Lawyers Among Us: Advocates. Champions. Neighbors.

The Bucks County Herald and the Bucks County Bar Association are partnering on a special section in the Herald that highlights “The Lawyers Among Us; Advocates, Champions, Neighbors.”

Herald readers are invited to nominate members of the Bucks County Bar Association as Pro Bono Heroes, Great Mentors, Rising Stars, Lawyers with Cool Second Gigs, The Peacemaker, The Brainiac, Most Likely to Argue Before the Supreme Court and Most likely to be on CNN.

And there’s the Most Family-Friendly Firm, Wonder Woman and the Community Champion of Champions, a lawyer who is an exceptional community volunteer.

The online nominations run from Saturday, Sept. 9, to Friday, Oct. 20.

Click here to read the full Lawyers Among Us article

High Swartz Welcomes New Estate Planning Attorney, Mary R. LaSota

High Swartz Welcomes New Estate Planning Attorney
Full-service law firm grows estate planning practice with experienced attorney Mary R. LaSota 

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (September 2017) – Full-service law firm High Swartz is pleased to announce that Mary R. LaSota is joining the firm. LaSota concentrates her practice on estate and business planning.

With more than 10 years’ experience, LaSota has built a reputation for providing estate planning for families and offering legal solutions for startups and entrepreneurs across Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Philadelphia counties.

“She continually strives to provide cost-effective, practical and timely services beyond the typical expectations of a law firm through innovation, communication and entrepreneurship – traits she will bring to High Swartz,” said Joel Rosen, the Managing Partner of High Swartz.

LaSota holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kutztown University. She began her legal career as a paralegal, a job she held while attending Widener School of Law. She also holds an LLM in Taxation from Villanova Charles Widger School of Law.

High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to

Mary R. LaSota

Matthew A. Kelly, III, Esq. Earns CIPP/US Certification

Attorney, Matthew A. Kelly, III earns CIPP/US Certification through the International Association of Privacy Professionals

(September 19, 2017: Huntingdon Valley, PA) We are pleased to announce Matthew A. Kelly, III, an intellectual property and commercial litigation attorney at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC has earned the designation of Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

The CIPP is the global standard in privacy certification. Developed and launched by the IAPP with leading subject matter experts, the CIPP is the world’s first broad-based global privacy and data protection credentialing program. The CIPP/US demonstrates a strong foundation in U.S. private-sector privacy laws and regulations and understanding of the legal requirements for the responsible transfer of sensitive personal data to/from the U.S., the EU, and other jurisdictions.

The CIPP designation is credentialed only to those who demonstrate a strong foundation in global privacy and data protection law and practice, with a concentration on U.S. privacy laws and regulations, including:

  • Jurisdictional laws, regulations and enforcement models, or rules and standards
  • Essential privacy concepts and principles
  • Legal requirements for handling and transferring data

The IAPP is the largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community and resource. Founded in 2000, the IAPP is a not-for-profit organization that helps define, support and improve the privacy profession globally.  For more than 10 years, the CIPP has been recognized as the world’s preeminent credential in the business of privacy.

Matthew A. Kelly, III concentrates his practice in intellectual property law, with a focus on commercial agreements, licensing, complex commercial litigation, data privacy and security, and providing advice to clients about how best to protect their intellectual property.  He is a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and is also licensed in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC is a business law firm with offices in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.  For more than 30 years, Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC has been providing legal services to a wide range of enterprises throughout the region, including serving as outside general counsel for middle market companies, startups and non-profit organizations, providing niche services to multinational corporations and offering general legal advice to many long-standing business clients.  With over 25 attorneys the firm services its clients in the areas of business/corporate, commercial litigation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, real estate litigation, employment and labor, business transactions, bankruptcy, trusts and estates, health care, Affordable Care Act Compliance, intellectual property, data breach and cyber security, non-profits, mediation and arbitration.

Matthew A. Kelly, III, Esq.

