Transition Work Is Fun?

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

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