Current News from The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation
HARRISBURG (June 11, 2019) — The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation announced its new leadership team for the 2019-20 bar year. Its board of directors consists of 22 voting members that manage the foundation, including officers, elected directors and designated directors by appointment.
The following members began their positions at the close of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Annual Meeting in Lancaster on May 16.
Jeffrey M. Bower, of Bower Law Associates PLLC in State College, is serving his third and final year as president of the foundation. He is a former member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Board of Governors, the PABAR-PAC Board and the Centre County Bar Association Board of Governors as a past president. Bower’s practice focuses on estate planning and business law.
Samuel D. Miller III, a private practitioner in Lansdale, is vice president of the foundation. He previously served the foundation’s board of directors from 2007 to 2013 and is a Commonwealth Club Fellow. He is a past president of the Montgomery Bar Association and Montgomery Bar Foundation and the PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders. Miller represents lawyers and law firms in disciplinary matters.
Larry E. Coploff, of the Lock Haven law firm of Coploff, Ryan & Welch, is the foundation’s treasurer. A longtime member of the PBA House of Delegates, he most recently served as a PBA zone governor representing Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk and Potter county lawyers. Coploff handles transactional matters, such as residential and commercial real estate, organization of business entities, and contract review and drafting, in his law practice
Christine Hall McClure, of Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett PC in Erie, is secretary of the foundation. A current member of the PBA House of Delegates, she previously served as the foundation’s vice president, as secretary of Pennsylvania Bar Trust & Insurance Fund and on the PBA Board of Governors. McClure’s practice includes estate planning, representation of borrowers or lenders in business transactions, general business counsel, municipal and school district law.
Tyrone A. Powell, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Harrisburg, is immediate past president. A former Dauphin County Bar Association board member and past president of the Keystone Bar Association, he continues to head Keystone’s Continuing Legal Education Committee and serves on its Executive Committee. In his current role with the state, Powell oversees regulatory enforcement and investigations of fraud, waste, abuse and misconduct in executive agencies.
The following board members are serving the first year of three-year terms.
Christopher Gvozdich, Gvozdich Law Offices, Ebensburg, previously served on the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Board of Directors from 2008-11 as a designated director. He is a member of the PBA House of Delegates and a former chair of the Cambria County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Gvozdich was a former coordinator of Cambria County’s Mock Trial program and selected for the 2013-14 PBA Bar Leadership Institute. His practice focuses on the drafting of commercial loan documents and other transactional matters.
Rhodia D. Thomas, executive director of MidPenn Legal Services, Harrisburg, is president of the Pennsylvania Project Directors Association, a member of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association board of directors, a member of the PBA House of Delegates and a co-chair of the PBA Minority Bar Committee Minority Attorney Conference Planning Subcommittee. She is a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.
The following board members are serving the first year of their second of three-year terms.
Michael Jones, McMillen Urick Tocci & Jones, Aliquippa, is the immediate past president of the Beaver County Bar Association, a member of the PBA House of Delegates and vice chair of the PBA Bylaws Committee. He formerly was a member of the PBA Board of Governors representing members in Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Lawrence and Mercer counties. A civil litigator, Jones’ trial experience trial includes wrongful death, defective products, negligent security, professional negligence, insurance coverage disputes, municipal claims, employment disputes and commercial litigation.
Kelly A. Mroz, Penn State University, State College, serves on the PBA Board of Governors representing lawyer members in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk and Potter counties lawyers. Since 2018, she has been a voting member of the PBA House of Delegates, the policymaking body of the association. Mroz was also a voting member of the House from 2003 to 2004 and 2006 to 2012. She directs student legal services at Penn State.
The following designated directors are serving one-year terms.
James R. Antoniono, DeBernardo Antoniono McCabe & Davis PC, Greensburg, is the immediate past president of PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders, a former zone governor on the PBA Board of Governors representing member lawyers from Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties and a member of the association’s House of Delegates. This is his second consecutive year serving as a designated director. Antoniono is a former president of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, the Westmoreland Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Westmoreland Bar Association. He focuses his practice on personal injury with emphasis on construction accidents, aviation accidents, auto accidents and head injuries.
