SIDEBAR Fall 2017 - 18



By Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.

"Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty
and the test of our civilization." ~ Mahatma Gandhi


n Wednesday, July 19, 2017, the MBA
Diversity Committee welcomed several
esteemed dignitaries and special guests for
the Closing Reception of its 9th Annual Robert E.
Slota, Jr. Summer 1L Diversity Internship Program.
Among them were members of this year's graduating
1L Intern Class, members of sponsoring law offices,
Judge Cheryl L. Austin from the 38th Judicial District
Court of Common Pleas, and Judge H. Geoffrey
Moulton, Jr. from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
The reception also celebrated a proud milestone for
the MBA as it marks ten years since the creation of its
Diversity Committee. Over 60 guests - judges, lawyers,
family and friends - were in attendance.
MBA President Eric B. Smith, Esq., kicked off the evening,
expressing appreciation for the significant progress of the
Association's diversity efforts, and stressing the importance of
continued commitment to this essential work. In furtherance
of that commitment, the MBA Leadership Academy has taken
on the task of reviewing the past decade of diversity efforts and
recommending future steps for continued development of a
diverse and engaged membership. Their work will be presented
during November's Board of Directors' meeting, and will serve as
a springboard for discussions on how to build upon the work of
this already successful committee.
Judge Moulton discussed his work in the landmark In Re
Estate of Carter case and the progression of the law relating to
same sex marriage in Pennsylvania. He noted the progress of
recent years in regard to LGBT rights, and the excitement of
being on the Bench during a time of such significant change.
Judge Daniel J. Clifford spoke of his work as founding cochair of the Diversity Committee, and his own path as the first
LGBT member of the Montgomery County Court of Common
Pleas. His efforts to build diversity in the legal community are
reflective of a belief that "acceptance is a person-by-person

initiative." Judge Clifford proudly introduced his fellow founding
co-chair, Judge Austin, who was honored for her influential
dedication to diversity in the practice of law and contribution to the
Bar's award-winning Diversity Committee. In his opening remarks,
he noted that Judge Austin's life was filled with many "firsts" -
including being the first female midshipman in the Navy Reserve
Officer Training Program and the first African-American Judge
on the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. Judge
Austin spoke of her own journey, as well as that of the committee
which was launched a decade ago when she and Judge Clifford
were appointed to form the MBA's first Diversity Task Force. Judge
Austin encouraged the 1L students to work hard and, when they
achieve success, to reach back to help those coming behind them.
The following law firms that sponsored a student for the
summer were presented with commemorative plaques by
Committee co-chairs, Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq., and Gerald L.
Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.: Fenningham, Dempster & Coval LLP; Flamm
Walton Heimbach & Lamm PC; Fox Rothschild, LLP; Kane, Pugh,
Knoell, Troy & Kramer, LLP; Mannion Prior, LLP; Morris Wilson,
P.C.; Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd.; Law Office of Jill R. Snyder;
and Wisler Pearlstine, LLP.
The reception came to a conclusion as the co-chairs presented
each student with a one thousand dollar scholarship to be applied
to his or her second year of law school. Students were encouraged to
return to Montgomery County to pursue the successful legal careers
that await them.
As the MBA and its Diversity Committee reflects on "the
beauty and the test" of the past decade, it affirms the importance
of its mission to ensure diversity in the practice of law throughout
Montgomery County, and its firm belief in the correlation between
diversity, unity and true access to justice for all.
Pictured: The Honorable Cheryl L. Austin (second from right) receives
award from (left to right) Gerald L. Shoemaker, Jr., Esq.; Carolyn
Slota; Hon. Daniel J. Clifford; and Carolyn R. Mirabile, Esq.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SIDEBAR Fall 2017

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