The 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association will celebrate Law Week 2018 (Today, Monday, April 30 – Friday, May 4), with an array of free community service events coordinated by the Association’s Young Lawyers Division and presented by volunteer lawyers.
Lawyers will offer free legal advice for residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, visit school classrooms, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms and present mock criminal trials for grade school students during the week-long fest, one of the more ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. This year’s Law Week theme, as identified by the American Bar Association, is “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.” The theme explores how power is shared in the government and how legal professionals can work together to preserve citizens’ liberties and advance their rights.
“This is the perfect opportunity to connect with the citizens of Philadelphia while demonstrating a sense of civic commitment by offering free services and education," said Vincent N. Barbera, chair of the Association's Young Lawyers Division. "With a different activity each day, this will be a rewarding experience not only for the young lawyers but also for students and citizens generally."
Law Week 2018 is co-chaired by Association Chancellor-Elect Rochelle M. Fedullo and Young Lawyers Division Chair-Elect Michaella Tassinari. Under their leadership, all Law Week activities are staffed by scores of lawyer-volunteers.
Lawyer in the Classroom: Monday, April 30 & Tuesday, May 1
The Lawyer in the Classroom program features lawyers visiting Philadelphia schools to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood, as well as to answer questions about the legal profession. Lawyers will meet with students at A.M.Y. at James Martin School, Chester A. Arthur Elementary School, Girard Academic Music Program, Parkway West High School, Roman Catholic High School, The Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts and Young Scholars Charter School.
Law Day Naturalization Ceremony: Tuesday, May 1
A Naturalization Ceremony welcoming dozens of new U.S. citizens will be held on Tuesday, May 1 at the United States Courthouse, 6th and Market St., at 10:30 a.m. Hon. Joel H. Slomsky will be presiding and remarks will be provided by Association Chancellor Mary F. Platt. At this event, the winner of the Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest – named after the former Association Chancellor, who will attend--will read aloud his or her essay on rights and responsibilities under the law. The winning Philadelphia high school junior or senior will be awarded a $1,000 college scholarship.
Legal Advice Live!: Wednesday, May 2
Dozens of Philadelphia attorneys will gather to provide free, in-person confidential legal advice to the public from 12 - 2 p.m. at five branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia: Central (1901 Vine St., Room 108); Ramonita de Rodriguez (600 W. Girard Ave.) where Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available; Haverford (5543 Haverford Ave.); Northeast Regional Library (2228 Cottman Ave.); and Thomas F. Donatucci Sr. (1935 Shunk St.). Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on such topics as personal injury, medical malpractice, landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning and employment law.
Legal Line P.M. Free Legal Advice Hotline: Wednesday, May 2
Volunteer attorneys will provide free legal advice to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties who call the LegalLine P.M. hotline from 5 - 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2. Area residents can call lawyers at 215-238-6333 and have their legal questions answered confidentially and at no charge.
Lawyer for a Day: Thursday, May 3
Philadelphia Bar Association members will lead Philadelphia high school students to the city's courtrooms to witness live court proceedings at City Hall and in the Criminal Justice Center.
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Association offices, 1101 Market St., 11th Floor, where students will gather to embark on their courtroom tours at 9 a.m. The event concludes with a noon luncheon back at the Association, where Association Chancellor-Elect Rochelle M. Fedullo will welcome students.
‘Gold E. Locks and the Big Bad Wolf’ & ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ Mock Trials:
Friday, May 4
Volunteer judges from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Association lawyers dressed as fairytale characters, “Gold E. Locks and the Big Bad Wolf," and characters from "Jack and the Beanstalk" will gather on Friday, May 4 at City Hall, Ceremonial Courtroom at 9 a.m. Volunteers act out mock criminal trials based on the fairytales for approximately 270 elementary school children. Volunteers will fan out in City Hall courtrooms to act as prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses in the criminal trials that will include opening statements, examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses, closing arguments and instructions for the juries. At the conclusion of each trial, the students act as the jury and determine whether the characters are guilty of a crime.