Sidebar Winter 2016-17

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Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA


WINTER 2016-17

Giving THE


In this issue... Committee Spotlights Community Outreach Committee Dedicates Artwork to Family Court MBA Hits the Road


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Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA

Magazine SIDEBAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS Co-Chairs Gary J. Friedlander, Esq. Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Regular columnists: Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. Jack Costello Jim Mathias


In Every Issue :

4 Outgoing President’s Message 6 Incoming President’s Message 12 Montgomery Bar Foundation 26 Bits & Bytes 28 Book Review 32 Wiretaps 33 Upcoming Events

Jules J. Mermelstein, 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: 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


Features : 8 Montgomery County Legal Community Takes Giving to New Heights 11 Young Lawyers Giving Back 13 State Representative Kate Harper Receives Margaret Richardson Award 14 Bench Bar 2016 16 Francis Recchuiti Named MBA’s Trial Lawyer of the Year 17 “Thanks a Latte” MBA Takes to the Road for Pro Bono Month 18 Opportunity Abounds: Section and Committee Engagement at the MBA 21 William Shimer Looks Back on 40 Years at Legal Aid 22 Sixth Annual MCAP Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Silent Auction 23 Hon. Thomas M. Del Ricci Honored by St. Joseph’s University 24 Annual Membership Dinner 27 USI Affinity: Cyber Crimes - Yes, They Do Happen to Small Firms 29 Past Presidents Dinner 30 Legal Expo 2016 31 Community Outreach Committee Dedicates Artwork to Montgomery County Family Court 34 Holiday Parties

Eric B. Smith, Esq., President Mary C. Pugh, Esq., President-Elect Gregory R. Gifford, Esq., Vice President Patrick J. Kurtas, Esq., Treasurer Jacqueline M. Reynolds, Esq., Secretary

SIDEBAR Magazine is published by Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2921 Windmill Road, Reading, PA 19608 | | 610.685.0914 FOR ADVERTISING INFO CONTACT: Sherry Bollinger, 610-685-0914 x202, Karen Zach, 484-924-9911,




Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq. Montgomery Bar Association 2016 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


s my year as President of the Montgomery Bar Association comes to a close I have so many wonderful memories. The retreat in February was the beginning of our changes to the Lawyer Referral Service and Modest Means Legal Access Program. Changes were well thought out and discussed by our Board of Directors. The Bar now has a new program which will provide our members better benefits and the public better legal services. April brought a wonderfully attended Annual Dinner Dance at a new venue which was very well received. The summer started with the Legal Aid Golf Classic which was a success and ended with the Bench Bar at Skytop. I heard so many wonderful comments from both the Bench and members of the Bar about the amazing time they had at Skytop hiking, playing golf or enjoying the fabulous outside dinner, dessert party and Quizzo. In November we enjoyed another evening of fun at the Annual Membership Dinner where we honored our Retiring President Judge William J. Furber, Jr. for his years of service. Of course I enjoyed the Board of Director’s Meeting each month and will continue to support the Bar any way I can in the future. Our Bar has so many programs to be proud of and for which we have won statewide recognition. Our ability to always be the leader and in the forefront is certainly due in part to our Executive Director Nancy Paul and the staff of the Bar Association. We continue to lead the battle against sales tax for legal services, written publications for legal journals and alternatives to online legal services. Our input as a Bar on legislative


issues has always been well respected by other Bar Associations throughout the Commonwealth and followed by other Bar leaders. We continue to set the example for our initiatives. I don’t know how I could possibly thank my fellow Officers for all of their support and thoughtful input throughout the year. Eric Smith, Mary Pugh, Greg Gifford and Patrick Kurtas all took their roles very seriously. I am lucky to not only have shared a professional relationship with them but I will forever consider them as my friends who made me feel special in my year as President.

Although I have received support from so many Bar members and the Bench I also want to thank my husband, Rick, and my two children, Gabriella and Christopher, who waited long hours for me to come home so I could both work as a family law attorney and be President of the Bar. I want to thank Weber Gallagher for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be a leader of such an amazing organization. I will always continue to be active in the Bar and I will enjoy my year as the Immediate Past-President. But nothing will ever replace the wonderful memories as President of the Montgomery Bar Association.

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Eric B. Smith, Esq. Montgomery Bar Association 2017 President


he single greatest professional decision a lawyer can make is to join his or her county’s bar association. After my swearing in as an attorney in 1998, the Honorable Samuel W. Salus, II, the Judge for whom I served as a Law Clerk, immediately said “now you have to join the Montgomery Bar Association.” That statement of encouragement to join the MBA has carried with me now for almost 20 years. That statement spread a message to me that joining was an important act, maybe an act of critical importance. As it turns out, Judge Salus’ statement of encouragement to join the MBA has brought me here today as the Association’s 132nd President. While becoming a member is of critical importance, there is no reason to stop at just joining. The Montgomery Bar Association offers a single place to network, learn, give, teach, lead and socialize. With so many opportunities, members can tailor make their involvement to meet their needs. The Association is the one place to connect. Formally, in 2017, the Association is comprised of four Sections and 58 Committees. This is the backbone of the Association. Through Sections and Committees, members teach CLE, engage speakers, or exchange practice tips and solutions. Sections and Committees are instrumental in reviewing, commenting and recommending the MBA’s position on proposed legislation and court rules. New for 2017 is the Solo/Small Firm Committee. Solo and small firms make up the largest number of our members, and this new Committee will be a forum to exchange ideas and troubleshoot the issues that arise in a small practice. The Association offers new members a Bar Guide, to continue to make the MBA and its events a welcoming place for all members. The list of top-notch events hosted by the MBA is seemingly endless: the Annual Business Luncheon, Dinner Dance, the Memorial Service, Law Day, Mock Trials, the Legal Aid Golf Classic, Bench Bar Conference (The Otesaga, Cooperstown, NY – 2017), Legal Expo, Annual Membership Dinner, CLE nearly daily, Family Law Section Holiday Party, Young Lawyer Happy Hours, and the list goes on. We have created the Leadership Academy, now in its third year, to bring together a select group of attorneys from varied backgrounds to not only prepare the Association’s next generation of leaders, but to also teach skills that may be applied in any legal career. The Diversity 1L Program, conceived by our esteemed late Past President, Robert E. Slota, Jr., opens our Association to diversity by placement of diverse 1L students among participating law firms. Now entering its ninth year, the 1L Program is the centerpiece of the MBA’s commitment to diversity. The Academy and the 1L Program are perhaps the two biggest catalysts that will allow our Association to adapt to the membership challenges that face all voluntary associations nationally. Revamped in 2016, the MBA Lawyer Referral Service and Modest Means Legal Access Program aim to efficiently connect those who need legal services with our members. With the rise of “robo-lawyers,” national legal form services, internet law, non-bar related referral services, all of our practices are under assault through a concerted effort to send our clients elsewhere. Our revamped services will stem that tide, and provide an important source of clients to our lawyer referral attorneys. Informally, the MBA provides a network of both professional and social relationships. From teaching CLE together, or attending Bar dinners over the years, or imbibing at a Young Lawyer Happy Hour, or coming together annually at the Memorial Service, the MBA brings lawyers together, fosters the building of relationships, and forges civility among us.


