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   pabar.org   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 www.innsofcourt.org.



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 http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-Details.aspx?newsid=236.

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

Bucks County Attorney Carl Maio Receives The Joan Fullum Irick Award

Bucks County Attorney Carl Maio Receives The Joan Fullum Irick Award

Carl Anthony Maio, Esquire, partner and senior counsel at Fox Rothschild LLP received a distinguished award from the International Association of Defense Counsel at its annual meeting in July, 2017 held in Quebec City, Canada.  The International Association of Defense Counsel’s (IADC) most distinguished and prestigious honor, “The Joan Fullum Irick” award was presented to Mr. Maio for his legal efforts internationally and nationally in matters involving corporate business of insurance and reinsurance matters.  Recently Mr. Maio produced and presented the program, “Business of Insurance and Reinsurance in a Low Carbon Economy” in Hamilton, Bermuda presented to executives of insurers and reinsurers along with their counsel representing five continents.  Mr. Maio has been in practice 45 years and has been a member of the IADC for 35 years serving in many capacities on governing standing and substantive law committees internationally.

High Swartz Awards Scholarship to High School Graduates

High Swartz Awards Scholarship to High School Graduates

Full-service law firm funds $5,000 scholarship in memory of law firm partner’s late spouse


NORRISTOWN, Pa. (September 2017) – Full-service law firm High Swartz is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of its James F. Doherty Scholarship, awarded to the child or grandchild of a full-time High Swartz employee. This year’s co-winners are Sophia Dantzic, daughter of attorney Douglas Wayne, and Jennifer Keyser, daughter of legal assistant Patty O’ Donnell.

Both students will use the $2,500 scholarship towards tuition at a 4-year college. Keyser, originally from Lower Providence Township, is attending West Chester University majoring in Public Health. Dantzic, originally from Doylestown, is attending Bennington College in Vermont.

The scholarship honors the memory of law firm partner Mary Cushing Doherty’s late husband, James F. Doherty. An employee with Penn Color for 30 years, Jim was a proud chemist and a man of many passions. He loved the study of history, literature, language and more, and was avid bicyclist, competitive trivia master, and a natural humorist. For 30 years, the Dohertys served their church as pre-cana counselors, preparing couples for marriage.

“I am happy to see my husband’s passions celebrated each year with this scholarship,” said Doherty. “Jim valued learning and knowledge. He would be happy to know that Jennifer and Sophia are using this money to help further their educations and follow their dreams.”

Each year, High Swartz offers a scholarship of $5,000 in Jim’s name. It is awarded to one recipient or split evenly between two recipients. Recipients must be either a senior in high school or an older student in college or graduate school, who is planning on attending a trade school, college, or graduate school full-time at the beginning of the current school year.

Applicants are required to write an essay related to one of Jim’s passions. The applicants also are evaluated based on their community and volunteer activities. For more information about the scholarship, visit the firm’s website.


PHOTO CAPTION: Mary Cushing Doherty awards the James F. Doherty scholarship to Jennifer Keyser, of Lower Providence Township on August 28 at the High Swartz office in Norristown, Pennsylvania.


PHOTO CAPTION: Mary Cushing Doherty awards the James F. Doherty scholarship to Sophia Dantzic, of Doylestown Township, on August 28 at the High Swartz office in Norristown, Pennsylvania.


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 www.highswartz.com.

Bucks County Family Attorneys Named Among 2018 ‘Best Lawyers in America’

Bucks County Family Attorneys Named Among 2018 ‘Best Lawyers in America’

Williams Family Law Founder Jeffrey M. Williams and law partner Susan J. Smith named among top family lawyers in United States


DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (September 2017) – Bucks County family law firm Williams Family Law, P.C. is pleased to announce that Founder and Managing Partner Jeffrey M. Williams and Partner Susan J. Smith have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, one of the legal profession’s oldest and most respected peer-review publications.

Since it was first published in 1983, The Best Lawyers in America has become widely regarded as a respected reference guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on detailed peer-review evaluations, and lawyers are neither required nor allowed to pay a fee to be listed. For the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers, 7.4 million votes were analyzed and more than 58,000 leading lawyers nationwide were named to the list.

“For more than a third of a century,” said Best Lawyers CEO Steven Naifeh, “Best Lawyers has been the gold standard of excellence in the legal profession.” President Phil Greer added, “We are extremely proud of that record and equally proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these exceptional legal professionals.”

A seasoned family law attorney, Smith is widely considered one of the top divorce and child custody attorneys in Bucks County and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Recognized by ALM publications as a “Woman Leader in the Law,” she concentrates her practice on divorce, child custody, alimony and support, equitable distribution, and complex business valuation and asset investigation issues impacting high net worth clients

This marks Williams’ eleventh straight year being recognized as a Best Lawyer in divorce law. He is the only Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) with a primary office in Bucks County and serves as the President of AAML’s Pennsylvania Chapter. He also is a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to 100 attorneys nationwide.

Williams concentrates his practice on complex divorce, high-income alimony / spousal support, complex child support, and high-conflict child custody cases. Widely regarded as one of the top divorce attorneys in Bucks County, as well as a leading family law attorney in Pennsylvania, Williams has been selected by his peers as one of the “Ten Leaders of Greater Philadelphia for Matrimonial & Divorce Law” since 2004.

The standalone Best Lawyers magazine is distributed in more than 30 leading publications around the country, including The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. A digital edition also is available.


Williams Family Law, P.C. – Williams Family Law, P.C., is a premier family law firm based in Bucks County, Pa. The firm provides individuals with matrimonial and family law legal counsel and representation in alimony, child support, child custody, divorce, cohabitation, grandparents’ custody rights, equitable distribution, marital settlement agreements, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, spousal support, matrimonial taxation issues and related legal matters. The family law attorneys also provide guidance and representation in alternative dispute resolution forums, handling mediation, arbitration and custody dispute resolution. The practice at Williams Family Law centers on four core principles: experienced guidance, compassionate advice, powerful advocacy and knowledge of the local courts and counsel. The firm prides itself on leadership within the profession and a strong record of success. To learn more, visit www.bucksfamilylawyers.com or email questions@bucksfamilylawyers.com.



Discovery Motions Court Cancellation

Notice from the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas


All Members of the Bar:

Discovery motions court will not be held on Friday, October 6, 2017.

No alternative discovery motions court sessions will be held during the week of October 2-6, 2017.


Stephen G. Heckman, Esquire

Court Administrator