Sidebar Winter 2014-15

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Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County, PA


WINTER 2014-15

Responding to the call of those less fortunate

special features

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH COURT A Visit to the Speaker’s House



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Young Lawyers Section Hosts Clothing Drive

Montgomery Bar Association | Montgomery County PA


SIDEBAR COMMITTEE MEMBERS Co-Chairs Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq. Gary J. Friedlander, Esq.

Regular columnists: Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq. Richard E. Cohen, Esq. Jack Costello Lindsay Hanifan, Esq. Jim Mathias Dennis R. Meakim, Esq. Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.

MBA Staff


IN EVERY ISSUE... Outgoing President’s Message...........4 Incoming President’s Message...........5 Bits & Bytes........................................10 Restaurant Review.............................24 Wiretaps.............................................34 Montgomery Bar Foundation.............35 Young Lawyers...................................36 Upcoming Events...............................39

FEATURES Legal Community Continues its Tradition of Giving...................................6 Legal Expo Recap..................................12 2009 President Mark A. Kearney Confirmed as Federal Judge...............18 SIDEBAR: A Look Back........................20 MBA Honors Judges Bertin and Ditter at Annual Membership Dinner...........22 Speakers Bureau Presents to National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts...................................................25 Fourth Annual MCAP Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Silent Auction..........26

George Cardenas IT Manager Jack Costello Marketing Manager Jim Mathias Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs Nancy R. Paul Executive Director The SIDEBAR Committee invites articles and news information of interest. Please send content to: MBA, c/o SIDEBAR Committee, P.O. Box 268, Norristown, PA 19404-0268 or email: 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

2015 Officers

Bruce Pancio, Esq., President Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., President-Elect Eric B. Smith, Esq., Vice-President Wendy G. Rothstein, Esq., Treasurer Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Secretary

A Message from USI Affinity...............27 Holiday Party Photos............................30 Courting Art Returns in 2015...............32


The Speaker’s House

Elder Law Committee to Welcome Special Guests in February.................33 MBA Launches CONNECT Campaign.............................38

Publisher Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 2921 Windmill Road, Reading, PA 19608 610.685.0914 x201 | Advertising Contacts Karen Zach 610.685.0914 x213 | Mark Schelling 610.685.0914 x205 |

Outgoing President’s Message

State-wide Opportunities are Offered Through the Pennsylvania Bar Association By Michael F. Rogers, Esq.


ne of the many benefits of membership in the Montgomery Bar Association is the opportunity to actively participate in Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) activities. Because of the MBA’s status as a “Unit County,” Regular Members of the MBA are automatically members of the PBA. This joint status provides somewhat of a “fast track” for our members who desire to be active on statewide committees and projects. The PBA has an extensive roster of committees and activities that are focused on substantive and procedural issues relevant to the members of the bar and to the citizens of our Commonwealth. Often, the PBA committees are asked to participate in the development of laws and procedures that will be reviewed by the appropriate committees of our Pennsylvania House of Representatives and/or the Pennsylvania Senate. In addition to the ability to help shape legislation, members of the MBA who have participated in PBA committees have often commented on the advantages of getting to know other attorneys who practice in diverse parts of the state. Often, life-long professional relationships are established and flourish. In recent years, the MBA’s profile at the PBA has been greatly enhanced due to the selfless efforts of several of our members, including C. Dale McClain and Hon. Mason Avrigian. Now, many of our members who have been active in the PBA and its related entities have advanced to prominent positions in the PBA Leadership. Here are just a few examples of MBA Members who hold or will hold significant positions of leadership in the Pennsylvania Bar Association or its related entities: Member: Position: William H. Pugh, V President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Mark A. Kearney President of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Donald J. Martin Chair–Elect of the PBA House of Delegates Paul C. Troy Parliamentarian of the PBA House of Delegates Justin A. Bayer President-Elect of the PBA Young Lawyers Division John R. Howland President of the Conference of County Bar Leaders Whether you would like to simply increase your participation in the PBA, or if you are actively seeking a leadership role, please talk to an MBA officer. The MBA encourages your participation in the PBA and will support any appropriate efforts.



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Incoming President’s Message

Incoming President’s Message By Bruce Pancio, Esq.


t is hard to believe that four years have passed since I received a telephone call from the late Bob Slota, Jr., informing me I’d been chosen by the Nominating Committee to serve as the next officer of the Montgomery Bar Association. As word got around of my selection, I was approached by many officers and past presidents of the Association. Each congratulated me in their own unique way and, without exception, followed with the phrase, “if there’s anything I can do for you, please ask.” Our past presidents have set the bar high for us, so with the confidence instilled in these words and my own love and appreciation for this organization, I’m confident that this will be another banner year for the Montgomery Bar Association. Over the years, I have found that the MBA offers a great mix of educational opportunities, resources and support – for both my practice and the advancement of our profession as a whole. Of course, there is also the social aspect. Spend some time on our website, and keep up with what’s going on via our weekly Bar News email, our social media pages, and our quarterly SIDEBAR magazine. When you look at the MBA calendar for 2015, you’ll find that there’s truly something for everyone. I urge you to come out and take advantage of these benefits and remain connected and involved.

Recognizing the need to develop future leaders, our Immediate Past President Michael F. Rogers launched the MBA Leadership Academy. The Academy will provide participants with requisite skills needed to lead their firms, charitable organizations and our Bar well into the future. Some of the sessions in the program are open to the entire membership. Please make plans to attend the February session on Elevating your Professional Profile through Relationship Building. If you’re looking for social activity, makes plans to attend the annual ski trip held in February. While not a skier, I hear nothing but good things about the trip. Any event that involves our past president John Howland is guaranteed to be fun. One of the first events that I attended as a member of the Montgomery Bar Association was the Annual Memorial Service. This year it will be held on March 27th in Courtroom A at the Montgomery County Court House. The Service is unique to our Bar Association and provides an opportunity to honor, reflect, and learn from the stories of colleagues who have passed away in the past year. The memorial minutes provided are a combination of history, tribute and humor. The term “minutes” is loosely defined when lawyers are given a podium to speak about those they admired, but each year we all leave wishing we had met at least one of the individuals, or gotten to know them a little better.



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I am truly honored to serve as the President of the Montgomery Bar Association and know that I would not be in this position without your support and the help of many of our members. To try to thank everyone who got me here would double the length of this article and I am sure I would forget someone. I am going to make a concerted effort to get our new members involved in the Bar. I would ask that you share this commitment with me. Please welcome our new members, introduce them to existing members and help them to become our future leaders.




or a second consecutive year, the Montgomery Bar Association and Montgomery Bar Foundation joined in the nationwide campaign to promote Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday), a national day of giving, observed on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014. Since members of our Bar have a longstanding tradition of giving back to the community, the concept of promoting a day dedicated to charitable giving at the start of the holiday giving season seemed natural for leadership of both organizations. As Executive Director Nancy R. Paul explains, “You’d be hard pressed to find a member of ours who doesn’t volunteer time to a local non-profit, serve time on a board, coach little league or contribute pro bono hours to organizations like MCAP, Mission Kids, Legal Aid, or any number of other charitable causes throughout the year.” Knowing how passionate members of our legal community tend to be about the various causes they support, the Montgomery Bar Association and Bar Foundation again elected not to raise funds for any one specific project, charity or cause, but rather to promote and remind those within a generous earshot to embrace Giving Tuesday and expand upon our legal community’s inherent culture of giving. Both organizations did so by reminding their respective community members, partners and the community-at-large to support this national day of giving SIDEBAR


in the following ways: • by helping to spread the word to friends, family and colleagues; • by making a donation, volunteering time, or raising awareness for their favorite charity; • by taking time to learn about a cause in the community to align with and get behind. For those who missed the opportunity to get behind our second annual Giving Tuesday campaign, we’ll remind you that it’s never too late for charitable giving, or to volunteer time to your favorite cause. For those who haven’t found a cause to align with and get behind, please put some time aside to learn about your Montgomery Bar Foundation. It’s the perfect cause for members of our legal community who believe even our most vulnerable neighbors deserve equal access to justice, and care enough to act locally.

