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With 52 percent of the vote, plaintiffs’ attorney Sayde Ladov eked out a victory against commercial litigator Alec Kerr for vice chancellorship of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Ladov will become chancellor in 2009. When the polls closed Tuesday night, Ladov had 1,543 votes, while Kerr took in 1,421, according to the bar’s press office. Ladov, arguably one of the association’s more active and visible members of recent years, had long made known her intentions to run for the bar’s top spot. But the Abrahams Loewenstein & Bushman partner’s plans were somewhat complicated by her friendship with another chancellor hopeful, Shelli Fedullo of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker. The two had agreed not to run in the same race. Fedullo lost a 2003 bid for the chancellor’s seat against outgoing Chancellor Alan M. Feldman, who garnered 60.5 percent of the vote that year. Ladov got to work early in 2006, creating a Web site to tout her candidacy and hiring Dan Cirucci – the association’s longtime, and recently departed, spokesman – as a campaign consultant. For the first several months of the year, it appeared that the former Bronx assistant district attorney would coast to election in what was shaping up to be the bar’s third consecutive uncontested chancellor’s race. When Kerr threw his hat in the ring in late spring, some were surprised, for a variety of reasons. Most chancellorship candidates announce their intentions far earlier in the year than did Kerr, managing partner of McCarter & English’s Philadelphia office. Moreover, many chancellor hopefuls – Ladov among them – spend the years immediately preceding their planned campaigns becoming so-called “bar junkies,” working feverishly on committees and regularly attending association Board of Governors meetings, if not actually gaining a seat on the board. Kerr’s most active years with respect to the bar appeared to be behind him, and he fully acknowledged during the race that Ladov could boast a more impressive bar participation resume. But the longtime big-firm attorney was not without a trick or two up his sleeve – though Ladov was able to secure the endorsements of nearly every major local legal professional association, Kerr gained the backing of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. Many had assumed Ladov would easily win the support of that influential group, of which she is a member. Kerr’s soft-spoken but confident demeanor, impeccable professional credentials and strong promises to help defend the state’s judiciary against its critics seem to have struck a chord with a large segment of the association’s membership. What started out looking like more smooth sailing for another bar insider turned into the closest chancellorship race since 2000, when Audrey Talley of Drinker Biddle & Reath defeated Gabriel L.I. Bevilacqua of Saul Ewing, also by 52 percent of the vote, for control of the bar’s helm in 2003. Talley was the second African-American, and third woman, to lead the organization. The next year, 2001, Bevilacqua was elected to the 2004 chancellorship in what appeared to be a tight race, until opponent Andrew Chirls of Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen dropped out of the running just weeks before the vote. Chirls went on to win the 2002 race for last year’s chancellorship, defeating solo practitioner opponent Allan K. Marshall by a wide margin to become the association’s first openly gay leader. The 2003 election featured a hard-fought campaign between Fedullo and Feldman, but in the end, Feldman defeated Fedullo 2,259 votes to her 1,475. In 2004, incoming Chancellor Jane Leslie Dalton ran unopposed. When she takes over in 2007, the Duane Morris partner will be the fourth woman to run the bar. A. Michael Pratt of Pepper Hamilton will be the third African-American bar chancellor when he succeeds Dalton in 2008. He, too, ran unopposed during the 2005 election. While last night’s vote was close, the tally was not nearly as high as it was in 2003, when 3,734 votes were cast – nearly 26 percent more than were cast this year. Additionally, 2003 was the first year the association allowed its members to vote using mail-in ballots. The highest turnout in recent years came in 1989, when 1992 chancellor Deborah Willig – the first woman to be elected head of the association – defeated Steven Arbittier of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in an election that saw 4,285 total votes. Ladov has said that as chancellor, among her top goals would be advocating for reform of the city’s business tax structure, which many Philadelphia lawyers and other professionals view as oppressive. Kerr said yesterday that he appreciates the support his campaign received, but that he doesn’t know whether or not a second run in future years is in the cards. “I certainly congratulate Sayde on her campaign and victory, and I wish her every success,” he said. The five open seats on the bar’s Board of Governors were also strongly contested in this year’s elections. Elected to the board Tuesday night were: Jacqueline Segal, an associate with Fox Rothschild’s family law group who chairs the bar’s family law section. Segal garnered the most votes, with 1,632; Rosemary Pinto, co-founder of the small, general practice firm Feldman & Pinto, received 1,575 votes. Pinto is the current chairwoman of the bar’s women’s rights committee; Miller Alfano & Raspanti name partner Gaetan Alfano is a commercial litigator whose practice focuses on insurance insolvency and white collar criminal defense work. He received 1,496 votes; Wesley Payne IV, an insurance defense attorney, is a partner at White & Williams. Payne garnered 1,439 votes; and Michael Hayes, outgoing chairman of the association’s Young Lawyers Division, is an associate at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads. He received 1,334 votes. Not elected to the board were the following candidates: Karen Detamore, a veteran Philadelphia-area public interest lawyer, who has served as executive director of Friends of Farmworkers since 1989. Detamore, who received 1,214 votes, sat on the board in 2006 as representative of the bar’s public interest section; Natalie Klyashtorny was Hayes’ immediate predecessor as YLD chairwoman. The small-firm, general litigation attorney received 924 votes; and Shelley Smith was a Philadelphia City Solicitor’s Office veteran who headed up several department practice units before becoming of counsel at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll earlier this year. She received 915 votes. Seven young attorneys were elected to open seats on the Young Lawyer Division’s executive committee: Heather Herrington of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, 380 votes; Abbie DuFrayne, a staff attorney with the bar association-affiliated Homeless Advocacy Project, 364 votes; Joshua Ryan of Volpe & Koenig, 327 votes; Henry Yampolsky of Galfand Berger, 284 votes; David Koller of Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel, 280 votes; Abigail Schiller of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, 266 votes; and Jennifer Coatsworth of Margolis Edelstein, 258 votes. Four other YLD candidates were not elected to the executive committee: Richard Vanderslice of Petrelli & Vanderslice, 235 votes; Danny Cevallos of Bochetto & Lentz, 165 votes; Joshua Burg of Feldman & Pinto, 133 votes; and Michael Mandale of Torchia & Kaufmann, 119 votes. The candidates for the 2007 Board of Governors’ row offices all ran unopposed for the seats they occupied this past year. John Savoth of Fedullo & Savoth was re-elected secretary; Kathleen Wilkinson of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, assistant secretary; Scott Cooper of Blank Rome, treasurer; and criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Lindy, assistant treasurer.

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