Alaina C. Koltash, executive director and senior legal counsel of the Education Committee of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Harrisburg, is the immediate past chair of the PBA Young Lawyers Division where she a one-year term as incoming chair and a one-year term as treasurer. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Conference of County Bar Leaders and the PBA House of Delegates. Koltash is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Board of Directors and the Widener Law Commonwealth Alumni Association Board.
Anne N. John of Mt. Lebanon, a private practitioner in Uniontown, became PBA president at the close of its Annual Meeting on May 17. She previously served as PBA president-elect from 2018-19, vice president from 2017-18 and secretary for the PBA Board of Governors from 2013-16 and a zone governor, representing Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland County lawyers, from 2009-12. John represents Pennsylvania in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and is a Hearing Committee member serving the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She is former president and secretary of the Fayette County Bar Association and has served several terms on its board of directors. John’s diverse practice includes civil litigation, criminal law, family law, municipal law, real estate law and wills and estates.
Shelly R. Pagac, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP, Pittsburgh, is a former member of the PBA Board of Governors representing lawyer members in Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Bar Association Board of Governors and chair of its Women in the Law Division. She is a current member Academy of Trial Lawyers of Western Pennsylvania and a board member of the Professional Liability Attorney Network. As her firm’s Employment & Labor Practice Group leader, Pagac’s practice involves counseling, training and defending employers.
William H. Pugh of Erdenheim, Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer LLP in Norristown and Philadelphia, is a former president of the PBA, a former zone governor on its Board of Governors representing members from Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties and a former member of its House of Delegates. This is his second consecutive year serving as a designated director. Pugh is a former president of the Montgomery Bar Association and its Political Action Committee and the Montgomery Bar Foundation. He represents physicians and hospitals in the defense of medical malpractice litigation.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, was incorporated in 1984 in response to the organized bar’s desire to become more involved in public service. The foundation works to increase the public’s understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strives to ensure that Pennsylvania’s citizens have full access to the legal system.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation is pleased to announce that its 22nd Annual Foundation of Treasures silent auction will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, May 15 – 17, 2019 at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square in Lancaster, PA. This sought-after silent auction is being held in conjunction with the 2019 Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and will be attended by hundreds of lawyers and judges from across the Commonwealth. Click here to see items listed in the auction catalog.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for the Louis J. Goffman Award. This award recognizes an individual or organization whose commitments to pro bono have enhanced the delivery of legal services to Pennsylvania’s poor and disadvantaged. Since 1989, the Louis J. Goffman Award has recognized and rewarded people and organizations whose donations of time, talent and expertise serve as a model to be emulated by other legal professionals and organizations. The 2019 Louis J. Goffman Awards will be presented during the PBA Annual meeting May 15-17 in Lancaster. Any Pennsylvania-based person or organization involved in the provision of volunteer legal services is eligible. This includes large and small firms, corporate law departments, government attorney offices, county bar associations, law schools and other legal services entities whose members, either collectively or individually, have demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following categories:
- Dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor through a pro bono program
- Significant work towards the development of innovative approaches to the delivery of volunteer legal services
- Active participation in a program/ project that satisfied a previously unmet or underserved legal need of a particular group of Pennsylvanians
- Successful litigation of a pro bono case that enhanced the delivery of other services to the poor
- Successful pursuit of legislation that significantly enhanced the provision of legal services to the poor
- Consideration will also be given to the length and intensity of service and the effort in context to the size of the organization.
Nomination deadline is April 15. For a nomination form and more information, go to http://www.pabarfoundation.org/what-we-do/louis-j-goffman-awards/.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and Zone directors representing Zones 8, 9, 10 and 11. The position of vice president is eligible to serve three one-year terms. The positions of treasurer and secretary have no term limits. The Zone director positions are eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms.