Here are just some of the ways that our members, firms and others in our legal community observed Giving Tuesday or otherwised helped take our legal community’s culture of giving to new heights this past the holiday season:

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Elliott Greenleaf’s holiday giving in 2014 again included its lead role in collecting and distributing new, unwrapped toys in the Toys for Tots program ( The collection took place in the firm’s Blue Bell office from Monday, November 24 through Thursday, December 4, 2014. With donations from dozens of lawyers and staff, Elliott Greenleaf will again provide several sleighs of toys for girls and boys in Montgomery County.

Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin employees provide gifts and more on a regular basis, but especially during the year-end holidays. The firm has a longstanding tradition for “Thanksgiving at the Office” where they, along with others who work in the same building, have an annual in-house Thanksgiving luncheon the week before Thanksgiving. Participants prepare food to share at the luncheon, as well as with others. This year, food was donated to the Lamb Foundation, an organization that provides affordable housing and support services to senior citizens and adults with mental, physical, and developmental disabilities who would otherwise be homeless. They also serve the community with nutritious food through their food pantry. In coordination with their Thanksgiving luncheon, they also conducted a collection for Laurel House from all employees in their office building. Donations included canned foods, paper goods and more. Laurel House is a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving individuals, families and communities throughout Montgomery County.



In celebration of the December holidays, the firm carried on its annual tradition of adopting a family from the Kelly Anne Dolan Foundation. The Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund helps families caring for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and injuries. Significant gifts, toys, gift cards and monetary contributions were sent to the family comprised of four children ages 1 to 5 and a single mom. “Wish List” contributions were also collected for Manna on Main, an organization committed to ending hunger in the North Penn region by providing food, social service, education and other community outreach.

High Swartz celebrated its 100th year in 2014, by completing its year-long campaign entitled, “10 Deeds for 10 Decades.” The firm made a generous donation of $5,000 to the Montgomery Bar Foundation in November and held a Toys for Tots toy drive in December. To get staff involved and to add a little sparkle and creativity for the toy drive, the firm hosted a unique Pollyanna among all of its employees. Lawyers and staff picked names blindly and each was tasked with getting a toy best suited for the recipient when he or she was a child. Toys collected from the Pollyanna were combined with other gifts collected and donated in time for the holidays.

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Lawyers and staff at the law firm of Howson & Howson LLP donate their time to a variety of charities throughout the year. Collectively for the holiday season, the professionals and staff at Howson & Howson have contributed to Toys for Tots, collected through the Eastern Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, as well as to the Interfaith Housing Alliance.

Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer LLP’s lawyers and staff collected and donated Thanksgiving dinner provisions to the Haws Avenue Soup Kitchen. The firm also worked with the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth again this year, adopting over 25 individuals and families to provide toys and clothes for their year-end holiday celebrations. The firm works closely with the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP) throughout the year and presently has over twenty certified child advocates on staff who devote their time to help children throughout Montgomery County. Most recently, the firm was a Hero Level Sponsor of MCAP’s Salute to Heroes Dinner, which recognized those who have helped make a difference in the lives of local children in need.



In honor of Giving Tuesday, Morris, Clemm and Wilson, P.C. in Plymouth Meeting provided the gift of Christmas to a family in need through a Montgomery County charitable organization, the North Penn Valley Boys & Girls Club. The family they chose to help is a family who has been through some difficult times and has three young children. The parents are beyond appreciative to receive the gift of Christmas for their children from the firm and the firm was glad to help. In addition to gifts for the children, the firm provided gift certificates for mom for items like clothing and food for the family. Members and employees of the firm participated by purchasing all of the gifts that have been requested for the children.

The law firm of Powell Trachtman Logan Carrle & Lombardo once again had several people volunteer for the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust Bike Race. In the fall, the firm collected items for the Stockings for Soldiers campaign, which is run by Keystone Military Families. The firm also provided money for Thanksgiving dinners for PACS and holiday monetary donations for seniors in need. This year’s holiday project was providing gifts to children through Montgomery County’s Office of Children and Youth Services. The firm is also providing charity gift cards to empower its gift recipients to support good causes about which they are passionate.

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The law offices of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C.’s lawyers and staff members are involved in many significant charitable activities. For the last 36 years, lawyers from the firm have provided free legal advice to seniors at Generations of Indian Valley (previously Souderton Senior Adult Activity Center) on a monthly basis. They also support Legal Aid, providing legal services to its clients. Several firm attorneys and employees currently serve as directors on area non-profit boards including the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Manna on Main Street, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, Keystone Opportunity Center, North Penn Volunteer Fire Company, and Central Bucks Family YMCA. Several of the firm’s lawyers are long-time Rotarians, and have been financially contributing through that organization. In addition, the firm’s lawyers volunteer their time throughout the year by providing free legal services and a voice to the abused and neglected children of Montgomery County. For the last eight years, each of the firm’s employees has worn the red apron and rung the Salvation Army bells outside the Montgomery Mall seeking donations from the public for the less fortunate. The employees also raise money several times a year to purchase food, clothing and toys for needy families through Manna on Main Street, CADCOM and Keystone Opportunity Center and to purchase pet food and supplies for Last Chance Ranch and Manna on Main Street.

Mike Silver of the disability and personal injury law firm of Silver & Silver chaired the 30th Annual Jingle Bell Run in Malvern at Great Valley High School on December 14th. This is Mr. Silver’s 10th year chairing the 5K race and 20th year of participation. It is the principal yearly fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Pa., where Mr. Silver has served as Board Chair for four years. According to Mr. Silver, this year’s event attracted over 1,500 runners and walkers and raised more than $150,000 for arthritis research, the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Wisler Pearlstine’s attorneys and staff have worked hard throughout the year for over 30 organizations in their communities. In addition, they donated new toys throughout December to serve the families of the Daily Bread Community Food Pantry in Schwenksville. The firm has a long and steadfast history of supporting Legal Aid and the Montgomery Bar Foundation. For more information, please visit the “Wisler Pearlstine in the Community” page at SIDEBAR


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By Joel B. Bernbaum, Esq.

I recently decided to become a solo practitioner and move my office to Bala Cynwyd. This required, as many of you know, overcoming a number of obstacles and tasks that are time consuming and somewhat labor intensive. Thank goodness, the first

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

person I contacted (after

Name? Check: Bernbaum Family Law.

the movers) was Ellen

Email, web hosting, domain purchase? Check. I went with GoDaddy (godaddy. com) – funny name, good service and reasonable prices. I decided to purchase a package that included Microsoft Exchange Services and Office 365 (online and desktop applications). This provided me with easy email and Office document access from all platforms (smartphone, tablet and desktop), as well as compatibility with my existing email, files and documents. Confirmed my phone number with Vonage (, allowing me

Freedman, Law Practice Management Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Bar Association (lawpractice@ Ellen provided a wealth of information and support throughout the transition process.



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to have my voice mail, among other services, recorded and sent to my email address for remote access. No need for a fax machine. MaxEmail ( provides you with a local phone number to use as a virtual fax machine. Your faxes are sent to your email address and viewed (and saved) as a PDF file. You send faxes by going to the MaxEmail website, uploading the file to be sent, and off it goes to the recipient. You get an email confirmation to file away in the client’s folder (paper or digital, your choice). Now that I had the essentials confirmed, I was able to order business cards. At Ellen’s suggestion, Vistaprint ( more than satisfied my

needs at a great price. Service was fast and I even ordered coffee mugs with my new firm imprint. My stationary, envelopes, etc., are printed directly from my printer on plain paper. After some trial and error (mostly error) at design, I was ready to get to work. Time and billing, the backbone of our practice, took some time to decide. I wanted an easy to use, reasonablypriced package that allowed me to log my billing and track my operating income, expenses and trust accounting from all platforms. I wanted to be able to send my bills via email in addition to paper mailing. After testing (most packages allow 30-day free trials), I subscribed to CosmoLex (cosmolex. com). I am able to enter my time from my phone, tablet or desktop since the software is cloud-based. My bills are prepared within the software package and take no more than 15 minutes to generate and send. The company provides excellent support and service. There is a monthly or annual fee, but no need to install software or updates, etc. I also signed up with LawPay ( to give clients the ability to pay their fees via credit cards. Again, it was easy to set up and use with a reasonable monthly fee. In fact, this month I received credit card payments within minutes of the client receiving the emailed bill. I use for postage, which is less expensive than Pitney and very user friendly. They even give you a digital scale as part of opening your account. With most of my filing done by “e-filing” and correspondence done via email with attachments, my goal of a “paperless office” was reasonably satisfied. The end result is a more productive practice and a better bottom line. Please update your contact information for me and keep those questions and comments coming!

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he 19th annual Delaware Valley Legal Expo was held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton, PA. Once again, attorneys, law office administrators and staff flocked to the show to see the latest in practice management technology, staffing solutions and so much more. Over $10,000 in prizes were awarded by generous exhibitors and sponsors. The expo is a joint production of the Montgomery Bar Association and the Association of Legal Administrators Independence Chapter.



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Wynton Marsalis

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April 10-19, 2015 Reading, PA

Dave Koz

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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 25th 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.

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Follow us on Twitter @berksjazzfest




brilliant gem has been embedded in the Montgomery County Court since 2009 that few know about and, as counselors of law, we may be shortchanging our clients by not familiarizing ourselves with the finely honed workings of the Behavioral Health Court (BHC). Started under the auspices of former President Judge, the Honorable Richard J. Hodgson, the Honorable Joseph A. Smyth has led the program through research, development, implementation, and adjustments, and continues to administer the court, today, greatly assisted by the BHC coordinator, Stephanie H. Landes. This court represents a collaboration among the Court, Office of the Public Defender, Office of the District Attorney, Office of Behavioral Health, Probation and Parole Department, Correctional Facility, Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc. and other community based treatment providers. The BHC mission statement is:

“To enhance public safety and reduce recidivism of criminal defendants with serious mental illness by connecting them with community treatment services and supports and to find appropriate dispositions to their criminal charges by considering the defendant’s mental illness and the seriousness of the offense.”



Before looking at the current workings and goals of the BHC court, it might be helpful to the reader to explore the history of the development of the BHC. In 2007, Judge Smyth noticed that a meeting was being held near Harrisburg to discuss the topic of mental health courts — a new idea within the judicial system. Though little was known about the topic, there were many attendees at the meeting. Judge Smyth learned that not only were mental health courts the wave of the future, but that it was possible to obtain funding in order to establish one; however, there was one caveat. The deadline to apply was only two short weeks away and the application was not simple! It required a significant amount of information such as prison statistics and a detailed list of community services. Short notice as it was, Judge Smyth was able to complete the application within the deadline and was successful in obtaining the funding approval! To familiarize himself with the workings of such a court, the Judge visited mental health courts throughout the Commonwealth and attended an intensive training program in Reno, Nevada. Following the completion of his investigation, Judge Smyth decided to move forward with the herculean project. Unfortunately, 2008 was a bad financial year for our country. Funding was available through Medicaid and the state grant that came through the first year; however, “more funding” never came. Somehow, despite the lack of funding, BHC is operative and thriving today! Now it is time to address the specific goals and workings of the court as they apply to each participant. BHC is committed to supporting, treating and directing the defendant participant who suffers from a serious mental illness that may be accompanied by an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, and assist this individual in solving the problems that would lead to re-arrest. The program offers a plethora of services decided upon and delivered by a highly qualified and skilled multi-faceted treatment team that meets every week to discuss

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the individual, his capabilities, mental illness, ancillary issues, progress and needs. The program is voluntary for the defendant and there are strict criteria for eligibility that must be met. First, the defendant must enter a plea to certain agreed upon charges that, upon successful completion of the program, may be reduced or dropped. If admitted to the program, the participant must meet strict requirements for continuing in the program and there are built-in rewards and consequences for each participant. Every participant has an individual program and plan. A study was conducted in 2009 that determined that 12-15% of the prison population suffered from a serious mental illness. It was noted that a regular inmate averaged approximately 70 days in prison, but the seriously mentally ill inmate averaged 230 days in prison. This is a discouraging statistic in light of the fact that, upon exit, the mentally ill inmate had not received an accurate diagnosis, any therapeutic treatment and had no supportive plan for re-entry into the community. In contrast, the participant who volunteers for and is admitted to the BHC has a treatment plan, is not permitted to have any alcohol or illegal substances and is given random urine tests, has a probation officer, a recovery coach, a case manager, and meets with Judge Smyth and his treatment team on a minimum of a weekly basis. The BHC program has three distinct phases and each is expected to take approximately six months for the participant to successfully negotiate. The average participant finishes the program in 18-24 months. Each phase is different. The specific goals and processes, determined beneficial for each of the three phases, will be addressed next. To commence Phase One, the participant appears in court and learns about the parameters of the BHC program. The program is completely voluntary for participants, so if they are approved and ask to be accepted, they are formally admitted to the program. The rules are explained to each participant. Before developing the initial, individualized treatment plan for the person, the multi-disciplinary treatment team meets to assess the individual and to achieve an accurate diagnosis that includes the recognition and inclusion of other factors such as addictions or a history of trauma and abuse. The individualized treatment plan will cover the first six months of the program though it may be reviewed and adjusted many times during those initial months. Each participant knows that to remain in the program he must submit to random urine tests, maintain his medication schedule/usage, abstain from using alcohol/ illegal substances, work cooperatively with the recovery coach, therapist, probation officer, case manager, etc., and appear in BHC every Monday at 2:00 p.m. In this phase, each participant is under intense supervision, must work at the program, work to recognize the illness and learn to handle emotions in constructive ways. During this phase, the participant attends intensive inpatient or outpatient therapy and group therapy, and each is expected to learn and practice the social skills that render positive relationships and interactions with others, including



peers. For 12 weeks on Monday, the Pathways to Recovery program meets and different speakers, peers (another person with mental illness), many of which have been successful in the BHC program, tell their stories and share their encouragement and supportive “road to recovery” histories with the newcomers. Participating in the BHC program is meant to evoke growth, change, and stability and the participant soon learns that he is not just “doing time”; he is expected to WORK the program, and to communicate and interact with others in a positive manner. As a reward for all the hard work and triumph over their struggles, when the participants graduate from Phase One to Phase Two, they earn a $50 gift card; however, another level of work now commences. Some of the Phase Two goals are to continue to grow the individual’s ability to be insightful, manage himself and his mental illness, and to utilize available community resources to support his ongoing recovery process. The BHC participant now attends the Monday court session every two weeks and there is an emphasis on individual therapy. In this phase, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), two important modalities, are emphasized. continued on page 16

