Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Life Blood of Local Government


Pennsylvania relies heavily on its local municipal governments to provide services to its residents.  Unlike its neighboring states which utilize counties as their basic level of government, Pennsylvania governs primarily through Boroughs and Townships.  In the greater Tri-County area, there are dozens of municipal government units, whether they be First or Second Class Townships or Boroughs.  In all municipalities, the governing bodies are nominally compensated and serve their communities, essentially, as volunteers.
Municipal governments operate through the authority provided by State Law.  The State Borough Code, the First Class Township Code, and the Second Class Township Code are the enabling statutes under which municipalities can operate.
Boroughs are governed by Councilors and a Mayor.  Boroughs are traditionally smaller in terms of geography and population than Townships.  Boroughs are usually older communities and more urban in nature and generally fully developed.  According to the Borough Code (which was recently updated this past year for the first time in nearly 50 years), Councilors are elected to four year terms.  Most Boroughs have seven elected Councilors, although more are permitted.  Councilors can be elected by all voters in the Borough (known as At-Large seats) or specifically by voters in wards or precincts.  Precincts and Wards are most common in larger Boroughs, where differing areas within the community may be faced with different issues and challenges.  While the Borough Council runs the Borough, generally, the Mayor’s function is to supervise and oversee the police department.
First Class Townships are governed by a five person governing body known as the Board of Commissioners, who serve four year terms.  First Class Townships are more prevalent in developed areas and are usually more suburban than rural.  Unlike a Borough, there is no Mayor, although there are many similarities between the First Class Township Code and the Borough Code.
Second Class Townships operate under the requirements of the Second Class Township Code.  The governing body may consist of either three or five elected supervisors.  Originally, many Second Class Townships were undeveloped or rural in character.  Many were initially governed by a three member Board of Supervisors.  As the Townships would grow and develop, it was not uncommon for the Board to expand to five members.  Today, Second Class Townships can be very diverse, with certain portions of the Townships being developed areas, which would have Main Streets and Business Districts, as well as, suburban residentially developed areas, along with agricultural or undeveloped portions of the municipality.
Regardless of the type of municipality, each operates under similar rules and with many common advisory boards or other necessary Boards and Commissions.  Each municipality has a Planning Commission which is an advisory group, appointed by the elected officials to review and comment on Subdivision and Land Development Plans.  Each municipality that has its own Zoning Ordinance has a Zoning Hearing Board.  The Zoning Hearing Board is a judicial body appointed by the governing body to consider variance requests, special exceptions, and other zoning appeals.  The elected officials may also create autonomous boards known as “Authorities”, as permitted by the Municipal Authorities Act.  Although Authorities have differing purposes, primarily Authorities can be created to finance and/or operate utilities such as water or sewer facilities.
As a result of these numerous governmental units, there is a great demand for civic minded persons to fill the positions on all of these Boards and Commissions that are needed to properly run a municipality.  As with the elected officials, most of these Board members receive little or no compensation for the hours of service time needed to attend meetings or home time needed to prepare themselves for regular meetings of the Board or various Committee meetings.
As residents of Boroughs and Townships we owe a debt of gratitude to those who volunteer their time to local government for a job that many consider to be truly thankless.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Hanover, Sassamansville fire companies ordered to merge


Over the objections of Sassamansville Fire Company volunteers, the township supervisors approved a plan to merge the township’s two fire companies.

Both the New Hanover and Sassamansville fire companies will still operate at their separate stations, but there will be one set of officers.
“This has been a long time coming. We feel this is the best way to unify the two fire companies — they will work together just like they did with the standard operating guidelines,” said Supervisor Martin Dyas. “It’s worked with other townships. We are responsible for how the township’s’ money is spent. We had this recommendation and we are moving forward with it.”In 2010, New Hanover obtained a grant to hire a consultant to conduct a fire services assessment. This assessment led to 21 recommendations by VFIS Consultants, in order for the fire system to operate efficiently. The two fire companies have been working together on 20 of the 21 recommendations.

