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BUSINESS
September 2, 2011 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a Washington reporter for The Inquirer during the tumultuous years of the President Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings and, later, the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, I certainly knew of Jerome J. Shestack, the prominent Philadelphia lawyer who died Aug. 18 at age 88. He had been the American Bar Association president in 1997 and 1998, and earlier had sat on the ABA screening committee that split on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of...
BUSINESS
January 11, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Josh Blackman is a young, conservative law professor who has been getting plenty of attention for his history of the legal fight over Obamacare. Legal experts across the spectrum, including Harvard University's Lawrence Tribe and Georgetown University Law Center's Randy Barnett, a leading libertarian, have heaped praise on Blackman's book, Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare . It provides a granular account of how...
BUSINESS
June 12, 2011 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four months nearly to the day after Villanova University disclosed its law school had inflated grade-point averages and other admissions data, seemingly to improve its ranking in the pernicious yet all-too-closely followed U.S. News & World Report survey, the university appears to have settled on a communications strategy. And that would be to say nothing. Neither law school dean John Gotanda, who took over in January after the falsifying of data had ended, nor university spokesman Jonathan Gust is returning phone calls on this one. Although the disclosure deeply shamed the university and set off a wave of campus anxiety, Villanova has decided the most comfortable course of action is to, in a public-relations and marketing sense, plead the fifth.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2012 | Chris Mondics
When the legal markets imploded in 2008, and law firms started to ratchet back on hiring first-year associates and filling summer classes, it wasn't at all apparent that law schools, too, would need to tighten their belts. Some law-school administrators bravely claimed that while it was true there were fewer legal jobs, the potential uses of a law degree were so varied that graduates would find a way to land somewhere. There was, at the same time, the hope that the job-market troubles would be temporary, that the economy would revive and things would return to normal.
BUSINESS
November 1, 2010 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Stephen G. Breyer is acutely, perhaps painfully, aware that the Supreme Court is the weakest branch of government. It has no police force or army, nor can it get its way by funding someone's favorite program - or putting it on the chopping block. It has only the force of its own legal reasoning and precious reserves of credibility with citizens it earns over generations by often, although not always, correctly resolving the most divisive disputes facing society. "It is the weakest branch of government, no purse, no sword - and obscure," says Breyer, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
BUSINESS
September 19, 2010 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It would appear that all's quiet on the western front. For law firms, the devastation that swept through the legal marketplace in 2008 and 2009 has come to an end. Layoffs have stopped or at least have been sharply curtailed, firms that suspended hiring are recruiting once again, and profits, though flat or down, have stabilized at numbers that would make average middle-class American wage earners click their heels with delight. Even the sky-high starting salaries for first-year lawyers, long the source of client frustration and complaints, appear to have come through largely unscathed.
BUSINESS
December 28, 2011 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It has been almost two months since Philadelphia lawyer Michael Kwasnik was charged with stealing more than $1 million from an elderly Cherry Hill widow and accused in a lawsuit by New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors of many millions more. What comes through most from conversations with the people in the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics is just how satisfied they are with the way they have handled this matter. Kwasnik, according to the agency's own records, has been on its radar since at least 2006, with multiple allegations of fraud and misconduct.
NEWS
May 27, 1993 | By ACEL MOORE
If I didn't know Lani Guinier, the University of Pennsylvania Law professor who is President Clinton's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and I based my opinion of her on what has been written about her since her nomination, I would think that she was an irrational, racial separatist with radical and revolutionary leanings. I would think she is hellbent on overthrowing our democratic process. She has been characterized as a "quota queen," as a person who is outside of mainstream America.
NEWS
March 2, 2002 | By Kristin E. Holmes INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Esther F. Giaccio Clark, 72, of Wallingford, a criminal-defense lawyer, law professor, and the first female president of the Delaware County Bar Association, died of cancer Wednesday at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia. Mrs. Clark was once voted "Man of the Year" by the Lawyers Club of Delaware County, a distinction, colleagues say, that reflects not only the club's 1980s sensibilities, but also Mrs. Clark's toughness as a lawyer and a career marked by firsts. Mrs. Clark worked for $40 a day as a public defender in Chester during the 1960s.
