Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA
What YOU need to know about
Also in this issue: Magisterial District Courts Moving in the Right Direction Orphansâ€™ Court Welcomes Hon. Cheryl Lynne Austin
Bench Bar 2016 Preview and MORE!
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CONTENTS SUMMER 2016
SIDEBAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS
In Every Issue :
4 President’s Message 17 Montgomery Bar Foundation 26 Restaurant Review 28 Book Review 30 Bits & Bytes 35 Young Lawyers 36 Wiretaps 39 Upcoming Events
Gary J. Friedlander, Esq. Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Regular columnists: Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. Jack Costello Peter J. Johnsen, Esq. Carla Marino, Esq. Jim Mathias Jules J. Mermelstein, Esq. Gail P. Roth, Esq. Denise S. Vicario, Esq. Nancy Walsh Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq.
MBA STAFF George Cardenas IT Manager Jack Costello Marketing Manager Jim Mathias Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs Nancy R. Paul Executive Director Nancy Walsh Program Coordinator 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: email@example.com. The SIDEBAR Committee reserves the right to edit any material submitted and/or to omit the same from publication. Most articles are written by members for members.
MONTGOMERY BAR ASSOCIATION Serving the Profession and the Community since 1885
Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA
MBA 2.0: Inward, Outward, and Upward
Features : 9 10 11 12 14 18 20 22 23 24 27 29 31 32 34 38 39
Access to Justice at the MBA MBA Takes it to the Streets MBA Diversity Committee Hosts a Day in Court Bench Bar 2016 at Skytop Lodge Orphans’ Court Welcomes Hon. Cheryl Lynne Austin Marriage Equality: One Year Later Montgomery County Magisterial District Courts are Moving in the Right Direction Local Legal Community Celebrates Law Day 2016 Board of Directors Spotlight: Colin O’Boyle, Esq. Courting Art 2016: Thank You Artists, Sponsors and Community Partners MCAP Update Harry Chung, Esq.: Making a Meaningful Change Federal Judges Visit MBA for CLE and Reception Annual Dinner Dance Annual Memorial Service When Disaster Strikes, One Call Can Make the Difference FREE CLE Credits for Legal Aid Pro Bono Volunteers
Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., President Eric B. Smith, Esq., President-Elect Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Vice President Gregory R. Gifford, Esq., Treasurer Patrick J. Kurtas, Esq., Secretary
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’m nearing the midpoint of my tenure as President of the Montgomery Bar Association and although much as been accomplished, there is still so much more to be done. It is an important time for the MBA, one where the fusion of long-held traditions and exciting new changes will place us at the starting gate of the MBA of the future.
Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq. Montgomery Bar Association President
MONTGOMERY BAR ASSOCIATION BUSINESS HOURS: 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
Earlier this year, the Board of Directors and Long-Range Planning Committee held a retreat to discuss how our Association might best address the current and impending challenges to our profession, such as the growth of online legal services, the introduction of certifications like Limited License Legal Technicians, and the increased access to justice gap in our community. In response to these challenges, the MBA is preparing to launch a comprehensive set of initiatives designed to bring us boldly into the future as we maintain a firm hold on the rich history that made us who we are. We will be looking Inward, Outward, and Upward as together we create “MBA 2.0.” I encourage you to spend some time learning about these initiatives, described throughout this issue. One such initiative is our new Access to Justice program. MBA staff member Nancy Walsh will have the responsibility of developing this program and coordinating the pro bono efforts in our Bar with countywide programs. Our community has countless different legal issues which require both traditional pro bono assistance and innovative approaches from qualified attorneys. The MBA will be sending a survey to all members to request information and commitments to assist in this important work. The Bar will also be strengthening its outreach in the community so we can successfully provide services which are so desperately needed throughout the county. If we each do a small part, we can have a significant impact on this ever-growing problem. Even as we prepare to launch our new campaign, we continue to put forth the programs and events which remain the foundation of our association. One such program began again on June 8th, when the Diversity Committee began the annual Robert E. Slota, Jr. Summer 1L Diversity Program. First-year law students from diverse backgrounds are employed for eight weeks with several law firms throughout Montgomery County, including my firm, Weber Gallagher. Throughout the program, students attend events at which speakers provide invaluable information on how to successfully become employed after law school. Students learn about various practice areas, including private and governmental practice, and even how to become a judge. They also attend social events
so they may begin to network with attorneys in the Bar. The Summer 1L Diversity Program provides opportunities for young attorneys to work in an environment which is accepting of each personâ€™s diversity while also providing a unique look at what the Montgomery Bar Association has to offer. It has also helped the Bar Association attract diverse students who are now working in Montgomery County firms, as well as one student who is clerking for one of our judges. The MBA Diversity Committee will also be honoring two individuals for both their contribution to the committee and their accomplishments in the legal community. The Honorable Daniel J. Clifford, elected this past November, became the first LGBT member of the bench in Montgomery County. Judge Clifford, a longtime member of the MBA Diversity Committee,
was instrumental in the formation of the Summer 1L Program. The Committee will also honor Lindette C. Hassan, current Chair of the Young Lawyers Section. Ms. Hassan is the first person of color to serve as an officer of the Young Lawyers Section and has been a tireless supporter of the MBAâ€™s diversity efforts and community service projects. Finally, we will soon be attending the Bench Bar at Skytop in the Poconos (read more about it within this issue) and I hope to see each one of you at this new venue for another weekend of fun and family activities. This favorite annual event is another example of the foundation of collegiality and connection upon which we will build a successful and exciting future. I look forward to working with all of you as together we enter this exciting new era of the Montgomery Bar Association.
SUMMER 2016 5
2.0 MBA The world is changing. Each day brings with it a new challenge. Each day, we learn, we grow, and we adapt. Organizations are not immune to this constant change. While it can be easy to become bogged down in our everyday operations, we must also keep attuned to our ever-shifting environment. The world of technology and communication, especially, is in constant flux, and individuals and organizations engaged in the practice of law, reliant on that world, must respond strategically. MBA Leadership held a retreat for the Board of Directors and Long-Range Planning Committee earlier this year. The focus of this retreat was how we, as an association, can address challenges to the practice of law and maintain our relevance to members and the community. Online services such as Avvo and Legal Zoom, the introduction of certifications such as Limited License Legal Technicians, a rapidly changing marketplace, and the widening access to justice gap are just a few of the issues that present crucial challenges to our Association and to the profession at-large. In response to these challenges, the MBA has launched a comprehensive set of initiatives and changes aimed at bringing us into the future while maintaining a solid foundation in a rich history that continues to define who we are. Dubbed “MBA 2.0,” these initiatives are the result of a natural evolution and reflective of a forward-thinking association, always ready to meet the challenges of progress. Think “2.0” not as a reboot, but as an improvement on an already outstanding product. In order to meet the needs of current and future members, as well as those of the community we serve, the MBA is looking inward, outward, and upward. 6 SIDEBAR
INWARD The MBA’s commitment to providing services which enhance the professional and personal lives of its members will never change; member needs in response to a changing world, however, do, and our most important current efforts revolve around understanding and meeting those changing needs. These efforts include: • Increased Member Outreach – Our most important relationships are those we build with our members. With increased member outreach, through personal phone calls, surveys, frequent conversations, and programs like the Bar Guide program, we are working harder than ever to foster those relationships, allowing us to learn exactly what you most want and need from your membership in this changing world, and to respond accordingly. • Improved Lawyer Referral/Legal Access Systems – One of the most important needs of our members is tools to grow their practices. In response to that need, we are implementing wholescale changes in the Lawyer Referral and Legal Access programs, including the devotion of a full-time staff member to attend to the system, the implementation of easier fee and reporting structures, and a comprehensive promotional campaign to attract more clients and higher level cases.
OUTWARD Online legal service providers cannot compete with what makes MBA members successful: REAL relationships fostered through ongoing connections with our community. Now more than ever, it is important that we demystify the practice of law and make our commitment to the foundation of our profession – PUBLIC SERVICE – known and felt in our community. The MBA is making this happen through new efforts such as: • Heightened Pro Bono Focus – As the access to justice gap in our community grows, it is essential that we respond to the call to serve the public good. With the addition of the MBA’s new Access to Justice Coordinator position, we will be better able to assess and address the need for pro bono legal service in the community. New programs will help each member to assist in the manner for which he or she is best suited – allowing us to work SMARTER, rather than harder, and to have a major impact on a significant problem, while also further developing the trust and respect of the community – our current and future clients. • Increased Community Outreach – As we continue to focus on the fostering of community relationships, increased collaboration between the Community Outreach Committee and the Montgomery Bar Foundation will allow us to have even greater impact. By supporting programs like Coffee with a Cop and Youth/ Law Enforcement Forums, these groups spread the message that at the heart of justice lies community relationships, and at the heart of community relationships in this county lies the Montgomery Bar. continued on next page >
SUMMER 2016 7
MBA 2.0: INWARD, OUTWARD, AND UPWARD continued from page 7
UPWARD The future, as they say, is now, and the MBA is embracing it. Although changes to the practice of law will bring challenges, they also bring opportunity, and we are poised to tackle the former and take advantage of the latter with improvements and initiatives such as: • New and improved website – Coming this fall, the MBA’s new, mobile-friendly website will feature responsive design, improved content, and a crisper, fresher look. • Fresh logo – Our new logo, with its focus on the iconic front arch of the Bar Building — pointing skyward – evokes the notion of new heights and possibilities, firmly grounded in tradition. • Public education campaign – Discounted, online legal service providers are a threat to our profession AND leave those who use them at risk for poor service, hidden costs, and long-term consequences. With a comprehensive campaign – COMING SOON – we will educate the public about the value of using “REALLawyers” like you and warn them of the dangers of “RoboLawyer,” our name for the countless faceless, unaccountable online service providers they should avoid. • Focus on the development of innovative leadership – Through programs like our ever-evolving Leadership Academy, we continue to develop next-generation leaders who are armed with skills and insights to bring the MBA successfully into the future of the profession. In its rich history, the Montgomery Bar Association has created traditions and practices that have made it the preeminent bar association in the state. However, as John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” We will not miss the opportunity to forge our future. With the launch of “MBA 2.0,” the Montgomery Bar Association builds upon its solid foundation to continue marching proudly into a bright and successful tomorrow.
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The Ripple Effect: Access to Justice at the MBA By Nancy Walsh
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F. Kennedy
hroughout Montgomery County, a host of effective, admirable non-profit organizations work tirelessly to meet the needs of those less fortunate and most vulnerable in our community. They rely heavily on dedicated, qualified volunteers to assist them in their important work. Many such needs arise from the growing access to justice gap which leaves a large portion of our residents unable to defend themselves in the face of injustice. To address these particular needs, non-profit organizations, such as Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, ACLAMO, Laurel House, Victim Services and the Women’s Center, must have our help. Recently, the Montgomery Bar Association implemented a new Access to Justice program to help facilitate effective partnerships between area non-profits needing assistance, and pro bono attorneys who are able to provide it. Nancy Walsh, serving as the MBA’s new Access to Justice Coordinator, is working to assess the many pro bono and community outreach needs in Montgomery County, to recruit a large pool of dedicated, qualified volunteers, and to implement a system to connect them. With a system of coordination in place, we can work smarter rather than harder to have a significant impact on the communities we serve. The new program will focus on developing innovative approaches to address access to justice issues, such as conducting clinics, answering questions over the phone, mentoring new volunteers, and working with nonattorney personnel, in addition to the more traditional work of taking on pro bono cases. Training and CLE credits will be provided. Regardless of your practice area or level of experience, there is opportunity for everyone to make a difference. The philosophy is simple: If we all do a little, our impact will be great, and no one group will be over-burdened in the process. In addition to meeting the access to justice gap head on, this new program also dovetails with recent MBA efforts to foster greater community connections and promote an identity of greater approachability, thus continuing to serve the needs of our members as they work to build their businesses. By doing what we have always done best – building relationships and
serving the public – MBA members will continue to thrive in the face of daunting changes to our profession. By now, members should have received a Pro Bono/Community Outreach survey, asking for a commitment to take on a small piece of the access to justice puzzle in the coming months. If you have not already done so, please return your completed survey to Nancy Walsh at email@example.com. If you have any questions or ideas for how you’d like to help, please contact her at 610-994-3663.
Helping families is a priority for us. Bernadette A. Kearney*
J. Edmund Mullin*
William G. Roark**
John J. Iannozzi**
Steven H. Lupin* Andrew P. Grau**
Mark F. Himsworth* John F. Walko II**
In honor of our recognition as 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, we are making a donation to the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund. * Selected to the 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list ** Selected to the 2016 Pennsylvania Rising Stars list
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215.661.0400 • www.HRMML.com SUMMER 2016 9
MBA Takes it to the Streets A
s part of MBA 2.0 and ongoing efforts to forge greater connections with communities throughout the county, the MBA will now be participating in various community events throughout the year. The first such happening took place on Saturday, June 11 at the Norristown Youth Rally. This event, sponsored by the Norristown Police Athletic League, is an annual celebration generally held the first Saturday of summer vacation. Area families are treated to a day of music, food, and plenty of give-aways from local organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, ACLAMO, the Public Defenders Office, the District Attorneys Office, the Health Department, Legal Aid, and now, the Montgomery Bar Association.
Enthusiastic MBA volunteers, donned in bright yellow â€œReal Lawyers v Robolawyersâ€? t-shirts, greeted attendees, shared information about our Lawyer Referral and Legal Access services, gave MBA Frisbees to grateful passers-by, and enjoyed the opportunity to bond with fellow volunteers on a beautiful afternoon. In attendance were Lindsay Childs, Emily Geer Hippler, Michael Kelley (also on behalf of Legal Aid), Adrienne Kosinski, Timothy Knowles, MBA Secretary Patrick Kurtas, Andrew Levin, MBA Past President Bruce Pancio, and Joseph Walsh. Also in attendance were Judge Page and Judge Eisenberg. Many thanks to these wonderful supporters who certainly helped spread the message that MBA attorneys are approachable, friendly, and armed with expertise. If you would be willing to help at future similar events, please contact Nancy Walsh at nancywalsh@montgomerybar. org or 610-994-3663.
MBA Diversity Committee Hosts a Day in Court T
he MBA’s Diversity Committee, in partnership with Norristown Area High School, hosted the fifth annual Day in Court program on Friday, April 22, 2016 at the Montgomery County Court House. The Honorable Cheryl L. Austin welcomed the group of over 60 high school students into her courtroom to observe live court proceedings. Afterwards, Judge Austin entertained questions from the students about court procedure and family law. Students were then given the opportunity to meet with such dignitaries as the Honorable Garrett D. Page, the Honorable Steven C. Tolliver, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Montgomery County Assistant Solicitor Lauren Hughes, Esq., and others. Each speaker shared his or her success stories, as well as lessons learned along the way. While each speaker’s road to success was unique, their stories shared a common thread – the value of hard work, courage and perseverance in achieving your dream. The students then enjoyed lunch at One Montgomery Plaza, where they were joined by Montgomery County Commissioners Dr. Valerie Arkoosh and Joseph C. Gale, who educated the students about local government. The program was made possible once again through the tireless efforts of Marilou Watson, Esq., a partner with Fox Rothschild LLP in Blue Bell. The PBA award-winning Day in Court program is part of the Montgomery Bar Association’s efforts to promote diversity within the legal community. Other initiatives include the 1L Summer Internship for diverse first-year law students. In the fall, members of Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee will teach courses in the law to high school students at Norristown Area High School, with hope of extending the program to other school districts in Montgomery County.
SUMMER 2016 11
The MBA Escapes to the Mountains
Bench Bar 2016 G
enerally, there is no rest for the weary in the practice of law. Exacting clients, constant networking, endless documents, and long hours – not to mention unceasing family and community commitments – leave most attorneys feeling overwhelmed and underrested. Thankfully, the Montgomery Bar Association makes it a priority to save one weekend each year to provide its hardworking members an opportunity to step away from it all and take in the simpler pleasures of life – rest, recreation, and rewarding relationships.
This year, the popular annual tradition will take place at the beautiful Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This “hidden jewel nestled at the top of the Poconos” is a 5,500-acre iconic resort which treats its guests to an extraordinary combination of old-world charm and world-class service. Named the #1 Luxury Lodge in North America by Resorts & Lodges, Skytop is an idyllic escape for world-weary members and their families. The beautiful décor is designed to blend with the grandeur of the surrounding nature, creating a feeling of harmony — the perfect setting to hit the “pause” button on our very hectic lives. 12 SIDEBAR
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Just last year, Skytop invested in a $3.7 million makeover of all 192 guest rooms, incorporating the history of the hotel and the flavor of the 1930s with upgraded technology and top-notch amenities. Skytop’s website explains: “Pulling from local history and tradition, each newly remodeled guest room has been designed to tell the Skytop Lodge story. With three room designs (Water, Garden and Mountain), the color palette and design elements of each room reflect the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains. Each guest room includes a hand-painted wall covering signed by the artist, Ann McGuire.” In addition to its unparalleled beauty, Skytop also offers something to satisfy a quest for both peace and adventure in everyone. Guests can enjoy the resort’s indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a beach and swimming lake right on the grounds; jump into the many activities of The Adventure Center, including a 33-foot rock climbing wall, Old Western Town Paintball course, and 3000-foot Treetop Zipline Challenge Course; relax and indulge at the resort’s Skyview Spa; learn new skills in an on-site cooking class; treat themselves to a horseback wilderness ride through the gorgeous grounds; take in 18 holes on the resort’s championship golf course, and more. A weekend is simply not enough to take in all that Skytop has to offer. Of course, the best feature of any Bench Bar weekend is the unique opportunity it provides to connect with friends and colleagues in a truly relaxed, carefree setting. Members of the Bench and the Bar, along with their families, have been wholeheartedly enjoying each other’s company at this favorite annual event for decades, and this year promises to be no different. President Carolyn R. Mirabile is excited about what is in store: “I chose Skytop because it was within 2 hours, the main building was a great gathering place for the whole group to be together, the scenery is incredible, and they have something for everyone: golf, hiking, swimming, or just sitting on the back porch and reading a book.”
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Whether you are a returning vet of the Bench Bar weekend or a member who has yet to take advantage of this unique opportunity, you will not want to miss our escape to the mountains this fall. Be on the lookout for more details coming soon!
SUMMER 2016 13
MEET THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE ORPHANS’ COURT AND STATE OF THE ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION By Michelle C. Berk, Esq.
