Archive for February 2008

Wolf Block Downsizes – Its Name

February 28, 2008

Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen, and its Roseland, N.J., branch Wolf Block Brach Eichler, will soon operate under a shorter name.

The firm said it would be known just as Wolf Block effective Feb. 29.

“The unification of our firm under one name brings us in line with the way our clients and others in the marketplace have referred to us for some time,” Mark Alderman, chairman of Wolf Block, said in a statement. “It is our honor and our privilege to take what our firm founders, including George Schorr, Hays Solis-Cohen, William Brach and Burton Eichler, created and keep it moving forward to achieve even greater success in the 21st century.”

Now all eight offices will be operating under that name.

–Gina Passarella, Staff Reporter


Q: What do Aliens, Pit Pulls, Scantily Clad Adults and Children Bouncing Balls have in Common?

February 14, 2008

Q: What do Aliens, Pit Pulls, Scantily Clad Adults and Children Bouncing Balls have in Common?

A. They’re all impermissible advertising images for lawyers – at least somewhere in the U.S.

Last week, an article about restrictions on legal advertisements hit the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Nathan Koppel’s article, “Objection! Funny Legal Ads Draw Censure,” detailed attorney ads that are being struck down by state bar associations. His article focused predominantly on the Florida Bar, where pit bulls wearing spiked collars, “fierce tigers,” a “shark in attack mode” and the “sounds of children bouncing a ball” have all been found impermissible.

Most of these advertising attorneys are well aware of their bar associations’ views on advertising. And for those ads that may be considered outrageous by even the most liberal of individuals (check out Chicago’s “Life’s Short, Get a Divorce” ads), the attorneys running the ads now know that media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and MSNBC are going to talk about them. The Fetman Garland & Associates’ ad, “Life’s Short, Get a Divorce,” were removed due to alleged permit violations, NOT ethical rule violations but even so, they netted millions of dollars worth of controversial media coverage, brought in plenty of new clients, and landed Corri Fetman’s new gig as Playboy’s “Lawyer of Love,” who bares all this month. Now that, I believe, is a first. … Talk about return on investment.

I digress. Going back to Koppel’s article, what I found most intriguing is that Florida does permit the mundane, monotonous and downright humdrum images of “the scales of justice, a gavel, an eagle, columns, and a ‘plain unadorned set of law books'” in legal advertising.

So, I wonder how an eagle tossing a gavel from atop a column onto the scales of justice in an effort to tip scales weighted down by an unadorned set of law books would go over in a legal ad. Yes, I wonder.

Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. 

Garcia Running for Chancellor

February 14, 2008

Rudy Garcia, a shareholder at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, is throwing his hat in the ring for this year’s election for chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2011, chancellor-elect in 2010 and vice-chancellor in 2009.

Garcia has been active in the bar association for several years, including serving three terms on the Board of Governors. Garcia is co-chair of the Charter & Bylaws committee this year.

“I can do this effectively. I feel like I have the responsibility to do it. The association has been good to me for a long time,” Garcia said in an interview Wednesday.

Garcia said his active involvement in the bar association, including serving as a bar association delegate to the America Bar Association House of Delegates, prepares him to lead the association on judicial independence, legal profession issues like the “unfair taxation of lawyers” and promoting the public good.

Garcia, who practices in complex business litigation, said he wouldn’t take the trade association advocacy role of the bar association lightly. “Somebody needs to speak up for the lawyers. That’s one of the important roles of the bar association,” Garcia said.

— Amaris Elliott-Engel, Staff Reporter

When the Media Gets that Unintended E-mail

February 8, 2008

Nutter Won’t Oppose Family Court Site – If State Pays

February 8, 2008

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter won’t oppose the proposed placement of a unified Family Court building at 15th and Arch streets in Center City if the state pays for the lion’s share of a building that is projected to cost at least $200 million, Nutter press secretary Doug Oliver said in an interview last week.

“In this particular case, it appears the state wants this at 15th and Arch, and funding is contingent on that, there’s very good cause to consider it,” Oliver said.

State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, D-Philadelphia, inserted a $200 million appropriations request to fund a consolidated Family Court building at 15th and Arch streets into an omnibus amendment to the proposed 2007-08 fiscal year capital budget. No further action has been taken on the capital budget since last year.

In October, Nutter told the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Family Law section that a land-use study should be conducted to ensure that a unified Family Court location is in the best interest of the court’s constituents and that a Family Court site shouldn’t be picked behind closed doors like other Philadelphia development deals.

Oliver said Nutter still believes that comprehensive reviews of land use are important for future development in Philadelphia, but that the mayor won’t oppose the selection of a site if its funding is predominantly sourced from state coffers.

