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Three Projects Take State Bar Recognition Honors

HARRISBURG (March, 14, 2011) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association presented three County Bar Recognition Awards to the Montgomery Bar Association (MBA) during the 45th Annual Seminar of the Conference of County Bar Leaders, held Feb. 24 – 26, in State College, PA.  The MBA was recognized for its Liberty and Law civics education program; the formation of its friendly and interactive Fantasy Football League and the launch of MBA Mobile – a unique mobile application aimed at assisting busy, on-the-go attorneys.  The Montgomery Bar was one of 24 bar associations in Pennsylvania honored this year for sponsoring projects that improve the legal profession, the justice system and the various communities which it serves. The awards are presented annually by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

“Thousands of lawyers voluntarily invest their time and talents into programs and services that improve our local communities, and this outstanding commitment to service deserves to be recognized,” said PBA President Gretchen A. Mundorff. “It is important to recognize the many legal professionals that are making positive impacts on the lives of Pennsylvania residents.”

This year, 15 teams of judges and lawyers throughout Montgomery County will continue presenting a series of pro bono civics education workshops to sixth-grade classes in the Norristown Area School District as part of the Montgomery Bar Association’s “Liberty and Law” initiative.

A Pro Bono Civics Education Program for Norristown Area Middle Schools

Three one-hour lessons were held in 2010 and three additional lessons are now underway for this spring. The program has already reached more than 500 students in the district and comes at a critical time with major education cutbacks looming and limited emphasis nationwide on civics education.

The second award was for a unique new program aimed at keeping young attorneys and other members more involved in the association via the launch of the first ever Fantasy Football League in 2010.

Lawyers, bar leaders and staff attended a mock draft kickoff event and were encouraged to put aside their professional personas to compete with their own virtual football franchises during the 2010-11 NFL season. Prior knowledge of football or fantasy sports was not a prerequisite and event sponsors (Just Legal Inc., Strehlow & Associates Court Reporting and Intelligent Office) awarded prizes throughout the season to winners and losers of the friendly competition.  According to league commissioner and Norristown attorney Chris Horn, “The unique, online platform on which it was launched encouraged participants to remain involved in bar activities, interact with one another, and get to know each other on a different level throughout the season”.

Thirdly, thanks to an internally launched mobile application called MBA Mobile, Bar Association members now have access to more than 2,000 professional contacts, member profiles and events via the convenience of their Internet-enabled mobile device.

Members can visit http://www.montgomerybar.org/m from any web-enabled mobile device to put the power of the Montgomery Bar Association at their fingertips.  Here, after entering their unique private sign-in credentials, members can browse member profiles, view pictures of other members, execute one-touch commands like call or email, search and register for upcoming professional development programs and other events (with pre-approved credit status), bookmark links, add executable icons on their home screens and select the auto-fill option from many types of mobile devices for convenient, one-click access.  The Montgomery Bar Association was the first bar association in Pennsylvania to launch a robust mobile application of this kind and remains one of the few bar associations in the country to have an application that works on popular platforms like Blackberry, iPhone, Android and more.

The Conference of County Bar Leaders, whose membership includes leaders from bar associations throughout the state and from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, organizes a yearly educational conference focusing on the exchange of innovative bar association projects and ideas and on the development of mutually-beneficial relationships among bar leaders that improve the legal profession.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.

Source: Pennsylvania Bar Association, 100 South Street, P.O. Box 186, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186