O RICHARD QUINDRY PHOTOGRAPHY, LANSDALE, PA
n February 16, 2016, the Elder Law Committee, Chair Robert C. Gerhard III, Esq., and Michelle C. Berk, Esq., Vice-Chair, were honored to co-sponsor a reception welcoming Judge Cheryl Austin as the newest member of the Orphans’ Court Bench. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Probate and Tax Section, Orphans’ Court Rules Committee. Members of the Bar Association, Register of Wills staff, Orphans’ Court Clerks and recent and Senior Judge Stanley R. Ott, were our guests. Judge Ott shared his wit and wisdom with us. The Honorable Lois E. Murphy offered remarks on the state of the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court.
Honorable Cheryl Lynne Austin
The Honorable Cheryl Lynne Austin considers herself a career public servant. Her election as the first female African-American on the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in November 2011 is the capstone of her career, although we are delighted that she will now share her elder law and estates practice and expertise to rule from the Orphans’ Court bench. Prior to ascending to the bench, she was an attorney practicing elder law, criminal defense and estate resolution. Before entering private practice, Judge Austin served as Assistant Solicitor and Assistant District Attorney for Montgomery County, where she prosecuted individuals charged with felony and white collar crimes. Judge Austin also served as an adjunct professor at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. While an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, Judge Austin entered the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps in its first class of women. Upon graduation from Northwestern University, she was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Judge Austin retired as a U.S. Navy Captain in 2004, after 24 years of active duty and reserve service. She attended Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio at night, while working as Human Resources Director for the Ohio Secretary of State. Judge Austin has been recognized by the American Business Women’s Association as an “Outstanding Business Woman” and was named a “Rising Star” among Elder Law attorneys for Philadelphia Magazine. The Legal Intelligencer awarded Judge Austin its “2012 Woman of the Year” award. She was also featured in the PA Commission on Women-sponsored book Voices. Her
charitable activities within the Montgomery County, PA community have been acknowledged by the PA Human Relations Commission, the Montgomery County Black Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Willow Grove NAACP and the Cheltenham, PA NAACP branch, which she cofounded.
It is my privilege to have the opportunity to work with them both and to continue to strive to contribute to serving justice in Pennsylvania, continuously improving our systems and practices, and maintaining the reputation of the Orphans’ Court Division of Montgomery County as the finest Orphans’ Court in Pennsylvania.
Founding Co-chair of the Montgomery Bar Association Diversity Committee, Judge Austin also co-chaired the Pennsylvania Bar Association Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Before assuming the Bench, she was an Advisory Board member of Laurel House, a social service agency assisting victims of domestic violence, and a Trustee of the Montgomery County Community College. Judge Austin formerly chaired the Montgomery County Commission on Women and Families.
In addition to the change represented by Judge Ott’s change to senior status, and to our hearty welcome to Judge Austin, I have been asked to speak briefly about other changes practitioners may expect in the near future. I know that for some of us – probably most of us – change can feel threatening or worrisome. Judge Ott frequently reminds me that, particularly for the parties that appear before us, “all change is traumatic.”
Upon joining the Bench, Judge Austin initially presided over Family Court. In January 2014, Judge Austin launched the County’s first DUI Court, designed to specifically address cases involving Driving Under the Influence criminal charges. In welcoming Judge Austin, Judge Murphy provided an instructive summary of the new Orphans’ Court Rules and the Guardianship Forms that are now available on the Bar and court website. Judge Murphy’s remarks follow in full on the state of the Orphans’ Court Division of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. As you all know, last year, we faced a vacancy on this Court as a result of the retirement of a towering intellect, a leader recognized statewide and nationally, an immensely experienced judge who retains today his diligent work ethic and his sincere compassion for the parties who appear before the Honorable Stanley R. Ott. Fortunately, the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court is doubly blessed. • We will enjoy the best of both worlds: the mature and wise contributions of one of the most experienced and renowned jurists to serve the Orphans’ Court, who has graciously agreed to remain part of our team as a Senior Judge;
But in the words of Winston Churchill, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” continued on next page >
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MEET THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE ORPHAN’S COURT AND STATE OF THE ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION Therefore, in our continued effort to achieve – if not perfection – at least excellence – I will review the areas in which we continue to improve and change: 1. New Supreme Court Orphans’ Court Rules — effective 9/1/2016 — note — Petitions for Adjudication must be filed at the same time as the Account; when filing a petition for guardian of more than one minor child, a case must be opened for each minor. 2. New Local Rules of the Orphans’ Court — A meeting is scheduled for February 26, 2016 and Coleen Kryst will plan to represent the Court concerning issues we feel may require a local rule to provide more specific guidance to the bar about our practices and procedures. For instance, we may need to create rules concerning redaction of sensitive information in documents, and filing an unredacted as well as a redacted copy, where the information is required but should not appear in the public version of a document. I am still trying to figure out how to preserve my personal favorite local rule, Local Rule 1.1B – which provides: “The Court will be in session every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, except during July and August, when the Court will be in session only on every Friday for the presentation of ex parte miscellaneous business.” 3. Work of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Elder Justice Task Force and the Supreme Court’s Elder Justice Advisory Council which has a focus on preventing Elder Abuse as well as a focus on Guardianship practice. 4. Creation of an Elder Abuse Bench Book and a Guardianship Bench Book by the Advisory Council for use by judges across the Commonwealth — to provide guidance about best practices in Guardianship proceedings. 5. Continued work of the Elder Justice Roundtable of Montgomery County, which is holding its 4th annual public conference on June 17, 2016 at Montgomery County Community College. 6. Legislation now being considered in the Pennsylvania House, which passed the Senate, to amend the Guardianship Statute. 7. New Guardianship Forms, to be posted on the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Website, and to be made available to be filled in by e-filers. – An emphasis on making requests for payment and other applications a simple form that may be completed and made part of the record. 8. Encouragement of increased e-filing and receipt of notices from the Court electronically.
continued from page 15
9. Creation of a new Statewide Orphans’ Court Case Management System, which is expected to be released in 2017 or 2018. This will be a fairly big change for us and for practitioners in terms of our e-filing system, which will be through the state’s PACFile interface, and the system used by the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. However, it will improve dramatically the ability to collect data about how Orphans’ Court cases are handled statewide, by making uniform the system for reporting how many accounts are adjudicated, how many guardianship petitions heard, and more specific information relevant to the administration of justice, such as whether and in how many cases Counsel is appointed to represent an incapacitated person While we make these changes and improvements, we will strive to be mindful of our best traditions and our commitment to the prompt and just resolution of disputes and our responsibility to treat parties with respect, patience and compassion. Both personally and professionally I am deeply grateful that Judge Ott will continue to make many contributions and continue to offer his guidance as my colleague. I am equally excited as I begin to work with Judge Austin, who I know will challenge us continually to improve and will contribute to the development of the law with her combination of compassion, intelligence, firmness and a welcome nononsense style. In the department of things not changing, we are continued to be supported by the extraordinarily able legal team of Eileen Grant, Coleen Kryst and Shelley Goldner. I thank all of you who have contributed and will continue to contribute to: 1. the development of the Rules of the Orphans’ Court, or the Local Rules of the Orphans’ Court, 2. who have offered assistance with the development of the Bench Books, 3. who have participated with the Elder Justice Roundtable, 4. who participate in leadership of the Bar Association’s committee on Elder Law, Probate Section or Orphans’ Court Rules Committee. We are triply blessed and indebted to Judge Murphy for her contributions to updating the Orphans’ Court Rules, the new local Rules of the Orphans’ Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Elder Justice Task Force, Elder Abuse Bench Book and Guardianship Bench Book and work of the Elder Justice Roundtable of Montgomery County and other legislation and the new guardianship forms and case management systems. We are fortunate to be able to work with and appear before all the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Bench.
