SideBar Spring 2023

Page 1

WHOLE COMMUNITY, WHOLEBEING@WORK AND WHOLLY UNMISSABLE In this Issue MBA Welcomes New Leaders at Annual Business Meeting Meet the New Members of the Board of Directors Montgomery County Lawyers Lead the Charge on PBA Family Law Video Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA SPRING 2023 Magazine
Delivering an award-winning CLE EXPERIENCE Live, Interactive Webcasts 800+ On-demand CLE Options Guide Books for Every Area of Practice Visit for more info. Get UNLIMITED Online CLE with ProPass and earn all your credits for one low price!


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.

Lydia Terrill, Esq. Vice-Chairs

Gregory Gilston, Esq.

Franqui-Ann J. Raffaele, Esq.


Justin A. Bayer, Esq.

Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq.

Charles L. Burrows, Esq.

Jack Costello

Christina M. DeMatteo, Esq.

Michelle Dempsky, Esq.

Jason Edwards, Esq.

Marion Hoffman Fraley

Gregory Gilston, Esq.

Kate M. Harper, Esq.

Jim Mathias

Jules Mermelstein, Esq.

Mary C. Pugh, Esq.

Franqui-Ann J. Raffaele, Esq.

Rebecca Sallen, Esq.

Anna Sappington, Esq.

Carolyn Moran Zack, 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 SPRING 2023 Editors’ Note: The article titled “MBF Fellows Support Important Work for Our Courts and Citizens” that was published in the Winter 2023 issue (p. 24) did not include a byline. The article was written by Montgomery Bar Foundation President Catherine M. (Kate) Harper, Esq. In Every Issue & Short Features: Plus: 4 President’s Message 6 Young Lawyers Section Update 7 Probate & Tax Section: SECURE 2.0 ACT Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities 10 Updated Report of the Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association 12 The Equity Stop MBA Launches New Mediation Program Whole Community, Wholebeing@Work, Fiduciary Review and The Fiduciary Reporter, Publications Essential to Trust and Fiduciary Law Features: 14 Montgomery Bar Foundation 15 Bits & Bytes 16 Book Review 17 Restaurant Review 19 Movie Review 20 A Word From USI Affinity 21 MCAP Update 22 Legal Aid of Southeastern PA WHOLE COMMUNITY, WHOLEBEING@WORK AND WHOLLY UNMISSABLE 30 Meet the New Members of the Board of Directors 33 Lawyer Referral Service: What Are You Waiting For?! 34 Montgomery County Lawyers Lead the Charge on PBA Family Law Video 36 There’s Something Special about Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs 37 MBA Ski Trip Returns! 38 MBA Welcomes New Members 39 Wiretaps Member News 39 Upcoming Events 26




Monday thru Friday

8:45 AM - 4:45 PM

ADDRESS: 100 West Airy Street

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

PHONE AND FAX: Phone: 610-279-9660

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


Spring is finally here! In the first few months of 2023, I’ve been fortunate to witness the full spectrum of activity within our Association. After having the opportunity to honor and thank Past-President Sarinia Feinman at our Annual Business Lunch in early January, the Association went to work at a head-spinning rate.

First up, our Young Lawyers welcomed the return of the High School Mock Trial program to our Courthouse. After several years of competition by Zoom, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the competition returned live and in our Courthouse. The high school kids, volunteer jurors, and our Judges welcomed the return of in-person competition. Dozens of teams competed with hundreds of students participating in the competition. I’m pleased to report that the competition was a success. Jason Edwards, chair of the Young Lawyers Section, and the entire Young Lawyers leadership team rose to the occasion along with many members of our bench and member-volunteers. It was great to be back in person!

Our autonomous Judiciary Committee, co-chaired by Past President Eric Smith and Joan Ford Orsini, completed its important work earlier this year and published a report in February. The chairs and members deserve recognition and thanks for the considerable time and effort they devoted to the work of the committee. The independent committee continues to serve an important function for both our Association and Montgomery County, as it has since 1949.

Justin A. Bayer, Esq. Montgomery Bar Association 2023 President

Valuable Career Advice When You Need It

Are you

a law firm partner looking for a change?

Do You Wish You Had A Professional To Help You Evaluate Partner Opportunities? CALL PATRICIA TODAY!

Patricia Mosesso has been that professional for many partners just like you for over 15 years and focuses on creating opportunities and building successful relationships with attorneys and law firms. She knows the Philadelphia area’s attorney landscape from the inside out, which enables her to provide the best possible consultations. Her success is a direct reflection of the commitment, accountability and integrity she brings to each consultation. She and her team understand the critically important need for confidentiality and conduct themselves accordingly. With an unprecedented passion for facilitating a fit on both a personal and professional level why would you look anywhere else?

Partners with portable business, practice groups, and even small firms interested in making a change rely on our strategic guidance, high-level relationships, local market knowledge, and insight and discretion in making a transition.

In another credit to our Young Lawyers Section, the annual ski trip took place at Blue Mountain in February. This was the first year that the Young Lawyers section planned and organized the ski trip. Rob Sebia, of the Young Lawyers, did a terrific job planning and coordinating the day. The trip was well attended, and a great time was had by all.

Our other sections are also hard at work. The Family Law Section, headed by Kelly Fazzini, is off to a great start to the year having already completed guardian ad litem training for members. The Trial Lawyer Section, lead by Mark Fischer, hosted the chairs of the ADR committee to learn more about the Montgomery Bar Association Mediation Institute. There will be much more to report on the new Mediation Institute in the coming months. Similarly, our Probate and Tax Section, chaired by Rebecca Sallen, has several events planned for the year including a CLE on estate planning for single parents.

While there are always many worthwhile events on the MBA’s calendar, I wanted to highlight a few. Our Annual Dinner Dance will be held Friday, April 21, at the Union League at Liberty Hill in Lafayette Hill. You may have already received an invitation, and I hope to see you there. Our Law Day celebration will take

place on April 28th at the Courthouse, and our Elmwood Park Zoo event will return in May. Finally, please keep an eye out for our Foundation’s golf outing and dinner invitation.

I’ll leave you with some historical background about our Association as detailed in History of Montgomery Bar Association by Christine B. Scriabine. In 1931, a group of MBA young lawyers including: Desmond J. McTighe, Roland Fleer, Edward. B. Duffy, Frederick B. Smillie, and Edward McKean regularly met over lunch to discuss practice-related issues. In March of 1931, the group requested permission from the leadership of the MBA to meet formally as a committee to discuss points of law and practice. Despite being founded in 1885, the MBA had not previously provided member education. While there was some initial disagreement over the group’s request, eventually a new Entertainment Committee was created by the MBA in late 1931. The Entertainment Committee was charged with planning meetings and educational opportunities for younger members. The Entertainment Committee would later come to be known as the Young Lawyers Section. It is also reassuring to know that our lunch and learn CLEs have a long tradition in the MBA.

Patricia A. Mosesso 610-783-0900 Ext. 22
Knowledgeable • Personal • Confidential

Young Lawyers Section Update

January, February, and March were busy months for the Young Lawyers Section with the Pennsylvania Bar Association Annual High School Mock Trial Competition. This year Montgomery County (Region 9) had 22 teams competing from an assortment of local high schools. Congratulations to all the schools that competed this year. The winner of the Competition will be announced at Law Day on April 28, 2023.

I owe a huge thank you to John McCaul of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin for chairing the YLS Mock Trial Committee this year and assisting me throughout this whole process.

I also owe a huge thank you to all of the volunteer jurors and judges who took time out of their evenings to score the students, preside over the mock trials, and provide invaluable feedback. It truly takes a village to make this mock trial competition run smoothly.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to Shannon Santos of Court Administration for her tireless efforts to obtain courtrooms for these mock trials to take place and judges to preside over them. There were a lot of changes throughout this competition with the schedule for a host of reasons and at every turn, Shannon was there to assist. This competition would not be able to go forward without her help every year.

YLS also had its first meeting of 2023 on January 18th. This meeting was well attended and included MBA President Justin Bayer, who graciously provided opening remarks for the 2023 year of the MBA YLS. He emphasized his and the MBA’s support of YLS and the good work they do each and every year.

At the beginning of each year, the YLS Executive Committee is announced at the first meeting. This year’s Executive Committee includes: Jason J. Edwards as Chair; Robert Sebia as Vice-Chair; Chelsey Christiansen as Secretary; and Franqui-Ann Raffaele as Treasurer.

Also announced at this meeting was the appointment of new leadership and liaison positions for 2023. Those leadership and liaison positions are: Chelsea Dearden, Chair of the Social Committee; John McCaul, Chair of the Mock Trial Committee; Gabriella Lacitignola, Chair of the Liaison/Law School Committee; Patrick McGinnis and Stefanie Sherr, Co-Chairs of the Community Service/Outreach Committee; and Kailie Melchior and Ashley Garland, Co-Chairs of the CLE/101 Series Committee. Please feel free to contact the aforementioned individuals to coordinate any joint events with YLS.

The YLS also introduced their new initiative, the YLS Development Program run by Nancy Walsh. The Program meets the hour before the YLS lunch meetings each month and is focused mainly on the individuals who have practiced law or been a part of the MBA for less than three years. The first meeting of this Program occurred on February 15th, and was well attended.

There are big things in store for the YLS this year and I am looking forward to the rest of this year with this YLS team. We have a packed schedule of events in 2023, so pay attention to the weekly Bar News newsletter.

By Jason Edwards, Esq., President, Young Lawyers Section

Probate & Tax Section: SECURE 2.0 ACT Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities

Overview: When the SECURE Act passed in late December 2019, it changed the most popular retirement plans and altered the world of estate and financial planning. Now, the SECURE 2.0 Act is set to build upon its predecessor and significantly change the laws regarding retirement savings.

In a seemingly unimaginable move by Congress, twice in three years, there is new legislation focused on encouraging Americans to better save for retirement. SECURE 2.0 is a reconciliation of three separate bills – the House’s Securing a Strong Retirement Act, the Senate’s Enhancing American Retirement Now Act (EARN Act) and Retirement Improvement and Saving Enhancement to Supplement Health Investments for the Nest Egg Act (RISE and SHINE Act). Legislators intend that the changes to the SECURE Act will further increase access to retirement plans, streamline administration and reporting requirements and preserve retirement income.

This article will discuss only a few pertinent impacts of this new law on estate, tax and retirement planning.


Prior to the SECURE Act, age 70 ½ was the triggering age when workers were required to take minimum distributions (RMDs) from their IRAs. That age was expanded from 70 ½ years old in 2019 to now 73 years old. It will increase to 75 years old beginning on January 1

2033.1 For those who were confused or erroneously failed to take their RMDs, SECURE 2.0 has an added benefit; it reduced the 50% penalty to 25%. The penalty can be further reduced to 10% if the error was corrected in a timely manner. Individuals may file for an abatement of the tax. Plan sponsors who are correcting the error may request a waiver on the participant’s behalf through the IRS’s Voluntary Correction Program.

What does that mean for you? Flexibility in taking distributions allows for longer periods of tax-deferred growth in retirement accounts. With a larger IRA comes a heftier tax upon the eventual distribution. Also, since RMDs are based on life expectancy, a delayed starting age will result in a larger required distribution from an IRA. Proper tax planning should address the anticipated RMDs and the recipient’s expected tax rate.


Previously, the options for a surviving spouse who inherited an IRA were limited to a spousal roll over, an inherited IRA, or spousal election, whereby the beneficiary could treat the spouse’s IRA as their own. Now, the surviving spouse may also elect to be treated as the decedent’s employee. This election allows RMDs based on the longer distributions in the Uniform Life Table instead of the Single Life Table that is usually applied.

continued on next page >

Rebecca Sallen, Esq., Chair, Probate & Tax Section

Probate & Tax Section: SECURE 2.0 ACT Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities

Continued from page 7

This Section additionally allows the surviving spouse to delay taking RMDs until the deceased spouse would have reached the age at which RMDs were required.3 For example, Frank (age 73) and Lisa (age 68) are married. If Lisa predeceased Frank, even though his age would require him to take RMDs, he could delay distributions from Lisa’s IRA for another 5 years. With more options for surviving spouses, attorneys should work with clients’ accountants and advisors before recommending a course of action during an estate administration.


One of the biggest benefits of a retirement plan is its tax deferred nature. However, Congress sets annual limits on the amount that individuals can contribute to their accounts. The “catch-up” contributions allow individuals, aged 50+, to save additional funds in order to better prepare for retirement.