One of their recommendations, to have a single set of standard operating guidelines for both fire companies, has already been adopted.

Bruce L. Baldwin, of Baldwin Associates, spoke on behalf of Sassamansville Fire Chief Ray Strickland and the active members of Sassamansville Fire Company.“The merging works well on paper, but not so well in reality,” Baldwin said. “Both companies serve fundamentally different areas. Many volunteers would probably go to other companies. It’s a question of the communities they serve — Bally, Bechtelsville, Pennsburg, etc. — that’s the reason they (the volunteers) are in it.

”Nearly a dozen Sassamansville Fire Company volunteers were present at Monday’s meeting and many did not hesitate to express their feelings to the supervisors.

“We’ve had people resign over this. We’ve had people not show up because of this,” Strickland said. “We’ll work together without the merger. This has caused a great divide between the two companies. Mergers can be a good thing, in this instance — it’s not.”

There was also support for the merger.“The New Hanover Fire Company is 100 percent behind it. The mind set seems to be us versus them, but it should be we,” said New Hanover Fire Chief Phil Agliano.

The supervisors emphasized the desire for unification — neither side should experience loss. The resolution was approved at a vote of 5-0, and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Fire Companies Ordered to Merge

It's nice to get a mention in the paper, but we wish they had gotten our name right. Oh, well. It's still nice to be mentioned.

Wolf, Baldwin & Associates

Friday, August 3, 2012

Protecting your Domestic Partnership


A marriage means many things: often thoughts go to the ceremony, the ring, kids and the house with the white picket fence. While on the surface that is what marriage is, under the umbrella of the law it means much more. As same sex partners are aware, the majority of our states, 45 to be exact, prohibit same sex marriage. Five states currently allow same-sex couples to marry. In date order, those states are: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire. The District of Columbia also now recognizes gay marriages as of March 3, 20101. The inability to marry or the decision not to marry precludes a couple from many rights, protection and benefits. It should also be noted that not only does Pennsylvania no longer recognize “common law marriage”, it specifically defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Commonwealth has enacted Pennsylvania’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 1704, which reads “It is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth.”
The institution of marriage carries with it many legal rights, protections and benefits which derive from common law or have been codified into statutory law over the years. These include:
  • Estate Planning Benefits: If you die without a Will, your spouse will automatically inherit a share of your estate assets under the intestacy law. The law of intestate estates prescribes how your estate assets will be distributed upon your death, but those assets will only go to close family members, not same sex domestic partners.
  • Tax Benefits: Married couples can file joint income returns, allowing for many tax deductions and offsets. In Pennsylvania, the inheritance tax for property passing to the surviving spouse is zero, whereas the tax on property passing to non-family members is 15%.
  • Medical and Funeral Decisions: Most hospitals will allow a spouse to visit his or her husband or wife without the need for a power of attorney or other documentation, and may not seek other authority to make medical decisions the spouse’s behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated or in a permanent state of unconsciousness. A domestic partner, on the other hand, cannot make medical decisions and may not even be allowed access to the hospital to visit. Funeral homes will typically not seek authority from a surviving spouse to determine funeral, body disposition, or burial arrangements.
  • Receipt of Benefits/Death Benefits: Married couples may take for granted their right to be the beneficiary of various forms of benefits, including medical insurance, retirement benefits, Social Security, and workers’ compensation fatal claim benefits.
  • Family Law Rights: Our law is replete with protections for married couples who want to dissolve their relationship, including spousal support, child support, provisions for child custody, and the ability of the court to equitably divide marital property. Domestic partners cannot take advantage of these opportunities and protections.
The above list sets forth only a few of the rights afforded to married couples and consequently illustrates just some of the rights which domestic partners cannot enjoy. However, it does not mean that there is nothing which can be done to protect domestic partners. The law in this area is rapidly evolving. For example, many large companies now provide health insurance to domestic partners. Family law attorneys are becoming increasingly savvy in their attempts to construct, by contract law or otherwise, some of the same rights which married couples enjoy.
People involved in domestic partnerships would be well-advised to consult with a qualified family law or estate planning attorney to discuss their options. There are a multitude of ways in which the law can protect same sex partners absent marriage. If nothing else, at a minimum same sex partners should consider drafting a Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directive. They should also consider entering into a Domestic Partnership or Cohabitation Agreement. Same sex couples that have married legally in another state may not be afforded the protections of that institution in Pennsylvania.

