Gavel passed to new pres­i­dent at Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion lun­cheon

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gary Puleo [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @ on Twit­ter

WHITPAIN >> The cer­e­mo­nial pass­ing of the gavel marked the shift­ing of the Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dency from Mary Pugh to Gre­gory Gif­ford at a lun­cheon in the el­e­gant Blue Bell Coun­try Club ball­room on Fri­day.

Out­go­ing pres­i­dent Pugh of­fi­cially handed over the du­ties to the man she called “smart, car­ing, kind and funny” by say­ing “it is be­yond my plea­sure to hand the gavel to my friend, your pres­i­dent Greg Gif­ford.”

“2018 was an in­cred­i­ble year for the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion be­cause you were lucky enough to have Mary Pugh as your pres­i­dent,” Gif­ford told the crowd of around 300 lo­cal dig­ni­taries, le­gal pro­fes­sion­als and com­mu­nity lead­ers who had dined on spinach-stuffed chicken breast and green

beans at the start of the an­nual busi­ness lun­cheon.

Ac­cord­ing to his bio, Gif­ford, a part­ner in the Col­mar law firm of Ru­bin, Glick­man, Stein­berg and Gif­ford, has been a mem­ber of the firm since 1984 and prac­tices per­sonal in­jury, crim­i­nal, and mu­nic­i­pal law. He was ad­mit­ted to the Penn­syl­va­nia Supreme Court in 1984. A grad­u­ate of the Vil­lanova Univer­sity School of Law, he was ad­mit­ted to the Penn­syl­va­nia Supreme Court in 1984.

Gif­ford, who lives in Up­per Gwynedd, is also the So­lic­i­tor for the Lans­dale, Skip­pack, and Marl­bor­ough Town­ship Zon­ing Hear­ing Boards, North Wales Bor­ough, the Penn­syl­va­nia Ju­ve­nile Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, and Fran­co­nia, Hat­field, Lans­dale, and Towa­mencin Po­lice Benev­o­lent Asso­ciations.

He has also served as pres­i­dent of the Mont­gomery County Trial Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion and serves on the Ex­ec­u­tive Board of the Phil­a­del­phia Area Girls Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion and the Mont­gomery United Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion and is chair­man of the MDT team of Mont­gomery County Of­fice of Chil­dren and Youth. He also serves as So­lic­i­tor of the North Penn Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany.

Not­ing Pugh’s “un­be­liev­able en­ergy,” Gif­ford said, “What was 2018 about? For Mary, it was about re­la­tion­ships … it was about con­nec­tions, di­ver­sity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

He com­mended Pugh for in­creas­ing the Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber­ship.

“And what a lot of peo­ple don’t re­al­ize, she worked re­ally hard to con­nect all the gen­er­a­tions of the (or­ga­ni­za­tion),” he added.

In his mes­sage to mem­ber­ship at www.mont­gomery­bar.org, Gif­ford noted “I will do my best to con­tinue to strengthen our com­radery, our Bar Foun­da­tion, and our great re­la­tion­ship with the Bench, the Row Of­fi­cers and all other Mont­gomery County Of­fices. We, as at­tor­neys, have a rare op­por­tu­nity to pos­i­tively im­pact ev­ery­one we meet. Although our pro­fes­sion by its very na­ture is of­ten liti­gious, only we as lawyers can put a hu­man touch on the prac­tice of law. Be­cause we spend most of our wak­ing hours in­ter­act­ing with clients and at­tor­neys, we are the great­est am­bas­sadors for our pro­fes­sion.”

In re­ceiv­ing The Honor­able Louis D. Ste­fan Law En­force­ment Award, Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele, said “I am truly hum­bled and hon­ored to be rec­og­nized with the Louis D. Ste­fan Law En­force­ment Award, named of course for Judge Ste­fan, who in his 24 years on the bench was widely re­spected and beloved. He is still re­mem­bered fondly, to­day, by so many in Mont­gomery County.”

Steele noted that he re­cently met a man who had served as a high school in­tern for Judge Ste­fan many years ear­lier.

“Five decades later, he en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­mem­bered Judge Ste­fan as a won­der­ful men­tor who was keenly in­ter­ested in him and his fu­ture ca­reer. And he told me that the Judge helped teach him about com­pas­sion. I am hon­ored to ac­cept an award named for such an es­teemed man who stood for jus­tice. And I am also ap­pre­cia­tive that this award rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing ef­forts to pro­mote the rule of law and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice,” he added. “That’s what I have strived to do ev­ery day of my three years as Dis­trict At­tor­ney — to stand on the side of jus­tice, to be able to do the kind of work that I do in or­der to make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives.”

Steele re­called that in 1992, when he first be­came a prose­cu­tor, he was told that be­ing an as­sis­tant dis­trict at­tor­ney would be the best job of his le­gal ca­reer.