Thankfully, SECURE 2.0 raised the maximum catch-up for most workplace plans to $7,500 and indexed the $1,000 increase for inflation. Beginning in 2025, most individuals aged 60-63 can contribute an additional $10,000 or 150% of the regular catch up amount, whichever is greater, and these dollar amounts are indexed for inflation. For workers earning more than $145,000, all catch-up contributions must be to after-tax accounts, like a Roth IRA, starting in 2024.5


Under the SECURE Act, the beloved stretch IRA became a thing of the past for many beneficiaries who were converted to the 10-year payout rule. Luckily, the Act preserved this option for eligible designated beneficiaries, including beneficiaries of Special Needs Trusts.

Generally, when naming a trust as a retirement asset beneficiary, the ability to stretch distributions relies on having only living persons as countable beneficiaries. Under the old rules, if a client wanted multiple beneficiaries for their retirement assets, they were restricted to an applicable multi-beneficiary trust (AMBT). An AMBT is an accumulation trust restricted for the use of multiple beneficiaries, whom one or more qualifies as a disabled or chronically ill person, as defined by Congress. Such trusts

ensure that beneficiaries can maintain their eligibility in certain means-tested programs, such as SSI and Medicare. If a charity (which is not a living person) was named as one of the countable beneficiaries of the trust, the trust would not qualify for stretch distributions. SECURE 2.0 now permits a qualified charity to be named as a current or remainder beneficiary of the AMBT while still allowing stretch payments over the life expectancy of the disabled or chronically ill beneficiary—provided certain other requirements are met.6

Importantly, the charity must also be a qualified charity.7 This is different than charitable interests in a donor-advised fund. Donor Advised Funds are not qualified charities; naming one as a remainder beneficiary of AMBT would disqualify it for the stretch option. Improperly designed trusts would force complete trust distributions under the five-year rule.

The SECURE 2.0 Act fix only applies starting in 2023. It does not apply to cases where the owner of the retirement account died after the SECURE Act’s effective date and before the enactment of the SECURE 2.0 Act. The changes made by the SECURE 2.0 Act will benefit those who are charitably inclined, providing them with additional flexibility while preserving the tax savings for special needs beneficiaries of AMBTs.


SECURE 2.0 introduced many changes to the rules regarding retirement plans. Thankfully, now participants may save more and retain assets in their retirement accounts for a longer period, allowing for compound growth without income tax for a longer time. Additionally, penalties imposed on inadvertent mistakes are now more manageable. Attorneys now have more opportunities to work with their clients’ accountants and financial advisors to determine how these changes impact each unique situation.

1 SECURE 2.0 Act at Sec. 107.

2 Id. at Sec. 327.

3 Treasury Regulation 1.401(a)(9)-5, Q&A-5(a)(1)

4 SECURE 2.0 Act at Section 109.

5 Id. at Sec. 603

6 Id. at Sec. 337.

7 See, Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) § 408(d)(8)


Nationally Recognized as a leader in selling fine art & jewelry.

U S P A P C o m p l i a n t

A p r o f e s s i o n a l r e p o r t t h a t c o n f o r m s t o

t h e U n i f o r m S t a n d a r d s o f P r o f e s s i o n a l

A p p r a i s a l P r a c t i c e ( U S P A P )

A f f o r d a b l e

C o m p e t i t i v e a n d f a i r p r i c e s f o r s e r v i c e s p e r f o r m e d . A n u n b i a s e d

e x a m i n a t i o n o f p r o p e r t y

F a i r M a r k e t V a l u e

T h e t e a m o f A p p r a i s e r s a t A l d e r f e r

A u c t i o n h a v e a u n i q u e a d v a n t a g e

o v e r m o s t a p p r a i s e r s O u r a p p r a i s e r s

a r e o b s e r v i n g t h e m a r k e t c h a n g e s a n d t r e n d s o n a d a i l y b a s i s t h r o u g h

t h e e v e r - c h a n g i n g l a n d s c a p e o f t h e

m a r k e t


2 1 5 - 3 9 3 - 3 0 0 0

Info@alderferauction com

Estate tax or planning


Family Division

Equitable Distribution

Damage or Loss of Value

a l d e r f e r a u c t i o n . c o m US TODAY
H.Brent Souder
Appraiser I Sales Director Featured at the Baum School of Art appraising collection

UPDATED REPORT OF THE Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association

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 candidates Highly Recommended or Recommended.


These candidates possess superior qualifications to serve with distinction as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They possess an exceptional level of integrity, good moral character, industry, legal ability and experience, courtroom experience, humility, and judicial temperament, to be rated HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. These candidates, through these traits and their legal experience, their commitment to justice, the community, and the practice of law, have 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.”


These candidates possess the qualifications to serve as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Each candidate possesses the appropriate level of integrity, good moral character, industry, legal ability and experience, courtroom experience, humility, and judicial temperament, to be rated RECOMMENDED. Each candidate has the legal experience, the commitment to justice, the community and the practice of law, and the regard of the legal profession to be rated RECOMMENDED by the Committee.

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.

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 background, ages, practices and geographic areas of Montgomery County and hundreds of years of collective legal experience.

For Advertising Information & Opportunities Contact: Sherry Bolinger 717.979.2858 Alicia Lee 610.685.0914 x210 SIDEBAR Magazine is published by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2669 Shillington Road, #438, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 35,000 Readers, Published Quarterly! SIDEBAR features locally and regionally-generated content about relevant and trending legal, historical and community topics, and municipal and regulatory issues, that impact local lawyers, and affiliated business, civic and community members. SIDEBAR is mailed to member and non- member attorneys, business and community leaders, and physician, dentist, allied health and beauty salon waiting rooms throughout Montgomery County, and is disseminated digitally through web and social media channels. Readers are attorneys, allied associates, and engaged, civic-minded community members. There are 35,000 Reasons to Advertise in SIDEBAR... YOUR WINNING STRATEGY? HOFFPUBS.COM

The Equity Stop

Name Change Clinic

Last year, the Montgomery Bar Association and the Montgomery County Prothonotary’s office engaged in an exciting joint pilot program to offer free name changes for residents of the county. Seven volunteer attorneys assisted twelve Montgomery County residents with their name change petitions via Zoom, drafting and filing the petitions, along with the waiver of filing fees and publication costs for the posting of the hearing notice in the Montgomery County Law Reporter. Ten clinic participants moved forward with their name change petitions and attended their respective hearings in mid-December. DEI Co-Chair Michelle Dempsky and other volunteers represented them at the hearings in mid-December, and all of the petitions were granted. Given the success of the pilot program, we’re happy to announce a second year of the clinic.

While the Montgomery County clinic was open to all County residents, there was a deliberate effort to invite transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals. This year, the clinic is being offered this spring as well; any MBA member can volunteer as well. The clinic is currently being tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 19, 2023, between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. Anyone interested in volunteering should note that there is no obligation to appear at the hearing itself, only to assist with the petitions. Volunteers can sign up for one-hour slots in this timeframe, to assist, and the MBA currently offers a recorded DEI CLE on the name change process and social awareness for transgender and non-conforming issues relative to legal practice.

Project Linus

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee started off last year with a joint program with the Young Lawyers Section in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Committee members made over 40 new blankets for Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides new handmade blankets to children in need. Due to the success, the project has been renewed for the current year, and is likely to be an ongoing joint project. Volunteers who wish to contribute can appear at the next DEI meeting on March 8, 2023, at 12:00pm.

Wills for Seniors

In previous years, the Diversity Equity, and Inclusion and Elder Law Committees have teamed up with volunteer attorneys from the Montgomery Bar Association and the Senior Law Center to offer a free simple will, durable power of attorney, and advance medical directive to Montgomery County Seniors. Due to

previous successes, the clinic is once again being offered on May 2, 2023. Since the previous in-person clinic was offered in Norristown, this event is being held at the Pottstown Senior Center, 288 Moser Rd #1, Pottstown, PA 19464, to help achieve more coverage across the county. In addition, the MBA offers a free CLE on wills and medical directives and power of attorney for volunteers that wish to assist, and CLE credit will be offered for all volunteers.

Meet & Greet with Local Law School Diversity Members

3/30 5:30pm-7:30pm

On March 30, 2023, the DEI committee will engage in a new project; a meet and greet with local law school students. The event will be held at the MBA building on March 30, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This is a chance for students to meet with judges and attorneys in the county, learn of employment opportunities and DEI initiatives, and to have their resume reviewed. The event is open to wider MBA members, and comes with free hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and is a wonderful opportunity to forge connections with incoming attorneys.

North Penn Rainbow Alliance Supreme Court Mock Trial

The DEI committee has previously volunteered attorneys to help guide students in local North Penn High schools in mock Supreme Court oral arguments on real cases involving LGBTQIAA+ issues. The two previous events were a great success, and the DEI committee is eager to assist with the next session, at a date to be determined. Anyone interested in being involved should contact the MBA.

Other Programs:

- Robert Slota Diversity Program: the DEI committee is proud to assist in the diversity program for another year.

- Diversity Book Club: At the next DEI meeting, members are invited to help select books and participate in our novel diversity book club, selecting authors who highlight important DEI issues worldwide.

- Women Networking Event - Collaboration with Women in the Law: the DEI committee is preparing a women’s networking event, at a date to be determined, to foster networking and connections between women in the field of law.

- Career Day at Local High Schools: the DEI committee is proud to be creating a presence at various ‘career days’ at local high


schools, for students considering pursuing law as a field. More details will be forthcoming as to dates and times and locations.

ERUC Rent Relief Program Termination

Since the Covid crisis began, the Federal Government dispersed $2.9 billion in funds under the Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP) to the states, to assist tenants who have lost income due to Covid. The program began effective March 13, 2020, and continues through the present. However, not every county is left in the same position. While there is no monetary limit on the amount of assistance a household can receive, the ERAP funding was not unlimited, and many county agencies have already approached the threshold on exhausting available funds. This has caused different counties to either terminate their rent relief programs, or severely limit new applications or eligibility for relief. Unfortunately, due to funding exhaustion, Montgomery County’s program has issued a termination date. Montgomery County: Montgomery County’s ERA program, the Emergency Rent and Utility Coalition (ERUC), run through Your Way Home (YWH) of Montgomery County, will stop accepting applications this year through its partner organizations. The last date that recertifications (re-applications for further assistance) will be accepted is March 31, 2023. Furthermore, no new applications will be accepted after April 1, 2023. Landlords and tenants, and attorney’s practicing in the area of law, should all be aware of the impending closure, as only a few weeks remain to obtain assistance. Priority is given to households with active eviction cases or pay and stay judgments. More information can be obtained at: https://

To be eligible, a Montgomery County household merely must show that (1) one or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) the household can demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, and (3) the household must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income at the time of application.

To apply, residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211. Applications can be done over the phone, in person, emailed, or a combination. Residents can also reach out to one of six partner organizations below to learn more about the program and apply:

- ALCAMO:, (610) 277-2570 (Norristown) or (610) 970-2134 (Pottstown).

- Family Services of Montgomery County: or (610) 630-2111 x235.

- Manna on Main Street: getting-help or call (215) 855-5454.

- CADCOM: Visit

- Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities: call (484) 393-5441 or covidrentutilityassistance.


Other Counties: In addition, other surrounding counties have had alterations to their rent relief programs. These programs vary in requirements and funding, but a guide is given here:

Chester County: Chester County’s ERAP program ended September 30, 2022, when the first round of funding was exhausted. However, as of December 12, 2022, Chester County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) relaunched with new eligibility guidelines to support individuals and families facing court-ordered eviction, in possession of a utility shutoff, or with a need for security deposits to secure permanent affordable housing. Applications are being accepted by the Chester County Department of Community Development (DCD).

Delaware County: Delaware County’s Emergency Rental Assistance (Delco ERA) program CLOSED Saturday, September 10, 2022. Applications filed on or before September 10, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. were processed until funds reached 100% exhaustion; no further relief is available.

Bucks County: On September 2, 2022, Bucks County announced changes to the Bucks Emergency Rental Assistance (BERA) program. The BERA webpage states, “eligible tenants can receive 3 total months of financial assistance, including utilities, with up to 1 month of prospective rent assistance. This financial assistance is one time only, and additional funds will not be made available.”