Kristen Doleva-Lecher, Esquire is an attorney in the law firm of Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C., which has offices in Pottstown, Reading, and West Chester. She is a certified mediator and practices in the areas of family law and business representation. She may be reached by telephone at 610-374-2400 or by e-mail at kdoleva@wolfbaldwin.com.
1 “Which States Allow Gay Marriage?” by Steve Williams (January 17, 2010)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CHARLES D. GARNER, JR. TO JOIN WOLF, BALDWIN & ASSOCIATES, P.C.


Pottstown, PA – July 11, 2012 – Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. is pleased and excited to announce the addition of Charles D. Garner, Jr. to the firm. Mr. Garner will be the seventh attorney on staff at the firm. He concentrates his practice in Municipal, Real Estate and Zoning Law.
I am excited and proud to join such a well-respected and prominent Pottstown law firm,” said Mr. Garner.
Mr. Garner received his juris doctor from Dickinson School of Law in 1986. He practiced with the firm of Reynier, Crocker, Allebach & Reber from 1986 through 1998, after which he joined with attorney Paul Bauer to form Garner & Bauer. Mr. Garner served as Solicitor for the Upper Perk Police Commission from 1997 to 2003. He is currently the Solicitor for Pottstown Borough, Pennsburg Borough, Upper Pottsgrove Township, Limerick Township Zoning Hearing Boards and the Douglass Township Planning Agency.
Chuck's presence with our firm brings an added dimension to the services we offer,” said Jack Wolf, founding shareholder of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.. “His knowledge and experience brings another dimension to our practice and allow us to provide additional legal services to our clients.” The anticipated date for Mr. Garner to join Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. is August 15, 2012.
In addition to municipal, real estate and zoning law, Mr. Garner also does work in Estate Planning and Administration, Corporations, Family Law and general civil litigation.
We are extremely excited to have Chuck join our team,” added Levi Wolf, Jack Wolf’s son and managing shareholder at Wolf, Baldwin. “As we move into our wonderful new building we are pleased to add the services of another highly respected and competent attorney to an already outstanding group of lawyers. We look forward to continuing to deliver quality legal services to Pottstown, West Chester, Reading, and the surrounding communities.”
The firm plans a move to their new office at 800 E. High Street in Pottstown in August, 2012. The building is currently undergoing a major renovation, including the addition of a handicapped accessible ramp.
Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C., is a general practice law firm, with additional offices in Reading and West Chester. The firm’s existing areas of practice include Workers’ Compensation matters, Business and Corporate Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration and Probate, Real Estate, Family Law and general civil litigation.



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Friday, June 8, 2012

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2012

Levi Wolf was again named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2012, and was honored as one of Pottstown's "20 under 40" by the Pottstown Mercury. Levi is a former officer and present council member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Solo and Small Firm Practice Section. He is the managing partner of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C., a six attorney firm with offices in Pottstown, West Chester, and Reading.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Using Life Insurance As An Estate Planning Tool



Here we are again, nearly half of the way through 2012, and as the situation was in 2009, if Congress does not act with regard to the temporary provisions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 which expire December 31, 2012, taxpayers will find themselves losing $4 Million of Federal Estate Tax Exemption (the Exemption Amount is scheduled to decrease from $5 Million to $1 Million), and will face a Federal Estate Tax rate of 55%. With the current uncertainty surrounding the Federal Estate Tax Exemption levels, and the very real possibility that Congress will not come to an agreement by the end of the year, it is a great time to take a look at your current estate plan, and transfer some assets out of your estate before it is too late.