“I took that to heart and am still at it. I have not wa­vered in my zeal for be­ing a prose­cu­tor and I feel blessed to still be at it to­day. From my early be­gin­nings as a prose­cu­tor, I’ve been com­mit­ted to earn­ing my badge ev­ery sin­gle day. And I share that mes­sage with all of our young at­tor­neys and our de­tec­tives as they are sworn in and handed their badges. All of us in the DA’s Of­fice rep­re­sent that badge both in­side and out­side of the court­room … and hope­fully rep­re­sent it well by work­ing side-by-side with law en­force­ment, by work­ing com­pas­sion­ately with vic­tims — by treat­ing them with re­spect and dig­nity, by work­ing with fam­i­lies who never asked to be in­volved with the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, by work­ing fairly and hon­estly with de­fense at­tor­neys and by work­ing with our es­teemed bench.

“In my last three years as DA,” he added, “I hope I have earned a rep­u­ta­tion for tak­ing on the tough fights and not shy­ing away from the dif­fi­cult prose­cu­tions. As a prose­cu­tor, it is our duty to fol­low the ev­i­dence wher­ever and to whomever it leads — even when that’s hard to do, even when there are a lot of road­blocks that need to be over­come, even when the de­fen­dant is some­one pow­er­ful or fa­mous like Kath­leen Kane or Bill Cosby. I hope I have earned a rep­u­ta­tion for stand­ing up for fam­i­lies and vic­tims in the fight against deadly opi­oids by tak­ing on drug traf­fick­ers and dirty doc­tors and work­ing to hold them re­spon­si­ble for their crimes. I hope I have earned a rep­u­ta­tion for stand­ing up and shin­ing a spot­light on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and for work­ing to get leg­is­la­tion passed that makes a ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion bet­ter for vic­tims and their chil­dren. I hope I have earned a rep­u­ta­tion for stand­ing up for law en­force­ment to make sure they have the re­sources and sup­port they need to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe. And I hope I’m known for stand­ing up for our prose­cu­tors, de­tec­tives and staff by work­ing to get them a liv­ing wage as well as known for stand­ing with them, al­ways work­ing as a team to do the right thing in seek­ing jus­tice for vic­tims.”

The Honor­able Ho­race A. Daven­port Di­ver­sity Award, named for the first AfricanAmer­i­can judge in Mont­gomery County and given to an in­di­vid­ual or or­ga­ni­za­tion who has cham­pi­oned di­ver­sity within the Mont­gomery County le­gal com­mu­nity, was given to Mar­ilou Wat­son.

The Honor­able Mil­ton O. Moss Pub­lic Ser­vice Award, given to a Mont­gomery County res­i­dent who has pro­vided “ex­cep­tional ser­vice in sup­port of the jus­tice sys­tem” was awarded to The Honor­able Mar­garet Hun­sicker.

Also on the agenda, Seth Wil­son of Mor­ris Wil­son, P.C. in Con­shohocken was named Pres­i­dent of the MBA’s Trial Lawyers Sec­tion; Michael J. Lyon of Walsh Pan­cio, LLC in Lans­dale was named Chair of the MBA’s Young Lawyers Sec­tion; Mar­guerite Mary Noc­chi of Noc­chi Law PC in Lans­dale was named Chair of the MBA’s Fam­ily Law Sec­tion, and Oba­diah G. English of Man­nion Prior, LLP in King of Prus­sia, was named Chair of the MBA’s Pro­bate and Tax Sec­tion.

As noted on its web­site, mont­gomery­bar.org, the Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion is one of the coun­try’s long­est run­ning bar asso­ciations, es­tab­lished in 1885, and now rep­re­sents more than 2,100 le­gal pro­fes­sion­als in the county.

Like most trade or­ga­ni­za­tions, the Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion started as a net­work­ing out­let, “lawyers help­ing lawyers, but now it has re­ally gone so far be­yond that, help­ing the com­mu­nity on var­i­ous top­ics,” noted Pugh dur­ing an in­ter­view a year ago as she wel­comed her new role as pres­i­dent.

“If you’re in Mont­gomery County and you’re not a part of it, then you’re re­ally do­ing a dis­ser­vice to your­self. To prac­tice in Mont­gomery County and not be a part of the bar as­so­ci­a­tion would re­ally be fool­ish be­cause it’s such a won­der­ful re­source, not only for ser­vices but the abil­ity to net­work with col­leagues and the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she noted. “Be­ing a mem­ber, you kind of get a com­fort level when you walk into a court­room that you’re not walk­ing into a for­eign world.”

The gavel was passed from out­go­ing pres­i­dent Mary Pugh, right, to in­com­ing pres­i­dent Gre­gory Gif­ford at the an­nual Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion lun­cheon, held at Blue Bell Coun­try Club on Fri­day.

Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Kevin Steele, left, with Mont­gomery Bar Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent Carl Weiner. Steele re­ceived The Honor­able Louis D. Ste­fan Law En­force­ment Award at Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion’s lun­cheon on Fri­day.

Pres­i­dent Judge and Nor­ris­town na­tive Su­san Peikes Gant­man, of the Su­pe­rior Court of Penn­syl­va­nia, left, with award win­ner the Honor­able Mar­garet Hun­sicker at Mont­gomery Bar As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual busi­ness lun­cheon on Fri­day.

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