The Pennsylvania Bar Association presented County Bar Recognition Awards virtually to the Bucks County Bar Association during the 55th Annual Seminar of the Conference of County Bar Leaders on Feb. 25.
Recognized for its Bucks Keystone Attorneys pro bono recognition program, Child Advocacy Initiative and COVID-19 updates and resource newsletter, donations to local food pantries and Young Lawyers Charity Golf Outing, the Bucks County Bar Association is one of 20 local bar associations in Pennsylvania honored this year for sponsoring projects that improve the legal profession, justice system or community. The awards are presented annually by the PBA.
“We are so proud of the innovative projects and programs that members of each local bar association initiate to better serve its community,” said PBA president David E. Schwager. “We are even more proud to recognize these good works each year and applaud the efforts of the many volunteers that contributed to their success.”
Keystone Attorneys Pro Bono Recognition Program
The association’s “Keystone Attorneys” program was designed to highlight those who go above and beyond in their pro bono service to the community. By generously donating their time and talent, these attorneys help people who otherwise could not afford counsel achieve justice. The association gives the special Keystone Lawyers recognition to members who provide 50 hours or more of legal services in one year. Members who are recognized as Keystone Lawyers are publicly thanked, included on the annual roster insert published in Bucks Keystone Lawyers and are awarded a special lapel pin to wear while in the courthouse and serving the community to bring awareness to pro bono work and their selfless service.
Child Advocacy Initiative
The association’s Child Advocacy Initiative is a cooperative effort between the bar association and foundation, the Court of Common Pleas, the district attorney’s office, the county’s guardian ad litem office and the public defender’s office. This effort is designed to provide a voice to children involved in certain types of court proceedings. The association’s Child Advocacy Section is comprised of member attorneys who wish to serve as guardian ad litem in custody, criminal and protection from abuse proceedings in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Section members undergo training on serving as a guardian ad litem. Once trained, the Bucks County bench is given a list of attorneys trained in the program and may consult the list when appointing ad litem in a specific matter.
COVID-19 Updates and Resource Newsletter
In reaction to the changes in businesses and courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the association launched a series of efforts in order to provide information and resources to its members, which were posted on the association website. The website also housed information related to local and state governments and courts to ensure that members of the legal community were aware of the latest updates. A series of town hall-style updates were held in order to provide the latest information and answer questions from members of the bar. Members also participated in CLEs focusing on the changes and impacts of the practice in law. Overall, these efforts allowed the association’s members to stay informed, and rapidly react to changes enhancing the teamwork and collegiality across the profession.