One powerful mechanism that can be used to transfer wealth with little or no gift tax implications is the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (an “ILIT”). Many people do not realize that life insurance owned on your own life is included in the value of your estate at death. A taxpayer who owns a life insurance policy on his or her own life could easily find himself or herself exceeding the $1 Million Exemption limit, and incurring a hefty Federal Estate Tax liability on the excess. By owning life insurance in an irrevocable trust, the entire value is removed from the estate, and can be distributed to beneficiaries both Estate and Income Tax free.

The gift tax implications of creating an ILIT depend on timing. Ideally, the taxpayer would first have the Trust drafted, and then have the life insurance policy purchased by the Trustee. To do so, the trust would be assigned its own Taxpayer Identification Number which would be used to open a bank account in the name of the Trust. The insured would transfer the funds necessary to pay premiums into that bank account, enabling the Trustee to pay the insurance premiums from the trust account. Having the Trust own the life insurance policy from its inception avoids having to transfer any value from the taxpayer to the Trust, resulting in a deemed gift from the taxpayer to the Trust.

If the policy is already in force, it may still be transferred to the Trust by using a portion of the insured’s current $5 Million lifetime Gift Tax Exemption. It is also possible that the value of the deemed gift could be transferred tax free using the insured’s Annual Gift Tax Exclusion amount, which currently allows a taxpayer to make gifts of up to $13,000 per recipient, per year.

Once the policy is owned within the Trust, the insured’s annual payments of the premiums will be considered gifts; however, if no other gifts are made to the beneficiaries of the Trust, $13,000 per beneficiary will be available as a tax-free gift. Further, if the insured is married, then up to $26,000 per beneficiary may be used to pay the premium with no gift tax consequences. One small glitch in utilizing the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion is that it is only available if the beneficiary actually has an unrestricted opportunity to take outright ownership of the gift, rather than let it be used for payment of premiums. This is called the “present interest rule.” As such, most ILITs are designed to qualify contributions to the trust for the gift tax annual exclusion by requiring the use of Crummey notices. Named after a 1968 Tax Court case approving its use, a Crummey notice is simply a written notice to a named beneficiary, which describes the gift to the ILIT and grants the beneficiary a right to demand his or her share of the contribution. The demand right is usually limited to a number of days, often 30 or less. After the demand right expires, the beneficiary no longer has any present rights to the money. The Trustee may proceed to pay the insurance premium and keep the policy in force.

During the insured’s life, he or she may want to access any cash value that has built up within the life insurance policy (assuming the use of a permanent policy, and not a term policy). Many permanent life insurance policies are purchased so that the build up of cash value can be used as supplemental retirement income. The ILIT can be drafted to permit the trustee to borrow cash from the policy and loan it to the insured person. Although a third party trustee is involved, the cash value remains accessible to the insured. Another option is to establish an ILIT with a survivorship or second-to-die policy that pays out after both spouses die.  If the policy is paid for with separate funds of one spouse, the other spouse may remain a lifetime beneficiary, and have the same access to the cash value, if needed. This is referred to as a Survivorship Access Trust.

Upon the insured’s death, the proceeds of the policy will be paid to the Trust, and distributed according to the Trust provisions. The Trust can be drafted in a variety of different ways, from making immediate distributions to the beneficiaries and terminating thereafter, to retaining the monies in trust to benefit heirs for future generations without ever being included in the estate of the insured or the beneficiary. The trust can be used to restrict access to the proceeds by the beneficiary, thus protecting the wealth both from creditors and possible bad habits of the beneficiary himself.

