Three members of the Class of 2013 were recognized at the Philadelphia Bar Association quarterly meeting June 12, where retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit gave remarks.
- Jonathan McSparran was honored for his exceptional service with the Senior Law Center.
- Matthew Solin gained recognition for his leadership as a board member with Drexel’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice and his service with the Clinic Escorting and Judicial Bypass Projects.
- Shana Weiner was noted for her work as a victim advocate with the YWCA and Women Against Abuse as well as her internship with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.
The meeting featured the 20th Anniversary Presentation of the Sandra Day O’Connor Award to Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Anne E. Lazarus for her dedication to mentoring women in the legal profession.
O’Connor urged members of the bench and bar to work to amend Pennsylvania’s practice of electing judges, which she said poses a threat to judicial independence.
“It’s a serious problem that so many people in our country think of judges as politicians in robes,” O’Connor said, adding that campaign contributions have the potential to influence judges or to create appearances of conflict.
Rendell delivered the annual A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Memorial Public Interest Lecture, in which she discussed inequality that remains in spite of legal steps designed to level the playing field between women and men and between individuals of different races and nationalities.
Educational inequality is a particularly serious problem, Rendell said, since it hampers opportunities for children and holds them back for the rest of their lives.
"Lawyers must be active in the fight for equality,” she said.