NEWS
August 18, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Harris Ominsky, 77, of Merion Station, a lawyer and educator, died of bile duct cancer Monday, Aug. 16, at home. Mr. Ominsky was a partner with the firm of Blank Rome in Philadelphia for 35 years. An expert on real estate acquisitions, financing, and construction, he cochaired Blank Rome's real estate department for many years. He was a lecturer, course planner, and past president of the Philadelphia Bar Institute, the educational arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In 1988, he was the recipient of the Harrison Tweed Special Merit Award from the American Law Institute for his "exceptional contributions" to continuing education for lawyers.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 4, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Paul Knox, 87, formerly of Oreland, a lawyer in Montgomery County for many years, died Tuesday, July 21, of cancer at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, a retirement community in Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Knox and his wife, Eleanor, had moved to Westminster Canterbury in 2006. The son of Paul Waddell Knox and Florence Welch Knox, Mr. Knox grew up in Chestnut Hill and graduated in January 1946 from Central High School. He began early studies at Yale University in the fall of 1945.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
After all the courtroom jostling and legal swordplay, it may in the end come down to this - the word of three witnesses against one. Any day now, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto is expected to issue his second and likely final ruling on the $1 million penalty he imposed on insurance defense lawyer Nancy Raynor. This decision has had the city's legal community buzzing. The emerging consensus is that the penalty, unprecedented in its magnitude, isn't justified based on the alleged offense and sets a terrible precedent.
BUSINESS
March 5, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Justin Dillon, former federal prosecutor and now a white collar defense lawyer, knows all too well the ways campus sexual abuse investigations can go wrong. His litany of bizarrely skewed hearings is fraught with the potential for harm and tragic outcomes. The college student brought up on charges of giving his girlfriend an unwanted kiss, more than a year after the relationship ended; an alleged rape victim who said friends had information the accused had raped others, but then declined to identify the friends; the hearing panel, composed of a librarian, a student dance major, and a professor of romance languages, whose job was to decide whether a sexual assault had occurred.
BUSINESS
December 17, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Even in good times, borrowing by local government tends to be politically contentious, triggering taxpayer angst. It is about to become a bit more tumultuous. Ever since the 2008 financial-market collapse, municipal governments across Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been under duress. And while economic conditions have improved - more so in Pennsylvania than in New Jersey - balance sheets have ticked only slightly upward. As Bill Rhodes, a municipal-bonds lawyer at Ballard Spahr L.L.P., explains, this has partly to do with conditions that are unique to local-government finance, which is based in large measure on property taxes.
NEWS
November 4, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It read more like a poison-pen letter than a measured legal argument. One startling if little-noticed aspect of the uproar over former Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery was Chief Justice Ronald Castille's Oct. 20 opinion on McCaffery's suspension. It was called a concurring statement, but more than anything else, it was a tirade. Castille, a former Marine and former Philadelphia district attorney, interjected his ongoing feud with McCaffery throughout the five-page opinion, cataloguing various insults hurled by McCaffery.
NEWS
October 2, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Was it all merely a coincidence? One of the most salient and disturbing facts to emerge within hours of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was that 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Without once mentioning Saudi Arabia, President Obama spoke at length last Wednesday before the United Nations about the need to crack down on extremist ideologies emanating from the Middle East. But 13 years after the attacks, evidence continues to point not only to the involvement of Saudi extremists and terrorism financiers in the 9/11 attacks, but also perhaps to elements of the Saudi government itself.
BUSINESS
August 25, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
After all the hand-wringing and anguish over out-of- state firms flocking to file lawsuits in Philadelphia - the law firms you see advertising on late-night television - is Philadelphia still the notorious plaintiffs' paradise of common lore? It all depends on your idea of civil litigation bliss. A look at medical malpractice awards is revealing. There is no question: Philadelphia remains the most favorable jurisdiction in Pennsylvania for lawyers seeking big payoffs, a maddening fact to the many physicians and hospitals here.
BUSINESS
July 21, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
When FBI agents knocked on the door of his home just before sunrise Nov. 1, 2011, in Chappaqua, N.Y., a wealthy suburb north of Manhattan, David Adler's nightmare was just beginning. As his wife and two children looked on, Adler was marched out of the house, handcuffed and placed in a car, and then driven to the federal courthouse in Camden. There, the bookish securities lawyer with thinning gray hair and rimless spectacles was charged with conspiring with a group led by mobster Nicodemo Scarfo, son of the infamous former mob boss, to take control of a Texas finance company and then loot it of millions.
NEWS
July 1, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
At once tidy and stalwart, but pockmarked, too, with its share of boarded-up homes, Elizabeth Young's neighborhood in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia is the epitome of urban grit. No one would mistake this tough patch of the city for a hotbed of real estate action. And yet the District Attorney's Office stands to make a pretty good return here. On April 3, 2013, Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick ruled in favor of the D.A.'s Office and ordered Young, 69, a widow active in her church, to turn over her home to the city.
BUSINESS
May 17, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Managers of law firms have seen the future, and the future looks lean. Big firms - and many small ones, too - still sport hefty profits almost six years after the financial market meltdown unleashed tumultuous changes, from downsized firms and law schools to severely curtailed career dreams. But pricing pressure from clients and the corresponding need to cut costs have become lasting features of the legal landscape. That is the major takeaway from a survey by legal-consulting firm Altman Weil of managing partners at more than 300 U.S. law firms with 50 or more lawyers.
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