Current board officers eligible for re-nomination include President Jeffrey M. Bower, Vice President Samuel D. Miller III, Treasurer Larry Coploff and Secretary Christine Hall McClure. Zone directors eligible for renomination include Zone 9 Director Kim D. Morton, Zone 10 Director Michael B. Jones and Zone 11 Director Kelly Mroz. A nominee must be or become a Foundation Fellow, Life Fellow, Keystone Society or Commonwealth Club member upon election. Additional board service requirements may be found here.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume by April 1 to Tyrone A. Powell, Chair, Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Nominating Committee, P.O. Box 186 Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186 or via email.
Those nominated will stand for election at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation scheduled for May 16 in Lancaster.
Rebecca Marsnik Receives Pennsylvania Bar Foundation McDonald Memorial Scholarship for Trial Advocacy
HARRISBURG (Jan. 17, 2019) — Rebecca Marsnik, a third year law student at Penn State University Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, was awarded the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Joseph T. McDonald Memorial Scholarship.
Established in 2013, the scholarship annually provides $3,000 to a fulltime, 3L Pennsylvania resident involved in the Penn State Dickinson Law trial advocacy program whose goal is to pursue trial advocacy after graduation.
Marsnik is actively involved in several programs in preparation to be a trial advocate. She is currently the executive vice chair of the Moot Court Board where she served as the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition Advocate from 2017-18, a National Trial Team Advocate, a coach of two moot court teams and a leader in the 1L mock trial program. In 2017, Marsnik received the Intra-school Moot Court Most Valuable Advocate Award for her work in helping students hone their advocacy skills.
Her other activities include being the associate editor and comments editor of the Dickinson Law Review and a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. In addition, Marsnik has held internship positions for Judge Martin C. Carlson; the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Environmental Torts Section; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the Minnesota Twins.
Marsnik received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 2015.
The Joseph T. McDonald Memorial Scholarship Fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. For more information on this and other scholarships, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation recently named Faith Deredge of Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Marcus Gaines-Cherry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in Pittsburgh and Samuel “Trey” Manning III of Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law in Carlisle as the 2018 James W. Stoudt Memorial Scholarship Fund award winners. Each recipient received $3,000.
The scholarship was named to memorialize a steadfast supporter of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, James W. (“Jim”) Stoudt, who was instrumental in the creation of the Pennsylvania Bar Trust, where he served in many capacities for more than 40 years. Awarded annually, it provides three $3,000 scholarships, two of which are specifically designated to support minority law students, to candidates attending any of the nine accredited law schools serving Pennsylvania.
A legal intern for the office of Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., Deredge is dedicated to seeking even-handed justice and support of vulnerable populations such as communities of color, the LGBT community and domestic violence survivors as a trial lawyer or prosecutor. She belongs to the Temple Law Political and Civil Rights Society and was its staff editor from 2017-18, the ABA Section of Litigation Minority Trial Lawyer Committee serving as Practice Points editor and Black Law Students Association serving as its vice president from 2017-2018. Deredge also volunteers at the National Lawyers Guild Expungement Clinic.
Gaines-Cherry hopes to continue his work as an advocate in the public sector to ensure all citizens have civil rights and liberties, regardless of their race and socio-economic background. This past summer, he worked with the Education Law Center of Pittsburgh conducting legal research projects and comprehensive memo drafting on a range of education policies. At University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Gaines-Cherry participates in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, University of Pittsburgh Graduate & Professional Student Government, Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation and the Pitt Black Law Student Association. Active in his community, he is involved with Praying Pelican Missions and Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center.
Manning intends to work toward creating fundamental reform of the American criminal justice system by helping to end mass incarceration and changing the current sexual assault procedures. Last summer, he assisted in identifying possible wrongful conviction cases through the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. At Dickinson Law, Manning serves as president of the Black Law Student Association and event chair of the Public Interest Law Fund. He currently volunteers at the Bethesda Mission Expungement Clinic as an expungement coordinator.
The James W. Stoudt Memorial Scholarship Fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association For more information on this and other scholarships, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s annual NightOUT event will honor State Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf, who is retiring following 40 years of service in the Pennsylvania Senate.
Sen. Greenleaf’s extraordinary career includes his service as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 30 years. Senator Greenleaf has passed more legislation than any other member of Pennsylvania’s 253-member General Assembly.