Nor is it merely a coincidence that the person who encouraged me to join the Association was a judge of our Court of Common Pleas. The relationship fostered between our members and the Bench is a remarkable attribute of practice within Montgomery County. I speak for the Association when I say to our Court, if we are needed, call upon us, and we will be there. For Young Lawyers and our Law Student Members, I have found over my time with the MBA that there is no shortage of opportunities to be mentored, to observe and learn. Formal mentoring is almost oxymoronic. Mentoring is not an assignment, and results cannot be measured. I have had many mentors; I believe none of them knew they were mentoring me. I still do. Past Bar Presidents, Judges, Partners at various firms, Civil and Criminal Lawyers, each of them have imparted upon me part of the fabric of the practice of law. Take full advantage of the collective wisdom of our Membership, ask the question, do the work, be civil, listen, observe, and where appropriate, emulate. For the Young Lawyer and Law Student Member, there is no greater opportunity for professional development. Through the MBA’s charitable arm, the Montgomery Bar Foundation, our Members may support access to justice and be recognized for continued giving, through the Fellows Program. The Foundation supports an array of causes which provides the underserved, impoverished, forgotten, and children, our most vulnerable citizens, access to justice. Go to www.montgomerybarfoundation. org for more information about the Fellows Program. Our members also give countless hours, whether through their own volunteer efforts, or through MCAP, Legal Aid, the Women’s Center, Laurel House, Wills for Heroes, or any other of a number of charitable causes. See our featured “Giving Issue” article on p. 8. As I embark as the Association’s President, I ask you to join and renew your membership, be active, and encourage your associates and colleagues to invest in the opportunities which only the Montgomery Bar Association can provide. Be connected with us.

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Montgomery County Legal Community

Takes Giving to New Heights


embers of the Montgomery County legal community are often characterized by their work ethic,

intelligence, confidence and drive. What some may not realize is that this community is also abundant in generosity, compassion and a

David Dormont, Esq. Mr. Dormont’s family hosted a Syrian refugee family for Thanksgiving Dinner through the HIAS organization, which helps refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.

genuine desire to give. It is a community rich in a culture of giving. While the holidays are always a time for those with altruistic impulses to reach out to those less fortunate, most members of the MBA make this a practice throughout the year. Here are just some of the ways that our members, firms and others in our legal community have helped take that culture of giving to new heights in 2016: 8 SIDEBAR

The Montgomery County office of Fox Rothschild LLP participated in several events this holiday season to spread joy in the community. To help ensure that local residents in need enjoyed a hearty Thanksgiving meal, the office donated food items in November to package dinner baskets for distribution to Manna on Main Street. The office also hosted a winter coat drive with the Montgomery Bar Association Young Lawyers to support local charities who provide for the less fortunate. In December, the firm’s attorneys and staff participated in the “Holiday Wish List for Teens” for Laurel House of Montgomery County. The office collected an array of gifts to help brighten the holidays of teenaged children facing difficult family situations in the area.


out of a hat and purchased a toy that reflects that firm member. All toys were then donated to Toys for Tots. At the beginning of each year, Friedman Schuman plans and commits to a schedule of charitable events in which it will participate throughout the year. While some of the events are the usual national campaigns, i.e. MS Walk, Toys for Tots, etc., we also try to focus our efforts to the benefit of local residents. To that end, each Thanksgiving we work with the Immaculate Conception Church in Jenkintown and Temple Beth Sholom in Elkins Park to select two families “in need” to receive a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Within the firm we conduct a food drive to solicit food items which are supplemented by cash contributions. The cash contributions are converted into gifts cards to the local Acme. In this way, the recipients of the dinners can supplement what they have received with what they need to complete the meal. The dinners are delivered to the recipient families anonymously on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Marshal Granor, Esq. (Granor & Granor, PC)

Mr. Granor and his wife are co-presidents of the Hebrew Free Loan Society of Greater Philadelphia (HFL), In short, the organization makes no-interest, no-cost loans to members of the Jewish Community who are in need of financial assistance. They make loans, and not gifts, because of the rabbinic concept of giving others a hand up, not a handout. Maimonides taught about eight levels of charity (actually called “Tzedakah,” which means righteousness, justice or fairness) with the highest level of charity being to lend money to help others start a business or otherwise become self-sufficient. Bernard Granor, Marshal’s father and fellow member of the Montgomery Bar Association, is a founder of HFL and served as president for 20 years. All loans require credit-worthy guarantors. Traditional loans are granted up to $7,500 and business loans are up to $15,000 and are reviewed and given with strict confidentiality, again following in the Jewish tradition of helping the needy to keep their dignity. HLF lends in Philadelphia and the immediately surrounding Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties. They recently began a non-sectarian fund to assist new or evolving businesses.

High Swartz’s Norristown office was a Toys for Tots drop off location. In addition, they coordinated a firm-wide Toys for Tots Pollyanna. Participants chose a name of a firm member

Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy & O’Connell in Huntingdon Valley continues to provide holiday gifts for the children of a needy family each year. The firm’s office is located in the far southeastern corner of Montgomery County and many clients and staff have roots in Bucks County. Many years ago, the Bucks County Office of Children & Youth asked local companies and law firms to “adopt” a needy family and provide holiday presents for the children. That initial effort has turned into an annual event that started so many years ago, even long-tenured staff find it difficult to remember when it started. Every year in early December an envelope makes its way around the office. Each staff member and attorney is able to make an anonymous contribution. Staff members then take the cash and make a trip to a local department store and go on a shopping spree for the children. OCY provides a wish list and the age for each recipient. In years past, each child “adopted” by the firm has continued on next page >


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

James C. Schwartzman, Esq.

• Chairman, Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania • Former Chairman, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania • Former Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania • Former Chairman, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Account Board • Former Federal Prosecutor • Selected by his peers as one of the top 100 Super Lawyers in PA and the top 100 Super Lawyers in Philadelphia • Named by his peers as Best Lawyers in America 2015 Philadelphia Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law “Lawyer of the Year,” and in Plaintiffs and Defendants Legal Malpractice Law 1818 Market Street, 29th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 751-2863 WINTER 2016-17 9


Montgomery County Legal Community

Takes Giving to New Heights continued from page 9 received a collection of age appropriate toys, puzzles, and books along with any needed items such as clothing, coats, shoes, etc. “Gift Wrapping” is a scheduled event on many staff calendars and is a fun and rewarding gathering in the firm lunchroom. The staff and attorneys take pride and satisfaction in being able to continue this honored tradition and help those less fortunate by providing joy to others at this special time of year.

Law Offices of James V. Monaghan Mr. Monaghan collected for Toys for Tots during the holidays.

The attorneys and staff at Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer LLP engage in philanthropic activities throughout the year. As in previous years, Kane Pugh has the most lawyer advocates in a firm in Montgomery County serving Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, MCAP, with over twenty active child advocates. In 2016, these child advocates have donated about 800 hours to help abused and neglected children. Proudly, Kane Pugh has also partnered with The Montgomery County Office of Children & Youth to help families at Thanksgiving and Christmas times. Each year, the entire staff participates in a Thanksgiving basket drive by assembling entire Thanksgiving dinners in festive baskets for at least a dozen families to enjoy. Additionally, the entire firm enjoys the holiday spirit by shopping and wrapping gifts for children, teens and adults in many families according to their wish lists. Joyously, the staff packs the first floor rooms with many gifts to be distributed during the holidays. Giving is part of the culture at Kane Pugh as our lawyers and staff give throughout the year in other ways by volunteering with their local communities, clubs and schools.


Keith B. McLennan, Esq. Mr. McLennan serves on the governance committee of the Collegeville Economic Development Corporation as well as a Trustee of the Speaker’s House, a non-profit that has acquired and is restoring the former home of Frederick Muhlenberg, the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, First Signer of the Bill of Rights, Member of the Continental Congress, Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, as depicted by the mural in Court Room A of the Court House which the MBA restored and reinstalled in 2002 (when Mr. McLennan was president of the MBA). Mr. McLennan also serves as the MBA’s sole delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and as the Secretary/Treasurer of the American Counsel Association, a membership of firms from around the world that provides scholarships to financially needy law students to assist them in getting their law degrees so that they can then provide affordable legal services to those less fortunate. He also serves as the court appointed trustee of the Bringhurst Trust in Trappe, PA which is intended to provide housing to single mothers with children. There are many other things Mr. McLennan and his firm do to assist philanthropic enterprises such as representing many non-profit providers to special needs children and families at significantly reduced rates, court appointments in termination of parental rights cases, and free legal services to Boards of Directors of Ambulance Services.