Another benefit upon death is that if the taxpayer’s estate is mostly illiquid with a substantial Estate Tax liability, the proceeds of the life insurance can be used to satisfy the taxes, and the illiquid assets such as real estate or business interests will not be forced to be sold, or even worse, sold at a substantially reduced value or fire sale type of transaction. The Trust can purchase certain illiquid assets from the estate, further sheltering them from creditors, isolating them from the estates of beneficiaries, while providing the estate with the necessary cash to pay liabilities and distribute inheritance to beneficiaries.

Life insurance continues to prove itself a powerful tool in the overall estate plan. Coupled with an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, it can become an invaluable mechanism for transferring wealth to many future generations, or simply avoiding Federal Estate Tax to the current beneficiaries of the estate. With the stalemate in Congress, and the uncertainty of the tax laws after 2012, a little bit of planning can stretch your wealth and protect your family considerably.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Texting and Driving: What Does the Law Say?

In today's society most everyone has a cell phone, correct? The majority send texts from those phones, and some, the unsafe few, send them while driving. In more and more states this has become illegal, and since November of 2011, Pennsylvania is one of those states.

While most people know that texting while driving is not considered to be safe, many still do it, thinking that it can't be that dangerous. Wrong. The Centers for Disease Control's information about distracted driving clearly shows that it is that dangerous, for everyone.They say that there are three types of distracted driving:
Visual―taking your eyes off the road;
Manual―taking your hands off the wheel; and
Cognitive―taking your mind off what you are doing.
The act of texting while driving fits into all three of distractions, without fail. There is no way to text and drive without doing these things.That means no more texting while driving, but does the average person know what the law considers to be “texting?” The wording of the code says:
Vehicle code (75 PA.C.S.) - Use of Interactive Wireless Communications Devices for Text-Based Communications While Motor Vehicles Prohibited

But what is a “text based communications device?” The law consideres it to be:
"Interactive wireless communications device." A wireless telephone, personal digital assistant, smart phone, portable or mobile computer or similar device which can be used for voice communication, texting, e-mailing, browsing the Internet or instant messaging. The term does not include any of the following:
(1) a device being used exclusively as a global positioning or navigation system;
(2) a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle; or
(3) a communications device that is affixed to a mass vehicle, bus or school bus.

That means that a phone, pda, laptop or tablet is considered to be an “interactive wireless communications device” according to the law. A GPS, if it is only a GPS (ie, Garmin, TomTom, etc,) or if it is integrated into a car is legal to use, but the GPS feature on a smartphone may not be.

Though it can be a hassle ,nothing is worth the consequences of sending a text. And as always, the experienced lawyers at Pottstown’s Wolf, Baldwin & Associates can answer your questions, and help you with your legal needs.

How to Manage Your Digital Estate Planning

When you say "estate planning" to someone, most will think about the usual topics: what will happen to assets like our home, our cars, monies, etc when we pass away. If we are prudent, we have a will as part of our estate planning, that tells what we want to happen to those assets, and we have people to execute that will for us. None of this is unusual procedure, even if a little uncomfortable for some to think about. However, what about our digital assets? What happens to your digital estate, when you pass?
The first step, according to this article on digital estate planning, is to make a list of what your digital assets actually are. How much do you have, in the digital realm, which you wish to have dispersed upon your passing?
Next, after you assess your digital estate, what do you want to do with it? What would you like to have deleted, what would you like to have archived, and is there anything that should have ownership transferred?
Once you have determined your assets and their fate, your next consideration should be whom do you want to execute those wishes. It should be determined if one person, or several would handle your digital estate, keeping in mind who will have the technological skills to do what you are asking of them.
Finally, when you know what your digital estate is and who you want to handle it, then you must document those wishes. Remember, this plan is for when you are gone, so your directives must be clear. There are many online services available to assist with conveying your wishes, although if a low-tech option appeals to you more you can always turn to things like safety deposit boxes.
Though no one likes to think about what will happen when they pass away, a little bit of preparation and estate planning will make things go more smoothly for your loved ones. And as always, the experienced lawyers at Pottstown’s Wolf, Baldwin & Associates can answer your estate planning questions, and help you with your legal needs.

