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The crew of the Berks County Bar Association, on behalf of Your Community of Lawyers, wishes all a holiday season filled with happiness and good cheer.

As 2016 comes to an end and we look with anticipation the 2017 ship setting sail, may your dreams for the new year’s cruise be realized.  The attorneys of the Berks County Bar Association stand ready to help.  If you are facing a troubling legal issue and are having difficulty finding the right legal counsel for you, please consult our Lawyer Referral Service.  Information about the service can be found here.

For those feeling economic pressure and have a need for an attorney but  fear not being able to afford one, please consult with MidPenn Legal Services to determine if you are eligible for free representation or at a reduced fee.  While we are not always successful, the Berks County Bar Association strives to provide access to justice for all.

Maybe you are already actually engaged in litigation, and your hope for the new year is that the matter be resolved.  Our Alternative Dispute Resolution Program is equipped to help parties in litigation realize just such a dream through private arbitration or mediation.  Information on the program can be found here. Bringing closure through compromise lessens stress and is more cost-effective, thus, usually making it the right approach.

Your Community of Lawyers wants to help you achieve your dreams when legal counseling is required to do so.

Our crew’s hope for you is that 2017 will be a year of sailing with peace and prosperity.

Looking for a Lawyer?

Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment?  Or are you considering bankruptcy?

You need to consult with an attorney.  Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom.  Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms.  Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court.  And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster.   Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you. 

If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.


Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues

The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing.  Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.

Read More› for a description of the program.

The program is also explained on a recent "Ask a Lawyer" television show. Go here to view the program. As of July 16, 216 cases have requested to participate. Go here for a detailed update.


Supreme Court rules for Samsung over Apple in smartphone copyright suit

The US Supreme Court [official website] unanimously ruled in favor [opinion, PDF] of Samsung over Apple [corporate websites] on Tuesday in an infringement suit between the two smartphone giants. At trial, a jury awarded Apple $399 million, an amount based on the total profits Samsung made selling smartphones that Apple claimed infringed on their iPhone design. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] reinstated the award [JURIST report] after originally overturning it. Samsung appealed, claiming the award should have been based only on the infringing "components" of the end product, in this case, "a rectangular front... Full Story››

HRW: China torturing corruption suspects

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engaging in torture in its efforts to root out political corruption, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF] released Tuesday. The report claims that President Xi Jinping's [BBC profile] "war on corruption" has resulted in the punishment of thousands of low-level corrupt officials, as well as hundreds of so-called "tigers," high level officials deemed corrupt by the CCP. HRW specifically alleges that officials are summoned by the CCP to detention centers operated outside of the criminal justice system. Officials are reportedly held for up to several months and tortured... Full Story››

Former LRA commander pleads not guilty at start of ICC trial

[JURIST] Dominic Ongwen [ICC profile], an alleged former top official in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), pleaded not guilty [press release] Tuesday to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The charges stem from LRA attacks committed in late 2003 and 2004 in Ugandan IDP camps and include allegations of murder, rape, forced marriage, and the use of child soldiers. Defense lawyers for Ongwen attempted to halt the trial [text, PDF] to claim that he did not properly understand the charges and called for psychological tests to establish... Full Story››

Germany top court allows damages for closed nuclear plants

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [official website] ruled [judgment, in German; press release, in German] Tuesday that nuclear plants that were closed or scheduled to be closed as a result of a statute passed in 2011 can recover damages. The statute [statute, in German] accelerating the closing of German nuclear plants was passed in response to the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, and just months after the government had extended the life of the nuclear power plants. Three energy companies affected by the statute challenged it in court, alleging it was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the statute was... Full Story››

Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentences fugitive to death

The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] on Monday sentenced [judgment, PDF] fugitive Idris Ali Sardar to death for war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The ICTB held the trial in absentia, listing Sardar as "absconded" in the court documents. Sardar worked as a leader of the Islami Chhatra Sangha during the war, allying himself with the occupying Pakistan army. Found guilty of genocide, abduction, confinement, torture, rape and other inhumane acts, Sardar was sentenced to be hanged. An accomplice, Solaiman Molla, died earlier this year, and the charges against him were subsequently dropped. The ICTB, established... Full Story››