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford’s lawyers and staff continue their long-standing tradition of assisting those in need throughout the year. As the year drew to a close, we had a few charity drives under way. At Thanksgiving, we provided food baskets to needy families served by Keystone Opportunity Center in Souderton. Beginning with the first Wednesday evening after Thanksgiving and each Wednesday evening through December 21st, our firm’s attorneys and support staff “Rang the Bells” for the Norristown Branch of the Salvation Army at Macy’s at the Montgomery Mall. It is hard to believe this was our 11th year “Ringing the Bells.” In addition, we have been adopting families at the holidays for many years and this year was no exception. We adopted three families through CAD-COM of Norristown. We also collected funds for the purchase of gift cards, toys, clothing and food to support those in need through Manna on Main Street in Lansdale, and Keystone Opportunity Center in Souderton. And, last but far

SIDEBAR FEATURE from least, we collected items for needy pets which were donated to Last Chance Ranch in Quakertown.

Throughout 2016, the attorneys and staff at Timoney Knox have consistently given their support to approximately 30 different organizations. We proudly support the efforts of our Upper Dublin community. We have assisted with food and monetary collections for The Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard, sponsorship of Coffee With A Cop for the Upper Dublin Police Department, sponsorship of the Fort Washington Fire Company No. 1, Ambler Arts & Music Festival and Community Ambulance Association of Ambler. We go beyond our neighborhood by backing and assisting the incredible work of Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), Wills For Heroes, Kelly Ann Dolan Memorial Fund, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, Women’s Center of Montgomery County, On Your Marc – Small Steps in Speech and Abramson Cancer Center, as well as several school foundations.

Warren & McGraw, LLC collected toy donations during the holiday season at their Blue Bell firm.

Wisler Pearlstine takes great pride in supporting numerous charitable and non-profit organizations throughout the year. During the 2016 holiday season, the attorneys and staff of Wisler Pearlstine again donated new toys to help over 400 children in need at the Daily Bread Community Food Pantry in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. Throughout 2016, Wisler Pearlstine was integral in supporting organizations ranging from the Montgomery Bar Foundation, and Legal Aid and Courting Art, to local Education Foundations, the Golden Slipper Club and Charities, the Devereux Foundation, the Nello Memorial Committee, the Variety Club, Relay-for-Life, and many, many more. The firm again participated in Lee National Denim Day, and for the third consecutive year, saluted the men and women of our country’s armed forces through the Girl Scouts of America’s Cookies for the Troops Program. Wisler Pearlstine’s attorneys and staff are dedicated volunteers, directors, and board members of over 30 charitable and non-profit organizations in their own communities.


Young Lawyers Giving Back


he Young Lawyers Section of the Montgomery Bar Association is known for a deep commitment to giving back. Year after year, our youngest members demonstrate that any model of true success includes humble, joyful service to others. This holiday season, the YLS once again embraced that model with its usual enthusiasm. The productive group kicked off the season with a successful coat drive in October and November which benefited Laurel House families. As the frosty weather returns, it is nice to know that our members were able to help these families brave it just a little bit easier thanks to our Young Lawyers and other generous members. Never a group to take a break, our charitable young members sponsored a Wills for Heroes event at the Willow Grove Fire Company on November 12. Wills for Heroes programs provide essential legal documents, including wills, living wills and powers of attorney, to first responders, free of charge. Members of our Young Lawyers Section are always among the first to step up to ensure the continued success of this important work. Finally, this never-tiring group ended the year by doing what it does best – combining impactful, much-needed service with a healthy dose of pure joy – as it hosted Laurel House families for a party which included a magic show, gifts from MBA members, and a festive visit from Santa (who looked suspiciously like the most recently-appointed Judge on our County’s Bench…). See photos on p.34. All were able to celebrate the spirit of the season…and the spirit of YLS. Both the evening and the season concluded with a Holiday party open to all MBA members as Santa and the children left the building, proclaiming “Happy Holidays to all, and to all a Good Night!”

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s the charitable affiliate of the Montgomery Bar Association, the Montgomery Bar Foundation embodies our profession’s commitment to giving back and to supporting the important work of those who share our essential mission of advancing the cause of justice for all. Since 1987, the Foundation has supported law-related educational, charitable, and humanitarian projects throughout Montgomery County, and provided grants to assist community partners in work that helps the elderly, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, troubled and underprivileged youth, and many other individuals and families in need. Although we must never stop our work in supporting this important mission, this milestone year provides an opportunity to pause and celebrate the extraordinary contributions that have already been made – and the extraordinary people who have made them. In an event unlike any other in MBA’s colorful history, Foundation supporters will be treated to a side of some of our distinguished members most of us have never seen… In addition to countless other skills and accomplishments, many of our members possess the star power to entertain Foundation friends and supporters in a matter befitting the occasion. As we prepare for this not-to-bemissed event, we are assessing interest from those who might be willing to share these talents. Whether you are a gifted vocalist, accomplished member of a band, graceful dancer, witty comedian, or have been graced with the ability to entertain in any other way, we’d love to talk to you about your possible participation. Contact Nancy Walsh ( for more details. For those who prefer to keep their talents hidden, be on the lookout for more information on the hottest ticket in town.




State Representative Kate Harper Receives Margaret Richardson Award


By Nancy Walsh

n November 1, 2016, the MBA’s Women in Law Committee presented the Margaret Richardson Award to State Representative Kate Harper, in recognition of her contributions in advancing the role of women in the legal profession. The Honorable Susan Peikes Gantman began the presentation by calling to mind Margaret Richardson, the first female attorney to become a member of the Montgomery County Bar, for whom the prestigious award is named. Richardson began her career as a stenographer in the office of Irvin P. Knipe, Esquire, and was admitted to the Bar in 1899. This award recognizes a Montgomery County attorney who, like Richardson, has advanced the role of women in law. Judge Gantman called this year’s recipient a “trailblazer,” and in a speech highlighting the importance of strong support systems for anyone – especially women – on the road to success, she pondered what women learn on such journeys to the top. Her answer: 1. We learn the value of sisterhood. 2. We learn that men and women can be our mentors. 3. We learn that women working together in the name of justice and equality can obtain any position. 4. We learn the power of a unified public voice. 5. We learn to strategize together to create and fight for a more just society in Pennsylvania and America. 6. We learn to be wise, and to know the law through ongoing commitment to learning. 7. We learn to take risks, think outside the box, create new paradigms and, where appropriate, push the limits and challenge the status quo. Judge Gantman congratulated State Representative Harper for her success in implementing all of these lessons throughout the course of her successful, ground-breaking career, and reminded attendees that “we – all men and women alike – are responsible for creating that supportive environment for women to succeed.” State Representative Harper gratefully and graciously accepted her award with a speech that recalled stories from her early, sometimes painful, years, when she worked to convince those around her that “women could be lawyers, women could be mothers, women could be litigators, and women could be

legislators.” State Representative Harper, a partner at Timoney Knox LLP, has been practicing law for more than 30 years. Her state and community involvement is vast and varied, and includes service on the Pennsylvania and Delaware Regional Water Committees, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Rules Committee, and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network’s Board of Directors. She chaired the Montgomery County Lands Trust, the Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors, the Montgomery County Open Space Planning Board, and the Montgomery Bar Association’s Long-Range Planning Committee. As State Representative of the 61st Legislative District, she is currently the chair of the House Local Government Committee, and previously served as chair of the House Children and Youth and Ethics committees. She is committed to preserving the environment, improving transportation infrastructure, and protecting public safety. State Representative Harper has received countless awards in recognition of her commitment, service, and excellence. State Representative Harper’s reference to the old adages that “a woman has to work twice as hard as a man to get ahead; luckily that is not difficult,” and “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astair did – backwards and in high heels,” may have been tongue-incheek, but her life’s work certainly represents the level of dedication and strength they are meant to evoke. Many in attendance no doubt related to her humorous, yet poignant, recounting of the struggles inherent in often being “the only woman in the room,” which included navigating her pregnancies while “trying to act ‘normal,’ [i.e. not pregnant],” preparing and filing a brief to the United States Supreme Court while on “vacation,” [i.e. maternity leave], and “juggling babies and brief cases,” with two boys under the age of three. Although the journey was not always easy, it is clearly a journey State Representative Harper has relished. She expressed her gratitude for the Montgomery Bar Association (where “lawyers… deal with one another as ‘people,’ not as a ‘woman [or male] lawyer’ ”), Timoney Knox, and all the women who went ahead of her or worked alongside her. Of course, special thanks went out to her husband, Paul Kelly, and her two sons, Tom Harper Kelly and Paul Kelly IV. State Representative Harper ended the evening with a special note of encouragement to the female lawyers in the room: “Someday maybe nobody will notice you’re a woman and maybe we’ll get 28-hour days so that we can have BOTH billable hours and time with the kids – but until then, just take it one day at a time and do the best you can.” Congratulations, State Representative Harper! WINTER 2016-17 13


Bench Bar 2016 September 23-25, Skytop Lodge, Pocono Mts.




