Thank you, Gina, for your lovely introduction. Let me

Document Sample
Thank you, Gina, for your lovely introduction. Let me Powered By Docstoc
					                  Sayde Ladov, Esq.
                  Justinian Society
                  February 19, 2009
                   “A Love Letter”

Thank you, Gina, for your lovely introduction.
Let me also thank each and every one of you in
the audience for being here today.

I am so proud to be a member of The Justinian
Society … and I am also extremely proud to be
honored by the Justinian Society .

When I sat down to write this speech, I thought
about all the people at the Justinian Society that
I have come to know and admire so much …

From Vito Canuso, whose wonderful wife Sarah
provided David and me with a St. Joseph’s
statue that allowed us to sell our suburban home
of 20 years and move to Philadelphia, to a new
home in Northern Liberties,

To Gabe Bevilacqua, who has always been a
mentor, and a resource, and who has always
been there for me;

To my amazingly talented colleague Gaetan
Alfano, who is serving at my right side as chair
of the Board of Governors of the Bar

To Ed DiDonato, a friend, a neighbor from
Blue Bell, with whom I share the experience of
children who have been pals since high school;

To Bill Fedullo, chair of the Judicial
Commission, without whose support and
counsel I don’t know if I would be chancellor;

And, of course – to my Vice Chancellor Rudi
Garcia – my steady rock and counsel;

To your chancellor and my friend Gina Rubel,
who invited me here today and who continues to
bring her amazing public relations talents to the
entire Bar through her chair personship of the
Bar-News Media Committee;

To all of my friends and colleagues, who are far
too many to name here right now…

Please know that I consider you my extended

My speech today is not about my agenda as
chancellor. You have heard it six ways from
Sunday – leadership development, building a
new family court, help desks at family and
municipal court, military affairs and civil

Rather, I want my remarks today to be a big
thank you to each of you and every one of you,
for I today I know I am home.

Today I want to talk from the heart. Today I
want to give you, my friends, my colleagues, a
love letter.
So please consider this speech, five days after
Valentine’s, my love letter to you, the Justinian

I ask you … Why, in this post-racial era, when
America is celebrating its first president of
color, at a time when lines are supposedly
blurring ... why do we bother to identify as a
particular racial or ethnic minority?

What is the value of membership in our ethnic
or affinity bars, like the Justinian Society?

What are we holding on to? What purpose do
we serve?

And why, as a Jewish woman, do I feel so
powerfully connected to this organization?

Well, there are easy answers for all those
At the end of the day, you and I, the Justinians,
share basic values.

We share the value of loyalty, and of speaking
the plain truth -- even if it is to our own
detriment. Throughout the years, you and I have
stood together and articulated truths that may
have been painful, but we spoke these words,
because they were truths, nonetheless.

I believe that this is a quality that we have
always admired between us.

Together, we have always chosen to tell the
truth because it’s the right thing to do.

It’s what was demanded of us. It’s a reflection
on how we were raised.

It is not only about our cultures. It is because we
all put great emphasis on truth and ethics and
“Justice, Justice shall ye pursue.” These are
your values and mine.

And in order to do justice, you must tell the

Several years ago, when your former chancellor,
Gabe Bevilacqua, was chancellor of the
Philadelphia Bar Association, he called me one
day to ask for my opinion. He was interested in
inviting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia to speak before the membership of the
Philadelphia Bar Association, and he wanted to
know what I thought.

I said simply, “Gabe, if we don’t invite Justice
Scalia to speak because he espouses a different
point of view, then we are plainly hypocrites.”

Now please recognize that I did, and continue,
to disagree with many of the positions that
Justice Scalia espouses. However, as a
Philadelphia lawyer, I fervently defend his right
to speak. And I’m very proud of Gabe
Bevilacqua and the Philadelphia Bar
Association, who both share my highest concern
for the value of free speech.

Now some of you may remember that because
Justice Scalia spoke, there were protests at the
Bellevue, complete with media coverage. But
we stood up, because we knew we were doing
the right thing in allowing Justice Scalia to

One of the reasons that I am so proud that I was
invited to be a member of the Justinian Society
is that I believe that we stand for so many of the
same things.

That’s because we come from a similar place
and history. As Jews, women and Italians, we
were not always welcome in large firms. With
no place to go, many of us created our own
firms – like Mattioni, Blank Rome, Wolf Block
and Fox, Rothschild.

Until recently, we faced similar discrimination
in seeking to become judges of the Common
Pleas Court and the federal bench.

We have a commonality of experience – both
good and bad – that ties us together and makes
our bond irrevocable.

So this helps answers the question as to why I
feel connected to you. What about the question
of relevancy? Why should any of us bother to be
part of an affinity bar in an era that is
supposedly post-racial?

First, because it feels good. It’s like a family,
where you can let your hair down and share in a
way that you might not feel comfortable

Second, because it provides a base of support.
You can talk to people who have common
experiences and background and find an
appropriate level of mentoring.

And I believe that organizations like the
Justinians, the Barristers, the HBA, APPABA,
Brandeis, SABA and Brehons are still sorely

They serve as a place to help you get started.
They help you get on your feet and get ready for
the world. And ultimately, they become a place
to come home to. Where else would we get the
closeness, the collegiality and the collaboration
that comes from these groups?

I believe that our legal community would be a
poorer place if we did not have ethnic or affinity
bars. In addition to the support it provides for
members, organizations like the Justinians
provide a cultural richness that offers a learning
opportunity for those outside of our
Our organizations also serve as a marker to help
provide institutional memory. They help us
remember how far we have come, and push us
to continue our work even further.

For those who question the need for affinity
bars, I say: Don’t forget the struggles of Jewish
attorneys who had to deal with appellate
arguments or trial schedules on high holy days.

Don’t forget the struggles of Italian lawyers
who had to deal with portrayals in the media as
less than savory characters.

Don’t forget the struggles of Asian lawyers as
they seek to rid the world of stereotypes, right
down to a cheese steak stand call CHINKS.

It’s wonderful to consider how much our society
has grown. It might make you wonder if the role
of your organization has changed. But clearly,
its importance has not diminished.
Consider the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society.
It was one of the prime movers to help get
refugees out of Eastern Europe before during
and after WWII. Now obviously, that particular
focus is no longer necessary. But the
organization remains true to its mission: today it
is serving individuals from South Asia and
Pacific Asian cultures.

The organization serves the same important
purpose, but for different reasons. Reasons
change, faces change, but the mission remains
the same.

Thus, organizations such as the Justinian
Society serve an important if not critical role in
preserving heritage and insuring the future.

Three years ago, when Jane Dalton was
Chancellor of the Bar Association and I was
sitting here in the audience as vice chancellor, I
heard Jane throw down the gauntlet to forge a
relationship with a sister bar in Italy. I took up
that challenge because I felt it was that
important! Our trip had been planned for March
so that we could meet with the Italian National
Bar and the Bar of Rome, but unfortunately, the
economy has gotten in the way, and the trip to
Rome is no longer an option for March. That
said, I am optimistic that this trip can take place
in the fall or early winter.

As I conclude my remarks, I can’t help but
confess that I stand here today full of love,
warmth and eternal gratitude.

This organization has stood behind me, next to
me and at all times stood tall with me. I truly
wonder if I would be addressing you today as
Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association
if I had not had your love and support and the
boots on the ground of all those who were
energized to vote in the Bar election of 2006.

Please know that you will always have my
gratitude, admiration and affection.
Thank you, thank you for this wonderful
moment. I will treasure it always. May the good
lord bless you and keep you!

I raise my glass to you and wish you Cent

Shared By: