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BERKS BAR ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE RESOLUTIONS

 

Admissions and Membership

1. Responsible for the planning and execution of an admissions ceremony to be held in the Court of Common Pleas on a date in December.

2. The ceremony shall be followed by a reception in the Lawyers’ Lounge hosted by the Committee and the Board of Directors.

3. Committee members shall follow-up with new admittees to assure their membership in the Association.

Berks Barrister Magazine

1. Responsible for the development and assignment of stories and features to appear in The Berks Barrister, a semi-annual publication of the Berks County Bar Association intended to give exposure to the members and activities of the Association in a magazine format.

2. The committee shall be chaired by an editor who shall be compensated for his or her work.

3. The editor, working with the Berks County Bar Association Staff, shall be responsible for the editing of the copy as it will appear in the publication.

Bench-Bar Conference and Retreat

1. Responsible for planning the agenda for the Bench-Bar Conference with a focus on including a choice of seminar topics that will appeal to attorneys practicing in a wide-range of disciplines and involving as many members of the bench as is possible.

2. Responsible for choosing the site of the Bench-Bar Retreat and the nature of the travel package. It also plans the group events to be conducted during the Retreat, including the continuing legal education sessions.

Citizenship

1. Plans and executes two naturalization ceremonies, one in the spring and one in the fall.

2. The committee shall work with the Court of Common Pleas, the Prothonotary’s office and civic organizations in planning the program.

3. The committee shall host a reception for the new citizens following each ceremony.

Civil Liberties

1. The committee, whenever an allegation of an abridgement of civil liberties in the community is presented, shall review the matter and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors for appropriate action, if any.

2. The committee shall present public education programs on topics involving civil liberties when deemed appropriate.

Client Dispute Resolution

1. The Committee shall be responsible for attempting to resolve fee disputes clients have with members of the Association when the complaint has been properly submitted on the prescribed form.

2. The rules of procedure for mediation or arbitration are attached hereto and made a part hereof.

3. The committee member to whom the complaint has been assigned shall, when the attorney about whom the complaint has been made fails to respond to a total of three phone calls and/or letters requesting participation in the mediation process, so inform the Executive Director. Thereafter, the subject attorney shall be removed from the Lawyer Referral panel for one year provided that the last letter requesting the attorney’s participation included a warning, indicating the sanction, and giving 10 days in which to respond.

Common Pleas Court Rules

1. The committee shall provide a forum for the discussion of the Berks County Rules of Civil Procedure and the Berks County Rules of Judicial Administration. These discussions may provide feedback on proposed rules or suggested amendments, when requested by the Board of Judges.

Community Outreach

1. The Committee shall plan and execute projects that provide volunteer opportunities for members that benefit the community and promote the objectives of the Association.

Criminal Law

1. The Committee meets in a timely manner to discuss matters of concern to the criminal bar and to engage in dialogue with the Criminal Division Bench.

Diversity

1. The Committee’s mission is as follows:
(a) To ensure that legal services are available to all racial and ethnic groups in Berks County; and
(b) To increase the number of minority lawyers who practice law in our community.

2. The Committee is responsible for developing programs that will reach out to young students of diverse backgrounds to encourage them to enter the legal profession, with educational initiatives in the elementary, middle and high schools, a summer intern program for law school students, and mock trial teams.

3. The Committee shall also work to encourage the recruitment and training of certified interpreters for use not only by the court system but also by private attorneys.

Entertainment

1. The Committee is responsible for oversight of the Bar Association’s social events, which include but are not limited to the summer picnic, day at Hershey Park, and holiday reception.

2. Its responsibilities include the consideration and implementation of new social events, as suggested either by members or staff.

Governmental Affairs

1. The Committee is responsible for advocacy on behalf of the Bar Association with state and federal legislators and local officials.

2. It shall plan and conduct events that encourage collegiality and communication between the Bar Association and local, state and federal officials.

3. The Committee shall participate in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Day on the Hill or similar event.

Law Day

1. The Committee shall plan and recruit participants for the Bar Association’s annual Law Day Luncheon.

2. The Committee shall sponsor an essay contest among the fifth and sixth graders of Berks County, and it shall develop the essay question, generally based upon the Law Day Theme for that particular year. The Committee members shall then review the submitted essays and determine the winners.

Law Explorer Post

1. The Committee provides oversight for the operation of the Bar Association’s sponsored Law Explorer Post, a group affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, which provides a forum for youth to explore their interest in the legal profession.

2. An advisor and assistant advisor shall be appointed by the Committee to plan and execute meetings and activities on a regular basis for the Post.

Law Journal

1. The Committee provides oversight for the operation of the Berks County Law Journal.

2. The Committee is responsible for the hiring of the Editor and Assistant Editor positions.

3. The Committee shall periodically review the rates being charged for advertising legal notices and for the placement of display advertisements and, if necessary, recommend any proposed changes to the Board of Directors.

Lawyer Referral/Legal Aid

1. The Committee shall provide oversight to the operation of the Lawyer Referral Service, Pro Bono Program and the Modest Means Program.

2. The Committee shall periodically review the operation of the aforesaid programs and may make recommendations to the Board of Directors for enhancements thereto.

3. The Committee shall plan and execute an event or other means to honor those attorneys who participate in the Pro Bono and Modest Means Programs.

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education

1. The Committee shall provide oversight to the operation of the Berks County Bar Association’s Mandatory Continuing Education program, which includes assuring enforcement of the Quality Assurance and Financial Hardship Policies by the MCLE Coordinator.

2. When required, the Committee shall meet to plan locally produced CLE seminars.

Mock Trial

1. The Committee coordinates the mock trial competition that is conducted regionally as part of the program conducted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and the county competition that culminates with recognition of the two finalists at the annual Law Day Luncheon.

2. When requested by schools participating in the competition, the Committee will assist in the recruitment of attorney advisors.

Orphans’ Court Rules

1. The Committee shall provide a forum for the discussion of the Berks County Orphans’ Court Rules. These discussions may provide feedback on proposed rules or suggested amendments, when requested by the Orphans’ Court.

Public Relations

1. The Committee is to review the BCBA’s public relations campaign on an annual basis, determine the nature of the campaign for the following year and recommend a budget appropriation to the Board of Directors.

2. The public relations campaign plan is executed by the BCBA staff under the oversight of the Committee.

Senior Citizen Booklet

1. The Committee shall periodically review the Older & Wiser Booklet and, when necessary, update it for reprinting.

Technology

1. The Committee shall, on an annual basis, review the technology budget and recommend to the Board of Directors a budget appropriation for the following year.

2. The Committee shall periodically review the performance of the BCBA’s hardware, software and Web site to determine if the needs of the membership and staff are being met.

3. If it is determined that any such needs are not being met, the Committee shall recommend to the Board of Directors, if additional appropriation is required, the necessary steps to be taken.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

1. The Committee shall periodically provide educational programs for the BCBA membership and public as to what is considered the unauthorized practice of law.

2. The Committee shall review any complaints relating to the unauthorized practice of law and consider whether an admonition letter is required, commence litigation against the party or if the matter should be referred to the District Attorney’s Office or the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.


Adopted 9.28.10