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n November 16, nearly 60 of Francis Recchuiti’s colleagues, friends, and wife, Carole, gathered to honor him as he received the MBA’s prestigious Trial Lawyer of the Year award. Each year, the Trial Lawyers Section presents the James P. Fox Award to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional skill as a civil litigation and trial lawyer. Criteria for this award, established by the Fox family to “recognize lawyers who toil in the trenches with dignity and respect,” include proficiency in the courtroom and a dedication to promoting a positive image for attorneys through a professional demeanor, service and integrity. Throughout his long, remarkable career, Fran Recchuiti has epitomized these ideals. Recchuiti has been practicing law for more than 50 years, over 40 of them with friend and partner Paul Vangrossi in a partnership which began with a handshake in 1972. Since graduation from Villanova Law School, Recchuiti has appeared in front of every Montgomery County judge beginning with the Honorables J. William Ditter, Robert W. Honeymen, and P.J.E. Arnold Forrest, through to the most recent appointee, Judge Joseph Walsh. He has also appeared in the Courts of Common Pleas of eleven counties; the Federal District Courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio; the Court of Appeals and the Chancery Court of Delaware. He is one of the few Montgomery County lawyers who has tried (and continues to try) cases in Civil, Criminal, Family, and Orphans courts. One of many highlights in his illustrious career occurred in 1995, when he was the lead attorney (from preliminary hearing through argument before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania) in Byrnes v. Caldwell, in which the Pennsylvania Supreme declared unconstitutional the Act of Legislature requiring separated and divorced parents to provide for a college education for their children but not requiring the parents of an intact family to do so. According to Recchuiti, this rare opportunity to argue that kind of issue in front of the Supreme Court of his state fulfilled a dream shared by all trial attorneys.


Somehow in the midst of his busy and far-reaching work as a successful trial lawyer, Recchuiti managed to immerse himself in service of the causes and communities he loves. He was the first President of the Sweetbriar Hidden Valley Civic Association; Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member of the Upper Merion Jaycees; President of the Philadelphia Area William and Mary Alumni Association; Softball Coach for the Villanova-Radnor Civic Association Jr. League; Coach of the American Junior Legion Baseball Team for Upper Merion; Softball Coach for the Unionville Athletic Association Girls Softball Team; Coach for the Unionville Community Girls Basketball Team; and long-time member of the Philadelphia Masters Track Association. He has also been involved with the Order of Sons of Italy in America, holding numerous offices, including local Lodge President, Vice President and National Orator, as well as Trustee for the Sons of Italy Foundation. Beyond that, Recchuiti has devoted countless hours to the Montgomery Bar Association, sharing his talent and energy through his involvement on the Criminal Defense, Rules of Criminal Court, Rules of Family Court, Judiciary, and Bench Bar committees, often as chair. He also had a term on the PA Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee. In addition to talent, skills and passion, it appears that Recchuiti has also been gifted with more hours per day than the rest of us! A onetime All-American Award-winning sports editor at the College of William and Mary, and first editor of the Villanova Law School newspaper, Recchuiti still finds joy in the power of a good yarn. Upon accepting his award, he treated event attendees to stories of the Montgomery Bar experienced through his rich history with the Association; he jokingly noted that he had the freedom to share his many thoughts because, “old men and Santa Claus can get away with almost anything!” Beyond the excitement of the evening and the joy of recounting his remarkable journey, Recchuiti felt humbled by the recognition and the presence of those who took the time to be a part of the special evening. Congratulations to Fran on this well-deserved honor!





Appeals and Briefs



BA staff members have taken to the road in recent months, meeting face-to-face with dozens of members and area law firms to thank them for the work they do for the Bar and for the community. The outbound “Thanks a Latte” campaign first launched in early October in observance of National Pro Bono Month. Personalized MBA gift card holders containing Starbucks gift cards were among the little perks given out to attorneys and their staff during a series of scheduled and semi-impromptu visits to neighboring firms throughout Montgomery County. While on site, MBA staff members were also able to share information and remind law staff about new and upcoming initiatives, like the recent launch of their new, next generation Lawyer Referral Service and Modest Means Legal Access Program, their Access to Justice Volunteer Form, and their 2017 Leadership Academy application deadline. Firm visits also provided a timely opportunity to remind members and others of upcoming Bar Association happenings, like the Delaware Valley Legal Expo, CLE events, networking opportunities and more. Thanks to a successful start, visits like these are expected to continue throughout the new year as MBA leaders have resolved to encourage even more active member involvement in 2017, and, most importantly, to better understand how to further serve the needs and interests of its members. According to MBA Communications Director Jim Mathias, “Personal visits like these have been a great way to connect, obtain feedback, and generate engagement; the benefits are measurable and immediate. Despite all the resources we have at our disposal to communicate with members, there’s no substitute for face-to-face conversation.” Visited members have registered for committees, applied for leadership positions, connected with their Bar Guides, attended certain events for the first time, and received answers to long-burning questions. Some have even taken it upon themselves to propose and initiate new programs. Staff members who have participated have also enjoyed the occasional break from their day-to-day routines, and have been reminded how fortunate we all are to serve and work together in such a unique, professional, and collegial legal community. We are committed to visiting as many of our firms as possible throughout the year, talking to partners, associates, administrators, paralegals and/or staff. If you are interested in scheduling a visit with us, contact Jim Mathias (jim@ or Nancy Walsh (nancywalsh@ at any time. We look forward to connecting with you!

Anthony J. Vetrano

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Opportunity Abounds: Section and Committee Engagement at the MBA


he MBA offers a plentitude of benefits and opportunities for its members – education, networking, community involvement, leadership development, and lifelong friendships are here for any member who takes even the smallest of steps to embrace them. Perhaps the most effective way to find everything you are looking for (and more) is through active engagement in one or more of the 4 sections and 60+ committees available at the Bar. Section and committee involvement – through meeting attendance; participating in sponsored CLEs, events, and programs; accepting a leadership role; or even simply taking advantage of the sharing of information and support through listservs – is one of the best ways to make the most of your membership. However, when we are overwhelmed with information and choices, we have a tendency to give into inertia and choose nothing at all. In an effort to help members with this common problem, Sidebar will be shining a spotlight on various sections and committees, just a few at a time, providing all members the chance to consider new opportunities and to celebrate the varied work and interests that create the fabric of the MBA. If you are interested in joining or learning more about any of our committees, contact the committee chair or a member of the MBA staff for more information.


REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE 2017 Co-Chairs: Marc D. Jonas, Esq., and Bernadette A. Kearney, Esq. If you practice in the area of real estate transactional, land use, or municipal law, want to hang out with others who spend their working hours similarly, pick up needed CLE credits, and/ or simply savor terrific chocolate chip cookies, the Montgomery Bar Association has the committee for you – the Real Estate Committee. The Real Estate Committee’s listserv membership comprises more than 100 of our colleagues, many of whom attend the lively monthly luncheon meetings at the Bar Association HQ. Almost without fail, we meet on the third Thursday of every month, except for July, August, and December. The meetings are well attended, informal, and informative, providing an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues who practice in the same field. Typically, the meetings begin by asking attendees to introduce themselves, their areas of practice, and the location of their offices. This often elicits humorous observations or remarks, setting the congenial mood for the meeting. Following these self-intros, Committee Co-Chair Bernadette Kearney discusses recent and notable appellate court decisions or significant legislative developments. In between meetings, we utilize the email listserv to keep the committee members informed, and even entertained, with relevant news, stories, et al. The committee often offers 1-credit CLEs over lunch, beginning at noon, and ending by 1:30, mindful of the demands of the billable hour. The programs may feature speakers from the bar association or from “outside” the membership, on topics


of interest to the committee members. Past presenters have been members of our own county bench as well as Commonwealth Court judges. This year, our programs included an ethics CLE on cybersecurity, and such substantive topics as the Right-to-Know Law, the Mechanic’s Lien Law, commercial real estate transactions, the operations of the county office of the recorder of deeds (featuring the newly elected recorder of deeds), and geographic information systems presented by the Montgomery County Planning Commission. Previous years’ programs included the topic of reading body language, presented by a chief of police from one of the county’s 62 municipalities. The committee not only searches for programs which will inform, but it also invites questions and concerns relating to the daily practice of law. Twice awarded the Committee of the Year distinction by the Montgomery Bar Association, the committee has received anecdotal reports about document rejection at the recorder of deeds’ office and has attempted to determine the cause and possible remedy. We passed on these concerns to the county recorder and invited her to attend a meeting for a friendly giveand-take with the committee members. We continue to monitor this issue. In conclusion, as we tend to say, consider the following: • • • • • •

hangin’ with colleagues lively discussions good food chocolate chip cookies CLE credits keeping current with the law

All of these, and more, describe the activities of the Real Estate Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association. We respectfully request that you come join us for lunch. You might be tempted to return. See you then.

by Marc D. Jonas, Esq.

DIVERSITY COMMITTEE 2017 Co-Chairs: Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., and Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq. Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” It’s not every day that we get to give back and make a difference in someone else’s life. If you want to be a part of making a difference, then you should sign up for the Diversity Committee.

Over eight years ago, MBA leadership was tasked with the purpose of increasing diversity in our legal community. Under the leadership of Past President Robert E. Slota, Jr., Esquire, the MBA launched a Diversity Task force in 2007, which laid the groundwork for what would become the standing Diversity Committee the following year. The Diversity Committee is a very active committee which sponsors three major programs. These programs are some of the most successful programs of our Bar Association: The Day in Court; Teach Law; and the 1L Summer Diversity Program. During the annual MBA Day in Court Program, the MBA Diversity Committee hosts diverse students from a Montgomery County high school to expose them to the court system and various individuals in careers related to the legal system. The Day in Court program begins after the students arrive at the courthouse and get escorted to a courtroom to sit in on a case to be given the opportunity to observe courtroom proceedings. Next, the students meet and hear from various legal professionals, such as judges, prosecution and defense attorneys and someone from the police, county detective or investigators’ unit. After that, the students get to meet the county commissioners and other attorneys who speak to them about what they do in their respective roles. The Day in Court program received a 2013 County Bar Recognition Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for its impact on the future of the legal profession. The annual Teach Law Program is the second half of The Day in Court program where MBA judges and attorneys volunteer to go to the selected school to teach the students a substantive area of the law or anything related to courtroom practice and procedures. There is typically a minimum of 8 volunteers who select a month each year to teach the students about their legal practice area. This year Norristown Area School District was selected to participate in The Day in Court and Teach Law Programs. We just concluded our 8th year of the 1L Summer Diversity Program. In the 1L program students are paired with law firms in Montgomery County to work for an 8-week period paid internship. Throughout the internship, the Diversity Committee sponsors a weekly event with a guest speaker, exposing students to various career opportunities in the legal profession such as private practice, in-house corporate, government, Public Defenders Office, and District Attorney’s office as well as Judicial Clerkships on the Court of Common Pleas, Appellate and Federal Court levels. The speakers, just to list a few, have been Federal Court Judge Mark Kearny, Superior Court President Judge Susan Peikes Gantman, Court of Common Pleas Judges Garrett D. Page, Cheryl Lynne Austin, Steven C. Tolliver, Sr., Risa Vetri Ferman and Former Public Defender Keir Bradford Grey. continued on next page >

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Opportunity Abounds: Section and Committee Engagement at the MBA continued from page 19 The aforementioned programs have made a difference in the lives of high school and law school students. In the coming year we are looking to initiate programs to attract additional diverse attorneys to join the MBA and/or participate in our events. So if you want to make a difference the Diversity Committee is for you. We are looking to expand our efforts and welcome new and fresh ideas and those who want to make a difference.

by Wendy G. Rothstein, Esq., 2016 Co-Chair

SIDEBAR COMMITTEE Chair: Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Vice-Chairs: Gary J. Friedlander, Esq., and Denise S. Vicario, Esq. Four times a year, Sidebar Committee members gather over lunch to share a creative spirit, pitch story ideas, and summon the information – and inspiration – necessary for the creation of


our award-winning quarterly publication. Over the years, Sidebar has evolved from a simple two-color newsletter to become the full-color, sophisticated publication you are holding in your hands today (how’s that for self-promotion?). Committee members work together to develop themes; identify substantive topics which will be helpful to our readers; create new, enduring features; and recruit members of the Bar and the community to help create content. Of course, when a spirited group tasked with such goals comes together, an engaging, self-deprecating banter, covering a wide-range of topics, will always ensue. This committee is always seeking new members and contributors to ensure that our publication remains fresh, diverse, relevant, and enjoyable. Whether you still harbor your college ambition to have your own byline, have a lot to say and need an outlet to make sure others hear it, or have a fondness for generating ideas and recruiting others to put them in print – this committee might be just the place for you!



William Shimer Looks Back on 40 Years at Legal Aid, and Forward to Casting his Days in Other Directions By Barbara Overholser, Communications Manager Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania


hen walking into William Shimer, Esq.’s office at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP), one of the first things you notice is the array of cards, notes, and sheets of paper tacked to a bulletin board that stretches the length of a wall. “Your understanding and help through what was for me a most difficult time was, and is, greatly appreciated,” reads one. “I want to thank you so much for all of your help. You were so kind and thoughtful,” reads another. These cards and notes express the genuine gratitude so many of his clients have felt, and, as he approaches his retirement at the end of this year, they are reminders of the thousands of clients Mr. Shimer has helped in his 40 years at Legal Aid. Mr. Shimer first arrived at Legal Aid in Norristown in 1977 when the program had just changed from a voluntary one supported strictly by the Montgomery Bar Association to one that was supported through state, federal and county funding, as well as by continued support of the MBA. Over the years, as he moved between the Pottstown and Norristown offices, where he is the Managing Attorney, Bill has witnessed changes in the landscape of legal aid in terms of client needs and vacillations in funding. With the passage of the Protection from Abuse Act in 1976, legal services attorneys saw an upsurge in domestic violence representation, he says. “We usually only had one or two attorneys available to go over to the courthouse on PFA days, and I recall going over to the courthouse some days with 6 or 7 clients,” he remarks. Bankruptcy work exploded during the mini recession of the early 1980s, and consumer bankruptcy protection and mortgage foreclosure cases soon became the bulk of his work. At the same time changes were happening in the world of Legal Aid, Shimer also notes that changes were happening in the Montgomery Bar Association where he served three years as a Director. “When I first started out at Legal Aid there may have been 500 or 600 members of Montgomery Bar. Now there are over 2,100. I applaud the leaders of the Bar Association for getting more

people involved. The MBA has become more accessible and is welcoming to anybody who wants to join regardless of their practice area and regardless of whether they work for a large firm or as a solo practitioner.” While he plans to spend time in retirement traveling, casting his fishing rod into area streams and rivers, and performing in more community theater productions, there will be lots for him to miss. “I’ll miss the people, the Bar Association, and the Court. The Court has always been very respectful of Legal Aid and they always give us a fair hearing. And I’ll miss the local attorneys. You can pick up the phone and call someone if you’re dealing with a problem that you’re not that familiar with and say, ‘I know you do a lot of this, do you have any thoughts?’ But most of all, I’ll miss my Legal Aid colleagues. We’re very fortunate to have good people working here. Not only smart lawyers and dedicated lawyers, but people you get along with. People who are willing to share their expertise.” The high regard Mr. Shimer has for his colleagues is equally reciprocated. Harvey Strauss, Executive Director at LASP from 1976 to 2013, hired Bill as a Staff Attorney at Legal Aid in 1977, and notes that Mr. Shimer has provided life-changing legal assistance to thousands of Montgomery County residents over the years. “Bill has been a dedicated, caring and skilled member of the Legal Aid staff for 40 years,” says Mr. Strauss. “He’s an excellent attorney who has been an important part of Legal Aid’s success. His work has kept numerous families intact, saved the homes of low income residents across our county, helped senior citizens from being victimized in scams and represented those facing overwhelming debt. Bill is a good guy, who has done a great job.” “I feel like I made the right choice,” Mr. Shimer says about his work at LASP. “You don’t get rich at Legal Aid, but I think I made a difference for people who really needed help. And I hope I represented the program well.”

WINTER 2016-17 21



Sixth Annual MCAP Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Silent Auction


n November 19, 2016, the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP) hosted its Sixth Annual Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Auction at the Marriott Hotel in West Conshohocken. The spectacular night was dedicated to celebrating The Honorable William T. Nicholas and all MCAP advocates who volunteer their time to make MCAP work. Before a sold-out crowd, the Judge’s inspiring daughters Amelia (Amy) Nicholas and Stacey Nicholas Slaski delivered compassionate key-note speeches paying tribute to their parents, Judge and Mrs. Nicholas. By sharing their heart-felt family memories and lessons, the Nicholas family set the tone for an evening of appreciation and celebration. Everyone enjoyed great food, fun, lucrative auction items, and terrific live music from The Slippery Band.

Guests had the opportunity to bid on about forty items in a silent auction and four dynamite items in a live auction. Items included premiere tickets to an Eagles game, a wine tasting extravaganza, photography sessions, a tour of ABC Studios, a mixology party, multiple “staycations” and much more. Auctioneer Tim Keller did a stellar job conducting the live auction, which featured fantastic trips to New Orleans and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, tickets to the Kelly Ripa Show and a classic one-of-a-kind pearl and diamond necklace courtesy of Barbara B’s Jewels. A highlight of the evening was the “Diamond-tini” event where one lucky lady went home with a classic 1.5 carat queen-cut diamond, courtesy of Ken and Nicole Black of the Philadelphia Diamond Company. Everyone was a winner, especially MCAP. As MCAP advocate and Board

member John Howland observed, “Everyone should be here who is involved with children in or outside of the legal system, or who just cares about helping the victims of child abuse! It is a fun, educational and rewarding night, while at the same time supporting a great cause.” Certainly, the event was a great start for holiday shoppers as well as a marvelous way to share holiday cheer. A special thanks to all who participated to make this evening a success including sponsors, donors, guests and especially the MCAP Host Committee and MCAP staff, Stacey Halstead, Pat Teaford, Patty Oberdiek, Jill Ringold and Jill Moffitt. We look forward to seeing you in 2017!

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Setting the Legal Profession on Fire By The Honorable Joseph P. Walsh


The Honorable Thomas M. Del Ricci

aint Ignatius of Loyola would often end letters to his fellow Jesuits going off to missions with the Latin expression ite, inflamate amnia, i.e. “go forth and set the world on fire.” The Honorable Thomas M. Del Ricci certainly took this missive to heart upon graduation from his many beloved Jesuit schools: Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, Saint Joseph’s University and Loyola University of New Orleans School of Law. To define Judge Del Ricci in a single word, the term “passionate” comes to mind. This passion was recently acknowledged and rewarded. On November 17, 2016, Judge Del Ricci accepted The Honorable Francis X. McClanaghan award in front of his adoring family, his friends and his colleagues at The Union League of Philadelphia (140 S. Broad Street). This prestigious award is presented annually by the Saint Joseph’s University Law Alumni Section to an alumnus in honor of his accomplishments in the field of law as well as the pride and distinction he has brought to Saint Joseph’s University throughout a distinguished career. Past recipients of this award include giants in the legal community such as Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice James McDermott, Superior Court Judge James Cavanaugh, U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh, A. Charles Peruto, and Philadelphia Mayor William Green, to name just a few. In January, the Honorable Thomas Del Ricci will be sworn into office as the President Judge for the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County. He was unanimously elected to this position in October by his peer jurists. Judge Del Ricci will no doubt

bring his great passion and work ethic to this position as he has in every professional role he has undertaken. Considered one of the preeminent land use attorneys in Montgomery County, Thomas Del Ricci was elected to bench in 1997. Since his election, Judge Del Ricci has maintained an austere work schedule; he is often the first to arrive at the courthouse each day. For those who practice civil litigation in Montgomery County, you are well aware of the sea change effectuated by the Civil Division Administrative Judge’s cleansing of the decades old backlog. In 2011, judges throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had an opportunity to see his passion, vision and work ethic first hand while Judge Del Ricci served as the President of the Pennsylvania Trial Judges. It was in this role that he initiated the program “Judges Concerned About Judges.” This program provides jurists in Pennsylvania who suffer from addiction or mental health issues with the opportunity to reach out for assistance from their colleagues. Because the data is more qualitative than quantitative, there is no definitive count of the lives this program has saved. “Teach us to give and not to count the cost,” Saint Ignatius implores us. Over the decades, the Honorable Thomas Del Ricci has given so much to his family and loyal friends, the Jesuit schools which educated him, the legal profession he respects and the residents of Montgomery County who he continues to serve. As he assumes the role of President Judge in January, Tom Del Ricci is reminded that “The Hawk Will Never Die.”

WINTER 2016-17 23



Annual Membership Dinner November 4, 2016 Rivercrest Golf Club & Preserve

HONOREES: Retiring President Judge, The Honorable William J. Furber, Jr. and 50-Year Members: Hon. Paul W. Tressler Lawrence Sager, Esq. Frederick M. Wentz, Esq. John W. Lauffer, Esq. John Mattioni, Esq. J. Richard Greenstein, Esq. Albert DerMovsesian, Esq. Dominic P. Costa, Esq. Not pictured: Edwin S. Heins, Jr., Esq. Richard I. Moore, Esq.



WINTER 2016-17 25


By Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq.


y now you are looking at the scale in the morning and wondering if all the holiday parties, extra treats and family dinners were worth it. Your clothes are tight; you feel sluggish and it’s time to figure out what to do with the gift cards or credit from returns sitting on your night table. Here are some suggestions from the team at Bits & Bytes. Well, not exactly a team…me. How about a new digital bathroom scale that sends all kinds of data to your phone or connected device via Bluetooth or wi-fi? I bought one last year and highly recommend you do the same. The prices range from $50 to above $200 and all the usual suspects sell them. Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond and online from Amazon of course. The nice part is the data is sent to an app from the scale to a proprietary app from the manufacturer and, in the case of Apple, for example, to the Health app. There is a wide range of data, but at the least it is a great way to set weight loss goals, track body fat and other information. Easy to set up and a great way to track the data for you and your doctor. Since you now realize you need to lose weight, how about some wireless earbuds to use while you work out or exercise? They work with the latest iPhone and all devices that allow Bluetooth connections. Prices range from $35 to over $200 for the many choices. The traditional over-the-ear or on-the-ear models still sound better but have limitations because of cost, size, comfort and mobility. I have a Bose noise-cancelling model for the airplane and for the times I want to shut out everything and get into my music to relax. Today’s best bet is the earbud which fits into your ears and can be perfect for a walk, run, exercise in the gym or health club. They usually have a small case and are rechargeable with an included cable via USB charger. I have a reasonably priced, middle of the road, and top end


