To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
"If you want to meet people, you have to get involved in the Philadelphia Bar Association," says John E. Savoth. "It really gives added depth and meaning to your life, both professionally and personally." And he should know. He recognized the value of being active in the 13,000-member Association early in his career. Now he's the Association's 85th Chancellor.
A native of Neptune City, N.J., Mr. Savoth learned the importance of family, self-reliance and a strong work ethic at an early age. His grandfather immigrated from Greece and eventually founded the family business selling bananas at the New Jersey shore in 1924.
In 2007, Mr. Savoth became of counsel to Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC. He focuses his practice on personal injury matters including construction, motor vehicle, and premises and products liability.
He is bringing fresh ideas on enhancing the Association’s work within the local Philadelphia community, among other key initiatives. As approximately 40,000 veterans nationwide prepared to celebrate their first Memorial Day since returning home from Iraq for the final time, Mr. Savoth announced a citywide program in which volunteer lawyers will provide free legal assistance to Philadelphia veterans who cannot afford or do not have access to the legal services they need. The pro bono services will be provided as part of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Military Assistance Program (MAP). Previously, volunteer lawyers assisted only active-duty military personnel and their families through the MAP. The new services expand assistance to include veterans, specifically in the areas of service-related compensation, discharge status and healthcare issues. The MAP will also benefit defendants who come into contact with the criminal justice system through Philadelphia Veterans Court who are in need of such civil legal assistance.
Also this spring, Mr. Savoth joined 200 students from 10 Philadelphia public schools in celebrating the expansion of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s award-winning Advancing Civics Education (ACE) program into city elementary schools. Launched in 2008, ACE is a program in partnership with Philadelphia public schools and the National Constitution Center that brings teams of volunteer lawyers and judges into classrooms to provide supplemental civics education, including the fundamental principles of citizenship, democracy and dispute resolution. More than 150 volunteer attorneys and judges have already participated in ACE, with 14 high schools and two elementary schools being touched by the program.
In addition to the community at large, Mr. Savoth is working on core issues that impact Philadelphia practitioners. Attracting and retaining clients continues to be a challenging prospect for many lawyers in this recovering economy. Accordingly, he has introduced a new program to help Philadelphia Bar Association members with their ongoing business development efforts. The Association now provides premium advertising opportunities on its website, exclusively to members, at a drastically reduced cost.
Under the Philadelphia Bar Lawyer Profiles service, members can upload full online profiles with a photo and resume of their professional services. Only a limited number of these opportunities are available through a low subscription fee. This program adds instant value to Association membership. Members can proudly display their profile on the website of America's first bar association.
According to Mr. Savoth, the Association’s modern mission is a reminder of its core principles: To serve the profession and the public by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the rule of law, and to ensure that all of our citizens, no matter their economic or social status, have full and unfettered access to our justice system.
“Never has this mission been more important than now,” Mr. Savoth said. “Never have these principles been more relevant. We are the soul of this profession. Unless we choose to get involved, to step outside our comfort zones, to act on behalf of a cause greater than ourselves, the prospect of adding richness and meaning to our work and our lives remains just that – a mere prospect.”
Associate Executive Director, Philadelphia Bar Association.