W. Ninth Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406 TRUST
www.ACTPA.ORG - 610.265.4788 Enhance  Protect  Provide  Pooled Testamentary Stand-alone  First & Third-Party  Settlement  Education • Corporate Trustee • Successor Trustee • Co-Trustee • Investment Management • Any Size Trust • Reasonable Fee’s • Fully Automated • Social Service Support Special Needs Trusts NONPROFIT TRUST ADMINISTRATION SINCE 2001 ACT Ardent Community Trust of Pennsylvania

Who Takes Care of the Victims of the Current Crime Wave?

Whether you hear it on KYW, watch it on the 11 o’clock TV news, or see it flash across your screens without warning, reports of crime, murder, assault, and rape are numbingly familiar these days and the faces and names of the victims often get blurred in our memories as the depressing statistics mount. Once the cameras have moved on, who takes care of the victims and their families? And who will console those who love the victims and those who experienced the trauma alongside them?

You are the ones who take care of these victims if you are a regular contributor to the Montgomery Bar Foundation (MBF)! The MBF is the charitable arm of the Montgomery Bar Association, and your generous contributions provide annual grants to the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County which provides free and confidential support and services to crime victims and their loved ones.

The Victims Services Center has a free, 24/7 hotline at 1-888521-0983 to connect crime victims to confidential counseling to help deal with the aftermath of having been a victim of crime. Founded in 1974 as Women Against Rape, Victim Services provides counseling and advocacy for people affected by sexual violence and other crimes against the person to help the victims cope with the trauma they have been through and to begin to heal. “I was scared and emotionally in crisis at the court house when I went to apply for an order of protection from sexual violence,” says one. “Having my victim advocate by my side to support me helped me to cope and gave me courage to file the petition.”

Longtime Victims Services Center Executive Director Mary Onama, LMSW, heads Montgomery County’s comprehensive victim services agency and also advocates in Montgomery County and across the state of Pennsylvania for survivors of rape and crime so that the needs of the victims are recognized, acknowledged, and prioritized in our criminal justice system. At the Victim Services Center, women and men are believed, and then healed from becoming victims—a fate they never sought or expected.

Trained victim advocates, bilingual if needed, support the 24hour hotline and help crime survivors deal with isolation, anxiety, uncertainty, depression, and grief. Most importantly, they reassure the crime victims that they are not alone, and that someone cares for them and about them, in order to help the victim to heal.

Executive Director Mary Onama puts it this way: “VSC’s advocacy services are a safety net for residents of Montgomery County who need access to justice especially during traumatic times in their lives. This may be when they need to file for protection orders, attend court hearings for trials, go to interviews with law enforcement or to the hospital for Forensic rape kit exams. We appreciate the grant funds from the Montgomery County Bar Foundation that help to fund our access to justice advocacy services.”

The MBF supports nonprofits that help advance the cause of justice in Montgomery County, and the Victim Services Center certainly does this. When you give to the Foundation, it’s a tax deductible contribution, and your money goes straight to nonprofits like the Victim Services Center, as well as Legal Aid of Southeastern PA, the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, Your Way Home, ACLAMO, Laurel House, Mission Kids, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, the Senior Law Center, and many other organization that help make Montgomery County a better and more just society.

There are several ways to give. MBF Fellows give, and promise to give, regular annual contributions, and they truly are the sustaining members of the Foundation. Young lawyers (and not so young, of course) can set up smaller, monthly donations online by visiting the Foundation webpage on the MBA website. We will be having our annual Montgomery Bar Foundation Legal Aid golf outing on Monday, June 26, 2023. Save the date now and MBF Events and Fundraising Committee Chair Paul Mullin, Esq., will announce the details later.

We, your fellow lawyers on the MBF Board, are grateful for your support and the greater Montgomery County community is grateful that lawyers are giving back. Most MBF Grant recipients do important work that is not easily understood by the general public unless they find themselves in a tough situation they never expected.

Of course, many of these organizations also rely on the lawyers on their boards, and that time and expertise is a wonderful contribution, too. Thank you. Please check out the Foundation webpage on the MBA website and work with us to help us help the organizations that promote justice in our local community.


Artificial Intelligence

Recently, the hot topic in tech has been AI, which is short for Artificial Intelligence and not Allen Iverson (couldn’t resist). AI has been with us since the early days of the implementation of computers and tech in our personal lives and daily work. Early science fiction predicted robots taking over and controlling our lives; even “The Jetsons” included AI in its fictitious prediction of the future by including a robot “pet.”

In the mid-eighties, we were introduced to AI when we began to give up the law library books and use dedicated computer terminals to do legal research. Type in “keywords or clauses” and select the “return” key to find the relevant law, including cited cases or articles retrieved by a computer utilizing AI.

You can fault AI for the torrent of spam, junk mail, and phone calls generated by AI. Blocking and deleting them does little to stop the intrusion and breaches of security. Think of all the boiler plate responses we get to e-mail and voice-mail…AI.

The reality is AI has become part of our daily lives and is only expanding as we talk, read or watch…or is it an AI bot like Chat GPT? The AI powered chatbot, ChatGPT, outperformed many MBA students in exams given at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. As a result, exams are being given in person to detect ChatGPT.

Recently, Google released Bard, its own AI chatbot similar to ChatGPT. Microsoft has incorporated its version of ChatGPT into its browser, Bing, across a range of activities, from writing software and passing exams to offering advice, in the style of King James Bible, on how to remove a sandwich from a VCR.

I tried ChatGPT myself by typing “In the State of Pennsylvania, Father wants physical custody of his 8-year-old son. He is the better parent.”

ChatGPT responded:


Father is seeking physical custody of his 8-year-old son in the state of Pennsylvania. Father believes that he is the better parent for the child and should be awarded physical custody.


In the state of Pennsylvania, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration in determining custody arrangements. In determining the best interests of the child, the court will consider several factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the stability of each parent’s home environment, and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

Father argues that he is the better parent for the child and should be awarded physical custody.

He states that he has a strong and loving relationship with his son, and that he can provide a stable and nurturing home environment for the child. He also highlights his ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

Furthermore, Father can argue that he has been the primary caregiver for the child for most of his life, he has a stable job and home, and that he has not been involved in any criminal or other negative behavior that would put the child at risk. He can also present evidence that the child is well-adjusted and happy living with him, and that a change in custody would be detrimental to the child’s mental and emotional well-being.


Based on the above legal argument and evidence, counsel for Father requests that the court award him physical custody of his 8-year-old son.

My comment:

It is important to note that this is a simplified version of a legal brief, and the actual brief would have more detail and evidence to support the arguments and would also consider the other parent’s arguments and evidence.

Who needs lawyers or Judges…

Enjoy the Internet, E-Mail, and social media, but “Let’s be careful out there!”

Please send your questions and comments to me at:

SPRING 2023 15

BOOK REVIEW: Misjudged: A legal thriller (Sam Johnstone Book 1)

Misjudged, indeed, is a legal thriller. However, it is much more than that. It shows the devastating effects that PTSD can have on veterans, even those who are able to be qualified as professionals after their return from combat. It questions the legal ethics of prosecutors and judges. And it demonstrates what passionate representation can accomplish with help from those not ethically-challenged.

James Chandler, which is actually the pen name of Wyoming Circuit Court Judge Paul Phillips, demonstrates a cynical view of many lawyers. In addition to having an attorney being forced to leave a firm because he accepts representation of an unpopular client, there is this interesting statement when he describes Judge Daniels:

Daniels had little patience for, as he put it, “preening, showboating, or wasting time”—meaning he was hard on attorneys, many of whom made a moderately good living by preening, showboating, and wasting time.

He also displays a negative attitude towards law school. (As an aside, I loved law school but took no offense.) In a scene where someone is seeking to know more about an attorney, there is this interaction:

“Did you enjoy law school?” He laughed. “Show me someone who enjoys law school and I’ll show you someone who’s as crazy as a shithouse rat.”

In this same conversation, the attorney explains the job of a criminal defense attorney:

“Well, as an attorney I’m neither a judge nor a member of the jury. My job is not to decide or even to be seriously concerned with whether the defendant is guilty. My job is only to advocate on behalf of my client and insist that she is afforded all of the rights she is entitled to under the law.”

Sam signaled the waitress for another scotch. “What that means is that I have to ensure that she is not punished until and unless the State demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that she committed the crime as charged. When I sign on to defend someone, I have to understand that gal is placing her property, liberty, or—in a case like this—even life in my care.

For an attorney, ‘the truth’ is what the law and the evidence show.”

Likewise, the attorney distinguishes an attorney’s conscience from a layperson’s conscience when asked whether his conscience allows him to represent someone who is guilty:

“But understand a ‘lawyer’s conscience’ is not everyone’s conscience. A lawyer’s conscience is a unique way of viewing a legal situation. In forcing the State to play by the rules and prove a defendant’s guilt, we not only serve the client we’ve got but the innocent ones to follow, and hopefully we continue to distinguish our society from those that eschew an open, transparent system of justice.”

Chandler also demonstrates an effective way for attorneys to deal with a rude person they are meeting with.

Sam entered a couple of minutes later and found the defendant on the phone. She kept talking while Sam noted the time. At some point, she said, rather disdainfully, “I’ll be with you in a minute.” Sam replied casually, “Okay with me. It’s your money.” “What?” “The judgment against you includes attorney’s fees, which—much like the interest on your debt—accumulates. In my case, in six-minute increments.” The phone was snapped shut.

In a later conversation, Sam explains to another character why putting a defendant on the stand is dangerous:

“ . . . because it’s fraught with danger,” Sam said. “The State’s witnesses are almost all experts at being in court. Cops, criminologists, scientists—they have all testified before. They know what to say and what not to say. Hell, some of them have taken classes in how to present evidence. But your average guy doesn’t know what to say or when to shut up. He’s easily manipulated by a good prosecutor,”

Throughout this novel, I was trying to figure out which of several possibilities, including the defendant, would be revealed to be the guilty party. It turned out to be one of the possibilities I had thought of. But reading about this process was very enjoyable.

I highly recommend Misjudged to fans of legal thrillers and courtroom dramas.



The Blue Elephant

This issue’s restaurant review is focusing on something old and something very new. The Blue Elephant is located in the 152 E. High Street historic building in Pottstown. The restaurant interior pays homage to the building’s roots. 152 High Street was originally a dwelling created by the Potts Family in 1770. Its purchase by Jonas Smith saw the building turn into a store and after its raze, the current building stands, created in 1888 as the Security Trust Building. The bank eventually closed, leading the space to be used as several restaurants over the years – ultimately finding its way into the hands of Win & Sutida Somboonsong of the Win Signature Restaurants, who currently own the space.

The designers of the Blue Elephant certainly took details and the building’s history into mind. When you walk into the lobby, you will find several photos hung on the wall. The Blue Elephant got its name from one of those photos – elephants walking on E. High Street in Pottstown. With the elephant as an emblem in many Asian countries, The Blue Elephant seemed like kismet.

The design features many of the original pieces from the bank; brass work, bank vaults and elegant light fixtures. It takes

advantage of the 30-foot tall ceilings, highlighting their height with luxurious light blue curtains and a literal wall of mirrors. The Blue Elephant is a mixture of metalwork, greenery and elevated comfort. The seating is cozy, stylish and modern. A 10-foot tall fountain stands in the space’s center. It’s a stunning sight when you first enter the space, a true treasure in the heart of Pottstown.

The Blue Elephant prides itself as being the “vanguard of the Asian fusion movement showcasing Italian-Thai dishes with Japanese influences,” according to their website. They do not disappoint. The menu boasts lunch and dinner selections – and they even have brunch on Sundays. The dinner menu offers a wide variety of food – shrimp shumai, pad thai and sushi for those looking for an Asian centered meal, Chilean sea bass and

continued on next page >

152 E. High Street Pottstown, PA 19464 (484) 949-9084

Restaurant Review: The Blue Elephant

Continued from page 17

cheese steak spring rolls for the more Italian, and miso udon carbonara for those interested in truly delving into the fusion experience. We ordered a wide selection from the menu – cheesesteak spring rolls, shrimp shumai and the sushi sampler as appetizers; farm raised chicken teriyaki and drunken noodles with the seafood medley as our main entrees; and finishing out the evening with crème brulee and the sweet potato parfait for dessert.