THE UNIFIED VOICE OF JUSTICE IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY:
MONTGOMERY BAR FOUNDATION FELLOWS
n June 2, the Montgomery Bar Foundation sponsored its annual Fellows Appreciation event. Held this year at the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club in Blue Bell, the event is an opportunity to thank Foundation supporters for the generous contributions which allow the MBF to continue its important charitable work year after year. The clubhouse of the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club, founded in 1931 by local aviation lovers, was converted from an old farm dwelling and became the home to the PACC when the Wings Corporation of Camden, New Jersey purchased the farm and converted it into an airport.* Several members of the Bar Foundation enjoy membership in this historical Club, and decided that the unique location would be the perfect place to celebrate the generosity of the Foundation’s supporters. This year, the Foundation was able to provide more funding than ever to grant recipients, assisting them in their mission to provide justice to the most vulnerable members of our community. Without the generosity of Bar Foundation Fellows, this would not be possible. Foundation Fellows, and other supporters, serve as voices of justice for those most often unheard. On June 2, the Montgomery Bar Foundation thanked them, and continues to thank them every day for (among other contributions)…
…helping the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project provide free legal representation to children of Montgomery County who have been abused and neglected. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to the county’s most vulnerable children as they navigate a world that is far scarier for them than it ever should be; …helping Victim Services Center of Montgomery County provide advocacy and counseling for county residents who have been affected by sexual violence and other crimes against the person. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to those silenced by unspeakable acts. …helping Laurel House to empower and advocate for those impacted by domestic violence throughout our county. Fellows
are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to those quieted through intimidation and violence. …helping ACLAMO Family Services to assist and empower Latino and other low income residents of Montgomery County. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to those intimidated by cultural barriers to proclaim that they, too, can achieve the American Dream. …helping the Legal Aid Society of Southeastern PA to provide quality legal representation to low-income and vulnerable people in our area. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to those whose limited access to the courts often means silent acceptance of injustice. …helping SeniorLAW Center ensure that Pennsylvania’s elders may age with dignity and safety, free from abuse and violence in their homes and neighborhoods. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE to those who have lost their ability to proclaim and claim their rights. …helping Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center to achieve healing and justice for victims of child abuse. Fellows are helping to give a UNIFIED VOICE of courage to young victims telling their stories in search of justice. …helping Coffee with a Cop to bring Norristown police officers and community members together to build relationships – one cup at a time – which will help them keep each other safe. Fellows are giving a UNIFIED VOICE to a community which often, due to fear and misunderstanding, chooses silence over connection. The Montgomery Bar Foundation, through the support of its generous supporters, is the unified voice of justice in Montgomery County. Make that voice louder…become a Bar Foundation Fellow today. Visit http://www.montgomerybarfoundation.org/ to learn how. *https://www.paccwings.com/
SUMMER 2016 17
MARRIAGE EQUALITY One Year Later By Helen E. Casale, Esq., Family Law Section
s of May 20, 2014 the marriage laws in Pennsylvania were changed forever. The statute defining marriage as only between one man and one woman was found to be unconstitutional and invalidated as a result of the decision by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Judge Jones issued an order permanently enjoining the enforcement of Pennsylvania marriage laws barring the recognition of same-sex marriage. Almost one year later, the United States Supreme Court determined the case of Obergefell v. Hodges which determined the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. This U.S. Supreme Court case changed the marriage laws in all states across the country. As a result of these decisions, marriage equality has been established throughout the United States. Pennsylvania has been actively licensing marriages of same sex couples since May 2014. While this change has been positive for the LGBT community it has not come easily and has created some uncertainties in the area of family law especially. This article will highlight only a few of the issues that have cropped up in the family law context as a result of the marriage equality decisions. First, the issue of the definition of the coverture period or the “length of the marriage” has come to the forefront. Many samesex couples have been living together as a “married couple” for years. They have had children, supported each other, accumulated
property and lived their lives as a true partnership. However, prior to May 20, 2014 they were unable to legally recognize that partnership as a marriage in Pennsylvania. In fact, they were not able to legally recognize that partnership in any state until 2004 when Massachusetts was the first state to allow same-sex marriage and even if the couple had availed themselves of marriage in another jurisdiction it would not have been recognized in Pennsylvania. This is an issue when it comes to these parties dissolving their now legal marriage. The property is valued from the “date of marriage” to the “date of separation.” What is the date of marriage for this same-sex couple? Is it post May 20, 2014 when they finally could get married in Pennsylvania? Is it in 2004 when they finally could go to another state to get married but chose not to? Is it when they first bought a house together? It is an interesting issue now being raised in many counties in family court across this Commonwealth. Second, the issue of “parentage” or “paternity” has also been raised. The question for the family courts now becomes whether the adoption process is still necessary. A same-sex couple who is able to have a child born during their legal marriage but only one partner is the biological or “legal” parent may still have to obtain a second parent adoption. The argument can be made that if the child is born during the marriage then both parties are the “legal” parents to the child. Both names should go on the birth certificate without the need for an adoption (see the following guidance on the ACLU website https://www.aclupa.org/files/4314/6480/4976/ Same-Sex_Parenting__Birth_Certificate_FAQs.pdf). As a result, do these couples still need to adopt? Many couples in this situation think the answer is a clear no. This, however, is a dangerous way
to proceed. There is no guarantee that every county across this Commonwealth and every family court judge will consider these parties “legal parents.” Simply because the birth certificate has both names included does not mean the court must consider same as it is not a court order, only an administrative document. The same-sex couple certainly has a good argument for “parentage” but it is surely a whole lot less expensive to go through an uncontested adoption process than it is to go through an ugly custody trial. Third, the issue of civil unions and domestic partnerships continues to haunt many same-sex couples. The Pennsylvania marriage case and Obergefell did not address the issue of other legal recognitions, only marriage. Civil unions are not marriage and neither are domestic partnerships. As a result, these samesex couples that availed themselves of other jurisdictions’ laws and obtained a civil union or DP are without any recourse to dissolves these recognitions. So far, one trial court judge in Montgomery County dissolved a civil union as a “marriage” but one trial court judge denied said request. There have been a few other family court cases across the Commonwealth that have not allowed or not considered civil unions or domestic partnerships as marriage and have not allowed the matter to proceed in family court. Lastly, the issue of common law marriage seems to be cropping back into the discussions among family lawyers. The issue of common law marriage is somewhat related to the issue of the definition of the length of marriage. While common law marriage has been abolished in Pennsylvania since 2005, those couples that are able to establish a common law marriage prior to 2005 may be able to assert this claim. This, then, may be a very good argument for the same-sex couple residing together in a “marriage-type” relationship for years and years. Many of these couples exchanged rings, had ceremonies, purchased property together and entered into joint agreements for property. As a result, can they establish a common law marriage? This is a question left unanswered at the current time. To date, there have been three trial court judges (one in Berks, one in Bucks and one in Delaware counties) that have agreed these couples can assert common law marriage but none of the three trial court cases involved a divorce; they were all in the estate law context on some level. While major strides have been made, there are more questions than answers since marriage equality has come to fruition. Family lawyers must continue to track these issues and cases to see the continued progression of these issues for the benefit of their LGBT clients.
SUMMER 2016 19
MONTGOMERY COUNTY MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT COURTS ARE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION By Denise S. Vicario, Esq.
urrently, Montgomery County has 30 Magisterial District Courts located in 29 facilities across the county. The Magisterial District Judges and their staffs work diligently to address approximately 175,000 - 200,000 cases each year. On any given day, Montgomery County Magisterial District Judges are arraigning criminal defendants, performing marriages, settling disputes among neighbors, resolving parking tickets, and approving search warrants – and on most days all of this – and much more — is done in the course of one work day! The Magisterial District Courts truly are the people’s courts, and the judges and staff do a great job serving our Montgomery County residents with dignity, decorum, and dispatch. The next two years will yield a big change in our Magisterial District Court facilities. Where appropriate – and advantageous – multiple Magisterial District Courts will be combined into a single facility. Rule 101, Rules and Standards with respect to Offices of Magisterial District Judges: Establishment of Offices promulgated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in late 2014 permits that the office of a Magisterial District Judge may be located outside of the boundaries of the magisterial district from which the judge is elected, if certain adjacency requirements are met: the relocation of the office would not cause inconvenience or confusion to the public or to law enforcement; and, the President Judge certifies that the proposed location is suitable and affordable. Montgomery County carefully considered this rule change as well the Magisterial District Courts Facility, Equipment and Security Guidelines provided by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) to determine the feasibility of
implementing this change and to ensure that any changes made were beneficial to the Magisterial District Courts and the public they serve. As noted by Montgomery County President Judge William J. Furber Jr.: “Consolidation of these Magisterial District Courts will assist in enhancing the efficient administration of justice while improving security, and providing a dignified atmosphere within which the Magisterial District Judges will adjudicate these matters which are so important to the community.” After careful consideration and a detailed assessment of all the court caseloads, the areas that were determined appropriate for facility consolidations at this time were: Norristown, Pottstown, Cheltenham/Glenside (Abington Township), and Lower Merion. In each of these facility consolidations, many sites were visited, reviewed, and assessed to ensure that the best option was presented to the President Judge and Montgomery County Board of Commissioners for their consideration. Also, each of these facility consolidations was advertised for public comment, and the court is happy to report that all public comments received were extremely positive. It is important to keep in mind that all court buildings – either in a consolidated facility or stand-alone facility – must meet the following criteria: • Accessible to the public and the police; • Safely situated to ensure secure prisoner movement; • Ample parking
These criteria, along with the relative location of the consolidated facility, were taken into account in selecting each new site. Clearly, public service in our public buildings is paramount.
NORRISTOWN New Location: 601 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401 (Corner of DeKalb & Marshall Streets) Courts to be consolidated: District Court 38-1-15 – Hon. Francis Lawrence, Jr. District Court 38-1-16 – Hon. Margaret Hunsicker District Court 38-2-09 – Hon. Gregory Scott
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POTTSTOWN New Location: 1 Security Plaza, Suite 101, Pottstown, PA 19464 Courts to be consolidated: District Court 38-1-11 – Hon. Scott T. Palladino District Court 38-1-12 – Hon. Edward C. Kropp, Sr.
CHELTENHAM/GLENSIDE (ABINGTON TOWNSHIP) New Location: 117 Old York Road, Jenkintown, PA, 19046 Courts to be consolidated: District Court 38-1-02 – Hon. Elizabeth McHugh District Court 38-1-03 – Hon. Christopher J. Cerski District Court 38-1-05 – Hon. Juanita A. Price
LOWER MERION New Location: 925 Montgomery Avenue, Penn Valley (Narberth), PA 19072 Courts to be consolidated: District Court 38-1-06 – Hon. Henry Schireson District Court 38-1-07 – Hon. Michael P. Quinn District Court 38-2-04 – Hon. Karen Eisner Zucker
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It is the hope of both the Court and the county that this effort to improve public services while reducing expenditures will ensure that the Montgomery County Magisterial District Courts are indeed moving in the right direction.
In the end, these consolidated court facilities will also result in significant cost savings to the county and taxpayers. A conservative estimate shows $2.5 to $3 million in savings over the term of the leases. Expect transition times of up to two years, especially for the new sites.
SUMMER 2016 21
Local Legal Community Celebrates Law Day 2016 O
n Friday April 29, 2016, the MBA hosted its annual Law Day celebration, joining a nationwide effort to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. President Judge William J. Furber, Jr. presided over the ceremony and newly elected Judge Todd Eisenberg gave the annual Law Day address, which focused on this year’s theme of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case. The MBA’s Law Day ceremony also featured the swearing-in of new admittees to the Bar of Montgomery County during the past year (pictured below), as well as the presentation of public service awards.
Courthouse Employee Award Richard Falcone, Magisterial District Court Senior Clerk
New Admittees to the Bar of Montgomery County 2015-16
Young Lawyers Section Mock Trial Award Lower Moreland High School Team A
Henry Stuckert Miller Public Service Award Marilou Watson, Esq. (Pictured left is Wendy G. Rothstein, Esq., who accepted the award on Marilou’s behalf)
Courthouse Employee Award Cheryl Leslie, Deputy Court Administrator, Family Court
Pro Bono Volunteer Award Harry Chung, Esq.
Public Service Award to Citizens Jeannette Fernandez, Principal, Gotwals Elementary School
Board of Directors Spotlight: Colin J. O’Boyle, Esq. COLIN J. O’BOYLE, ESQ.
Colin J. O’Boyle is a shareholder in the firm’s Blue Bell office. Mr. O’Boyle’s practice includes trial and appellate litigation in federal and state courts, focusing primarily on commercial litigation and health law. Mr. O’Boyle has been involved in litigation across the country, including complex business disputes in the healthcare industry, healthcare provider litigation, civil rights actions, and contract and other complex commercial disputes. Mr. O’Boyle has been named to the Pennsylvania’s “Rising Stars” list from 2010 through 2016. Mr. O’Boyle is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars and is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania.
County, PA ontgomery ciation | M y Bar Asso Montgomer
M ag az in e upward
What YOU need to know about
Also in this issue:
t Courts Magisterial DistricDirection Moving in the Right Welcomes Orphans’ Court Austin Hon. Cheryl Lynne
Bench Bar 2016 Preview and MORE!
Mr. O’Boyle served as the Chair of the Montgomery Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division in 2015, and is currently Co-Chair of the Bar Association’s Rules of Civil Court Committee and member of the following committees: Bench Bar, Community Outreach, Executive, Federal Court Practice, and Long Range Planning. He is also a past Editor of the Bar Association’s Law Reporter. Mr. O’Boyle is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates and the CoChair of Zone 9 of the PBA’s Young Lawyer Division. Mr. O’Boyle is a 2007 cum laude graduate of Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova, he was a two-year member of the Moot Court Board and served as the Judicial Liaison to the Executive Board. Mr. O’Boyle also advanced to the semifinal round of the 46th Annual Theodore L. Reimel Moot Court competition and received the 2007 David E. Worby scholarship, which recognizes one third-year law student for outstanding achievements in oral advocacy. Prior to law school, Mr. O’Boyle graduated magna cum laude from the University of Scranton’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts program with a dual degree in History and Philosophy.
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Courting Art 2016:
Thank you Artists, Sponsors and Community Partners! T
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
he MBA’s Community Outreach Committee hosted its fourth annual Courting Art Contest and Exhibition in May. Our 2016 theme, “MONTCO IN MOTION,” challenged local artists to explore and celebrate active lifestyles, community happenings and Montgomery County’s rich, recreational assets. “Bright, uplifting entries to appeal to children and families” were encouraged and to everyone’s delight, local artists again responded in a big way. Thanks to participating artists and sponsors, over 80 artists in total will have work on display at this year’s Courting Art Exhibition.
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Please take a moment to recognize the following sponsors, whose generous contributions have helped make this initiative a reality, and whose contribution will soon give life to the Montgomery County Family Court Conciliators Building at 321 Swede Street in Norristown.
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
PHOTO BY SANDI YANISKO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Over 200 guests were in attendance for this year’s Opening Night VIP Reception, including artists and guests, sponsors, bar leaders, judges and dignitaries to kick off the public exhibition. Attendees enjoyed light refreshments and the soothing sounds of harpist Michelle Fella Przybylowski (courtesy of Strehlow & Associates) while exploring the exhibition.
SUMMER 2016 25
CHOW!! Fresh, Fun, BYO in Collegeville By : Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq.
ontgomery County is blessed with many wonderful restaurants. Some of them are known throughout the region due to the pedigree of their head chefs. Others are landmark establishments which have pleased guests for generations with consistent quality and service. From dive bars and pizza joints, to international 5-star franchises and stately country inns, our county really has something for everyone. Still, it’s often too easy to settle into the habit (bad or good) of hitting the same place for dinner – and why not? It’s comfortable and consistent without any surprises. The chance to do a Sidebar restaurant review, coupled with a rare Friday night free of kids’ sports, school or social commitments, gave us the perfect opportunity to break the mold and try a new local restaurant we had been hoping to get to for a few months. The fact that it was Memorial Day weekend, and we could squeeze in a reservation on only 24 hours’ notice was a plus. We were warned that Chow!! Bistro in Collegeville was tough to get into. When we arrived at 7 pm, we knew our reservation was lucky. Every table was full, but we were assured one was just about to clear. It did in a few minutes, and during that time we all agreed that Chow!! reminded us of any number of local restaurants you would find yourself ducking into in Cape May or Rehoboth during the summer. Bright colors, big windows, eclectic decor and a large front porch on Main Street left us looking for the sound of seagulls. We were seated at a comfortable table in the front window overlooking the patio and street. Our first surprise was the variety offered by Chow’s menu. It included quite a bit of interesting seafood dishes, with a healthy dose of land selections for good measure. True to the bistro moniker, Chow’s offerings suggest home style slow cooking, but with twists and flair you wouldn’t expect from grandma’s kitchen. Not to be outdone by its laminated counterpart, the separate list
of evening specials presented an even more complicated set of decisions to be made, and featured more of the same creative talent in flavor parings. Eager to give readers an idea of every course available, I ignored the high humidity brought by our first string of summer weather and delved into the soup du jour, roasted corn chowder with jumbo lump crab ($8), which was a little heavy for the time of year but extremely satisfying. We also ordered the Asian duck confit dumplings ($9) and agreed they were deliciously prepared with a mild chili sauce. One of us selected the flat bread with fresh mozzarella and roasted garlic ($10), which was flavorful and a strong basic choice for appetizer. The watermelon and arugula salad ($10) was fit to share, and included a creative honey-lime vinaigrette. Finally, the artisan cheese plate for the evening ($11) was a hit for all – especially the delicate chèvre cheese & strawberries. For our main courses: My wife chose the special seafood fra diablo [sic], more zesty than spicy, served with generous helpings of lobster tail, scallops, shrimp and crab meat ($32). I was extremely pleased with the sesame salmon filet from the main menu ($21), with a perfectlymixed wasabi aioli served over a tasty fried scallion noodle cake. Another friend enjoyed the filet mignon served in a porcini-seared balsamic redux with gorgonzola mashers and asparagus ($28), noting it was outstanding and cooked to perfection. Her husband, who was a bit disappointed with the porcini rubbed ribeye he picked from the evening specials ($30), admitted that the gorgonzola mac & cheese it was served with was delicious and made up for an overly-fatty cut of beef. The night’s dessert choices were as varied as the dinner menu. Fresh peach cobbler balanced with rhubarb garnered rave reviews. The chocolate Belgian Waffle, with Napoleon warm ganache, caramel and coffee-toffee ice cream was a standout selection. Patting ourselves on the back for finally getting out to try Chow!! Bistro at 454 East Main Street in Collegeville, we all agreed it was a great choice right in our own backyard, but those from outside of the Lower Perkiomen Valley would certainly find this BYO to be worth the trip. Friendly and attentive service and staff are not to be forgotten. Reservations are highly recommended.
MCAP Update By Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Executive Director
he year 2016 has been a busy and productive year for MCAP so far. As of May 31, 2016, MCAP has served 208 children in 168 cases. Such numbers reflect an increase of 45% in the number of MCAP cases for the same time period in 2015. Changes in the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) relating to the definitions of child abuse and perpetrators certainly account for a portion of the increase in numbers. Additionally, our improved tracking system allows us to capture all new MCAP cases, so that our numbers truly reflect all of the cases. Finally, our continuous efforts to strengthen our relationships with our stakeholders have led to an increase in referrals due to the heightened awareness of MCAP services. Thank you for all of your support! We appreciate you sharing your time, talent and treasures with us.
about 100 people in attendance, MCAP celebrated all of the members of the community who help abused and neglected children. It is a wonderful opportunity to gather for delicious food to express our gratitude to all who try to give children a chance to grow up in safe and nurturing environments. Thanks again to everyone, especially our MCAP advocates who are the heart and soul of MCAP.
