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Bench-Bar 2018 Handouts are still available

View and save the handouts from Bench-Bar 2018.

Important Statements of Support

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Civil Legal Services

MidPenn Legal Services provides free representation to Berks County low-income families needing help with child custody, domestic violence, housing, public benefits, employment and consumer issues.

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Legal Aid continued››


Berks County Bar Association Board of Directors Statement
on Judicial Independence

In light of recent, critical comments by the President of the United States directed at members of our judicial branch of government while litigation was pending, and in light of the fact that judges who have been criticized, by rule, are not permitted to respond publicly, the Board of Directors of the Berks County Bar Association has decided that it is appropriate to issue this statement in support of our Federal Constitution.

Statement on Judicial Independence continued››

Access to Courthouse/Family Dockets

Access link here››

Looking for a Lawyer?

Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment?  Or are you considering bankruptcy?

You need to consult with an attorney.  Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom.  Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms.  Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court.  And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster.   Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you. 

If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.

Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues

The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing.  Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.

Read More› for a description of the program.

The program is also explained on a recent "Ask a Lawyer" television show. Go here to view the program. As of July 16, 216 cases have requested to participate. Go here for a detailed update.


New Jersey sued for public school segregation

A group of non-profit corporations including New Jersey Coalition of Diverse and Inclusive Schools (NJCDIS), along with New Jersey students, sued [complaint, PDF] the state of New Jersey Thursday for having racially segregated schools. In addition to relying on Brown v. Board of Education, the plaintiffs also cited the New Jersey Constitution, which expressly prohibits segregation by race in public schools. The plaintiffs used the data that 66.1 percent of Black students attend public school districts where the non-white students make up 75 percent or greater of the student population. In addition, 24.4 percent of Black students attend a public... Full Story››

Bill to protect flight attendants from sexual harassment introduced in House

Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) [official website] introduced a bill [text] on Thursday "to protect transportation personnel and passengers from sexual assault and harassment." The bill, known as the Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act, would require that commercial airlines, railroads, ships, certain bus lines and other forms of "covered entities" have formal sexual assault and harassment policies in place, including training and protocol for filing and responding to reports. The bill would also raise the penalty for Interference with Cabin or Flight Crew, an existing offense, from $25,000 to $35,000 and explicitly include sexual assault in the definition... Full Story››

HRW reports violence in Burundi before referendum

Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [press release] on Friday that members of Burundi's security forces and ruling party youth league "killed, raped, abducted, beat, and intimidated suspected opponents in the months leading up to a constitutional referendum." The referendum on whether Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza, can hold office past the two-term limit (potentially allowing him to stay in power until 2034) occurred on Thursday. Nkurunziza has been in office [HRW report] since 2005. According to the report, security forces and the youth league targeted victims for refusing to contribute funds to Nkurunziza's campaign, or for not registering for his... Full Story››

California enacts law that limits when immigration status can be used in open court

California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed SB 785 [text] into law on Thursday, placing limitations on when a person's immigration status can be disclosed in an open court. The law adds two new sections to the Evidence Codeā€”one that addresses civil cases and one for criminal cases. In both types of cases, the law will require a party to seek a hearing in the judge's chambers prior to disclosing a person's immigration status. The law states that the law is necessary in order to "immediately help protect undocumented residents of California and their ability to participate in the California... Full Story››

US Treasury issues new sanctions against Iran

The US Department of the Treasury [official website] issued new sanctions [press release] against Iran on Thursday. The new sanctions target two individuals, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and Abdallah Safi-Al-Din. Both of them have been identified as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Bazzi has been identified as a financier for Hezbollah, and Safi-Al-Din has been identified as Hezbollah's representative to Iran. The Department of the Treasury stated that the sanctions "show the convergence of Iran's support for terrorism with many facets of illicit criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking. " The sanctions come after President Donald Trump's decision [JURIST report] to leave... Full Story››