The appetizers came quickly. The sushi sampler offered sizable portions in the nigiri style. The seven pieces were delicate, fresh, and delicious. I didn’t even get to have one before my partner finished them all. The shrimp shumai were dim sum styled dumplings seated on mango chili. The mango chili was hotter than I predicted but would be enjoyed by any spice lover. Both elements of the dish worked well with each other, providing a balanced taste and texture. They are a great sharing size, four in total, and made for an excellent appetizer. The cheesesteak spring rolls were made after my own heart. The rolls were a nice balance of cheese and filet mignon steak, wrapped in an eggroll that was crispy and crunchy. They came with a delicious dipping sauce and I highly recommend giving them a try.

The drunken noodles with seafood medley featured many of your favorite seafood classics, including mussels, crab, calamari and shrimp. It was a healthy portion of food, packed with flavor while simultaneously avoiding the overly salted and fishy taste of many a seafood medley. The drunken noodles can also come with chicken – and we’re anticipating our next visit to try them out too. The Blue Elephant’s chicken teriyaki is the elevated, new and improved version compared to that of the chicken teriyaki of your local Chinese takeout. The dish features roasted chicken, sauteed bok choy, roasted carrots, white rice and a delicious teriyaki sauce. The chicken was moist, flavorful and paired well with the teriyaki. It’s a good starting entrée for those looking to expand their palate into Asian cuisine.

We ended our meal with a classic, and my personal favorite, dessert – crème brulee. The crème brulee was topped with perfectly caramelized sugar and an ample amount of fruit. The custard base was rich and delicious. The sweet potato parfait was a perfectly disguised dessert. It was a new creation from the pastry chef, which featured layers of delicious sweet potato cake, mousse, and sorbet with a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The parfait also included an a la mode scoop of salty ice cream. For salt lovers, the ice cream is a must try.

The Blue Elephant also houses a bar, with a delicately curated selection of wines, beers and exotic cocktails. The Nama Hakutsura sake came in its own personal bottle and tasted smooth with a subtle fruit taste. The cocktails were well balanced and sweet, but not too sweet – I tried a special seasonal cocktail and Pearl’s Punch. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

In terms of service, the Blue Elephant lives up to its passion of providing the perfect dining experience. We had a wonderful server, Riley C, who made sure we were provided the best service. The staff was friendly and attentive. Be sure to make a reservation though as tables fill up very quickly. For those looking for a place to spend a special evening, the restaurant also offers a chef’s special, which features a six-course meal showcasing the chef’s culinary expertise.

Overall, the Blue Elephant provided one of the most enjoyable culinary experiences for me. So, if you’re looking for an evening out with your partner, a place to meet your friends for a night out, or are grabbing takeout from a truly inspired menu, the Blue Elephant is the place to go.



Devotion (2022)

A beautifully told tale of a forgotten war, Director J.D. Dillard’s Devotion is a true story about the development of an unlikely friendship in a time where political, military, and racial tensions were at their peak. Based on the book of the same name, this reality-based war-hero drama centers on Ensign Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors), the first Black pilot to earn his wings in the U.S. Navy’s basic flight training program. As the plot develops, Brown forms an unlikely bond with fellow naval aviator Lieutenant Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) in the early days of a war that puts both their training and personal relationships to the test. This compelling story about two elite aviators offers a unique opportunity to explore the military experiences of one flight crew from two very different vantage points.

Set in the 1950s, Devotion is inspired by the global threats of the Second World War, at a time when the U.S. Navy welcomed a surge of aviators ready to

fight for their country and their NATO allies. After five years of peace, a true conflict is growing at the North and South Korean border, and duty calls once again. As America prepares itself to enter yet another war, this time in Korea, the assigned pilots of the VF-32 squadron begin testing out the Navy’s new arsenal in their weaponry: the F4U-4 Corsair aircraft. And while the fighter pilots of VF-32 squadron advance on their journey toward becoming combat ready, Brown and Hudner navigate their own partnership as the first Black and white wingman duo in naval aviation history.

Make no mistake: it’s Jonathan Majors’ incredible performance as Ensign Jesse Brown that drives this film. There’s a lot of emotional complexity to Brown’s compelling military journey. Brown’s character development embodies overwhelming resilience and provides a realistic lens into the personal struggle of a Black soldier in the 1950s military.

Devotion kicks into high gear in the second half of the film, with impressively choreographed aerial combat sequences. It’s really a spectacular score, elevating the best scenes into crowd-pleasing actionpacked fight scenes, like any Hollywood classic should.

Though Devotion is a tale of two heroes from America’s “forgotten war,” the stories of these men won’t soon be forgotten. Furthermore, the dialogue is riveting, with deeply empowering messages drizzled throughout the entirety of the film. If you are into wartime movies or cultural time pieces, you will surely enjoy this movie.


A Word from USI Affinity | My Benefit Advisor


Most small businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when trying to hire and retain employees compared to their larger firm counterparts. The smaller firms are typically more limited in their budgetary capabilities and unable to provide a high level of comprehensive benefit package. To attract their necessary workers, the focus for owners of small companies should be directed toward benefits that are most valued by the workforce they are looking to attract. Here are a few of the benefits most employees are looking for in 2023:

Healthcare…with heightened health concerns stemming from the pandemic and quests for enhanced personal well-being, a comprehensive portfolio of healthcare benefits has been and remains one of the most sought-after benefits.

Remote Work…the ability to work from home which became commonplace during the pandemic appears to have staying power. It remains to be seen whether the trend continues to grow or subsides to a lesser extent but for now this is something most employees are seeking.

Flexible Work Schedule…the ability to balance work responsibilities with personal obligations and the care of children and elderly parents has made a flexible work schedule a valued benefit in the post-pandemic world.

Paid Family Leave…Citing the positive benefits on physical health, mental well-being and stability for the entire family, workers are increasingly looking for companies that provide women with maternity leave and men with paternity leave.

Paid Time Off…employees continue to seek additional time off from work to reduce stress and recharge to maintain health and wellbeing. This actually has the potential to benefit employers in addition to the employee as the relaxation and clear mind attained through time off often leads to a higher level of employee morale and increased productivity.

The Montgomery Bar Association offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at or contact Ray Keough at (610) 684-6932.

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it may contain confidential and/or privileged material. This e-mail is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient or have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by replying to the sender. After notifying the sender of the error, you should immediately delete this e-mail from your system. Please be aware that any unauthorized disclosure, dissemination, distribution, duplication or use of the e-mail contents or any attachments therein is strictly prohibited.



April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month! Since 1983, this annual observance has encouraged communities to rededicate themselves to supporting families by playing an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect. At MCAP, this is our perpetual goal, but in April we will host activities and events to engage the Montgomery County community in our mission. Building awareness in our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods sends a strong message that Montgomery County stands together against child abuse! While ‘Wear Blue on the Steps’ is traditionally the first Friday in April, MCAP will hold our ‘Wear Blue on the Steps’ event on the Montgomery County Courthouse steps for National Wear Blue Day on FRIDAY, April 14, 2023. We invite you to wear something blue and join us as we stand together against child abuse in Montgomery County and elsewhere.

who needs some support as he or she navigates the confusing and traumatic legal arenas. Just contact our MCAP office to connect with Nutmeg. Follow Nutmeg’s adventures on Instagram @mcap_kids.

Last year, we served a staggering number of cases and children at MCAP. In 2022, our MCAP attorney advocates served 762 child victims in 525 cases. Most of these cases involved complicated issues including addiction, mental health issues, unemployment, inadequate and unavailable housing opportunities, violence, and so much more. We thank our MCAP Board of Directors, our staff, stakeholders, donors, and especially our MCAP advocates for helping us navigate these challenging times. With the help of this dynamic MCAP team, we continue to serve each child referred to us. If you are an attorney and would like to become an MCAP, sign up for our mailing list to learn of future CLEs by emailing MCAP’s Program Coordinator Patricia Teaford at pteaford@ If you would like to make a financial contribution to support our life-saving mission and work, please contact our Executive Director at or make your gift online at Thank you for your commitment to keeping kids safe. You ARE saving lives.

Mark your calendar for these important dates:

• April 27, 2023, The Art of Representing Children in the Legal Arena (8:30am-4:30pm) at the Montgomery Bar Building.

MCAP’s newest employee, Nutmeg, keeps busy by comforting children and adults in and out of the courthouse. She loves to visit Juvenile Court, the main Courthouse, Mission Kids, and even local schools. She is available to comfort anyone

• October 12, 2023, Child Advocacy Refresher (8:30amnoon) at the Montgomery Bar Building.

• November 11, 2023. MCAP SALUTE TO HEROES AUCTION & DINNER DANCE at Sheraton Hotel in King of Prussia.

Montgomery Child Advocacy Project’s (MCAP) mission is to end and prevent child abuse and neglect in Montgomery County through legal services, advocacy, and education. MCAP operates as a pro-bono model with 140+ professional attorneys (trained by MCAP) on our roster who donate approximately 8,000 hours to our child clients’ cases each year. Since our founding in 2004, MCAP has provided free legal services for more than 6,200 children. To learn more please see our website at

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA Names

New Chief Counsel & Director

of Community Engagement & Training

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) Executive Director Shawn Boehringer announced that Carolyn E. Johnson, Esq., will be LASP’s new Chief Counsel, effective Feb. 1, 2023. Erica N. Briant, Esq., has been appointed Director of Community Engagement & Training and started in her new role in January.

Carolyn Johnson

Carolyn replaces Kesha James, who became Executive Director for Management Information Exchange (MIE). Kesha served as LASP’s Deputy Director for Advocacy from 2013-2022.

“As Chief Counsel, Carolyn’s focus will be to guide the overall service delivery of the organization and maximize the impact of LASP’s legal work,” Boehringer said. “Carolyn has been a leading legal services bankruptcy lawyer for a number of years and is one of the foremost consumer lawyers in the state.”

Most recently, Carolyn served as Interim Supervising Attorney for LASP’s Regional Housing Unit. The unit assists homeowners who face losing their homes to mortgage foreclosure or tax sale. She is a career legal aid attorney with experience advocating for the legal, financial, and health care service needs of low-income communities.

Carolyn stated, “I look at legal services from a broad perspective, asking, ‘How do we help the overall community as well as individuals?’ and what legal steps would be most impactful for our eligible clients, including their housing, their families, their finances and all the issues that impact them.”

She cited some of LASP’s newer areas of focus: expungements, disaster legal aid in response to Hurricane Ida, and veterans advocacy. “I’ve found this organization to be responsive to the community. I have been impressed by that,”

she said. Looking forward, Carolyn anticipates an increased need for LASP services due to inflation and the end of pandemic programs that provided economic support to people with low incomes.

Carolyn is the former Executive Director of Community Impact Legal Services (CILS) and Legal Aid of Chester County, where she directed operations, fundraising, community outreach, messaging, events, and staffing. In 2022, she was an Honoree at LASP’s Fête for Justice. She also has received the Don’t Borrow Trouble Suburban Philadelphia Award and the United Way of Chester County Community Partner Award. Carolyn is significantly involved with community organizations in the Coatesville area. She was the co-founder, and is current President of, the Coatesville Center for Community Health and also serves as President of the Coatesville Area Public Library.

Erica Briant

Erica Briant has been named LASP’s Director of Community Engagement and Training. In this new role, Erica will continue to take expungement cases and lead the Community Engagement Unit. In addition, she will coordinate LASP outreach efforts across Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties from a strategic perspective. Her role in directing staff training will include developing a staff training curriculum as well as identifying training opportunities outside the organization.

She also will work with community organizations and others who wish to have LASP staff provide a training about legal aid services.


Her prior roles at LASP have included Supervising Attorney of the Community Engagement Unit from 2019-22, Staff Attorney from 2016-19, and Equal Justice Works fellow from 2014-16. Erica’s legal work helps clients gain a fresh start through a practice focused on mitigating the collateral consequences of criminal records and legal name changes.

While a student, Erica interned, providing legal services related to public benefits, immigration, anti-LGBT discrimination and domestic violence. Before law school Erica was a community organizer in Philadelphia and Peace Corps volunteer in Eswatini. She has traveled to 41 countries.

Erica holds a J.D. from Drexel University School of Law, where she taught the Justice Lawyering Seminar as an adjunct professor from 2016-18. She holds a B.A. from Reed College.

Carolyn can be reached at 484-681-2439 or

Erica can be reached at 484-322-6474 or

Mitigating Impact of Climate Change & Disasters for Lowincome Residents: Legal Aid & Local Attorneys Play a Role

In September 2021, Hurricane Ida devastated the Southeastern PA region. In Montgomery County, tornadoes destroyed more than 200 homes in Upper Dublin Township, and flooding in Norristown and Bridgeport wiped out dozens of affordable rental units. (4,6) Three of the region’s 5 hurricane-related deaths were in Montgomery County.

