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New REV-1500 form

From Sherry Magretti Hamilton, Esq/MBA, Chief Deputy Register of Wills

As some of you may know, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has updated the “REV-1500” form. The revisions are expected to increase the department’s efficiency in processing the inheritance tax returns. Click here for the outline of changes provided by the state. If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Thank you.

Notice on civil/orphans' court motions

President Judge McCormick, Jr., Judge Marsili, and Judge Regoli will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on Friday, December 26, 2014. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday.

New rules adopted to enhance court reporting services

From the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

HARRISBURG — The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a comprehensive set of new rules governing court reporting operations to standardize services provided to judges, lawyers and citizens in each of the Commonwealth’s 60 judicial districts.

The move to replace an existing set of standards that were in place since 1981 was driven as much by technological advancements as a desire to unify a sometimes confusing mix of court reporting processes in districts across the state. The new rules bring greater clarity to the uniform production, ownership and fees for official transcripts of court hearings and other proceedings.

Notice on civil/orphans' court motions

Judge Regoli will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on Friday, November 7, 2014. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday.

Vacancy: District Court Administrator

Starting salary $61,399 - $81,865. Interested parties are asked to please link to the following for the vacancy announcement and application procedures: http://www.pacourts.us/judicial-administration/human-resources/job-openi...

PBA President Issues Statement on Suspension of Justice McCaffery

The Pennsylvania Bar Association today released the following statement to the statewide media:

Pennsylvania Bar Association President Issues Statement on Suspension of Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery

HARRISBURG (Oct. 21, 2014) — Pennsylvania Bar Association President Francis X. O’Connor today issued the following statement about the sending of inappropriate email by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery and his suspension from duties:

“The recent discovery of the sending of inappropriate email by a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has cast a cloud over our Commonwealth’s highest court. In suspending Justice McCaffery, the Supreme Court has taken steps to deal with this unfortunate situation in order to protect the dignity of the justice system and promote public confidence in the judiciary.

There are almost a thousand judges within the Commonwealth, many of whom go to work early in the morning, work until late in the day and do a commendable job for the residents of Pennsylvania. They deserve nothing less than the respect we give them.

As members of Pennsylvania’s legal profession, we hope that our justices will deal with this regrettable situation in a professional manner, and the designated disciplinary bodies will perform their work efficiently and effectively.”

PBA Launches 2014 Public Information Campaign on Education Rights

From the Pennsylvania Bar Association

PBA Public Education campaign

The PBA and 25 county bar associations launched an October 2014 statewide informational campaign, “Have a Voice in Your Exceptional Child’s Education,” which provides parents and guardians an overview of the special education rights of students with disabilities and mentally gifted students.

"In Pennsylvania, there are educational rights in place designed to protect children who have mental and physical challenges that hinder their development,” said Francis X. O’Connor, PBA president. “There also are education rights in place for children with outstanding intellectual and creative abilities. In creating this campaign, the PBA felt it important to provide some basic information to parents and guardians about these rights, how the assessment processes to identify disabilities and giftedness get started, and where parents and guardians can turn when they need more information."

The campaign is funded by the PBA and a grant from the Pennsylvania Bar Insurance and Trust Fund. It is the 12th in a series of statewide public education efforts waged under the direction of the PBA Community and Public Relations Committee. The PBA Legal Services for Exceptional Children Committee served as a partner in the effort.

Local bar associations from the following counties are participating in the campaign: Beaver, Berks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, Washington, Westmoreland and York.

Get the brochures:

Education Rights for Students with Disabilities

Education Rights for Mentally Gifted Students

New Certificate of Readiness form adopted, effective immediately

A new Certificate of Readiness form was adopted by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County on September 18, 2014, and is effective immediately. The order and form can be accessed online at http://www.westbar.org/local_rules.

Notice on civil/orphans' court motions

NOTICE: President Judge McCormick, Jr. will not be hearing civil and orphans’ court motions on the following Fridays: October 31, 2014, and November 7, 2014.

Judge Marsili will handle President Judge McCormick, Jr.’s motions on November 7, 2014, only.

This Just In: Board Issues Public Discipline Press Releases to Local Media

From the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Historically, the publication of news of the disbarment or suspension of attorneys has been low-key. Notices were issued to newspapers in the area where the lawyer practiced, for publication in the little-read legal notices section of the classified ads. Public discipline is also posted on the Board’s website. The Disciplinary Board believes that communities should know when discipline is imposed on one of their bar, so that practice is changing. The Disciplinary Board has begun issuing press releases of disbarment and suspension cases to media outlets in the market where the disciplined lawyer practices.

“As members of the Disciplinary Board, our duty is to assist the Supreme Court in protecting the public, preserving the integrity of the legal profession and safeguarding the reputation of our courts and the legal system,” said R. Burke McLemore, Jr., Chair of the Disciplinary Board. “By raising awareness of attorney discipline, we highlight our commitment to achieving these goals by demonstrating to the public how the profession is policing itself.”

The decision to focus additional efforts on raising public awareness of such actions arose in part from an incident earlier this year when a Dauphin County lawyer failed to notify his clients that he was forced to surrender his law license.

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