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CBT is a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. The goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind a person’s difficulties and so change the way the person feels and acts. It is very effective when utilized in helping the patient deal with a wide range of issues including substance abuse, anxiety and depression. DBT is a modification of CBT that has been found to be effective for a person with borderline personality disorder (BPD); however it is not unusual for a person with BPD to struggle with other serious problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders or alcohol and drug problems. The key assumption in DBT is that self-destructive behaviors are learned “coping” techniques that the person uses to deal with unbearably intense and negative emotions, such as shame, guilt, sadness, fear and anger. With DBT, the curriculum, homework assignments, and team support assist the client in creating a “life worth living.” During this phase, a BHC participant may also have a peer specialist who has conquered similar problems and/ or a psychiatric nurse navigator to supervise the medication and prevent doctor “shopping.” There are weekly meetings for participants who hear voices, and there is a semester-long program at Montgomery County Community College, called the “Power Program,” that prepares a participant to take college

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courses and to interview successfully. A program called Career Link assists the individual with employment skills and the search for employment positions that will be manageable. Phase Three emphasizes the development of an action plan for wellness, continuing recovery, resiliency, relapse prevention, utilization of the county’s programs and benefits, integration into the community and ongoing management of the individual’s mental illness. Having a “Wrap Plan” is voluntary but encouraged. During this time, the participant learns to recognize the situations or circumstances that “trigger” negative behaviors, develops social skills and supports and formulates a relapse plan. A “whole person” approach is taken to help manage the illness and integrate the individual back into the community. During this phase, the participant attends the Monday court session every three weeks. Finally, there is the well-earned graduation; however, the participant is not left un-supported even then. For the first year after graduation, the participant keeps his recovery coach and is able to call anyone on the treatment team should a need or problem arise. How are these amazing results achieved? Behind the individual’s success throughout the program, graduation and beyond, is the commitment not only of the individual, but that of the entire treatment team. At noon every Monday, the treatment team meets to discuss each participant. When invited to attend the team meeting, this clinical psychologist doesn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. What a surprise! The quality of the team meeting went far beyond any expectation I had entertained. The treatment team may differ from week to week, but on this Monday, 22 professionals gathered to discuss, in-depth, each of the 44 participants who would be appearing in court at 2:00 P.M. Judge Smyth was there as was Stephanie H. Landes, the behavioral health court coordinator, and there were professionals from the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, adult probation, the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, Montgomery County Emergency Services, social workers, and case managers affiliated with various Montgomery County service providers. WINTER 2014-15

It was striking to hear how familiar the team members were with each participant as they freely discussed the progress, needs and particular obstacles that each might be facing. All team members participated in suggesting solutions for each individual’s needs and in developing the individual’s rewards or sanctions. The quality approach of the team members was equal to, or superior to, the finest mental health programs in the area! These are not EASY clients and they do not present EASY illnesses and issues! Sitting in when BHC was in session was not only informative, but also a very heart-warming experience watching participant after participant greet Judge Smyth and update him on their progress. It was clear that the Judge was familiar with every participant and knew about their life, needs, struggles and triumphs. Moreover, each person seemed to feel very comfortable telling Judge Smyth about their concerns and needs. One individual openly discussed the fact that graduation was a little scary and it was acknowledged to be a bit intimidating to have the supports of the past year and a half to two years fall away. He was promptly assured that he would not be left adrift but would have access to all the identified supports and services. The Judge and many of the participants exchanged pleasantries regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and, the most popular topic, the Thanksgiving holiday which had just passed. Those in Phase Three exchanged good wishes for the Christmas holiday, as it would be celebrated before they were due back in court. The Judge was treated with great respect and, when he imposed a sanction, it was accepted gracefully and with personal ownership of the fact that the participant had broken a rule of the program. There was a true sense of caring, familiarity and mutual respect. History and the accompanying statistics delineate that the most successful outcomes occurred for participants who have high mental health needs and no concurrent addiction. Participants may be hospitalized during the BHC time, but the team considers it successful when a person knows when they need to be hospitalized and enters the hospital voluntarily, rather than having to be involuntarily committed on a 302. When the program statistics were compiled several months ago, there were 100 graduates. Of those 100 graduates, three had been committed to hospitals and three had been rearrested. This is a resounding endorsement of the efficacy of the hard work and commitment that Judge Smyth, the BHC coordinator, the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, and all the other professionals who are part of the treatment team have expended on behalf of each and every participant in the program. The program is continually growing and developing, and now includes a dental program with clinicians from Montgomery County Community College who are available to clean the participant’s teeth and evaluate his or her dental needs. Further, work continues to make psychological testing



and psychiatric evaluation more readily available, and, with the upsurge in the diagnosis of autism in individuals, specialized intervention is sought for the participant who falls within the spectrum of autism. At the top of the list of issues that need further solutions, however, is the “pink elephant” within the process which is the very serious on-going need to obtain housing for individuals, as many of them cannot live at home or afford the costs of independent living. There are programs within the county, such as Section 8 and others, but only residents of Montgomery County are served at this time. As a clinical psychologist and attorney, every bit of information that I gleaned regarding this program was impressive! The in-depth diagnosis and interventions make it truly possible for participants to have a “life worth living”! As a side note, the participants are both male and female; however, the participant for this article is referred to as “he.” For further information on the topic of mental illness and crime, see the December 7, 2014 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, page G1.

For an informative brochure or to observe a court session, please contact Stephanie H. Landes at 610-992-7733 or go to https://wiki.

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2009 President

Mark A. Kearney

Confirmed as Federal Judge


n Wednesday, December 3, 2014, former MBA President, Foundation Chair, and 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year recipient Mark A. Kearney was confirmed by the United States Senate in a unanimous voice-vote to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the oldest and one of the busiest federal trial courts in the United States. The U.S. Senate announced Judge Kearney’s confirmation at 5:35 p.m. after winning cloture earlier in the day by a generous margin of 60 votes to 36 in a difficult year in the Senate for judicial nominations. The following afternoon, President Obama signed the Commission beginning his public service. Judge Kearney became the first lawyer elevated directly to the Court from a Montgomery County law office in the Court’s 225-year history. After a highly favorable review from the distinguished Lawyers Advisory Panel in mid-2013, followed by the joint recommendation of Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and sequential FBI, Department of Justice and ABA exhaustive investigations, President Barack Obama nominated Mark A. Kearney on June 16, 2014. Judge Kearney, an honors graduate, ballplayer and “Viking” at Archbishop Wood High School, later attended Villanova University and Villanova Law School. He is the first college graduate in his family, having worked full time at Genuardi’s Markets and as a sales representative for Lehigh Valley Dairies through college. Upon earning his Juris Doctor in 1987 as a classmate and dear friend of our Court Administrator Michael R. Kehs, he served as the law clerk to the Delaware Court of Chancery, a leading precedential court for the adjudication of shareholder and corporate litigation. SIDEBAR


A lifelong member of the Pennsylvania and Delaware Bars, his career in private practice began in 1988 as an associate at the large Philadelphia and Pittsburgh law firm of Elliott Mannino & Flaherty, P.C. In August 1990, Judge Kearney became a charter member of the new law firm formed by his senior partners John M. Elliott and Thomas J. Elliott. His colleagues promoted him to shareholder in 1995 and he has continued to serve as lead trial counsel in hundreds of complex commercial and employment class, direct and derivative litigations and regulatory investigations throughout the United States. At the time of his departure, he was a managing and co-hiring shareholder at Elliott Greenleaf for over a decade. He is published in several law journals on issues on fiduciary duties and federal jurisprudence. Throughout his career, Judge Kearney has been highly active in both our Bar Association and Foundation and has earned a reputation as one of the most prolific, influential and energetic leaders of both organizations. In addition to being the leader of the MBA’s Federal Courts Committee since 2000, he has served as the Bar’s legislative liaison and chaired and co-chaired over a dozen committees since becoming a member of our Bar Association in 1992. He is a former director of MCAP and a several-year director of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. In the last four years alone, the MBA and PBA have awarded their most distinguished awards to the Judge in tribute to, among other things, MBA125 and his effective advocacy of the Bar’s interests in the General Assembly. The Judge is quick to point out the importance that his involvement, sincere relationships at the Bar, and leadership opportunities have played in his path to becoming

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a United States District Court Judge. He repeatedly reminds us that his Senate Judicial Questionnaire highlighted his community and Bar involvement as prominently as his 30+ commercial jury trial victories, and that the United States Senate heard several speeches congratulating MCAP during the nomination process. He twice won the national award for excellence for Bar communications with the MBA and is repeatedly recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 lawyer in the Commonwealth and in Philadelphia, as well as a Top 50 Benchmark Litigation “Star” as voted by the Pennsylvania appellate courts. He continues to serve as the President of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) as it celebrates fifty years of excellence in legal education in 2015. The founding Chairperson of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, he is a ten-year delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates and serves on the prestigious Board of Consultors of his alma mater, Villanova Law School. While he will not serve in leadership positions any longer with our Bar, we also expect to see and hear from Judge Kearney at many of the MBA events over the balance of his career, including the Bar’s February 18, 2015 seminar on leadership, which is open to all MBA members. While he would be the first to tell us this recognition derives from the talented lawyers at his former law firm and the relationships formed at this Bar, please join us in congratulating the Honorable Mark A. Kearney and his family for his nomination and unanimous confirmation. Based on his success in his home county, we know he will make a distinguished, fair and well-prepared federal judge.



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SIDEBAR: A Look Back In light of Mark A. Kearney’s recent confirmation as Federal District Judge (see adjoining article), let’s take a look back into the recent past at Mark’s time as President in 2009. It was just 5 years ago when Mark accepted the gavel from Robert F. Morris and presided over the organization’s 125th anniversary. Below is the President’s Message from Fall 2009, wherein Mark discusses the MBA125 project and the future of our Bar Association.


Fall 2009

by Mark A. Kearney, Esq.

Setting the Stage for the Next Quarter Century Over the past several months, we celebrated the MBA’s 125 years of service to the community in many significant public ways. If you have not had a chance as yet, we urge you to purchase the Bar’s published hardback book, “A Portrait of the Montgomery Bar Association, 1980-2009: Meeting the Challenges of a Dynamic Era,” analyzing the last thirty years of practice, and including a CD-ROM with the history of the Bar from its inception until 1980. As hundreds have already, we expect you will find the book both entertaining and enlightening, and a wonderful introduction for clients and colleagues to practice in this County. You should continue to see the Bar’s MBA125 banners hanging on the streetlights around the Courthouse. If you get a chance, please also visit the MBA to review the pencil sketches of the nine most cited cases arising from Montgomery County – the professional artwork is extraordinary, and you may be surprised to learn which cases are the most cited. continued on next page 4 continued on page

How Sidebar Was Named by Stephen G. Yusem, Esq.

>> >>

 In this Issue. . . . 

Annual Picnic/Clambake S I D E B A R 20 W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 - 1 5 Montgomery Bar Association members share and enjoy a Annual Softball Game unique community of interests. We are the envy of other bar

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Setting the Stage for the Next Quarter Century continued from page

continued from preceding page

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As we began this MBA125 project in January, however, our focus remains on the next twenty five years, and using the lessons of the past as guideposts. Following a maxim, “the world steps aside for a man with a plan”, and consistent with the MBA’s Long Range Plan, we have taken several steps so far this year to help set the stage for Montgomery County lawyers over the next twenty-five years: •

On November 3, we voted on the recommended retention of Judges Moore and Barrett and elected seven new trial judges on the Court of Common Pleas who are likely to serve for the next twenty to thirty years. As such, this was a crucial election for the lawyers and citizens, and we performed an important role for the public. Following the extraordinary work of the Judiciary Committee begun in January and February, the Community Outreach Committee launched the Judicial Candidate Media Project on the Bar’s website and on the cable television systems throughout Montgomery County. In a live interview taped in early September at the state of the art television studio at Montgomery County Community College, we asked each of the fourteen recommended or highly recommended judicial candidates the same question: Why do you want to be a judge? Each of these talented lawyers had a maximum of three minutes on live digital television to answer this direct question. In this crucial, but under-reported election, these interviews were the only impartial county-wide video presentation of all candidates.

Throughout this year, we have held quarterly Managing Partners breakfasts and quarterly “welcome” breakfasts for the new members. While the topics are not the same, the purpose of these sessions is identical: to introduce both new members and the leaders of our law firms and practice groups in government service to the innovative concerns facing their practices and help from the Bar and their colleagues in addressing the dynamically changing legal environment. Following one recent Managing Partners breakfast, we saw several follow-up emails from managing partners to each other and me complimenting the key subjects addressed in a confidential candid manner among these women and men. We are honored that Steve Lupin has designated the managing partners as a standing committee for 2010. Similarly, our new member breakfasts sponsored by the Membership Committee have introduced lawyers of all experience levels to the collegial innovative practice tips from our Bar. These breakfasts are crucial learning and networking opportunities for law firms and our newest members.

During the past summer, the MBA, through its Diversity Committee, sponsored a law student internship for five first year law students of diverse backgrounds with six law firms in Montgomery County. This effort, first conceived during President Bob Morris’ year, was the first such outreach for your Bar. As detailed in the several favorable press accounts, the students were very impressed with practice in this County, and want to come back to practice here. The Hiring Partners in the law firms were also impressed, and want to extend offers to these students, and participate in future internship programs. Moreover, several counties have asked to model similar programs based on this success.

In October and November, the MBA sponsored two confidential dinner meetings as part of its MBA125 Leadership Initiative, welcoming forty nominated MBA lawyers of all ages to attend a closed door session with three nationally recognized business, non-profit and academic leaders to examine leadership ethos in the next twenty-five years. The focus is on inspiring the aspiring. Your Bar, like other professional organizations, should focus on promoting its nascent leaders across the community spectrum, including in your Bar. Our Inns of Courts does a very good job in lawyer training and mores, and the MBA is now reaching out to offer and gain insights from national leaders and our aspiring lawyers as to the guideposts for the next twenty-five years.

Founded in 1986, the Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the MBA, and has always been chaired by Bar leaders. In September 2009, the Foundation amended its by-laws so that lawyers and non-lawyers, based on their interest in developing non-profit funding for exemplary purposes and not based on a history of Bar leadership, would be nominated and serve in leadership positions with the Foundation. Again, as our history has taught, we must open the doors to dedicated and talented persons who can expand the good works done by lawyers.

As shown on our website, there are many more ideas, but these highlights provide you with some steps taken to meet the promise of the first 125 years. We look forward to your thoughts in this interactive process.> <

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Fall - 2009



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MBA Honors Judges Bertin and Ditter at Annual Membership Dinner By Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq.

Association members gathered at RiverCrest Golf Club in Upper Providence Township for our Annual Membership Dinner on November 7, 2014. A sudden cold snap in the weather did not stop our MBA members from coming together to enjoy an evening of warm professional camaraderie, lively spirits, and dinner. Following the cocktail hour, the dinner bell summoned attendees to the main dining room. After an Invocation by Hon. Stanley R. Ott, MBA President Michael F. Rogers introduced dignitaries in attendance from the County, State Appellate and Federal Benches. As we have presented in recent membership dinners, a video tribute to 50-year anniversary members was shown. Fifty-year anniversary members of the association included Ronald Bluestein, Edmund P. Butler, James J. Heffernen, Charles Wharton Smoth, Burton K. Stein, Samuel T. Swansen, Martin Weiss and Stephen G. Yusem. Immediately thereafter, the careers of honored guests Judges Emanuel A. Bertin and J. William Ditter, Jr. were celebrated. Once again, the MBA gathered for a successful evening celebrating our present successes and honoring our rich heritage.