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) sent attorneys and staff promptly to disaster relief centers to assist those impacted. A year and a half later, LASP continues to provide disaster-related legal services to low-income residents in Montgomery County, including at an October outreach clinic at Riverfront Park in Norristown, near where some of the

continued on next page >

• Clean Fill Evaluation & Beneficial Use Permitting


Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Bridgeport, NJ

• Contingency Plans (SPCC, PPC, etc.)

• Tank Removals and Asbestos Services

24 Hr. Service: 1.800.725.0593



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

Diligence • Expert Services
• Transaction Due
Mold • Water • Wastewater
Cleanups • Stormwater
Transaction Due Diligence • Expert Services
Mold • Water • Wastewater • Cleanups • Stormwater • Clean Fill Evaluation & Beneficial Use Permitting
Contingency Plans (SPCC, PPC, etc.)
Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Swedesboro, NJ •
Tank Removals
Asbestos Services
24 Hr. Service: 1.800.725.0563

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA

Continued from page 23

destroyed rental units once stood. In fact, a 2019 Legal Services Corporation (LSC) report on disaster-related legal aid finds that legal issues exist as many as five to six years out from the disaster itself. (7)

Certain types of disasters are likely to be on the rise, according to the 2021 Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment conducted by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). The assessment indicates that extreme storms are expected to be stronger and lead to heavier rains. Cumulative precipitation from storms is expected to increase as well. (1,2)

There is evidence that already vulnerable individuals and communities are disproportionately harmed by disasters. An E&E (Energy & Environment) News analysis of federal flood insurance payments shows that flooding in the U.S. disproportionately harms African American neighborhoods.

A report published in March 2019 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that while urban flooding affects a wide range of demographics, it is most harmful to minorities, low-income residents, and others who have limited resources to handle the damage and disruption.

Pennsylvania’s 2021 Climate Change Impacts Assessment also acknowledges this disparity. For the first time, the 2021 assessment included an analysis of environmental justice and equity. The results highlighted that already disadvantaged populations will face an increased impact as a result of climate change. The report concluded, “As Pennsylvania works to reduce its climate risks, care needs to be taken that these inequitable impacts are addressed, and that adaptation efforts do not inadvertently exacerbate existing inequities.” (2)

Lessons learned from Hurricane Ida show that integration of free legal services is critical to recovery. Without legal advice and representation, disaster survivors may lose out on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) benefits for which they were eligible, face illegal practices by landlords, or struggle unsuccessfully with insurance claims. Longer term, disasterrelated economic hardships may culminate in foreclosure or bankruptcy. The disparate impact on already vulnerable individuals and communities heightens the importance of access to free legal assistance.

Michelle R. Dempsky, LASP Staff Attorney & co-chair of MBA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, answers a question about landlord-tenant law at a Town Hall for Hurricane Ida survivors hosted by ACLAMO at Calvary Baptist Church of Norristown on Nov. 16, 2022. She is joined by Brian Baer (at left), Executive Director, The Elevated Studio; Marisol Perez, Realtor & ACLAMO Board of Directors; Daniel Cortes, Managing Immigration Attorney with Community Justice Project.

LASP encourages attorneys to become involved in planning for disasters for themselves and their families, for their legal practices, and for their communities. LASP also asks attorneys to consider pro bono service to help address the long-term legal impacts of Hurricane Ida on individuals with low incomes. To learn more, contact Kathryn Palladino, Esq., LASP Staff Attorney and Montgomery County Pro Bono Coordinator, at 484-209-0892 or

1. Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment 2021 (Summary): :text=Pennsylvanians%20will%20be%20faced%20with,Disease %20due%20to%20climate%20change.

2. Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment 2021 (Full report): Document?docId=3667348&DocName=PENNSYLVANIA%20 CLIMATE%20IMPACTS%20ASSESSMENT%202021.PDF% 20%20%3cspan%20style%3D%22color:green%3b%22%3e%3 c/span%3e%20%3cspan%20style%3D%22color:blue%3b%22% 3e%28NEW%29%3c/span%3e%204/30/2023

3. “Flooding Disproportionately Harms Black Neighborhoods” By Thomas Frank, E&E News (June 2, 2020):

4. “One year since Ida: How the remnants of a hurricane still leave Pa. residents paying the price” by Kenny Cooper, Emily Rizzo and Sophia Schmidt (Sep. 1, 2022):

5. “At Covered Bridge Apartments in Perkasie, Ida’s floods were deja vu” by Chris Ullery, Bucks County Courier Times (Sept. 7, 2021):

6. “Hurricane Ida destroyed affordable rental units. Hundreds of families still can’t find new ones. In a fierce competition for housing, lower income residents, especially renters, may face fewer options” by Ellie Rushing, Philadelphia Inquirer (Dec. 9, 2021)

7. Report of the LSC Disaster Task Force, Legal Services Corporation, LSC Disaster Task Force Executive Summary v2.pdf | Powered by Box qechy2zd636vepf2

Full Report: LSC Disaster Task Force Report .pdf | Powered by Box


MBA Launches New Mediation Program

After years of planning and preparation, the MBA is proudly launching a new Mediation Program this Spring. The MBA Mediation Program will initially hear civil matters, with plans to expand into family law later this year.

The MBA recognized the need for a new mediation program to help serve our members and the public with an efficient and less adversarial means of resolving disputes. The program was carefully developed by the Mediation Center Ad-Hoc Committee appointed by MBA Past President Jacqueline M. Reynolds and continued under MBA Past President Sarinia M. Feinman and under the skillful leadership of Katherine Frechette, Esq. The additional ad-hoc committee members were: Craig Fleischmann, Esq., Shelly Grossman, Esq., Rebecca Hobbs, Esq., Cary McClain, Esq., Ken Milner, Esq., Leno P. Thomas, Esq., Robert Watson, Esq., and Carolyn Zack, Esq. The MBA Board of Directors unanimously approved the program at the September 21, 2022 meeting.

Any member who was interested in joining as a panelist was invited to attend a 3-day mediation training course, which was held both virtually and in-person at the MBA building in

February 2023. Those who were unable to attend the training were permitted to apply assuming they completed a similar accredited training program and met the panelist eligibility requirements.

Once a qualified panel of mediators is established, the MBA will begin to accept mediation requests. Parties interested in resolving their dispute via the program will submit a request for mediation by completing an agreement and selecting a mediator from the approved panel. The selected mediator will determine his or her availability and whether there is a potential conflict with the parties. Assuming there are no conflicts, mediation will proceed in accordance with the procedures of the program.

Again, only civil matters will be handled initially. To address Family Law matters, the MBA has scheduled an additional training session in the Fall of 2023 specifically for Family Law mediation.

Additional information can be found online at:


The Delaware Valley Legal Expo: Whole Community, Wholebeing@Work, and Wholly Unmissable

uality time with colleagues and co-workers, true camaraderie and work-life balance – these are just some of what make our days and careers whole.

Take a break from your screen on Tuesday, April 18th for some hands-on learning, live demos, great giveaways, door prizes, and the fresh and energized Delaware Valley Legal Expo. Hundreds from our region’s extended legal community and dozens of local and national solution partners will be on hand at Presidential Caterers for a productive afternoon and evening held in partnership with the Independence Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators and media partners ALM (The Legal Intelligencer/ Register now and arrive early to earn free Ethics CLE credit from 2 to 3:15 PM. Visit the exhibit hall and explore the latest law office products, technology, services and solutions from 3 to 6 PM, followed by a complimentary networking reception from 6 to 7 PM.

Breaking News! Be sure to stop by the MBA’s booth between 3 and 6 pm and be among the first to learn about a groundbreaking new pilot program we’re unveiling to members which will tangibly help you amplify and scale your firm’s output. Learn how you’ll be able to control the ebbs and flows of your caseload, increase your bandwidth to take on more clients, and ultimately even make the right hires.

Come solo or rally your partners, staff, and colleagues for a one- or twohour break from the routine. Learn some meaningful “fixes” for reducing stress and improving productivity, as wellness will be an overarching theme of this year’s Expo. Enter for a chance to win one of many valuable door prizes, and use the Expo as an opportunity to learn, regroup and unwind with your peers.

This year’s Legal Expo falls a lot earlier on the calendar than in years past – and we are splashing into spring with aplomb. Why? Organizers asked, and you answered. Fall can be a hectic time, and with our new spring Expo date, attendees should still have some room in the budget to take advantage of new solutions discovered at the Expo. Having plenty of free parking and being at a centralized location close to where members work and live was also a high priority for this year’s reimagined Legal Expo. The change in date has allowed for a long-awaited return to Presidential Caterers, conveniently located at the intersection of Dekalb Pike and Germantown Pike in Norristown – just minutes from the PA Turnpike, Route 476, and many area legal hubs.

MBA Executive Director Denise Vicario shares, “This year feels particularly important for our surrounding legal community. Members’ firms emerged from the pandemic as many enter the spring – with newfound clarity, energy and


focus. Some of our members have not joined us for an Expo since 2019, and during this time, there has been exciting innovation across the board from exhibitors. We are seeing the profession with fresh eyes, as evidenced by the timely topic of our free CLE.”

Attend our free Ethics CLE, “Wholebeing@Work: The Ethics of Creating a Law Firm Culture to Support Wellness as a Business Critical Priority.” Thoughtfully curated by presenters Alice Dommert, CEO of Prasada, Eric Rodriguez, Education Resource Director at Caron, and Krista Hart, the ALA’s Philadelphia Chapter President from Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP, the session’s focus is new, postCOVID approaches to work in 2023. Appropriately, our own Wellness Committee Chair Anita M. Seth will serve as moderator.

The session is an absolute must for hiring partners, firm administrators, or anyone in the profession curious about firm policies, emerging trends, and their impact upon attorney wellness. With attrition, substance use, and a growing list of mental health concerns impacting our profession at staggering rates, this promises to be a timely program we can all benefit from. Best of all, it’s free of charge, complements of the MBA and our program presenters.

Add the 2023 Delaware Valley Legal Expo to your calendar now! It’s free of charge for attorneys, managing partners, law office administrators and staff – and promises to be an afternoon of education and fun that you won’t want to miss.

Vendors, have a new product, technology, service or solution you’d like to showcase at this year’s Expo? Only a few booths remain, so don’t delay. Learn more or register today at


MBA Welcomes New Leaders at Annual Business Meeting

On Thursday, January 12, 2023, the Montgomery Bar Association (MBA) held its Annual Business Meeting at Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell, PA. Over 200 members, legal professionals and community leaders attended the event which included the election of the MBA’s officers for 2023 and an awards presentation to honor outstanding contributions to the MBA and community, as well as the installation of its new president, Justin A. Bayer, Esq., with the ceremonial passing of the gavel.

Mr. Bayer is a partner in the firm Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer, LLP and focuses his practice on defending clients from claims involving professional liability, commercial transportation, municipal defense, bad faith and commercial disputes. He frequently defends high exposure claims as well as complex insurance and professional liability matters throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He also regularly consults with clients on claim avoidance and pre-suit claims. Mr. Bayer frequently teaches legal education programs for risk managers, claims professionals, other lawyers, and law students. He regularly presents on topics including case evaluation, legal ethics, professional liability, commercial transportation, risk, and legal procedure.

Mr. Bayer is a graduate of Lehigh University (2001) and Villanova University School of Law (2004). He is admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

During his inauguration speech, Mr. Bayer praised the accomplishments

of outgoing President Sarinia M. Feinman, as well as past-presidents, firm partners, and mentors who have helped him throughout his career and on his path to becoming President. He also acknowledged and thanked his family, especially his wife Kelly and their two sons, George and Thomas, for their unending support and encouragement.

Mr. Bayer then drew attention to the myriad of ways in which our members engage and empower the MBA through their CLE presentations and credits, event attendance, and contributions to the Montgomery Bar Foundation and its mission of ensuring access to justice. He then spoke of the importance of supporting our incredible Bench and assured them that our Bar Association will do everything in our power to speak out against threats to the judiciary and the rule of law.

Mr. Bayer concluded with an insightful quote from William Penn:

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

For the 2023 Bar Year, Lisa A. Shearman, Esq., of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, PC in Lansdale will serve as President-Elect; Seth D. Wilson, Esq., of Morris Wilson Knepp Jacquette, P.C. in Conshohocken will serve as Vice President; Colin J. O’Boyle, Esq., of Elliott Greenleaf P.C. in Blue Bell will serve as Treasurer; and Hon. Joseph P. Walsh of Walsh Pancio, LLC in Lansdale will serve as Secretary.