Joanne Murray, Esq. Presents at Corporate Law Program of BCBA

Joanne Murray, a partner of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn and member of the firm’s business and finance practice group, was a presenter at the Bucks County Bar Association’s continuing legal education program, “Company Formation Best Practices: People and Collateral”.  The program focused on the intersection between intellectual property and general business issues when forming small to medium sized enterprises.

Ms. Murray counsels business owners as they face the financial, legal and operational challenges that are an inevitable part of the life cycle of a business.

Joanne Murray, Esq.

Eleanor Vaida Gerhards Named Co-Chair of Fox’s Franchising, Licensing & Distribution Group

Fox Rothschild LLP is pleased to announce that Eleanor Vaida Gerhards has been appointed co-chair of the firm’s nationwide Franchising, Licensing & Distribution Practice Group.

With co-chair Elizabeth D. Sigety, Eleanor will lead a team of more than 40 attorneys in 22 offices coast to coast who represent franchise and distribution companies across all classes of industrial, retail, food, entertainment, service, technology or home-based businesses. Recent firm mergers have expanded and fortified the levels of service provided by our franchise team.

Named a “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times Magazine and an IFA Certified Franchise Executive, Eleanor concentrates her practice on commercial transactions and compliance matters representing primarily franchisors, area developers and master franchisees. She also represents startup franchisors in the establishment of franchise systems and, as a member of Fox Rothschild’s Insurance Practice Group, she often counsels franchise systems on insurance coverage matters.

Eleanor frequently writes and speaks on legal issues in the franchise industry and her articles have appeared in the ABA Forum’s Franchise Lawyer newsletter, the ABA Franchise Law Journal, PAFI Press and Law360. Most recently, Eleanor authored a chapter of the ABA’s book on federal and state franchise exemptions and spoke at the 2016 ABA Forum on Franchising. Look for her contributions at Fox Rothschild’s Franchise Law Update blog.

Eleanor Vaida Gerhards, Esq.

Pennsylvania Bar Association Board of Governors Action

Pennsylvania Bar Association
Board of Governors Action

Pursuant to the PBA Bylaws Section 402(a), below is a report of the action that was taken by the Board of Governors at its meeting on September 14, 2017.  The PBA Family Law Section requested the Board of Governors to take action on this recommendation in lieu of the PBA House of Delegates as the House Judiciary Committee is moving forward on several initiatives with regard to grandparent’s rights and the rights of third parties with regard to children who are neglected or in need of caregivers.  The Committee intends to move forward this fall, as earlier as September with this bill and possibly several others on related topics.  The General Assembly is looking to the expertise of the PBA generally, and our family law and children’s rights attorneys’ specifically, to assist them in drafting legislation that is balanced, practitioner friendly, and constitutional.  Accordingly, the Board determined to act in lieu of the House of Delegates due to the exigent circumstances because the next PBA House of Delegates meeting is not scheduled until November 17, 2017.  The approved recommendation is attached.

The PBA Federal Practice Committee requested the Board of Governors to take action on this recommendation in lieu of the PBA House of Delegates; there is a judicial emergency in the Federal Courts of the Western District of Pennsylvania and need to act quickly to reaffirm the PBA’s position regarding judicial vacancies as Judge David S. Cercone has notified the President that he will assume senior status in November, 2017.  As such, by the end of 2017, the Court will be operating with a 50% vacancy rate.  Moreover, two of the five remaining active district judges are eligible to assume senior status and could do so at any time, potentially leaving the Court with only three or four active district judges.

Action Taken:

The Board approved the recommendation of the Family Law Section that the Pennsylvania Bar Association supports House Bill 585, P.N. 636 of 2017, or similar legislation, if revised as outlined in their recommendation.