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Unami Unami T he night began miserably. A fluke early November wet snowstorm made driving conditions slow and treacherous. It was compounded by a work night rush hour. While waiting alone at Umami Umami for nearly a half hour while my delayed dining partner negotiated the weather and traffic, I questioned why this meal was going to be any better than the rest of my evening thus far. Well, perhaps because at Umami Umami, my Sake glass was half full, not half empty. Located at 1708 Limekiln Pike in Dresher at the site of the former Dresher Inn, Umami Umami is a restaurant about which I had heard good things from several of my Upper Dublin friends and colleagues. Immediately upon entering, you are at the sushi bar and clearly this is not your typical strip mall sushi restaurant. I was led up a long flight of stairs, past a magnificent chandelier and seated in an approximate 80-seat dining room with a high ceiling. The dining room is sharp, with dark wood tables and chairs and contrasting hardwood floors. The wait for my dining partner gave me ample opportunity to survey the multipage menu. Along with the usual selection of a la carte sushi/sashimi and maki, the menu offered some rather unique special maki and interestingly, several Korean entrees. Having received a call from my dining partner that he would be arriving momentarily, I decided to order the Umami Umami Sampler ($23) and Edamame ($5) for us to share. Suddenly, my night began to get better. The Sampler, advertised as consisting of their three most popular rolls attractively served on a long dish, was outstanding. Four pieces of Ninja Roll, spicy tuna, cucumber, oshinco topped with tuna, jalapeno and a few drops of Sriracha provided a nice level of heat. Four pieces of Red Dragon Roll, shrimp tempura, avocado, topped with spicy tuna and crab with a slightly sweet drizzled sauce, was my favorite of the trio. The triumvirate concluded with a Mini Salmon Tower – Umami Umami’s signature dish, “not a roll, but a tower!” This unique creation of a cylindrical tower of wild rice on the SIDEBAR


ground floor, crab salad on the second floor, avocado on the third floor, and chopped Skuna Bay salmon in the penthouse was as good as advertised. In fact, we subsequently ordered a Mini Tuna Tower ($10) from the appetizer menu (an adult size Tower is $18). More fish. An order of Hamachi sushi ($8 for two pieces; $10 for three pieces served as sashimi) and an order of Izumidai (red snapper, $6 for two pieces; $8 for three pieces served as sashimi) followed our Sampler. The Ocean Star maki ($17), from their special maki list, was clearly several notches above the sushi. Cut into eight pieces, the Ocean Star, shrimp tempura and spicy tuna on the inside, topped with scallions and scorched scallop, was creative, fresh and quite delicious. We certainly wanted to try some cooked food. My dining partner selected the Umami Dumplings ($7). These five dumplings appeared to be handmade, wonderfully crispy on the outside with warm ground beef on the inside, and particularly enjoyable on this raw weather night. My favorite dish of the night was the Spicy Pork Bulgogi ($18). Served with soup or salad and a side bowl of white rice, the heat level of this dish is surely not for the faint of heart. But as my friend David says, nothing excels like excess. What made the super tender sliced pork in the slightly sweet, spicy sauce most memorable were the julienned carrots, peppers and sliced onions and mushrooms – it was a creative Japanese twist on the classic Korean recipe. We were each served a complimentary dessert, ½ of a fresh quartered orange splashed with cinnamon syrup. Umami Umami has a limited bar with some wine, hot and cold Sake, and beer selections. On Sundays and Mondays, they welcome you to bring your own bottle. The wait staff was courteous and efficient (and really skinny from running up and down the stairs from the first floor sushi bar to the second floor dining room) – thanks for everything, Sun. If traveling near Dresher and in the mood for some creative Asian cuisine, served in an interesting atmosphere, then I do suggest dropping in at Umami Umami.

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Speakers Bureau

Presents to National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts


he MBA Speakers Bureau recently participated in a panel discussion entitled Testifying Experts in a Business Valuation Dispute, which was held at the Crowne Plaza Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia on October 16, 2014. The event was hosted by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts, PA East Chapter. The audience consisted of business valuation experts and accountants, many of whom serve as expert witnesses. Speakers Bureau Chair Karl S. Myers moderated the event, while Cheryl L. Young and Michael G. Trachtman served as panelists. The group explained the process of testifying as an expert and how to effectively serve as experts in disputes over business valuation. Ms. Young spoke about valuing a business in a family divorce, while Mr. Trachtman discussed the same in a business divorce setting. Mr. Myers served as moderator, providing questions and commentary during the discussion. For members of the public interested in hosting a speaker, please request a Speakers Bureau Request Form by calling (610) 279-9660, ext. 232. You may also download a copy of the form from the MBA website (http://www.montgomerybar.



org/public/documents/SpeakersBureauRequestForm.pdf) and emailing the completed form to MBA Public Relations at pr@ We will promptly respond to you and collaborate with you on an event. For MBA members interested in speaking to the public, please contact either Jim Mathias at 610-279-9660, ext. 232 or Speakers Bureau Chair Karl S. Myers at 215-5648193.

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Fourth Annual

MCAP Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Silent Auction


n December 6, 2014, MCAP hosted its Fourth Annual MCAP Salute to Heroes Dinner Dance & Silent Auction at the Marriott Hotel in West Conshohocken. The night was dedicated to honoring and celebrating its 2014 Honoree, United States Senator Pat Toomey, and all MCAP advocates who volunteer their time to make MCAP work. Nearly 180 guests enjoyed great food, fun, lucrative auction items, and terrific live music from The Rich Posmontier Ensemble. Highlighting the evening was the inspirational remarks by Senator Toomey thanking the MCAP advocates for their work, commending Pennsylvania for its safeguards for children, and challenging the nation to pass legislation to protect all children nationwide. A bonus to the festivity was the celebration of the Honorable Mark A. Kearney, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. With Judge Kearney’s appointment, MCAP loses one of its outstanding child advocates, but the public gains an exceptional legal scholar and enthusiast to public service. Guests had the opportunity to bid on about 40 items in a silent auction and three dynamite items in a live auction. Items included premiere tickets to an Eagles game, a wine tasting extravaganza, photography sessions with Philip Gabriel, a unique stack of books autographed by best-selling authors like Dan Brown, John Cleese, Ian McEwan and many more. Auctioneer Bruce Pancio, Esq. did a stellar job auctioning the three live auction items which were: an exceptional



Washington, DC Tour Package compliments of Senator Toomey, A Week in Paradise: Tara in Tortola thanks to Marty Mullaney, and a Classic One of a Kind Diamond Hoops courtesy of Barbara B’s Jewels. A highlight of the evening was the picking of the raffle for the 2015 Toyota Camry LE. Patti Hoban, perpetual MCAP Run for the Hill of It volunteer, was the lucky winner and chose a silver Camry as her prize! Everyone was a winner, especially MCAP. As 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! All of the players are here. 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 as sponsors, donors, guests and especially the MCAP staff: Stacey Halstead, Pat Teaford, Jill Ringold and Diane Klein. Founded in 2004, MCAP will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year! Since 2004, MCAP has served over 3,600 children in more than 2,400 cases. In the last decade, MCAP and its 120 volunteer lawyers have helped many children who felt unsafe and unprotected by those caretakers who should have had their best interests at heart. Stay tuned for upcoming events in 2015 to celebrate MCAP and its many volunteers.

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Admitted vs. Non-Admitted Insurance Carriers When it’s time to renew your LPL insurance, you need to ask “Are you insured with an admitted carrier?” Not all carriers are “admitted” and the differences may shock you.

Non-Admitted Insurance Carriers

A non-admitted insurance company is not regulated by the state’s Department of Insurance. This means that… • The insurance company does not necessarily comply with state insurance regulations. • The insurance company is not protected under the state’s guaranty funds, so if the company fails, you have no guarantee your claim will be paid. And historically, non-admitted carriers have a significantly higher likelihood of insolvency than admitted carriers. • You are not able to appeal to the state department of insurance if you think your claim was handled improperly.

