To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
On behalf of the 13,000 members of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the oldest association of lawyers in the United States, I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell you about some of the important things we have been busy working on this year.
In January, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Board of Governors unanimously adopted a resolution calling for marriage equality in Pennsylvania. We also have taken positions and have been vocal on other important matters, particularly in relation to a couple different senate bills. I publicly expressed deep concern over Senate Bill 324, which was the proposed legislation that would slash the number of judicial seats on both the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Additionally, we activated our Legislative Action Center to encourage our members and the public to voice their concerns related to Senate Bill 76, the proposed legislation to increase sales tax on legal services in Pennsylvania.
Another topic we have been vocal about is public education. Given the fundamental economic issues that the city's public education system is facing, the Philadelphia Bar Association is partnered with the School District of Philadelphia to launch the Support Our Schools (SOS) Campaign, which is designed to help address these issues through advocacy, sponsorship and education. SOS is designed to partner law firms, lawyers and other interested individuals and organizations with one of more than 200 Philadelphia public schools, serving more than 135,000 children daily. Philadelphia Bar Association members have the ability to offer their knowledge, skills, and resources to schools in a variety of ways.
In May, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia partnered to host a commemorative event in honor of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. We also partnered to create a commemorative video, titled “Remembering the Legacy: Brown v. Board of Education – 60 Years Later,” which featured some of Philadelphia’s prominent African-American judges and lawyers reflecting on the decision and discussing how it impacted their lives and careers.
In addition, we continue to help lead and support the ongoing efforts of a broad-based statewide Civil Legal Justice Coalition, which includes the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny County Bar Association and other key stakeholders, to work collaboratively on improving access to justice. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille serves as the honorary chair of the Coalition, for which we are very grateful.
Moving forward, we look forward to hosting the 9th World City Bar Leaders Conference in Philadelphia this September. The World City Bar Leaders Conference is an international conference welcoming leaders of metropolitan bar associations around the world. In recent years, the conference has been held in Frankfurt, Montreal and Tokyo. We are especially delighted to host this year, as the conference returns to the United States.
We invite you to join us as your partner for justice. Please visit the Philadelphia Bar Association’s website at philadelphiabar.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter (@PhilaBar and @2014Chancellor). I thank you for this opportunity.
William P. Fedullo