models. They all work great and I suggest you get a pair that fits how you will use them. For exercise, you want comfort. Look for rubber tips that conform to your ear. Most models come with different sizes for a better fit (S, M or L). Make sure the battery charge lasts long enough for you to finish your workout, run or walk. The higher end model should sound better. Again, comfort is important if you intend to listen to music for an extended period. Stick to name brands like Bose, Sony Jabra, JBL, and Beats. They are available all over and I would suggest you see them, try them on and shop online for the best price. Word of warning, don’t buy cheap $5 or $10 models. There is a reason they are cheap. Finally, we get to things that everyone needs and you can’t have too many. Cables, chargers and connections. I have accumulated a vast array of these and I am glad. I leave the connections in my carrying case for speaking engagements so I can use my iPad, iPhone or other device to project my slides with an LCD projector at my PBI Workshops, etc. I have multiple cables and charging adaptors for trips and even around the house for my cell, watch, and tablet. Even so, I never seem to have enough and they are always a welcome gift. I keep some in my travel bag so I don’t have to run out and buy more in the airport or at the hotel. If you are traveling overseas, a convertor is a must. Again, stay with name brands to make sure they will work with your device. Third party products can cause problems and damage. And don’t forget extras for your car. That seems to be the time you need to have your phone charged. Especially now that a lot of people use the phone for GPS and directions. Enjoy the Internet, email and social media, but “Let’s be careful out there!”



Cyber Crimes – Yes, They Do Happen to Small Firms


awyers and law firms take notice: cyber criminals might specifically be targeting you because they want your data or the money in your trust account. Law firms, even small ones, are appealing targets to cyber criminals for three reasons: • Law firms have large amounts of sensitive and confidential information that could prove to be extremely valuable. • Law firms often have large sums of money in their bank accounts. • Law firms tend to have weaker security protection in place on their networks and systems.

Cyber liability coverage from USI Affinity provides affordable protection for law firms that goes far beyond traditional LPL coverage to address every aspect of a data breach, including: • Forensic and legal assistance and expense coverage • Coverage for response costs • Regulatory defense and penalties coverage • Identify theft-related fraud resolution services To learn more about cyber liability coverage, contact USI Affinity today.

Because information on cyber crime tools and techniques is readily available online, even non-technical people sometimes pursue malicious cyber activities. They will use every tool at their disposal to attack law firms, including: • Sending spam and phishing messages • Installing malware to create a back door into a firm’s computers • Searching for weaknesses in security configurations so that they can exploit them • Attacking an attorney’s home computer as a way of hacking into his office system Cyber crime is real, and a very present danger for law firms; and all firms need to work to understand the risks they are exposing themselves to so that they can reduce the likelihood of a data breach.

It’s where they help builders. Insurance Coverage and Cyber Crime Many law firms believe that cyber liability risks are already covered by legal professional liability (LPL) insurance, but while LPL affords some coverage for cyber liability risks, the costs of immediate notification of all parties potentially affected by the data breach, providing credit monitoring to affected parties, investigating the incident, and managing the firm’s reputation throughout the event are generally not covered.

It’s where we make decisions. Deb and Tom Kearse, Owners Kohl Building Products

Locally focused. A world of possibilities. WINTER 2016-17 27


BOOK REVIEW: The Supreme’s Greatest Hits: The 44 Supreme Court Cases That Most Directly Affect Your Life Michael Trachtman Scores Supremely with His 2nd Revised and Updated Edition By Jules J. Mermelstein, Esq.


ur fellow MBA member Michael G. Trachtman, founding member of Powell Trachtman Logan Carrle & Lombardo, has updated his book about the 44 Supreme Court cases he considers the most important. Mea culpa: I had not read his prior editions. Mr. Trachtman has a knack for taking complicated legal issues and expressing both sides of those issues in plain English. If I were still teaching high school government or a college constitutional law class, I would use this book extensively. The 44 cases are divided among 10 chapters that Mr. Trachtman has arranged by topic. As one might expect, his first chapter is “How the Supreme Court Became Supreme,” dealing, of course, with Marbury v. Madison. An interesting inclusion in that chapter is Dred Scott v. Sandford, occuring 54 years after Marbury and being only the second time the Court declared a law unconstitutional. As Trachtman points out, many historians believe that Dred Scott precipitated the Civil War. However, that’s not why it is included in this chapter. As we all remember from our study of Constitutional Law, Chief Justice Marshall wrote the Marbury decision in such a way that if President Jefferson opposed the concept of the Supreme Court having final say over the constitutionality of laws, he would then lose the case. In Dred Scott, Abraham


Lincoln had no such restriction. He could have said that the Supreme Court does not have the final say and ignored the decision. Although the decision was overruled by the 13th and 14th Amendments, the lingering importance is that Abraham Lincoln considered Dred Scott to be the final say until amendments could be passed to overrule it (which Lincoln did not live to see), effectively recognizing what Justice Robert H. Jackson said almost 100 years after Lincoln: “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible because we are final.” Trachtman’s second chapter deals with cases regarding how much of a separation there needs to be between church and state. Of particular importance for laymen in this chapter is Trachtman’s pointing out that no court decision has “kicked God out of our public schools” but it has drawn a line between state agents (including teachers and administrators) leading prayer or bible reading as opposed to student-initiated religious clubs and activities. His third chapter discusses the cases that put the Constitution’s protection of the rights of criminal defendants into practice by police and the courts. He opens this chapter with an important sentence: “Our Founding Fathers were mindful of the penchant of monarchs to charge persons with false crimes as a means of political oppression and

social control.” That, in a plain English one-sentence summary, is the reasoning behind our rights if we become criminal defendants. Trachtman’s fourth chapter deals with issues related to race, such as discrimination and diversity. As the diversity distinctions stand on 5-4 decisions, he points out that they could change with Court appointments. His fifth chapter deals with politics. Again, Trachtman summarizes the importance of the issue in plain English to begin the chapter – “Democracies gather legitimacy from the perception that their elections are fairly administered and free from undue influence. History documents that if the electoral process loses credibility, the fabric of a democracy quickly unravels.” This chapter deals with Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and Bush v. Gore, and their progeny. As Trachtman points out, Citizens United was judicial activism by overturning close to 100 years of jurisprudence, including a Supreme Court decision just 7 years earlier. In this decision, the majority declared that corporations have the constitutional right of free speech, and went on to declare unconstitutional the bipartisan, delicately built, restrictions that Congress had imposed on corporations. One of the important issues in this decision, as well as in Bush v. Gore, deals with the lineup




Pictured (First Row, Sitting on Floor): Michael F. Rogers, Robert F. Morris, Eric B. Smith. (Second Row, Sitting): J. Edmund Mullin, Stephen G. Yusem, Hon. Mason Avrigian, Hon. William J. Furber, Jr., Nancy Hopkins Wentz, Donald J. Martin, C. Dale McClain, William H. Pugh, IV. (Third Row, Standing): Bernard J. McLafferty, Hon. Mark A. Kearney, Samuel D. Miller, III, Frederic M. Wentz, Carolyn R. Mirabile, Hon. Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio, Cheryl L. Young, Steven H. Lupin, Bruce Pancio. (Back Row, Standing): John R. Howland, Mark C. Schultz, Gregory R. Gifford, Marc Robert Steinberg, Keith B. McLennan.

of justices in such a way that it appeared to the public that decisions were being made based on partisan preferences rather than a dispassionate reading of the Constitution as it applies to the facts. The Court depends on its reputation as being non-political and both of these decisions hurt that reputation. The sixth chapter deals with government’s role in our private lives. Appropriately, Trachtman begins with Griswold v. Connecticut, when the Court first recognized a right of privacy. Included in this chapter are the rights to have an abortion, to die, to bear arms, and to marry. The importance of these cases is summarized by the Justice William O. Douglas quote with which Trachtman begins the chapter – “The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.”