Admitted Insurance Carriers An admitted insurance company is one that is approved, regulated and licensed by the state’s Department of Insurance. This means that… • All forms and coverages issued by the company have been reviewed and approved by the state. • The insurance company must comply with all state insurance regulations and participate in the state’s insurance guaranty program. • In the event that an admitted carrier were to fail financially, the state insurance fund would cover claims the carrier can no longer pay.

Because these carriers are under no regulation or review process in setting rates and premiums, non-admitted carriers can charge any price they want. When you combine this with the Surplus Lines Tax, this has historically meant high volatility in premiums and higher prices.

Have questions about Admitted vs Non-Admitted policies, contact Rich Balasa at 610-537-1444 or

Then there is the question of price. Because their rates must also be approved by the state insurance department, an admitted company’s rates are usually more reasonable. In addition, admitted carriers do not have to pay the Surplus Lines Tax that non-admitted carriers pay, which vary by state but usually add 3-6% to your premium. Buying from an admitted carrier gives you peace of mind in two ways: • You can be confident the state will cover your claims if the company fails for any reason (mismanagement, natural disaster, etc.) • If you disagree with the way your claim was handled, you can appeal the company’s decision to the state department of insurance.



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The Speaker’s House By Dennis R. Meakim, Esq.

Do you recognize the man presiding over this scene as depicted in the mural on the wall of Courtroom A in our court house? Do you know that he was Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was from Montgomery County? Do you know the first and third Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was also from Montgomery County? Do you know the first person to sign the Bill of Rights was also from Montgomery County?

Frederick Muhlenberg Holds His First Court in the Barley Sheaf Barn, Dec. 28, 1784 by George M. Harding. Photo by Donna Archer.

Amazingly, one local person served all three of these significant roles. His name was Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg and he lived in Trappe, PA. In addition to being front and center at these historic events, he served Montgomery County as its first President Judge, Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds. Frederick Muhlenberg was born in Trappe in 1750. A son of Henry Muhlenberg, the man widely considered as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, Frederick, along with his brothers, was educated in Germany in preparation for the ministry. He started his adult life as a minister in different locales including New York, but returned to Trappe at the time of the Revolutionary War and entered politics. He and his wife Catherine (Schaeffer), the daughter of a sugar magnate from Philadelphia, maintained a house and general store on Main Street in Trappe from 1781-1791. The house still stands at its original location, now 151 W. Main Street, and is being restored by a non-profit organization known as the Speaker’s House. Since the colonial era, the property has been a private home, a dormitory for Ursinus College’s football team and home of its athletic director, and most recently an apartment building. Now a museum, the house is currently undergoing



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significant restoration which began in 2004 after a group of concerned citizens banded together to save the property from being razed and developed for commercial uses. The Speaker’s House is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to restoring the house to its original grandeur and raising awareness of Frederick Muhlenberg’s legacy. Lisa Minardi, the current president of the organization, provides a terrific tour and tremendous insights into the history of the property and the Muhlenberg family. She also provided most of the information that went into the writing of this article and is a frequent guest speaker on her book Pastors & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania. Other volunteers assist with the property’s educational programs, community outreach, and social media efforts. Historical tidbits, new discoveries, and much more are posted often at The website is Since 2008, the Speaker’s House has hosted an archeology field school, now in partnership with Montgomery County Community College. Students from across the country participate annually in this exciting, hands-on program which has located and identified hundreds of artifacts dating back to



the colonial era. Highlights include pieces of a dinner plate matching a pattern known to have been owned by George Washington. The organization is actively seeking new members and volunteers. Currently, the interior of the house has been stripped of the many alterations and modern additions that occurred over 250 years. Standing in the home of such an influential and important person as Frederick Muhlenberg and seeing and touching its plaster and wood — which predates the formation of the United States — is both aweinspiring and inspirational. Should you visit The Speaker’s House, the “feeling” you might get will be reminiscent of the first time you stood inside Independence Hall. The next major project at The Speaker’s House is to return the roof to its original dimensions and pitch as part of the building’s exterior restoration. A “Raise the Roof” campaign is underway and there is a gala fundraiser dinner scheduled for April 26, 2015, at the Barn on Bridge. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available now, and tickets will go on sale starting January 1. Visit for more information.

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Holiday Parties



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Courting Art Returns in 2015

Be a Part of the Court House Renaissance! There’s a lot to love here in Montgomery County, and for local artists and members of our legal community, there’s plenty to be proud of. In just two years, Montgomery Bar Association’s local, state, and now national award-winning Courting Art program has transformed the once-tired walls of the Montgomery County Court House into a bright, colorful gallery of homegrown art. It’s lifted the hearts of thousands of exhibition and court house visitors each year. Most newsworthy has been the fact that the renaissance taking place in the Montgomery County Court House has been achieved at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to a special group of prizewinning local artists and the pioneering attorneys, judges, law firms and community partners who have stepped up to sponsor and support the program. On all accounts, Courting Art is a winner.


n just two years, Montgomery Bar Association’s community outreach program has earned local and national recognition. It’s been credited for elevating awareness of our county’s talented seniors, as well as local artists and art programs. Recently at the annual conference of the National Association of Bar Executive’s Communications Section held in Indianapolis, Courting Art was called-out as “best of show” on its way to taking home a national Luminary Award – the organization’s highest honor. It’s among the first projects ever to receive a Stellar Award from the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, for raising awareness of local tourist attractions and community treasures. It’s glowed in the spotlight of major print, radio and television news media, and has already netted over one million unique impressions for sponsoring lawyers, law firms and community partners, through ads placed in recognition of their generous support. Moreover, what began as an original idea to relieve stress and create a more visitorfriendly court house is fast-becoming a nationwide model for community-led court house improvements. One Maryland judge has already credited the MBA, along with our pioneering sponsors, as the inspiration behind their own Courting Art program, already scheduled to launch next year in the city of Baltimore, with others soon to follow. No doubt our legal community is making history and there’s no better time for you or your firm to glow in the spotlight. As thanks and acknowledgement to our generous sponsors, a limited number of special recognition plaques are being made available to those who commit to 2015 sponsorship prior to January 31, on a first-come basis. Artists have already begun preparing for our highly anticipated 2015 “WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MONTGOMERY COUNTY” art contest and month-long juried art exhibition at MCCC’s Fine Arts Center. Here, our esteemed panel of judges will again select prize-winning work, and this time, to complete the transformation of our third and final wing of the Montgomery County Court House, Plaza Level. Whether you choose to sponsor as an individual attorney, firm, or business, your sponsorship will be widely recognized. And needless to say, in addition to serving the greater good, you’ll be doing a great deal toward helping to promote goodwill for lawyers, widespread recognition for our legal community, and the true virtues of our profession.



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Elder Law Committee to Welcome Special Guests in February On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, the Elder Law Committee will host a CLE at the Bar Association building titled The Newest Laws and Policies to Prevent Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation. Moderated by Committee Chair Robert C. Gerhard, III and Vice-Chair Michelle C. Berk, the course will feature speakers Nora Dowd Eisenhower, Assistant Director of the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and former U.S. Congressman and current host of MSNBC’s Taking the Hill Patrick J. Murphy.