Choosing an Attorney- Avoid Hiring a Lemon

By Kristen Doleva-Lecher, Esq.
Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

The average time an individual spends researching cars prior to making a purchase is approximately 30 hours, with around 60% of that time, over 18 hours, spent on internet research.1 This statistic should not be surprising given that a car is a huge financial investment, on which we all rely for safety, transportation and functionality. Similarly, retaining an attorney for serious litigation can be a significant financial investment. A client will rely on the attorney’s knowledge and expertise, courtroom savvy, and negotiation skills. A certain level of trust goes along with the type of car you choose; that trust should be even deeper in the attorney you select. That being said, why is the time spent in choosing an attorney significantly less that that of a car purchase? Listed below are some suggestions as to how a more diligent search can and should be conducted prior to selecting your attorney.
Clients often find me on the internet. However, not one client has told me that he spent anywhere close to 18 hours searching. The internet is a terrific research tool for both cars and attorneys. There are several reputable sites regarding attorneys: Martindale Hubbell (lawyers.com), Avvo.com and Findlaw.com to name a few. These internet sites go into detail as to an attorney’s practice areas, education, years of experience, published works, seminars given, and more. Some of the web sites also have client reviews for the attorneys.
When an individual begins her car search, she has certain features she desires for her car. Some people need all wheel drive, or a convertible, or are looking for low gas mileage. Not all cars match every person since each individual has specific needs. The same holds true for an attorney – lawyers are not one model fits all. Some things to consider: if you are the type of person who is seeking a newer car with newer technology, think Bluetooth, SiriusXM, backup cameras; perhaps you will be looking for attorney who is more facile with technology. Some law firms are more progressive than others in use of technology. Is your attorney able to scan and email documents quickly, will he or she respond to email as a means of communication, does he or she accept text messages from clients? Some law firms will email invoices to cut down on paper usage and even offer payment through the internet on their web site via credit card.
Another example might be if you are in the market for a hybrid SUV with navigation and a DVD player; you may be looking for one vehicle that encompasses many functions. Similarly, do you need an attorney for one particular legal discipline, such as divorce, or do you own a business and have several issues for which you may need legal assistance? There are many attorneys identify themselves as “general practitioners” whose knowledge spans several different areas of law. A general practitioner can likely help you with a divorce as well as draft your Will. This is certainly not uncommon. However, another approach is to choose a law firm where you can take advantage of the knowledge of multiple attorneys who concentrate in each area in which you need assistance. This is an intensely personal choice as to whether you feel more comfortable working with one attorney who is familiar with you versus “switching” attorneys within the firm to ensure a specialist in each area.
This raises another issue to consider. We’ve all heard about bait-and-switch techniques in which you select a car and when you arrive at the dealership to complete the paperwork, a different car is waiting for you. Some law firms engage in bait-and-switch techniques as well. When interviewing a potential attorney, inquire as to whether that person will be handling your case or will an associate be doing some of the work. Who will return your phone calls, write the necessary documents, or go to court with you? The answer will vary depending upon the firm. It is not uncommon, especially in larger firms, for a client’s work to be performed by associates or paralegals. This is not to say that such policies do not result in certain efficiencies and potential costs savings for the client, but if you are concerned about who will be doing your work you should ask up front about the firm’s policies as to delegation of work.
Inherent in the purchase of a car is a lot of paperwork, such as a contract, the title transfer, loan documents, and warranty information. When you retain an attorney there is a contract created as well. Attorneys in Pennsylvania are required by the Rules of Professional Responsibility to enter into a “fee agreement” with each and every client. Fee agreements vary from attorney to attorney but they should be clear regarding the scope of the attorney’s work, and how the fees are to be billed (typically hourly, contingent, or flat fee). Fees can vary widely depending on the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly, as well as the local market and the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services.
The final step in purchasing a car is the test drive. Unfortunately you can’t really “test drive” an attorney but you can take the opportunity to meet him or her through a consultation and ask the types of questions raised in this article. Clients meeting with attorneys for the first time are often shy, and this is understandable given that many people do not meeting with attorneys frequently. However, this is your opportunity to ask questions. As I tell potential clients, I should be the one feeling like I’m being interviewed because that is exactly what should be occurring. Attorneys work for clients and yes, and they should have to “sell” themselves. Take that first meeting as an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like. In my own consultations with clients, I take it upon myself to give a brief run down on my experience, my practice philosophy, and how I try to handle my interactions with the client and opposing attorneys. That first meeting is as much about your case as it is about whether that attorney is right for you. While you are deciding whether the attorney is right for you, the attorney is doing the same thing. As your attorney I want to believe in you, trust you and be able to provide you with the best representation possible. If I feel for whatever reason I am not able to do that, then I might not be the lawyer for you.
I hope that potential clients will spend more time choosing their attorneys, which will in turn mean more experienced, ethical attorneys will be retained. Most attorneys I know work very hard for their clients and have great relationships with those clients. Unfortunately just like there are cars that have a reputation as lemons there are “lemons” in the legal profession too. Unscrupulous attorneys, while few and far between, are those that give our noble profession a bad name. Spend a little more time choosing an attorney – it will be worth it to you, and will squeeze the lemons out of the business of law.
Kristen Doleva-Lecher, Esquire is an attorney in the law firm of Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C., which has offices in Pottstown, Reading, and West Chester. She is a certified mediator and practices in the areas of family law and business representation. She may be reached by telephone at 610-374-2400 or by e-mail at kdoleva@wolfbaldwin.com.
1 Helen Leggatt, Car buyers spend majority of shopping time online, February 7, 2011, http://www.bizreport.com/2011/02/car-buyers-spend-majority-of-shopping-time-online.html

