, styles, and personalities. And an amazing 260 pieces of artwork are ready to be considered for installation and go to work in the Justice Center to uplift spirits and elicit wide smiles!

***This article is intended to be the first in a series of articles updating our membership and readers on the Montgomery County Justice Center project!

MBA Hosts Naturalization Ceremony at the Montgomery County Courthouse

On August 15, 2023, the MBA’s American Citizenship & The Law Committee partnered with the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s Office to admit 40 candidates for naturalization as citizens of the United States of America. The ceremony was held in Courtroom A of the Montgomery County Courthouse and was presided over by The Honorable Melissa S. Sterling. Committee Vice-Chair and Montgomery County Prothonotary Noah Marlier administered the Oath of American Citizenship.

Candidates hailed from 20 different countries, including: Bangladesh, Belarus, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Haiti, India, Iran, Libera, Mexico, Moldova, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Romania, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Thank you to our other American Citizenship & The Law Committee Chair Michael E. Furey, Esq., U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Towamencin Chapter for your support in making this event possible. Most importantly, congratulations to our newest fellow citizens!


On June 13, 2023, the MBA partnered with Integrate for Good to host a “Sleeping Mat Project” here at the MBA building, with support from our Presenting Sponsor, Meridian Bank. Over 20 volunteers were on hand to weave plastic bags into sleeping mats for community members experiencing street homelessness.

Integrate for Good is an organization located right here in Montgomery County that empowers students and adults of all abilities to share their talent through inclusive volunteerism, community leadership, and meaningful employment.

To learn more about the organization and to find out about future events, visit:!


Team MBA

at NAMI Walks Montgomery County

May 6, 2023 at Temple University Ambler Campus






The Robert E. Slota, Jr. Diversity Internship and Development Program



Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that Steven A. Hann, Esq., recently was the sole speaker at a Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association (“PMAA”) webinar entitled, “PFAS: 2023 Update for Municipal Authorities.” During this webinar, Steve spoke on various issues related to PFAS chemicals (also known as “forever chemicals”), and their impact on drinking water facilities, wastewater treatment plants and solid waste facilities.

Rochelle B. Grossman, Esq., and Carolyn Zack, Esq., led the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) 2023 Arbitration Training Institute in Chicago on June 1 and 2, 2023. The two-day in-person training provided 13 hours of CLE credits, including one hour of ethics, and participants received a certificate of training issued by the AAML. The attendees included more than 30 attorneys from across the country, who engaged in a lively and thoughtful discussion about the benefits of family law arbitration, shared information about their local family law practice and experience, and offered their perspectives on best practices for family law arbitrators.

Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce that Edward A. Diasio, Esq., has been elected to the firm’s partnership effective July 1, 2023. Mr. Diasio joined Wisler Pearlstine in 2014 and is a member of its esteemed Education and Municipal Law practice groups. “Ed has long served as a leader and mentor to junior associates here at the firm and is a champion for his clients,” said Administrative Partner Amy Brooks, Esq. “He will be an asset to the partnership of Wisler Pearlstine and we congratulate him on this milestone career achievement.”

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. is pleased to announce that Marc Robert Steinberg, Esq., presented a session at the PBA’s Criminal Law Symposium entitled “How to Make A

Living Practicing Criminal Law.” His presentation covered compliance with PA Rules of Professional Conduct, Ethical Considerations, and Fee Letter Requirements as well as suggestions on how to make a living practicing criminal law. The Symposium was held in Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, June 9, 2023.

Amy R. Stern, Esq., a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., spoke to the members of the Montco Senior Adult Activity Center at Ambler on July 21, 2023. She addressed estate planning needs for seniors including Wills, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives and the importance of having these documents in place. She regularly meets with members of the Center to assist them with their estate planning needs.