Speaking of appreciation, on May 5, 2016, MCAP hosted our Annual Appreciation Luncheon for all our advocates and supporters, including donors, volunteers, law enforcement, social service representatives, members of the Judiciary, County Commissioners, and Board of Directors. With
Itâ€™s almost time to lace up those running shoes and line up at the starting line! Join MCAP for the 29th Annual Run for the Hill of It on July 30, 2016 at 8:30am at Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park in Chestnut Hill. Grab your sneakers and join people of all ages who want to help abused and neglected children by exercising! The MCAP Run for the Hill of It is a USATF-sanctioned and certified 5 mile course along lovely tree-lined Fairmount Park beside the Wissahickon Creek, and the 1 mile walk is a family-friendly event providing a scenic view of the beautiful landscape at Fairmount Park. This year TEAMS are welcome to join in the event! Prizes are awarded to the overall male, female, and master racers teams as well as the top three winners in all other age groups. Make a difference and enter either the 5 mile run or 1 mile walk. To register and find more information about the race, go to www.mcapkids.org. Not a runner? Join us as a volunteer and help us prepare for the race on race day. If you are unable to participate on race day, consider being a sponsor. Contact MCAP for sponsorship information. You canâ€™t lose. Just participate! For more information, call Mary Pugh at 610-279-1219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUMMER 2016 27
BOOK REVIEW: Blood Defense by Marcia Clark By Jules J. Mermelstein, Esq.
In which two victims are slashed with a knife in a high-profile, double murder case. Sound familiar? That’s because Blood Defense is written by Marcia Clark. Yes, that Marcia Clark. The former member of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case is now a best-selling author of crime fiction. Blood Defense is Ms. Clark’s latest contribution to criminal justice fiction and was published by Thomas & Mercer in May of 2016. This is the first book I have had the opportunity to read by Ms. Clark. Her first four novels dealt with one character. In Blood Defense, Clark introduces us to Samantha Brinkman. In November, Clark will be publishing Moral Defense which also stars Ms. Brinkman. Samantha is a criminal defense attorney who lands a sensational case. A police detective is accused of murdering two women, one of whom was a celebrity. As one would expect, at different times while reading this book, the reader (as well as Ms. Brinkman who is the narrator) changes their opinion about the defendant’s guilt. I am sure those of you who practice criminal law will find shocking, absolutely shocking, that the defendant maintains his innocence of all charges against him.
Clark, through Samantha, describes the job of a criminal defense attorney: And I don’t have to love the client. I don’t even have to like the client. Sometimes I really hate the client. Doesn’t matter. I’m there to take care of society’s refuse, the ones nobody wants – or ever wanted. And if I have to slash and burn to do it, so be it. When I walk into court, I’m not concerned about justice, the rule of law, or making sure it’s a fair fight. F--- fair. I’m there to protect my client. That’s where my duty begins and ends. (page 22) I was impressed with Clark’s plot lines with twists and turns, some expected, some not. I only have two basic criticisms of this book. My first deals with the climax. I thought the climax was much too convenient to be anywhere close to reality. My second deals with the material after the climax. It was much too long, apparently setting things up for the second Samantha Brinkman novel. Also, we become aware of information after the climax that the narrator knew but did not disclose to the reader until this time. Clark’s writing is interesting and easy to read. I stopped a few times at interesting metaphors and similes that were not trite. Two examples are: “It’d been a grind of a week, and by Friday afternoon I was dragging like a dog on its way to the groomer” (page 22); and, “Even our phone
calls were like crawling naked across a field of broken glass.” (page 135) Clark even brings in current events. When something bad happened in her case that was dominating the news cycle, she commented, “I fell asleep praying that Donald Trump would announce he was planning to become a woman.” (page 156) All in all, Blood Defense is a pleasant weekend read.
Harry Chung, Esq.
Making a Meaningful Change By Barbara Overholser, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA
arry Chung spent 30 years in the world of information technology building a successful career which supported his family of four. But when he was laid-off in 2007, he saw an opportunity to make a meaningful change. “On the Schuylkill Expressway driving home that day, I called my wife and I told her I wanted to go to law school.”
Service Committee, who nominated Mr. Chung for the award. “Mr. Chung has helped Koreanspeaking clients in diverse cases ranging from bankruptcy and powers of attorney to custody. His work with low-income members of Montgomery County’s Korean-speaking community has had an instrumental impact on overcoming the language barrier between LASP’s staff attorneys or other volunteers, and the people we serve,” he adds.
Over the years, Mr. Chung, who emigrated from South Korea just after he finished college, had developed a network of relationships with Korean students who were studying in this country, some of whom had legal troubles. “I thought that if I became a lawyer I could help them in significant ways, so I was thinking about a career change for a while.” He saw this opportunity, as an adult in his 50s, as his “last chance.” On his first day at Rutgers School of Law – Camden, he received what he recalls was the best advice from his professor— treat school just like your work. So he did just that, spending 60 hours a week in classes and in the library. While a law student he externed for Judge Jerome B. Simandle who currently sits as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. “One day, Judge Simandle told me how poorly immigrants were represented in the court system. That really left an indelible mark. So I decided to become a lawyer to represent these immigrants, and especially Korean immigrants.” Mr. Chung was recently honored with the Montgomery Bar Association’s Pro Bono Volunteer Award for his work with Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP) on behalf of the Korean community in Montgomery County which has the largest Korean population in the state. “Harry Chung exemplifies the spirit of public service, and his work has been invaluable,” says Michael Kelley, Esq., LASP’s Montgomery County Pro Bono Coordinator and chair of the Montgomery Bar Association Legal Aid/Pro Bono
Receiving the award was an unexpected gift for Mr. Chung. “I don’t think I deserve anything,” he says. “I do this because I love it. The people I help — they don’t have any place to go. And when they tell me how grateful they are, that’s my reward.” Changing your career and starting from scratch when you reach 50 might seem like it would be a formidable challenge, but Mr. Chung says that wasn’t the case. “IT work is all logic, and legal argument is the same thing. In both fields you’re trying to find the most reasonable path to the solution.” His family and legal colleagues also helped aid a successful transition. “I am eternally grateful to my wife,” he says. “I also wouldn’t be here without the support of Michele Nuciglio, Director of Pro Bono Services at South Jersey Legal Services where I worked before I started law school, and the judges that I worked for — Judge Simandle and Judge Schuck in Camden Court. They were great mentors and encouraged greatly.” And while “becoming a lawyer in my late 50s means there is little chance of making big money,” Mr. Chung says, he find the other rewards more meaningful. “Things were predestined for me to do this kind of work,” he says, “and I feel proud to help.”
SUMMER 2016 29
By Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq.
long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, conveniences like electronic filings and online docket searches didn’t exist. Slowly, the big, handwritten docket books faded away and court systems, led by Montgomery County, began to digitize their data, initiate electronic filing, publish websites and facilitate online searches. Slowly, these improvements matured and the practice of law has been forever changed. With the implementation of Wi-Fi in the Courthouse (and, in the future, 321 Swede St. and DRS at One Montgomery Plaza) we now have the tools to enhance our productivity and streamline these services. The current Wi-Fi system is much improved from previous systems and works throughout the courthouse. It is free, requires only a simple registration to implement, and allows you to take advantage of the wonders of the internet even when spending the day in court. I regularly use my iPad (but you can use any tablet, laptop or devise of your choice) to access documents and files in court. I print and pre-mark my trial exhibits, but I stopped bringing most of my paper files with me; instead, I use Dropbox for my cloud storage or you can use iCloud (Apple) or One Drive (Microsoft). I suggest paying the nominal fee to upgrade the storage and avoid running out of space. The free storage is fine for personal use, but for your practice files, it is important not to be caught off-guard. All my practice files and documents are synced between Dropbox and my desktop. This allows me to access the “Smith” documents anywhere I happen to need them — office, home or court — as long as I have use of Wi-Fi. Additionally, Dropbox allows you to select files for offline access in the event you cannot use Wi-Fi. Remember to scan any document you want to use on a regular basis. In addition to conveniently accessing your documents and files, you can also transfer them via email attachment to opposing counsel or the court if needed. I even have a work-around to get documents printed in the event I need copies (ask me in person and I might be persuaded to tell you). This has allowed me to have large files such as tax returns, briefs, cases, etc., stored and accessible without carrying two or three trial bags.
Our county (and therefore our Court/Judicial) websites have been redesigned several times and the current version represents a significant improvement from those of the past. The electronic filing system is updated regularly and the usability and responsiveness today maintains our county lead in this department. I bookmark the Electronic Filing login page on my desktop and in my Favorites within my browser to expedite the process. The submission couldn’t be easier and after a few filings you should be able to do it without thought. I strongly suggest you take advantage of the convenience and learn how to file electronically. Even if you normally use a secretary, knowing how to file electronically may be necessary some night, weekend or whenever you are without secretarial help. I also bookmark (desktop and browser) the Docket Search page for quick review of matters and retrieval of filings, orders, etc. Here is a tip to save you time: When you get an email that a filing has been made in one of your matters, select the supplied link, login and scroll to the filing you wish to see. You are permitted one viewing. Select the docket entry and view the document. You will see a screen that has a series of icons across the top of the page. Next, on the right side, you will see a printer icon. Select it and the document will print. Next to it, on the right, is a page icon. Select it and it will open up a PDF of the document. Go to your browser menu bar, select save as, save the file to your client’s folder on your office computer and you now have a PDF of the document that you can print, file or mail (to your client) at your leisure. Saves time and money. Remember to poke around the new website pages. They contain forms, rules and information that were never available before. You can even start a DRS file online. If you have any questions or comments, let me know and I will try to help. Remember all county departments have pages on the website. I want to announce and remind everyone that the MBA is instituting Bits, Bytes & Bites Live at the MBA Building in July. Come enjoy a box lunch, join in a lively discussion, learn tricks and tips, and get answers to technology questions you were afraid to ask. All are welcome! Look for further information from the MBA coming soon.