Also of Note: Mark R. Fischer, Jr., Esq., of High Swartz LLP in Norristown will also serve as President of the MBA’s Trial Lawyers Section; Jason Edwards,

Esq., of Walsh Pancio, LLC in Lansdale was named Chair of the MBA’s Young Lawyers Section; Kelley Menzano Fazzini, Esq., of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in Plymouth Meeting was named Chair of the MBA’s Family Law Section; and Rebecca Sallen, Esq., of Sallen Law, LLC in Merion Station, will continue as Chair of the MBA’s Probate and Tax Section.

In addition to new leadership being appointed, the following awards were distributed:

MBA Lifetime Achievement Award

(Sponsored by The Pugh Lawyers) Hon. Stanley R. Ott

William H. Pugh, V, Esq., presents the award to Hon. Stanley R. Ott Hon. Horace A. Davenport Diversity Award Michelle Dempsky, Esq. Michelle Dempsky, Esq., received the award from 2022 President Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq.

Mannion Prior, LLP Acquires The Fiduciary Review and The Fiduciary Reporter, Publications Essential

to Trust and Fiduciary Law

The law firms of Mannion Prior, LLP, a fiduciary litigation boutique, and Smith, Aker, Grossman & Hollinger, a longstanding leader in the Montgomery County and Pennsylvania’s probate and estate bar, are pleased to announce that Mannion Prior has acquired from Smith Aker the rights to operate, author, and publish The Fiduciary Review and The Fiduciary Reporter.

For more than 70 years, The Review and The Reporter have served as indispensable resources for estate and tax planners, administrators, fiduciaries, wealth managers, and Orphans’ Court judges and attorneys. As Editors, the Norristown-based Smith Aker firm scoured the Commonwealth for opinions and articles, and provided detailed, sophisticated analysis of judicial and legislative developments affecting “fiduciaries” such as executors of estates and trustees. The Review and The Reporter often have been the only source for such information across Pennsylvania.

Mannion Prior is well-suited to carry on the traditions of The Review and The Reporter. The firm concentrates its practice in complex fiduciary litigation, including disputes involving trust and estate administration, will and trust interpretation, will and trust contests, investment and asset allocation, fiduciary fees and commissions, contested guardianships, and use and abuse of powers of attorney.

Mannion Prior’s partners include several Fellows in the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (“ACTEC”), multiple leaders of various county and state bar association committees, and former law review editors.

Managing Partner James F. Mannion shares, “We are pleased that as a Montgomery County-based firm, we could acquire and will now author these publications. The Montgomery County Bench and Bar have long been leaders and recognized across the state for their role in developing and applying trust, estate, and fiduciary law. We are honored to carry on that tradition with The Review and The Reporter.”

Mannion Prior’s stewardship will begin with the April 2023 issues of The Review and The Reporter. Smith Aker attorneys James L. Hollinger and Richard L. Grossman will remain and provide guidance as Editors Emeritus of each publication.

To submit decisions, articles, or news for consideration, contact Karl Prior,, or Adam Kachurak, AKachurak@mannionprior. com.

Learn more about Mannion Prior at

Committee of the Year Award ADR Committee 2022 President Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq.; Committee Chair Katherine Frechette, Esq.; Kenneth P. Milner, Esq.; Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq.; and Cary B. McClain, Esq. President’s Award Denise S. Vicario, Esq. Denise S. Vicario, Esq., receives the award from 2022 President Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq. Nancy O. Walsh Nancy O. Walsh receives the award from 2022 President Sarinia M. Feinman, Esq.

Meet the New Members of the Board of Directors

The Honorable Joseph P. Walsh, a native of Philadelphia, is a founding member of Walsh Pancio, LLC. Joe has practiced for nearly 30 years in Montgomery County. His practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation, zoning and land use, municipal law, and estate administration. He has tried over 100 cases to verdict throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and has also handled multiple cases before the Superior Court and Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

In 2016, Joe was appointed by the Honorable Thomas Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to serve as judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. He was proud to serve as a judge from 2016 through 2018.

Since leaving the bench, Joe is a frequently sought arbitrator and mediator in civil disputes, where he assists parties and counsel in resolving matters in equitable and amicable means. He was recently selected and certified as an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), where he hears and decides commercial, construction, and consumer matters brought under the jurisdiction of the AAA.

Joe is a career-long member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association (MBA), and has held numerous positions within the MBA. He is a past president of the Montgomery Trial Lawyers’ Section. He also served as the Chair of the Government Relations Committee, and was responsible for working directly with Pennsylvania legislators to solve the most eminent problems facing attorneys in Montgomery County.

Aside from his service as a judge, Joe has also served the community in numerous roles for over 15 years. He served on the Board of Supervisors of Montgomery Township from 2010-2016 and served as the Chairman of the Board during his service. He has also served as solicitor of the Montgomery Township Zoning Board, as Chair of the Montgomery Township 300th Anniversary Planning Committee, as solicitor for the North Penn Police Athletic League, and as School Director of the North Penn School District Board of Directors.

Joe graduated from Widener University Delaware Law School, cum laude, in 1991 where he served as an Editor of the Law Review; he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint

Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1988. He has been admitted to practice in state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Joe and his wife Nancy, who have been married for 25 years, are the proud parents of three daughters: Shannon, a graduate of the University of Georgia; Bridget, who attends the University of Pittsburgh; and Maggie, who attends the University of Delaware.

David is a solo practitioner with a focus on real estate and criminal defense in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware. Additionally, David is of counsel at Stern & Eisenberg, handling both transactions and litigation, connecting him to a wealth of resources and experienced senior counsel.

With an interest in providing legal counsel for other real estate professionals, he remains current on changes in the local real estate market. He provides guidance to real estate investors, agents, and loan officers, in all areas of real estate including compliance and financing. He has formed various business entities for real estate investors and manages the local closings for a private equity firm out of the New York City area. He has managed negotiations with homeowner and condo associations, as well as stalled foreclosures through loss mitigation plans. David has litigated tax sales, post-closing disputes, ejectments, evictions, title actions, land disputes, and construction matters. David has a close affiliation with Terra Abstract in Warrington, Pennsylvania, enabling him to provide additional real estate services for each transaction.

David is a passionate advocate for defendants facing criminal charges. He has experience with DUI/DWI, drug crimes, grand theft, burglary, violent offenders, resisting arrest, probation violations, expungements, juvenile offenses, license suspensions, and other traffic matters. He has worked as conflict cases for the Public Defender’s Office of the Montgomery Bar Association, with a relentless dedication to ensure the best possible outcome for every defendant.

After completing a year and a project for the Montgomery Bar Association Leadership Academy, David was appointed Vice Chair to

the Criminal Defense Committee, where he works closely with top litigators in Montgomery County. Recently, David was appointed to the Montgomery Bar Association Board of Directors.

With over two decades of experience in residential real estate lending, investing, and venture capital, David can provide insight based on personal experience through various market cycles. In 2001, David graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He navigated his way through the ever-changing lending market, which included the 2008 Housing Market Crash and the compliance-driven years following the passing of The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. In 2012, David enrolled in an evening program at Widener University Delaware Law School. While in law school, David raised capital for business ventures, including Stateside Vodka.

Cary B. Hall, Esq., Director

Cary’s passion is assisting individuals and small businesses with their various legal issues.

Cary earned an Ivy League degree in philosophy from Columbia University, and his law degree from the University of Miami. While in law school, he was involved in graduate student government and was a contributing author and editor of the University of Miami Business Law Journal.

Cary began his legal career as a judicial law clerk in Towson, Maryland, and first established his own law practice there at the age of 26. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2000, and revived his solo practice after working for a few years with local law firms. These early efforts were rewarded by being named a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer – Rising Star” in 2005 and 2006 by the publishers of Philadelphia magazine. His practice focuses on civil, criminal and family law litigation and transactions with close to 20 years of tested experience throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Cary also serves as an arbitrator in civil court cases and has been court-appointed as defense counsel in state criminal prosecutions. In addition to his solo law practice, he additionally serves as a Special Assistant Public Defender in Magisterial District Courts throughout Montgomery County. Cary is a contributing author and


served as editor-in-chief to the Montgomery Bar Association’s Civil Practice Manual, the definitive legal manual for practicing law in Montgomery County.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, John Han immigrated to the United States with his parents and younger sister at the age of six. He graduated with Class Honors from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Economics in 1990. He then attended The American University, Washington College of Law, earning his Juris Doctor Degree in 1993. Prior to graduation from law school, John accepted a commission as an officer in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and served on active duty from 1993 to 1999. During his naval service, John successfully performed duties as a defense counsel, prosecutor, and general counsel. As a defense counsel stationed in San Francisco, California and Naples, Italy, John provided high quality and zealous representation of Navy and Marine Corps service members charged with serious felony offenses involving murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and fraud. He obtained 7 full acquittals in contested trials on behalf of his clients.

John received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Navy in 1999. From 2000 to the present, he has continued his military service in the United States Navy Reserve. Respected for his extensive trial experience, knowledge of the law, and superior writing ability, John was appointed to the bench in 2010. From 2010 to 2014, he served as a Military Trial Judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary. He presided over felony court-martial cases involving sexual assault, violent crime, drug trafficking, child pornography, and fraud. In addition to his judicial experience, John served as the Commanding Officer of two Reserve units and currently holds the rank of Captain in the United States Navy Reserve. From 2000 to 2006, John served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. In this capacity, he prosecuted numerous jury and bench trials in cases involving public corruption, fraud, white collar crime, and violent crime. John was the lead prosecutor in complex and lengthy grand jury investigations. He also conducted criminal investigations of police officers accused of wrongful use of deadly force, corruption, and civil rights violations.

In December 2006, John left the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to begin his career in the United States Department of Justice as a

Trial Attorney in the Organized Crime and Gang Section. From 2006 to 2021, he investigated and prosecuted major federal RICO and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering cases against national and international organized crime groups, including the Mafia and violent street gangs. From 2008 to 2019, John successfully prosecuted several members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra Family. In these complex and wide-ranging prosecutions of criminal organizations, he acquired substantial experience with conducting financial investigations, pursuing wiretap investigations, and charging fraud and money laundering offenses.

an experienced trial lawyer who understands a variety of complex businesses, their corporate and financial structures, tax implications, and the economic effects of divorce.

L. Rubin, Esq., Director

Randi L. Rubin leads the Family Law practice with the primary objective of achieving her clients’ goals with compassion and zealous advocacy. Randi focuses her practice on a wide range of family law matters representing clients in complex custody matters and complicated divorce and support matters. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Randi litigates in courts in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey. Her clients include business owners, entrepreneurs, and high-net-worth individuals requiring sophisticated advice.

Randi provides timely, responsive, individualized service and takes great strides to explain the legal process and prepare clients for all phases of litigation, court appearances, mediation, and evaluations. Randi exercises strong judgment and utilizes her keen business acumen to identify opportunities to engage in early negotiation and settlement discussions. Adding to her wide range of legal experience, Randi has personally experienced divorce firsthand. As a result, she exudes patience and understanding for her clients’ and their families’ emotional transition.

In addition to her matrimonial practice, Randi is an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. Randi was a member and contributor to obtaining one of the first dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania in 2017 and is currently a member and investor in a dispensary in New Jersey.

Before concentrating her practice in family law, Randi practiced commercial litigation focusing on disputes and transactions involving real estate and finance, intellectual property, shareholder disputes and business divorce, trade secrets, and employment law. Her diverse and extensive litigation skills outside of family law provide her clients with the added benefit of

Jim is an experienced civil litigator with a focus on defending professional liability claims in state and federal court and before disciplinary boards. Jim represents clients from a variety of industries, including other lawyers, insurance professionals, accountants, and related business organizations. Jim also defends clients against general liability claims, and has experience in commercial litigation, corporate and consumer bankruptcy matters, subrogation, and bad faith claims.

Jim has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery County Bar Association, where he was selected as a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association Leadership Academy. Jim is also active in the Professional Liability Defense Federation (PLDF), where he has served as chair and vice chair of the Young Professionals Committee and contributed to publications including the PLDF’s Annual Survey of Law and Multi-State Significant Issue Survey. He has presented on topics including risk management for lawyers, legal ethics, and expert witnesses.