Temple University Law Student Katherine Orr Awarded 2018 Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship
Katherine Orr, a law student at Temple University Beasley School of Law, was selected to receive the 2018 Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship; a $5,400 annual award presented to a law school student or young lawyer pursuing an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities, legal training or law practice.
Named after Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik, a talented lawyer and passionate animal advocate, the scholarship was created by Bednarik’s husband Joseph with help from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. Bednarik was the founder and first chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Animal Law Committee, and the course planner for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s first Animal Law Conference in 2004. She taught the first Animal Law course offered by Penn State Dickinson Law and served as a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board that worked to pass stricter laws for Pennsylvania’s notorious puppy mills. On weekends, Bednarik and her husband regularly transported homeless dogs to no-kill shelters and foster and forever homes, and when Hurricane Katrina struck, they traveled to Louisiana to help rescue dogs abandoned by the storm in New Orleans.
Orr has been involved in animal welfare for the past decade and it was a driving force in her decision to pursue law school. She plans on continuing this passion in her legal career by protecting the welfare of animals through advocating for new laws and policies, as well as participating in pro bono work to enforce those laws.
At Beasley School of Law, Orr serves as the president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, which was established last year. In this role, she intends to create and distribute education materials regarding pets and housing rights to law students participating in the Housing Mediation program, work with the Philadelphia Bar Association and local animal welfare groups to lobby against the last carriage horse company in Philadelphia and strive to get more plant-based dining options on campus. She is also a member of the PBA Animal Law Committee.
Outside of the legal community, Orr has driven more than 1,000 dogs from high-kill shelters in the south to foster-based rescues in Pa. and N.J. through her rescue transport work. She regularly participates in short-term fostering for a destination rescue in Pa. and is an active volunteer at Street Tails Animal Rescue in Philadelphia where she regularly walks and cares for the shelter’s dogs and is a member of its Events Committee. In addition, Orr has planned and coordinated successful fundraisers for Justice Rescue and Street Tails Animal Rescue.
The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as part of its Advised Fund enabling donor advisement on charitable distributions. For more information, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.
Courtney Lewis, a third year student at Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle, is the recipient of the second Louise Hoffmeyer-Overmiller Scholarship, a $6,000 annual award created by Dickinson School of Law alumnus William F. Hoffmeyer, Hoffmeyer & Semmelman LLC in York and Shrewsbury. The scholarship was founded in honor and in memory of Mr. Hoffmeyer’s daughter “Louie,” whose vigor, good humor and inner drive were on display daily as the law firm’s office manager and vice-president and title officer for the York Abstracting Company.
The Louise Hoffmeyer-Overmiller Scholarship is presented to a 3L Dickinson Law student who possesses a grade point average of no less than 3.3, financial need and a “fire in the belly” for the law.
The first in her family to graduate from college and attend law school, Ms. Lewis is committed to public interest work and challenging injustices that permeate the criminal legal system. Last summer, she interned at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, a non-profit corporation based in Philadelphia helping to exonerate those convicted of crimes they did not commit, and this summer she worked on appeals for people convicted of murder and sentenced to death at the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs in Austin, Texas.
At Dickinson Law, she is associate editor of Dickinson Law Review, the Dickinson School of Law liaison for the Carlisle Borough Council and the class of 2019 representative for the Diversity and Educational Equity Committee. In addition, Ms. Lewis served as the 2017-18 treasurer of the Black Law Student Association, 2017-18 vice president of fundraising for the Public Interest Law Fund, a tax preparer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and a trained legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild of Central Pa. In 2017, she was awarded the Unsung Hero Award by the Black Law Student Association.
Ms. Lewis graduated with honors from Mills College in Oakland, Calif. in 2012, receiving a B.A. in International Relations.
The Louise Hoffmeyer-Overmiller Scholarship is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The Foundation’s Named Scholarship Program works with individual attorneys and legal organizations to realize unique charitable interests that are consistent with the Foundation’s mission to improve the public’s understanding of the law and to strengthen the network of attorneys working to ensure that Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens have access to the legal system, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.