Federal Judges Visit MBA for CLE and Reception
n Wednesday, June 1, the MBA provided an incredible opportunity for its members: U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit Judge D. Michael Fisher, along with an esteemed panel of judges and practitioners, presented a review of the impact of the Supreme Court decisions from the 2014-2015 term, as well as a preview of the cases before the Court in 2015-2016. The panel included the Honorable Theodore McKee, Chief Judge of the Third Circuit; the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker, Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the Honorable Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; the Honorable Mark A. Kearney, Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Colin Oâ€™Boyle, Esq., of Elliott Greenleaf, P.C.; and Nancy Conrad, Esq., of White and Williams LLP. Over 60 members took advantage of the opportunity to learn from 5 federal judges in our very own Bar building. Sponsored by the PBA Federal Practice Committee in partnership with the MBA Federal Court Committee, this extraordinary event included a cocktail reception immediately following the informative presentation, giving fortunate attendees the rare opportunity to chat with the distinguished guests, who graciously shared wisdom and stories from the trenches. The evening was praised by all, and represents the epitome of what the MBA stands for: continual learning, professional excellence, and warm collegiality.
Pictured above (from left to right): Co-Chairs of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Federal Practice Committee Colin Oâ€™Boyle, Esq., Elliott Greenleaf, P.C., and Nancy Conrad, Esq., White and Williams LLP; Hon. Theodore A. McKee; Hon. D. Michael Fisher; Hon. Mark A. Kearney; Hon. Christopher C. Conner.
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Annual Dinner Dance
April 15, 2016 | Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel
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Annual Memorial Service
2016 Memorial Service Speakers (From left to right): James M. Jacquette, Esq., Hon. William T. Nicholas, Theodore H. Swan, Jr., Esq., Joseph C. De Maria, Esq., James C. Sommar, Esq., MBA President Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., Adam D. Zucker, Esq., Craig J. Fleischmann, Esq., Lee F. Mauger, Esq., State Representative Catherine M. Harper, Esq.
The MBA held its Annual Memorial Service on April 1, 2016 in Courtroom â€œAâ€? of the Montgomery County Court House. Members of the Bench and Bar in Montgomery County took time to celebrate the lives of those members who passed away in 2015. The ceremony was led by President Judge William J. Furber, Jr. and included inspirational Memorial Minutes given by members of the Bench, Bar and invited guests. Following an introduction by MBA President Carolyn R. Mirabile, the following members were honored (in alphabetical order):
Richard A. Berlinger, Esq. Memorial Minute by Theodore H. Swan, Jr., Esq. The Honorable Lawrence A. Brown Memorial Minute by the Honorable William T. Nicholas Lindley M. Cowperthwait, Jr., Esq. Memorial Minute by Adam D. Zucker, Esq. Eric J. Cox, Esq. Memorial Minute by Craig J. Fleischmann, Esq. Rosemary McCarron Flanner, Esq. Memorial Minute by State Representative Catherine M. Harper, Esq. John F. Gaffney, Esq. Memorial Minute by Herman J. Weinrich, Esq. Richard B. Hardt, Esq. Memorial Minute by Joseph C. De Maria, Esq. John P. Knox, Esq. Memorial Minute by James M. Jacquette, Esq. L. Stanley Mauger, Esq. Memorial Minute by Lee F. Mauger, Esq. George W. Tracy, Esq. Memoriam Minute by James C. Sommar, Esq.
The Young LawyerS Section: At the Head and the Heart of the MBA T
he Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the MBA is as busy and engaged as ever, organizing opportunities for the heads and the hearts of members in the form of rewarding service opportunities, compelling CLEs, and, of course, the ever-popular free summer happy hour series. Young or…seasoned…there is a place for everyone at the YLS sponsored events.
Continuing Legal Education: Throughout the first half of 2016, the Young Lawyers Section brought to the MBA a series of practical, fascinating CLEs which were beneficial to attorneys across the spectrum of experience. The 4-part series, Tips from the Bench, was presented by the Honorable Carolyn Carluccio, The Honorable Richard Haaz, and the Honorable Gail Weilheimer, and moderated by former YLS Chair, Colin O’Boyle. Attendees enjoyed the invaluable opportunity to learn various aspects of a successfully presented case — such as the use of evidence, appropriate courtroom demeanor, adherence to ethical rules, and courtroom technology — from experienced members of the Bench who are in the trenches every day.
Community Outreach: Part of what makes the YLS – and indeed the MBA at-large so special is a true commitment to giving back. The YLS, which began the year by performing a Day of Service on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, has expanded their commitment by designating May as a month of service. Volunteers helped serve at Grace & Cecil Bean’s Soup Kitchen on Saturdays May 14 and May 28, and collected Giant Supermarket gift cards to donate to the soup kitchen throughout the month. Several YLS members also attended the Norristown Youth Rally, sponsored by the Norristown Police Athletic League (see article on p. 10). As part of ongoing efforts to connect with the community, educate them about our services, and help demystify the practice of law, representatives of the MBA, and in particular the Young Lawyers Section, attended the event, where they interacted with members of the community, answered questions, and put a friendly face on a legal profession so often perceived as frightening to those in need of its help.
Collegiality: Of course, the Young Lawyers of the MBA are also known for their ability to let loose a bit in the midst of all the hard work they do. This summer, the YLS continued the popular Summer Happy Hour Series, sponsoring free appetizers and drinks for all interested members as they meet to relax and connect outside of THE Bar… in various other bars and restaurants throughout Montgomery County. They kicked off the series at the MBA on June 9, met at the Brick House Tavern & Tap in Willow Grove on July 7, and plan to meet at the Bahama Breeze in King of Prussia on July 21, and the Stove & Tap in Lansdale on August 11. Consider joining them as they embrace the unique and fruitful relationships that grow from membership within the MBA. The Young Lawyers Section also distributed free bottles of water and muffins to Villanova Law students during finals week. James Hendershot manned the table and provided much-needed refreshment and information about our law school student membership. The Young Lawyers Section speaks to the heads and hearts of all who join in their many endeavors. Congratulations to officers of the YLS (Lindette Hassan, Chair; Aimee Kumer, Vice-Chair; Lindsay Hanifan Childs, Secretary; and Michael Lyon, Treasurer) and to all its members on continuing to demonstrate the best of what the MBA has to offer.
SUMMER 2016 35
MEMBERS in the News Victim Services Center of Montgomery County presented Hon. Kelly C.Wall with the VSC Leadership Award during its annual awards luncheon at Normandy Farms in Blue Bell on May 22, 2016. Judge Wall received the award in recognition of her work with the county in the implementation of the Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act, which extends the ability of the courts to grant orders of protection to victims of sexual violence. High Swartz LLP is pleased to announce a major expansion by merging with McNamara, Bolla, & Panzer in Doylestown, PA. The combined firms will maintain the name High Swartz LLP. All nine attorneys and five staff members from McNamara, Bolla & Panzer have joined High Swartz and will continue to work from their existing Doylestown office while the firm will remain headquartered in Norristown. Fort Washington-based law firm Timoney Knox, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Andrea R. Procton as an associate attorney in the Insurance Industry Group, where she focuses on commercial and insurance litigation. Jonathan Peri was inaugurated as Ninth President of Manor College, April 21. 2016. He has garnered several awards and honors including the Widener University School of Law Outstanding Service Award and the Upper Darby Community Outreach Corporation’s Person of the Year. He is a past President of the Delaware County Bar Association. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that Joseph J. McGrory, Jr., Esq., was appointed Solicitor for East Whiteland Township, Chester County on April 4, 2016. The firm currently represents 39 different municipal entities in six different counties. Gregory R. Gifford, a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., has been named by fellow Pennsylvania lawyers as a 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer as published in the May issue of Philadelphia Magazine and the annual May publication of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. Mr. Gifford currently serves as Treasurer of the Montgomery Bar Association. David N. Hofstein, a shareholder in the domestic relations firm of Hofstein Weiner & Meyer, P.C., was the moderator of a panel which spoke on April 6 before the Family Law Section of the Montgomery County Bar Association on the practical aspects of a custody evaluation from the different perspectives of a judge, an evaluator and a lawyer. R. Emmett Madden is proud to announce his recent appointment by Chairman Josh Shapiro to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is a group of Pennsylvania’s top experts on criminal justice issues including Judges, Justices, police chiefs and heads of many of the most important criminal justice agencies (probation officers, district attorneys and public defenders). The Crime Commission makes recommendations to the governor and legislature regarding important issues facing all citizens. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that attorneys Lisa A. Shearman,William G. Roark and Andrew P. Grau have been elected to partnership in the firm. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is also pleased to announce that William G. Roark was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties. Legal Aid’s mission is “to provide quality legal representation to low-income and vulnerable people in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery County, to empower them to solve problems without legal representation through legal education and increased access to the courts, and to change community practices and systems that cause or aggravate poverty.” Robert A. Korn, of Kaplin Stewart located in Blue Bell, PA, was recently appointed to the American Arbitration Association’s newly formed Master Mediator Panel for construction cases. He is one of five attorneys in Pennsylvania selected to serve on this panel. The American Arbitration Association formed this Panel to address the requests of its users to provide a panel of experienced mediators capable of resolving large, complex construction disputes. Marc Robert Steinberg, a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., has been named by fellow Pennsylvania lawyers for the thirteenth consecutive time as a 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. This was announced in the May issue of Philadelphia Magazine and the annual May publication of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. Mr. Steinberg is a Past President of the Montgomery Bar Association. Michael Drossner, principal of Drossner Law, P.C., has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors. The five-member, volunteer Board oversees the township budget and all aspects of operations including police, fire, zoning, code enforcement, parks and recreation, and public works. Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C., with offices in Blue Bell and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is pleased to announce that seven of its attorneys have been selected as 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers – Gregg I. Adelman for Land Use/Zoning, Andrew B. Cohn for