As an undergraduate, Jim was Valedictorian of his class at Penn State’s Abington College and a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. He then graduated cum laude from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he was a Senior Production Editor on the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review. Prior to joining the firm, Jim was an associate for an international law firm in Philadelphia.

Jim resides in Montgomery County and is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the United States District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey.

Kelley Menzano Fazzini, Esq., Chair, Family Law Section

Kelley M. Fazzini has extensive experience handling both litigation and negotiation in domestic relations issues. She focuses her practice on matters involving prenuptial agreements, divorce, custody, support, domestic continued on next page >


Meet the New Members of the Board of Directors

Continued from page 31

violence, and paternity. She practices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Kelley earned her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 2009, where she received a Child and Family Law Certificate, as well as the Pro Bono Service Award and the Leadership and Service Award. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Children’s Legal Rights Journal. She earned her bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Villanova University in 2006.

During law school, Kelley dedicated her education to the study of family law and served as a legal intern for the Family Violence Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as an extern for the Honorable Ronald Bartkowicz, and as a licensed clinic student in the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law Child Law Clinic. Following law school, she was a post-graduate fellow with CIVITAS Child Law Center and an associate at a boutique family law firm in downtown Chicago.

Over the years and due to her passion and commitment to help others, Attorney Rebecca Sallen has developed a deep understanding of: Estate Planning and Administration, Probate Law, Mediation, Alternative Tension Resolution, and Coalition. Together, these skills build to help her clients with all of their estate-related needs.

Ms. Sallen has written papers and spoken to audiences about the impact of family responsibilities and relationships within various economic strata, current laws, and upcoming statutes affecting individual rights and finances. She has also extensively written on how to create inclusive environments for optimal tension resolution.

Ms. Sallen is an active member of the Montgomery Bar Association, serving as CoChair of the Governmental Relations Committee, and Officer of the Probate and Tax Section, and an alumna and mentor of the Leadership Academy.

Prior to her law career, Ms. Sallen enjoyed working in politics. As a political consultant, she ran local, congressional, state and presidential campaigns across the United States. She also worked at several national women’s organizations, including: the NOW Legal Defense Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She co-wrote

and co-edited chapters “Coalition Building” and “Public Benefits” for NOW Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s publication Breaking Barriers (2004).

Ms. Sallen is involved with her local community. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Bar Association and Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP). She volunteers regularly as a child advocate in cases of child abuse and neglect and has worked for ten years with blind, autistic and physically impaired children and taught American Sign Language to college students and children.

Mark R. Fischer, Jr., Esq., President, Trial Lawyers Section

Mark R. Fischer, Jr. is a partner in the firm’s litigation department. His practice focuses on representing businesses and individuals in legal matters involving: contracts, construction and home renovation (residential and commercial), consumer protection claims, mortgages and liens on real estate, commercial leases, condominium and homeowners associations, and land development and zoning.

Mark’s skills as an attorney center on his ability to represent the client’s best interests while maintaining a constant eye toward efficiency and resolution. He applies a business-oriented, customer service approach toward litigation. He has developed this mindset over several years as regional counsel to a multinational retail company. This experience has provided Mark a view through the eyes of in-house counsel. Mark uses this experience to counsel businesses strategically handling disputes without losing focus on their end goal and bottom line.

Mr. Fischer is recognized for his litigation practice by numerous publications. Mark was included in his fifth consecutive Super Lawyers® list for his outstanding firm contributions in civil litigation defense work. He has also been listed as a Main Line Top Attorney in civil litigation since 2019.

Currently, Mark serves as assistant township solicitor to Lower Macungie Township and on zoning matters for Upper Dublin Township in Pennsylvania. Mr. Fischer also has considerable experience handling complex zoning matters on appeal to the Common Pleas and Commonwealth Court levels.

Mark has an intimate knowledge of the Philadelphia area. He grew up in Philadelphia and Lower Bucks County, attended college and law

school in Delaware County, and now lives and works in Montgomery County. This knowledge of the area gives Mark a unique understanding of the local communities and the business climate in the Greater Philadelphia area. In addition to his work in Pennsylvania, Mark has significant experience in the New Jersey Courts. He completed his judicial clerkship there following law school and now handles commercial litigation cases throughout the State.

Mark currently lives in Montgomery County with his wife, son, and two daughters. He enjoys sports, exercise, exploring the local parks with his family, and rooting for his beloved Philadelphia sports teams. You can find Mark coaching for Plymouth Little League and Colonial Soccer Club of Plymouth Meeting, PA, in his spare time.

Edwards, Esq.,

Jason Edwards is an Associate with Walsh Pancio, LLC. He focuses his practice on civil and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on insurance law. He also has experience in the areas of family law and dependency.

Before joining Walsh Pancio, Jason served for three years as the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Risa Vetri Ferman of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, PA in both the civil and criminal divisions.

Jason previously worked for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office for five years while attending law school at night. During his tenure in the District Attorney’s Office, he gained extensive legal experience both inside and outside the courtroom, and received two District Attorney Commendations.

Jason currently serves as an arbitrator for the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Montgomery County, PA. He is also an active volunteer with the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP).

Prior to law school, Jason graduated from Shippensburg University in 2010 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. He resides in Skippack Township, Montgomery County, PA with his wife Kate, son Johnny, daughter Emma, and Welsh Terrier, Eddie. When not practicing law, Jason enjoys spending time with family, playing ice hockey, and cheering on his favorite sports teams: the Eagles, Flyers, 76ers, Phillies, and Penn State.

President, Young Lawyers Section

MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service: What Are You Waiting For?!

The Montgomery Bar Association (MBA) is seeking attorneys to join their Lawyer Referral Service network. The MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service was designed to help inquiring individuals in need of legal services with finding an attorney qualified to fit their legal needs. The MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service offers prospective legal clients (within Montgomery County) the opportunity to consult with attorneys in the same geographic region.

There is no charge for prospective clients to receive a referral directly from the MBA, but participating attorneys will be permitted to charge a $40 consultation fee, which will entitle the prospective client to a 30-minute consultation. After the consultation fee is paid and the initial consultation is complete, the participating attorneys can establish their own fee arrangement with the prospective client.

Attorneys interested in joining the MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service will be asked to submit a yearly membership fee for joining the Lawyer Referral Service. This yearly membership fee will permit attorneys to join one subject panel in one geographic region. Membership for additional panels and additional geographic regions will cost an additional yearly fee. The MBA will collect a 10% referral fee for all legal fees collected and earned (beyond $500) for a given legal matter. Upon filling out an application and being accepted into the program, attorneys can choose which legal panel they will offer their services for, and

which geographic region of Montgomery County they will offer their services in.

Attorneys can receive a slight discount on their Lawyer Referral Service Membership by signing up to be a part of the Modest Means program. As a part of this program, attorneys in the network will receive referrals for low-income prospective clients whose salary falls below a specific threshold outlined by the MBA. As part of the Modest Means program, attorneys can schedule consultations directly with prospective Modest Means clients referred to them. During the consultation, the consulting attorneys can further assess whether the prospective client will qualify for the Modest Means program based on the program guidelines. If the consulting attorney decides to offer legal representation through the Modest Means program, then the cost of legal representation should not exceed $75/hour. Flat fees are not permitted. If the consulting attorney decides that they cannot represent the prospective client at the Modest Means rate, then the prospective client should be referred back to the MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service so that they can be connected with another Modest Means attorney.

If you are a Montgomery County attorney that is interested in becoming a part of the Lawyer Referral Service network with the MBA, please contact MBA staff members Jessica Deazle ( or Sherry Sutton (ssutton@ to find out more information about how to apply. You may also call 610-279-9660 during normal business hours (M-F, 9AM - 4PM).


Montgomery County Lawyers Lead the Charge on PBA Family Law Video

Family lawyers and judges on the front lines of custody disputes are facing increasing levels of conflict between parents and family members. Recognizing this challenge, Montgomery County attorney Helen Casale, then Chair of the PBA Family Law Section, formed a task force in 2021 to create an educational video for parents to learn to improve co-parent communications and interactions. Titled “Tips and Tools for Better Co-Parenting,” the video was directed by Attorney Carolyn Moran Zack of Philadelphia County, along with three Montgomery County attorneys – Christina M. DeMatteo, Kelly M. Fazzini, and Colleen McCue Norcross.

Released in 2022, the video features a series of vignettes, demonstrating common challenging custody situations. Through a collaborative partnership with Bill Eddy and the High Conflict Institute of San Diego, CA, the video promotes the use of BIFF Responses® as a tool to improve co-parenting. BIFF is an acronym, developed by Bill Eddy, which stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm, and provides parents with an easy-to-remember way to improve co-parent communications. The video includes explanation of the BIFF Response® method, as well as concrete examples to demonstrate how BIFF Responses® can improve parent communications.

The production team recruited the Honorable Daniel J. Clifford, Administrative Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Family Division, the Honorable Kim D. Eaton, Administrative Judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Family Division, and psychologists Shannon Edwards, Psy.D., Deborah Gilman, Ph.D., and Heather Green, Ph.D., to provide educational commentary for the video. In addition, a number of local attorneys volunteered, along with their family members, as actors for the vignettes in the video, including Montgomery County attorneys Sarinia Feinman, Inna Matarese, and Michael A. Walker, who acted in the video vignettes, and Luz Negron-Bennett, who assisted with Spanish translation. Participating in the video was eye-opening, even for the experienced family lawyers in the cast. Regarding her role, Inna Matarese noted, “I played the role of the not-so-nice new girlfriend, causing a rift between the parents that was fun to act out. From a professional perspective, I think it’s important to see how a new significant other in a family unit can really throw a wrench into a coparenting relationship on one end of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum, it could potentially enrich it.” Sarinia Feinman spoke about the impact of the video on her daughters, who both played roles of children in the video. “A few weeks after filming, my older daughter came home from school and had her Thanksgiving activity with her. As I read it, I was shocked to see that she wrote that she was thankful for ‘un-divorced parents.’ When I asked her about it, she said ‘when we filmed the custody exchange scene, I felt what it was like for children to have to go through that, and I’m happy that I don’t have to.’ In that moment, I realized what children in high conflict custody cases go through, and if this video can help those children in any way, then that’s the true impact in making this video.”

Filming of the video took place over six months. The video was filmed in various locations, including interior scenes within the Montgomery County courthouse and


Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer, LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Kathleen M. Klemm and Thomas J. Zimmerman to the position of Partner with the firm.

at local Montgomery County homes. Reflecting on the filming experience, Kelley M. Fazzini shared, “I have a new appreciation for the financial resources, time commitment, planning, skill and equipment it takes to complete a production of the video like this one. Watching our producer, Brandon, give ‘stage’ directions, manipulate multiple cameras and lighting and then editing footage to a final product was fascinating and not something I expected to be involved in as a lawyer.” The video script was developed in consultation with Bill Eddy, the High Conflict Institute, and the judges and professionals providing commentary for the video. Colleen M. Norcross, who was primarily responsible for the scripting of the video, said, “One of the most interesting parts of drafting the script was putting ourselves directly in the shoes of high conflict custody cases and thinking about how parents respond to each other, positively and negatively. It is easy for us to tell our clients to respond in a calm and friendly manner, but it felt differently to write those conversations and see how easily they can go off the rails.”

The video debuted at the PBA Family Law Section Meeting in Newport, RI, in July 2022. Since then, the video has been promoted by lawyers and judges across the Commonwealth. According to the Honorable Daniel J. Clifford of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, “I’ve already used the video numerous times in custody cases – in one I had the parents watch it on their phone in the hallway and then come back in the Courtroom and tell me what they learned.” Judge Clifford noted that other judges are using the video as

well. “The video has received enthusiastic response around the state. One of my judicial colleagues, in Luzerne County, is having parents sign that they watched the video and file a Certification Form on the docket.” Parenting coordinators, including video director Carolyn Zack, are also recommending that high conflict custody litigants review the video to learn skills to help them better communicate and resolve issues directly. Former PBA Family Law Section Chair Helen Casale expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of the project. “The video project was such a rewarding experience for me. As Chair of the PBA FLS, I really wanted to put out a product that was going to be helpful to all across the Commonwealth. I really think we achieved this goal. The video is now being used in courtrooms across the state and by family law practitioners as well. It has become an easy and accessible resource for families struggling with custody/parenting time issues.”