Kaplin Stewart in Blue Bell, PA is pleased to announce that Neil A. Stein, Esq., has been appointed by the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve as a District Two Hearing Committee Member for a three-year term. Attorneys selected to serve as Hearing Committee Members come from a distinguished group of practitioners in their respective districts. Hearing Committee Members review the recommended disposition of complaints prepared by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, conduct disciplinary and reinstatement hearings, and prepare reports and recommendations to the Board following hearings. The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania “is dedicated to protecting the public, maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, and safeguarding the reputation of the courts.”

Jennifer J. Riley, Esq., Owner and Managing Attorney of the Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley, was invited by Key4Women, a division of KeyBank, to speak about business ownership at an event on Thursday, August 24th at Boyd’s Cardinal Hollow Winery in North

Wales, PA. Together with Chris Boyd, the owner of the winery, she spoke about her motivations for opening her own law firm, the highs and lows that accompany business ownership and some tips on how to ride the waves.

Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that William G. Roark, Esq., (age 42) has become the new Managing Partner of the firm. Roark succeeds Steven H. Lupin, who held the position for over 30 years. The two had served as co-managing partners for the past year. Roark joins the ranks of younger managing partners, locally and nationally, under the age of 45 who have taken up the leadership reins in firms they grew up in and call their professional homes.

Yergey Daylor in Pottstown is pleased to welcome attorney Richard P. Almquist, Jr., Esq., to the firm. Rich comes to the firm following a civil engineering career of nearly thirty-five years, which included extensive experience in real estate development and environmental consulting. He will be showcasing this experience in his practice, which includes real estate law, municipal law and environmental law.

High Swartz LLP is pleased to welcome criminal defense attorney John S. Han to the firm. John brings his private practice experience as founder of Han Law in Plymouth Meeting. Prior to entering private practice, John served for 15 years as a federal prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the United States Department of Justice. John represents clients facing investigation and prosecution by State or Federal Law Enforcement authorities for criminal violations, such as violent crimes, racketeering, drug offenses, and homicide. John also represents clients facing military proceedings including courts-martial, Administrative Separation Discharge Boards, and Article 32 Preliminary Hearings.


Welcome New Members

The following members have been admitted to the Montgomery Bar Association between June and September 2023:

Richard P. Almquist Jr.

Derek Joseph Brandt

Shannon Mariah Byrne*

Kathryn Clare Coviello Cacciamani

Mary Kay Costello

Timothy Dickenson**

Luciano P. DiElsi

Caitlin Foley

Danielle Hollaway Hartt

Jeff Laudenbach

Domenico Mazzeo**

Mary Elizabeth Melso

Jill M. Moffitt*

Louis L. Muchnick*

Brianna D. O’Donnell

Emily G. Pittenger

Jordan Christopher Rhone

Andrew Skomorucha

Katrina Lillian Tacconelli**

Devin Uqdah

J. Stephen Woodside*

* Returning Member

** Law Student Member

The following members are retiring from the Montgomery Bar Association:

William H. Bradbury III

H. Kenneth Butera

Bruce L. Goldenberg

William A. Rubert

John H. Widman

Sherwood L. Yergey

Upcoming Events

October 17, 2023 CLE: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Estate Planning / MBA Building

October 25, 2023 CLE: Trial Lawyers Guide to Private Arbitration Practice / MBA Building

October 25, 2023 Pro Bono CLE and Keystone Awards Reception / MBA Building

November 1, 2023 The Annual Toby Dickman Family Law Seminar / Montgomery County Courthouse

November 3, 2023 MBA Membership Dinner & 50-Year Member Celebration / Manufacturers Country Club

November 8, 2023 CLE: Asset Transfer Issues in Estate Administration / MBA Building

December 6, 2023 Family Law Section Holiday Party / MBA Building

December 11, 2023 Montgomery Bar Foundation Holiday Luncheon / MBA Building

December 14, 2023 Trial Lawyers Section Holiday Party / Blue Bell Inn

December 20, 2023 Bar Leaders Holiday Party / MBA Building

January 5, 2024 Annual Business Luncheon / Blue Bell Country Club

*The events and dates above are subject to change and this is not a comprehensive list. Please visit the Events page on for an up-to-date list of current events.


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