The Board unanimously approved the recommendation of the Federal Practice Committee that the President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association be authorized to urge the President of the United States, members of the United States Senate and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to take prompt action to fill the four existing vacancies and one additional forthcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Kelly L. Myers
Governance Manager   Pennsylvania Bar Association
100 South St.   Harrisburg, Pa. 17101
P: 800.932.0311, ext. 2272   F: 717.221.8739
Email   LinkedIn   Facebook   Twitter


See attached documents:

Recommendation of the Family Law Section

Recommendation of the Federal Practice Committee

Elizabeth Fineman Receives Leadership Award

“Elizabeth Fineman, an Associate with Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, received the 2017 Isadore Kohn Young Leadership Award by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on September 13th .  The award recognizes an exemplary record of participation in the Federation’s programs, communal affairs, and annual campaign as well as demonstrated growth potential within the leadership ranks of the organization and its partner agencies.  Ms. Fineman also commenced her tenure on the Federation’s Board of Trustees at that time.

Elizabeth is a family law attorney concentrating on the full range of domestic relations matters, including divorce, child support, alimony/spousal support, marital taxation, equitable distribution and child custody.”

Elizabeth Fineman, Esq.

Anthony J. Scirica to Receive the American Inns of Court 2017 Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award

Anthony J. Scirica to Receive the American Inns of Court 2017 Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – Anthony J. Scirica has been selected to receive the prestigious 2017 American Inns of Court Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States on October 21, 2017.  The event will be hosted by Associate Justice Elena Kagan.

Scirica is a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a Senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He was nominated in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, who had previously nominated him to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1984.  He served as chief judge of the circuit court from 2003 to 2010, and took senior status in 2013.  He has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, as chair of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, and as a judge on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.

Currently, Scirica chairs the Judicial Conference Committee on judicial Conduct and Disability.  He previously chaired the Executive Committee as well as the Standing Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.  he was a member of the Advisory Committee on Civil rules, chaired the Working Group on Mass Torts, and served as a member of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation.  In 2010, he was honored for his service to the federal judiciary with the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award.

After graduating from Wesleyan University and the University of Michigan Law School, Sciraca began his career in public service as an assistant district attorney.  He also was a Fulbright Scholar at Central University in Venezuela.

The Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics is awarded each year to a lawyer or judge who has rendered exemplary service in the areas of legal excellence, professionalism, and ethics.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring.  The organization’s membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in more than 360 chapters nationwide and more than 100,000 alumni members.  More information is available at



Secretary of State Reminds Pennsylvania Notaries of New Education Requirement

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés today reminded Pennsylvania notaries public that changes to the notary law include an education requirement for current as well as new notaries.

“We want to ensure that all currently commissioned notaries know they must complete the education component before they apply to renew their commission,” Secretary Cortés said.
The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) will go into effect on October 26, 2017.
All current notaries who will be renewing a commission on or after that date must complete a 3-hour notary education course (PDF) within the six months before they apply for renewal. The requirement also applies to anyone seeking a new commission as a notary.
A certificate of course completion must be included with all applications for appointment or reappointment submitted on or after October 26.
In addition, new notaries will be required to take and pass an examination before receiving their commission. Current notaries will not be subject to the examination requirement unless their commission has expired or lapsed. If a current notary’s commission expires for even one day, that notary will be required to take and pass the examination.
The examination will be a computer-based test offered at Pearson VUE test centers in nearly all Pennsylvania counties. The cost is $65 per test. Notary applicants will have six months from the time they are authorized to sit for the exam to successfully pass the test. They may take the test as many times as needed.
RULONA changes also include revisions to the list of authorized notarial powers, a redesigned notary stamp, updated requirements for the notary journal or register, and the option to keep the journal in an electronic format. Currently commissioned notaries may continue to use their current notary stamps and registers until their existing commission expires.
comprehensive list of changes (PDF) that will go into effect October 26 has been posted on the Department of State website. Or call 717-787-5280, option 2, for more information. The website also has a list of RULONA-compliant education providers (PDF).
The notary division of the department’s Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation commissions more than 80,000 notaries in Pennsylvania.


Please see the Department of State’s most recent press release on the matter at

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions about the new law.

Martha H. Brown | Assistant Counsel
Department of State | Office of Chief Counsel
401 North Street, Room 306 | Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717.783.0736 | Fax: 717.214.9899