Older adults are prime targets for financial exploitation by strangers, as well as by people they know and trust. Our distinguished speakers will discuss their work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and highlight that organization’s ongoing efforts to address the needs of older consumers. They will also share resources designed to help professionals prevent common frauds, scams, and other types of elder financial exploitation. All members are invited to attend this informative and practical CLE session. 1.0 substantive credit available to those who qualify. Register at


Members in the News

Sharon L. Jones married Scott C. Hofer (Howland Hess Guinan Torpey Cassidy and O’Connell, LLP) on November 15, 2014.

and Mediation, 33 Rock Hill Road, Suite 250, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. Phone: 610-667-7902. Email: joel@

Lindette and Bashir Hassan Joseph J. McGrory, Jr., are the proud parents of a baby boy. Idris Alexander Hassan was born on November 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm weighing 8lbs 4oz. Lindette and Idris are doing great! For the second consecutive year,

Steven F. Fairlie was recognized by The National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD), LLC, an organization that awards the nation’s best private Driving Under the Influence (DUI) attorneys. Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP is proud to announce that Jonathan E. Rinde and John F. Gullace were recently selected by peers in the environmental law community for inclusion in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Joel Bernbaum is pleased to announce the opening of his Bernbaum Family Law practice in Bala Cynwyd: Family Law Litigation, Arbitration

Chairman of the Municipal Law Department at Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, PC, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. The Home Builders Association of Berks County is a leading advocate for the building industry.

Sharon R. Meisler, of the Law Offices of Anita M. Seth, was once again part of the faculty and a presenter for the National Public Defender Jury Trial Training, held in Dayton, Ohio last October.

Salvatore F. Bello, Jr., received one of the “10 Best 2014 Client Satisfaction Award” for the state of Pennsylvania, presented by the American Institute of Bankruptcy Attorneys. He was previously named “Pennsylvania Superlawyer” in 2007.



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Between May and October of 2014, Thomas M. Keenan, Senior Partner of Keenan, Ciccitto & Associates, summited 4 mountains: Mount Nevis Peak in Nevis, West Indies at 3,232 feet; Mount Huron in Colorado at 14,010 feet; Mount Kinsman at 4,357 feet and Mount Madison at 5,367 feet via the Howker Ridge Trail. Both Kinsman and Madison are in the White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire.

Carmina Y. D’Aversa authored the article, “The Federal Estate Tax Lien and the Nonresident Decedent: What’s a statutory executor to do?” published by Trusts & Estates and available online at A full member of the international organization Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Ms. D’Aversa concentrates her practice in domestic and international tax planning and compliance.


2014 Montgomery Bar Foundation Grant Recipients

Pictured (top row): MBF Secretary David A. Feldheim, Esq.; MBA President Michael F. Rogers, Esq.; Brett Wells, Operations Director, Greater Norristown Police Athletic League; Lawrence Pauker, Esq., President, Women’s Center of Montgomery County; Maria Macaluso, Executive Director, Women’s Center of Montgomery County; MBF President Steven H. Lupin, Esq. Bottom row: Beth Sturman, Executive Director, Laurel House; Mary C. Pugh, Esq., Executive Director of Montgomery Child Advocacy Project; Mary Onama, Executive Director, Victim Services Center of Montgomery County; Abbie Newman, Executive Director, Mission Kids; Elizabeth Wood Fritsch, Esq., Executive Director, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA



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2015 Mock Trials –

Perform Your “Mock” Civic Duty By Colin J. O’Boyle, Esq., Chair, Young Lawyers Section In this year’s high school mock trial competition, Harper Marmalard has been accused of murdering Mandy Pepperidge, a classmate and fellow member of an elite honor society at the exclusive Kalmia University. The charge is first degree murder. Is Harper guilty? The prestigious judges of Montgomery County will preside over the matter, but it will be up to you to decide guilt. Come serve as a juror, hear the opening arguments, scrutinize the live testimony, analyze the evidence, and you decide! Within weeks, the first trials in the district competition of 2015 Pennsylvania Statewide High School Competition will be underway. The students are already hard at work, preparing to serve as witnesses and counsel in the high stakes criminal matter of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Harper Marmalard. The students, their attorney advisors and their teacher advisors dedicate considerable time to the presentation of these cases, and it always shows. As in the past, members of the community, including particularly members of the Bar Association, will be called

upon to do their part in this competition as well – to serve their mock civic duty – to serve as jurors. The Young Lawyer Section’s President serves as the district coordinator and is responsible for communication with each school, setting the schedule, assigning the court rooms, and – perhaps most importantly – ensuring the students at each trial have a sufficient jury to decide their case. If you have served as a juror before, we appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you again. If you have not yet had the chance, this is your opportunity. Past juror participants routinely comment on how enjoyable and rewarding the experience is for them. Stay tuned to and our weekly BarNews email blasts for dates and times in late January and February. Don’t miss this opportunity to provide helpful feedback to local students and to see our future litigants in action!

YLS Planning Second Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 19, 2015 Following last year’s successful inaugural participation in the National Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the Young Lawyers Section is planning to continue the tradition by coordinating a day of service on Monday, January 19, 2015. The National Day of Service is a national initiative that seeks to bring people together to make an impact on their communities while honoring Dr. King’s legacy through service. Last year’s event, which took place in Souderton, PA in conjunction with the Keystone Opportunity Center, saw more than a dozen volunteers from the Young Lawyers Section, the Bar Association at large and the judiciary come out to help prepare a transitional housing unit for a new family. The Young Lawyers Section is still working to finalize plans for the 2015 Day of Service. Additional details will follow, but people interested in participating should mark their calendars now for January 19, 2015. SIDEBAR


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Young Lawyers Section Hosts Clothing Drive to Benefit

Dress for Success

By Joseph A. McNelis, III, Esq.


he leadership of the Young Lawyers Section set out to make 2014 a year focused on community service. These efforts continued this Fall with the Dress for Success Clothing Drive. Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that supports women who are transitioning into the workforce by providing career development tools as well as professional attire and accessories. DFS provides individual career counseling and maintains a Boutique at their location in Center City, Philadelphia filled with suits, blouses, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. The organization works with thousands of women each year. From September through November, several law firms served as outposts for the collection throughout the county. The Dress for Success Clothing Drive culminated with a final collection at the Delaware Valley Legal Expo. On Monday, November 24, 2014, young lawyers Bill Roark and Joseph McNelis delivered the full donation to Dress for Success. All in all, the Young Lawyers collected an estimated 600+ pounds of clothing and accessories for Dress for Success. The drive was a huge achievement and yet another example of Montgomery County lawyers volunteering their time and resources to support the local community. This project could not have occurred without support from the following law firms: Elliott Greenleaf & Siedzikowski, P.C.; Fox Rothschild, LLP; Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, P.C.; Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer, LLP; Kaplin Stewart; Palmer & Barr, P.C.; and Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. SIDEBAR

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MBA Launches CONNECT Campaign As our members can attest, the MBA can be many different things to many different people. One member’s reason for belonging can differ greatly from the next. We take pride in that. As an association, we strive to meet the needs of each of our members, regardless of their area of practice, firm size, geographic location, etc. The MBA recently launched a campaign to learn more about non-member attorneys who practice in Montgomery County. Non-member attorneys who meet the criteria for membership were invited to complete a brief online survey for a chance to win a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Do you have any friends, family, or colleagues who are not members of the Montgomery Bar Association but are practicing in Montgomery County and meet the criteria for membership? If so, refer them to to tell us a little about themselves and be entered to win.



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Upcoming MBA Events January - April 2015

Appeals and Briefs

Jan. 9, 2015

Annual Business Meeting, Normandy Farm, Blue Bell, PA

Late January Early February 2015

Anthony J. Vetrano

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

610.265.4441 630 Freedom Business Center, Suite 215 King of Prussia, PA 19406

Feb. 9, 2015

Annual Ski Trip, Blue Mountain, Palmerton, PA

March 19, 2015

Young Lawyers March Madness Happy Hour, Location TBD

March 27, 2015

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

April 24, 2015

Annual Dinner Dance, Green Valley Country Club, Lafayette Hill, PA

for making a mark in Montgomery County. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the name PNC Wealth Management®, to provide investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services and lending of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association, which is a Member FDIC. Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. ©2013 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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. SIDEBAR


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