Construction Litigation, Mohammad A. Ghiasuddin for Business Litigation, Marc B. Kaplin for Land Use/Zoning, Robert A. Korn for Construction Litigation, William J. Levant for Creditor Debtor Rights and Joshua C. Quinter for Construction Litigation. In addition, Jessica A. Kubisiak has been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2016. Fairlie & Lippy, P.C., a Montgomery County Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Firm, is pleased to announce that Managing Partner Steven F. Fairlie has been named to Super Lawyers’ list this year. Mr. Fairlie has also been named to both the Top 100 Lawyers in Philadelphia and the Top 100 Lawyers in Pennsylvania for the fourth year in a row. Frank A. Mazzeo finished his term as Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, in May. He also recently established the Bucks County Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section and is its inaugural Chair. Mr. Mazzeo is a founding partner in Ryder, Lu, Mazzeo & Konieczny, LLC, an intellectual property boutique law firm with offices in Colmar, PA and Plymouth Meeting, PA. The Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley have expanded and have opened a second office in Wayne, PA. Ms. Riley has also been named a 2016 Rising Star by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Magazine, and as published in Philadelphia Magazine. The Rising Star distinction is an honor awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania. This is the fifth consecutive year that Ms. Riley has been awarded this honor. Marc D. Jonas, Julie L.Von Spreckelsen and Michael E. Peters have been recognized by ChambersUSA 2016 edition in the field of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use. This comprehensive list is published annually by Chambers and Partners, a United Kingdom-based legal publisher. For the third consecutive year, Mr. Jonas has been named Leaders in Their Field in the 2016 Directory. Mr.Jonas serves as co-chairs of the firm’s real estate, land use and zoning practice group. Ms. Von Spreckelsen has been named a Noted Practitioner and Mr. Peters has been named an Associate to Watch in the Directory. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin is pleased to announce that attorney Lisa A. Shearman has been elected to the Board of Directors and as a Vice President of the Wills for Heroes Foundation. The Wills for Heroes Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization, provides estate planning legal documents at no cost to eligible emergency first responders and their families in the United States, in addition to other support, services, financial assistance and supplies. John H. Filice, a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. has been named a 2016 Rising Star as published in the May issue of Philadelphia
Magazine. Only 2.5 % of Pennsylvania attorneys receive this honor. This is the seventh year Mr. Filice has received this award. The law firm of Yergey Daylor Allebach Scheffey Picardi announced that Gregory W. Philips, a partner in the firm’s Pottstown Office, has rejoined the firm after a 10 month deployment with the United States Navy. Philips, who is a navy reservist assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Twenty Seven, deployed to Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned as the Office in Charge of a 195-person detachment of SEABEEs. He joined Yergey Daylor Allebach Scheffey Picardi as an associate in 2005, after a previous deployment with the U.S. Navy. Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. in Pottstown, PA announced that two of their attorneys have been named to the list of top attorneys in Pennsylvania for 2016 as published by Super Lawyers magazine. Levi S.Wolf was renamed in the practice area of Workers’ Compensation; Julie J. Marburger was named as a “Rising Star” in the area of Family Law.
Appeals and Briefs Anthony J. Vetrano
610.265.4441 630 Freedom Business Center Drive, Suite 215 King of Prussia, PA 19406 TonyVetrano@VetranoLaw.com www.PennsylvaniaAppealsLawyer.com
SUMMER 2016 37
When Disaster Strikes, One Call Can Make the Difference By Ira L. Straff
Your client is on the phone… There’s been a devastating fire, and they don’t know what to do. Or maybe it’s damage from a structural collapse, a storm, ice and snow, a burst water pipe, or some other cause. Whatever the disaster, they’re turning to you for advice.
Under the weight of snow and ice, roofs can collapse, gutters can pull free, and trees can break and fall, damaging the roof, walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture. Less visible, ice dams can cause water to seep through roofing material and damage a building’s interior.
The first thing they have to know is that every second counts: they need an expert at the site immediately! Damage needs to be assessed and documented properly.
A lightning strike can cause a fire, leading to smoke and water damage and additional related losses. Lightning can also travel through the electrical system and fixtures, causing extensive damage to electronics, appliances and the property’s physical structure.
Public adjusters are coverage experts who work for you and your client—not for the insurance company. As part of your team, they can offer guidance and assistance in assessing damages and preparing insurance claim forms and support documentation. Advice from a public adjuster can ensure that correct decisions are being made, which can help to maximize your client’s recovery. Here are some important issues that a public adjuster can resolve: When fire and smoke or other disasters strike, insurance company adjusters are trained to keep settlements to a minimum. As a result, the actual cost to repair the damaged property can be higher than the insurance company’s estimate, often by thousands of dollars. Several types of storm damage are limited or excluded from many insurance policies. An investigation of the cause and a thorough analysis of your coverage can make a big difference in the recovery. The source of water damage is just as important as the extent of the damage. Many policies exclude some types of water damage: burst, frozen or blocked pipes; faulty appliances; sewage; even rainwater might not be covered. Public adjusters can decipher the fine print. 38 SIDEBAR
Conshohocken lawyer Adam Zucker points out: “A competent public adjuster versed in insurance and construction is invaluable. Knowing where to look for hidden damage can make all the difference in dealing with a client’s property damage claim.” Observes Robert A. Bacine, a Jenkintown attorney: “A competent public adjuster protects the insured’s interests, moving to quickly and thoroughly assess damages, losses and legal rights outlined by the policy, thus efficiently bringing a case to settlement.” Most people don’t realize how difficult and time-consuming the claims process can be, especially if you’re not there on the front line yourself. It’s always better to be proactive and preemptive—by immediately retaining a reputable, knowledgeable public adjuster. Your clients will thank you for it. Ira L. Straff is principal partner of IAB, the Insurance Adjustment Bureau, Inc., public adjusters located in Bala Cynwyd and in business since 1964.
UPCOMING MBA EVENTS
FREE CLE Credits for Legal Aid Pro Bono Volunteers PBI, PBA and PLAN are pleased to honor Pennsylvania pro bono volunteers with the release of 10 one-hour free CLE videos offering training for lawyers taking a pro bono case from Legal Aid. These ten videos allow pro bono volunteers to get free online CLE from the comfort of their office desks while gaining valuable insight into a variety of common pro bono matters. The videos were produced by PBI in partnership with the PBA and PLAN. LASP Pro Bono Volunteers receive ONE free ethics credit course just for signing up! As you take on each case for LASP, you are able to take advantage of additional credits. When you have completed the case, the LASP Pro Bono Coordinator in your County will forward you another code. List of 10 free one-hour CLEs for pro bono volunteers: Helping a Client Expunge a Criminal Record Nuts & Bolts of Handling Your Pro Bono Case Representing the Tenant in Landlord Disputes Representing a Client with Consumer Credit Problems Utility Shut-Off Cases Effectively Handling Your Immigration Client Unique Domestic Relations Issues with a Party in the Armed Forces Representing a Party in a Protection From Abuse Case ABCs of Handling a Child or Spousal Support Case Itâ€™s easier and more rewarding than ever to use your expertise to help those most in need! Contact Nancy Walsh at email@example.com or 610-994-3663 for more information.
January 2016 - April 2016 August 2, 2016
Old vs. Young Lawyers Softball Game Norristown Area High School
September 23 - 25, 2016 Bench Bar Conference Skytop Lodge, Skytop, PA
October 28, 2016
Annual Membership Dinner Location TBD
November 10, 2016 Delaware Valley Legal Expo Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel
Visit MBACLE.org for the latest schedule of upcoming CLEs. Visit montgomerybar.org for the latest schedule of events and to register for any of the above-mentioned events.
Spanish & European Language Services International, Cultural & Political Consulting
Dr. Peter Brampton Koelle
J.D. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PH.D. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 1.610.328.3215 firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.google.com/profiles/peterbramptonkoelle SUMMER 2016 39
Your client’s claim really begins...
…before the smoke clears.
…before the water dries.
…before the storm subsides.
Call IAB before bad gets worse.
Disaster hits fast, hard and without mercy. If your client’s property is damaged, every second and every dollar counts. Insurance companies move quickly to protect their interests, and so should you on your client’s behalf. Your first call should be to IAB, the Insurance Adjustment Bureau. We work for the policyholder, dealing directly with insurance companies, handling the paperwork, advising and assisting with policy interpretation, estimates, appraisals, inventories, loss documentation, claim filing, and negotiations. Most importantly, we expedite the settlement and make sure your client receives every penny to which they’re entitled. When disaster stikes, call us – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Because, even before the smoke clears, the water dries or the storm subsides, we help pick up the pieces. Call 24/7/365 800.441.7109 toll free or 610.667.1617
Or visit iabclaims.com
Insurance Adjustment Bureau, Inc. Public Adjusters
Insurance Adjustment Burea Public Adjusters
© 2016 Insurance Adjustment Bureau, Inc. IAB logo Reg. T.M., Call us before bad gets worse. and Call IAB before bad gets worse. T.M., Insurance Adjustment Bureau, Inc. All rights reserved.
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