Friday, January 6, 2012

LOCAL LAW FIRM TO REMAIN IN POTTSTOWN: Family maintains Borough presence for over 100 years

LOCAL LAW FIRM TO REMAIN IN POTTSTOWN

Family maintains Borough presence for over 100 years


Pottstown, PA – December 22, 2011 – Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. announces that their new office location will be at 800 East High Street in Pottstown. The firm, founded by Jack F. Wolf, has been located on North Hanover Street since 1973. Bruce Baldwin joined the firm in 1987. The new building will give the firm approximately 50% more office space.

We are pleased and excited to announce that our firm has secured a building here in the Borough,” said Mr. Wolf. “We engaged in an extensive search throughout the surrounding area, but we remain committed to the Borough. Although it will take a significant amount of work to refurbish our new home, our hearts are in Pottstown and we wanted to do our part for the economic revitalization of the Borough. We look forward to restoring the building to its former grandeur.”

Pottstown has been home to many Wolf-family owned businesses since the early 1900’s, starting with his grandfather’s scrap business. His uncles included a lawyer, dentist, and a dry cleaner. Many Pottstonians have fond memories of shopping at his parents’ store, Wolf’s China and Glass, on High Street. Mr. Wolf’s son, Levi S. Wolf joined the firm in 1996.

I see our purchase of this building as another way of giving back to the community,” said Levi Wolf. “Keeping jobs in the borough is important to its revitalization, and important to us.” Wolf, Baldwin currently employs 16 people.

The firm anticipates it will move to its new location by summer 2012.

Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C., is a seven-attorney, general practice law firm, with additional offices in Reading and West Chester. The firm’s areas of practice include Workers’ Compensation matters, Business and Corporate Law, Estate Planning, Administration and Probate, Real Estate, Family Law and General Civil Litigation.