With his seventh chapter, Trachtman delves into government’s rights – to regulate, to eminent domain, and whether they, and their agents, may be sued. Chapter eight deals with limits on presidential powers. The quote Trachtman chooses to begin this discussion is President Nixon’s infamous statement, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” This statement coincides with centuries of English law prior to the Magna Carta (1215). Since then, there have been limits on the head of state in English and American jurisprudence. In the United States, these limits are decided by the Supreme Court. Included in this chapter, in addition to United States v. Nixon, are the steel seizure case (Truman) and the cases involving the rules of war. Free speech is the subject of chapter

nine. Appropriately, Trachtman chooses a quote from George Orwell to begin this chapter – “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Cases in this chapter deal with the difference between advocacy and action, obscenity, actions that can be considered speech, the freedom to criticize public figures and public officials, and whether the public has a right to know. Chapter ten deals with how technology affects our rights. Copyright, privacy and what constitutes a “search” are issues that technology, such as the internet, has presented. And, as always, it is up to our Supreme Court to apply the Constitution with respect to developing technology. I highly recommend this book, especially for those of you who, like me, love Constitutional Law.

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November 10, 2016 Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel, King of Prussia, PA





Community Outreach Committee Dedicates Artwork to Montgomery County Family Court


he MBA’s Community Outreach Committee officially dedicated artwork from its 2016 Courting Art Contest & Exhibition during a ceremony on Thursday, September 15, 2016. The prize-winning artwork was reproduced and installed in the waiting area of the Montgomery County Family Court Conciliators Building, located at 321 Swede Street in Norristown. Committee Chair and Courting Art Founder Hon. Carolyn T. Carluccio hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Montgomery County Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh spoke about the importance of the Courting Art program to the county. The goal of this year’s project was to provide bright, uplifting artwork to help relieve stress commonly associated with a day in family court and to create a more welcoming environment for the hundreds of children and families who go there each year. In addition to the prize-winning pieces that are on display, the MBA Family Law Section commissioned, with the assistance of Family Court Judge Daniel J. Clifford, a mural in the reception area that will greet visitors as they enter the building. The mural was painted by Chelsea Allen and incorporates set design elements of a recent stage production of Peter Pan by students at the Montgomery County Community College. The mural also features inspirational quotations from the original novel Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. During the ceremony, Judge Carluccio remarked that “the idea behind the theme [of Montco in Motion] was to bring a lot of light and brightness and happiness into this area. I think our artists have really accomplished that.”

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MEMBERS in the News Montgomery County family lawyer Lori K. Shemtob was recently inducted as the President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) at the AAML Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia in July of 2016. She has been a fellow of the AAML for 13 years, a national honor bestowed currently on only 66 lawyers in Pennsylvania. Eastburn and Gray P.C. has been ranked in the 2017 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list nationally in one practice area (Land Use and Zoning) and regionally in two practice areas (Land Use and Zoning and Litigation – Land Use and Zoning). Mark S. Cappuccio, of Eastburn and Gray P.C., spoke at the 2016 Property Tax Symposium, presented by the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT) in Tucson, AZ on November 14, 2016. The seminar, entitled “When the Going Gets Tough, IPT Attorneys Get Tougher,” covered topics such as constitutional challenges being made in the property tax area and litigating property tax assessment cases before local boards and on appeal. The Hon. Daniel J. Clifford was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI). Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce that three of its attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017. Mason Avrigian, Sr. was included for Arbitration and Family Law; Amy P. DeShong was included for Family Law; and James J. Garrity was included for Municipal Law and Land Use and Zoning Law. He was also named 2017 Municipal Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Philadelphia. Wisler Pearlstine, LLP is pleased to announce that Ahmer H. Sheriff has joined the firm as an associate in the firm’s Education Law practice group. Mr. Sheriff represents public school districts, charter schools, and other educational entities, with a focus on special education law. Amy T. Brooks, partner with Wisler Pearlstine, LLP, recently presented on the topic “Ethics: Divorce/Custody Issues” at


the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s 2016 Exceptional Children’s Conference. The session offered strategies for ethically navigating a special education case that involves divorced or separated parents. Joseph M. Bagley recently presented at the Solicitors’ Workshop sponsored by the Delaware Valley Municipal Management Association on the topic “Sign Ordinances After Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona.” Fort Washington-based Timoney Knox, LLP has supported the mission of the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund since its beginning 40 years ago. The fund lightens the burdens and lifts the spirits of families caring for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and injuries, while respecting the pride and dignity of families in need. Mark E.Weand, Jr., Of Counsel to Timoney Knox, LLP, was selected for induction into the 2016 Hall of Fame of Norristown Area High School. This recognition honors alumni who have distinguished themselves following graduation. Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin attorneys Joseph J. McGrory, Jr.,William G. Roark, and John F.Walko presented a Medical Marijuana Legislation Update to the Montgomery County Zoning Officers Association on September 14, 2016. They presented on the new legislation and its impact on municipalities and zoning officers. Carl N.Weiner, also of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, recently presented a seminar on Municipalities and Planned Communities to the Warwick Township staff. He covered topics such as understanding the condominium and planned community forms of ownership, association maintenance of stormwater facilities and transition of the association from the developer to homeowners. Ned Hark, a partner of the law firm of Goldsmith, Hark & Hornak, P.C. in Philadelphia, recently was a co-course planner and presenter for the 11th Annual Family Law Institute presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He was also a presenter for the


UPCOMING MBA EVENTS January 2016 - April January 13,2016 2017

Annual Business Luncheon Normandy Farm, Blue Bell, PA

February 13, 2017 Pennsylvania Bar Institute at its program “The Intervention of Life and Estate Planning” in August. Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. is pleased to announce it has received a Tier 1 ranking in the 2017 edition of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers©. This is the eighth consecutive year the firm has received this honor. Marykate Kelly, an associate at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., has been named as a member of the Board of Limited Jurisdiction at Mater Dei Catholic School in Lansdale, PA. The Board and its members work together to support and advance the mission of Mater Dei by ensuring the sustainability of the school for generations to come. Charles J. Meyer, a shareholder with Hofstein Weiner & Meyer, P.C., recently participated as a panelist at the Advanced Issues in Divorce conference of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs (PICPA) in Philadelphia. Mr. Meyer’s program was entitled “Identification of Deferred Income and Assets During Divorce.” Founding shareholder David N. Hofstein was the moderator for a program on ethics in family law at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago. Full-service law firm High Swartz LLP has been named a “Best Law Firm” for 2107 by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers©, achieving a Philadelphia-area Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking for family and municipal law and additional rankings for environmental law and litigation. The Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley welcomes Patrick J. Samanns as an Associate Attorney. Mr. Samanns is a volunteer with Wills for Heroes, which provides essential legal documents free of charge to our nation’s first responders, including wills, living wills, and powers of attorney.

Annual Ski Trip Blue Mountain, Palmerton, PA

Late January-Early February 2017

Montgomery County High School Mock Trial Competition Montgomery County Court House, Norristown, PA

March 16, 2017*

Young Lawyers March Madness Happy Hour Location TBD

March 31, 2017

Annual Memorial Service Courtroom “A”, Montgomery County Court House, Norristown, PA

April 28, 2017

Law Day Courtroom “A”, Montgomery County Court House, Norristown, PA

*Tentative date

Visit for the latest schedule of upcoming CLEs. Visit for the latest schedule of events and to register for any of the above-mentioned events.

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Will Downing

Marion Meadows

Snarky Puppy

Fred Hammond

March 31-April 9, 2017 Reading, PA

Shemekia Copeland

Rick Braun


Spend 10 jazz- and blues-filled days and nights in the Greater Reading area! Over 120 scheduled events, plus great shopping and dining in one area, make the 27th annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest your perfect spring getaway. For tickets, call Ticketmaster toll free at 1-800-745-3000 or visit to order online.




Follow us on Twitter @berksjazzfest

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