“He is a proponent for always taking a comprehensive look at what land use should be in Philadelphia, how we use the resources we have,” he said. “That’s always of importance.

In this particular case, the state’s paying for it. You can’t dictate everything else about it.”
“The judges are very excited that this might go forward … I’m glad to hear that it sounds like the mayor is committed to this, but I think it’s very important to have the players in all three branches of government as well as city and state officials on the same page,” said Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, which has advocated for an improved locale for the family court system.

Even if the proposed funding gets passed into law, it will be up to the executive branch to decide which capital projects will be financed by bonds; many more public projects are proposed in the capital budget than actually are undertaken by the Pennsylvania government.

In January, Chuck Ardo, a Gov. Edward Rendell spokesman, said the Rendell administration has not committed to supporting a specific location and wants the court system and the city of Philadelphia to help fund the project.

Oliver said that Nutter is not a big fan of hypotheticals, so Oliver deflected a query about what Nutter would do if there were calls for the city to pony up a more significant portion of Family Court cash.

“If the conversation changes about the city’s proportion of funding, we would just take that, reflect on it,” Oliver said.

David Lawrence, the First Judicial District court administrator, said there have not been any new developments on the proposed site for consolidating the Family Court’s juvenile branch at 1801 Vine St. and the domestic relations branch at 34 S. 11th St.

“We’re waiting to see what happens. We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Lawrence said.

— Amaris Elliott-Engel, Staff Reporter

Transition Work Is Fun?

February 8, 2008

One thing was clear during a group interview last month with six associates at Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin who worked on the Mayor Michael Nutter’s law department transition team.

They had fun – and learned a lot – by spending many, many volunteer hours during the holiday season working on a transition team that Hangley shareholder Joseph Dworetzky was leading over the city’s law department.

Colleen Shanahan, an associate who started last fall, called the experience “a great welcome to Philadelphia civics lesson.”

Leslie Kramer, an associate at the firm since September 2006, hopes that the recommendations the transition team made will be used by the Nutter administration to find solutions to some of the law department’s challenges.

Mike Gadarian, an associate who joined the firm last October, was surprised at the scope of the law department’s legal responsibilities. He also loved the opportunity to be involved in public service.

 “I think public service is important. Just because I have a private sector job doesn’t mean I wouldn’t get involved,” Gadarian said.

Jon Marans, an associate at Hangley since May 2005, said law department attorneys could have succeeded a whole lot of other places for better pay, and they seemed to be working for the city because they wanted to see things succeed in the city.

Naomi Mendelsohn, an associate who joined the firm last October, said the exposure to the internal workings of Philadelphia governance has made it hard to complain about public policies because now she knows how much goes into policy-making.

Sozi Tulante, an associate who joined the firm in October 2005, was impressed at how diverse the law department was in terms of ethnic and gender representation.

He also was surprised at how “apolitical” the entire transition process was. There were no questions about which candidate you voted for, no queries about taking care of that case or this person, he said.

Because Philadelphians’ confidence has been blown by all of its sports teams, Nutter is the last remaining hope to revive the city’s sense of its self, Tulante said to the laughter of his colleagues.

“The city’s been wounded and he has the chance to heal it,” Tulante said.

— Amaris Elliott-Engel, Staff Reporter

Sad News: The Passing of Judge Cipriani

February 7, 2008

We’ve all heard it said that “not all news is good news.” This couldn’t be truer when it comes to the passing of Judge Nicholas Cipriani.

As a third generation Italian-American attorney who was born and raised in South Philadelphia, my life is touched with memories of Judge Cipriani from as far back as I can remember. He was larger than life in so many ways and yet such a gentle, loving and kind man.

Judge Cipriani believed in justice. He believed in family. He believed in honor. He believed in loyalty. He believed in his heritage. He believed in his friends.

In 1996, I served as an Italian-American delegate with Judge Cipriani for the National Conference of the Order Sons of Italy in America. I was a young lawyer about to deliver a speech with two colleagues to hundreds of attendees, including numerous state supreme court justices from across the nation. Judge Cipriani said, “Go and represent your family well. You will do just fine. Remember where you came from.”

When my grandmother, Mollie Furia, died in 2000, Judge Cipriani was there to pay his respects. He recalled memories of my grandfather, U.S. Magistrate Edward W. Furia, with whom Judge Cipriani had worked. They were friends, confidants and colleagues who were both sworn to the bench in or around the same year. That day, Judge Cipriani said, “Never forget where you came from.”

A few months ago, I had a conversation with Judge Cipriani. And when I asked if there was anything we could do for him, he said, “Yes.  Don’t forget me. Call me when you can. Come and visit. But more importantly, represent your family well and never forget where you came from.”

With this, I remember.
Gina F. Rubel