The video “Tips and Tools for Better Co-Parenting” is a free resource which can be found on the Pennsylvania Bar Association website at Pennsylvania Bar Association > For Lawyers > Sections > Family Law Section > Resources > FLS Videos ( The video is 42 minutes long and has closed captions in both Spanish and English (which enables the viewer to watch the video silently, even in a public area). The PBA Family Law Section has published a brochure (paper and electronic format) which includes a QR code which links directly to the video. The brochure is available for free upon request from the PBA Family Law Section.

Blue Bell, PA | Philadelphia, PA | Mt. Laurel, NJ 610-275-2000 | THOMAS J. ZIMMERMAN KATHLEEN M. KLEMM

There’s Something Special about Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Families of children with special needs face considerations and challenges above and beyond those of normal estate planning. Unlike other parents, parents of children with disabilities may face a future in which one or more of their children requires consistent supervision, assistance, or support. While many practitioners are aware that special needs trusts can be used as a resource to supplement financial support and care provided through public benefits programs, it’s a mistake to think that a family’s needs are met merely by including a special needs trust in the parents’ estate plans.

Couples may ask their attorney about the extent of resources necessary to provide for the child with a disability. When resources are limited and children’s needs vary dramatically, it may not be sufficient to divide the parents’ estate “to my children, in equal shares.” Although expensive, circumstances may warrant the parents’ planning ahead to provide additional funding post mortem, e.g. purchasing whole or universal life insurance payable at the surviving parent’s death. In advising the amount needed to supplement public assistance, principal considerations include the child’s level of functioning, life expectancy, and longterm plans for living arrangements. The cost to a person living independently in the community who requires ongoing supervision or physical assistance generally is on the expensive side of the spectrum. Meanwhile, some families of children with developmental or intellectual disabilities struggle to prevent the child’s SSI payments from accumulating to the point of affecting the child’s eligibility for benefits. One of the challenges attendant to special needs planning is the variability of disability and individual circumstances.

Families also may seek advice regarding how best to use their assets to structure gifts. It may be advantageous to leave qualified retirement plans to a special needs trust, since a properly-

designed trust is an “eligible designated beneficiary” able to avoid the 10-year payout required for most inherited plans under the SECURE Act. However, assigning particular assets to particular beneficiaries requires a plan for monitoring the shares of each beneficiary, to ensure that subsequent spending and events don’t upset the plan. Once funded, third-party special needs trusts can use tools such as administrator-managed prepaid debit cards and ABLE accounts to manage spending, supplement housing budgets without affecting benefits, and foster independence.

Finally, most practitioners – and families – give too little thought to succession planning for caregiving. A parent’s plan to keep their child at home as long as possible may backfire if the child is left alone in the family home in middle age, having never accessed any government services or supports or having had any caregiver other than the parent. A family with ample human capital (whether blood relatives or their “village”) is very fortunate. It’s more common for parents of children with special needs to tell their attorneys, “I don’t have anyone I could rely on to pick up the reins.” After all, having a disability, and having a family member with a disability, can be very isolating.

In these situations, parents may need to plan far ahead to develop connections and resources they can rely on and have confidence in when they no longer can continue providing care. Neighbors, friends, religious communities, schools, and affinity groups provide opportunities to meet people who may become meaningful sources of mutual support.

Parents can plan to utilize available public supports and programs before absolutely necessary, in order to widen the circle of people known and available to their loved one. It may be wise to cultivate a relationship with a company providing care management and/or administering special needs trusts in order to provide baseline records and future continuity of care.

Speaking of continuity of care –one self-help measure unknown to many families is the “Letter of Intent.” This letter captures the granular care information needed by a new caregiver, such as whether the person with a disability has a power of attorney or other legal representative and, if so, that person’s contact information; information regarding family members and their relationship to the child; memorialization of religious or family customs familiar to the child; a summary of medical conditions, treatments, and care providers; the daily schedule; likes and dislikes; allergies and unsuccessful treatments; and special gifts and abilities; to name a few. In a crisis, this document will provide information that will help a successor caregiver provide immediate comfort and facilitate successful living long-term.

If all of this sounds complicated: it is! However, having an understanding of some of the complexities puts you far ahead of the practitioner who thinks they can do it all based on their knowledge of estate planning, or the one CLE they attended about drafting special needs trusts. Just like any other practice area, your value as a special needs planning attorney reflects the effort you have put into learning about this specific area of practice, and your cumulative experience working with this client community. With some effort and experience, you will be able to provide genuinely helpful advice tailored to your client’s specific circumstances and needs – and they will appreciate you immensely.


MBA Ski Trip Returns!

Thanks to the initiative of our Young Lawyers Section, specifically Vice Chair Rob Sebia, the MBA Ski Trip took place for the first time since 2020. Previously organized by longtime member Joseph P. Lynch, our members were happy to see the perennial event return after COVID prevented us from hosting it.

A sizable group of 25 enjoyed a day on the slopes at Blue Mountain, located in nearby Palmerton, PA, on Friday, February 10, 2023. Though the 60+ degree weather did not make for ideal skiing conditions, our attendees enjoyed a full day of skiing and tubing – followed by a private reception with food and beverages as our guests returned from the mountain.

Thank you to all who came out and we’ll see you on the slopes in 2024!


Welcome New Members

The following members have been admitted to the Montgomery Bar Association between January and February 2023:

Meredith M. Bates

Andrew Francis Beck

Linda Berman*

Elizabeth Holbrook Blass

Julie Blazar**

Harris T. Bock

Wendy E. Bookler

Erin Patricia Boyle

Thomas P. Bracaglia*

Dennis P. Caglia*

Nathan J. Carr-Whealy

Patricia Cassidy*

Margeaux Kelly Cigainero

Kurt E. Clawson

Francesca M. Conroy*

Lindsey Cook

Benjamin Cooper

Madison R. Cooper

Pietro J. D’Angelo*

Kristina DaCosta

Bradley Deckel

Alexander De Simone

Eric Donato

Laurel Enaco**

Alex Michael Felt

Colleen A. Galbraith

Andy Gavrin

Emily Giradi

Erin Regina Grady

George Griffith Jr.*

Kari Anne Grimsrud

Alexander Michael Gusikoff

Brie R. Halfond*

Alexandra Hambsch**

Ashley Han

Bryan Matthew Hanratty

Melissa Mary Hasanbelliu

Sara Elizabeth Hentschke

Craig T. Hosay*

Michael N. Huff

Justice Keith Irons

Marla A. Joseph*

Lara Mammana Kash

Merideth Elaine Ketterer*

Kyong T. Kim*

Michael P. Kitay

Adrienne Kosinski*

Hindi S. Kranzel*

Emily Rose Larrabee

James P. Lyons*

Lynn Malinoski

Regina Snow Mandl

Denise Marone

Samuel Louis Marranca**

Antonio A. Maturano, III*

Jeffrey W. Matus

Keith E. McAndrews*

Rachael McDonnell*

Courtney McMonagle

Gabrielle Chantel Green Michel

Charles J. Millman

John Joseph Monahan, III*

Ryan Musselman

Greg L. Nester*

Anne O’Connell

Julie Merritt Pacaro

Tashawna Quamira Page

John H. Pavloff

Peter L. Reiss

Amy B. Rosenstein*

Gabriela Sanchez

Gerald J. Schorr*

Mark J. Schwemler*

Lewis Anthony Sebia

Michael Senoyuit, III*

Bryan Douglas Shipon

Abigail C. Showalter

Megan Elizabeth Smith

Beth J. Snyder

Amanda Swarbrick*

Carol A. Sweeney*

Hannah Victor

Prince Charles Yakubu

* Returning Member ** Law Student Member

The following members are retiring from the Montgomery Bar Association:

Hon. Emanuel A. Bertin

Albert DerMovsesian

John J. Kilcoyne

Hon. Gary S. Silow

Lynn B. Silver

Linda J. Stengle

Richard E. Wells

Susan Wiener



Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce Kathleen M. Mannard has joined the firm as an associate in its Municipal Law and Real Estate, Zoning, and Land Development practice groups.

Ms. Mannard advises clients on a wide range of matters impacting municipalities, developers, corporations, and individuals, including, but not limited to, municipal code enforcement, contract negotiation, land use and zoning matters, property acquisition and related litigation. Additionally, she handles matters governed by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and the Code’s intersection with agency regulations and constitutional law.

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County honored Attorney Jennifer J. Riley as the Business Person of

the Year at its Annual Awards Celebration on December 14, 2022 at The Manor House at Prophecy Creek.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors selected Attorney Riley to receive this award in recognition of her success as a business leader and the many contributions and volunteer activities for which she is engaged within The Chamber’s service area.

Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce that Scott C. Denlinger has been elected to partnership in the firm, effective January 1, 2023. Mr. Denlinger joined Wisler Pearlstine in 2015 and is a member of its Condominium and Community Associations, Municipal Law, and Real Estate, Zoning, and Land Development practice groups.

On January 11, 2023, High Swartz honored Gilbert P. High, Jr. for his service to his clients, his colleagues, and the County over the past 57 years by presenting him with a hand-painted portrait. In attendance were firm attorneys, staff, and members of Gil’s family— Susan, his wife, son Penn and his wife Maureen, and son David. Virtually attending was Gil’s daughter, Amanda, as well as High Swartz’s Doylestown law office. The honorary portrait of Gil was painted by Barbara Lewis, an artist, teacher, and resident of the Philadelphia area and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Barbara’s work has been exhibited in the James A. Michener Art Museum of Doylestown, the Pennsylvania State Museum, Woodmere Museum, and Rowan University of New Jersey, as well as many other galleries and private collections.

March 30, 2023 – Law Student Meet & GreetSponsored by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee / MBA Building

March 31, 2023 – Annual Memorial Service / Montgomery County Courthouse, Norristown, PA

April 18, 2023 – Delaware Valley Legal Expo / Presidential Caterers, East Norriton, PA

April 21, 2023 – Annual Dinner Dance / Union League Liberty Hill

April 28, 2023 – Law Day / Montgomery County Courthouse & MBA Building

May 12, 2023 – MBA Friends and Family Night at the Elmwood Park Zoo

June 26, 2023 – Legal Aid Golf Classic / Green Valley 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.

Upcoming Events Come Visit Our Newly Renovated Gun Store 39 Years est. + Growing! 529 W. Butler Ave., Chalfont, PA 18914 (5 minutes north of Montgomery Mall) 215.822.3900 | We accept all major credit cards Open: Tues-Fri 9-9 • Sat. & Sun. 9-5, Closed Mon. New Pistol/Rifle Ranges New Hepa Ventilation System We Target All The Outdoor Sportsman’s needs… • We offer one of the largest selection of guns, safes and Sporting goods and accessories in the Delaware Valley. NEW Lower Pricing • Compare + SAVE! – Shop Online! • Over 1600 firearms in Stock • Custom orders welcome • Over 250 Gun Safes in stock • We offer Pistol & Rifle Shooting Classes Keep Us in Your Sights for Spring!

Articles inside


page 39

MBA Ski Trip Returns!

page 37

There’s Something Special about Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs

page 36

Montgomery County Lawyers Lead the Charge on PBA Family Law Video

pages 34-35

MBA’s Lawyer Referral Service: What Are You Waiting For?!

page 33

Meet the New Members of the Board of Directors

pages 30-32

Mannion Prior, LLP Acquires The Fiduciary Review and The Fiduciary Reporter, Publications Essential

page 29

MBA Welcomes New Leaders at Annual Business Meeting

page 28

The Delaware Valley Legal Expo: Whole Community, Wholebeing@Work, and Wholly Unmissable

pages 26-27

MBA Launches New Mediation Program

page 25

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA

page 24


page 23

Mitigating Impact of Climate Change & Disasters for Lowincome Residents: Legal Aid & Local Attorneys Play a Role

page 23

of Community Engagement & Training

pages 22-23


page 21


page 20

Devotion (2022)

page 19

The Blue Elephant

pages 17-18

BOOK REVIEW: Misjudged: A legal thriller (Sam Johnstone Book 1)

page 16

Who Takes Care of the Victims of the Current Crime Wave?

pages 14-15

The Equity Stop

pages 12-13

UPDATED REPORT OF THE Autonomous Judiciary Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association

pages 10-11

Probate & Tax Section: SECURE 2.0 ACT Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities

pages 8-9

Probate & Tax Section: SECURE 2.0 ACT Brings Additional Estate Planning Opportunities

page 7

Young Lawyers Section Update

page 6

a law firm partner looking for a change?

page 5
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.