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Both the Democratic Governor and Republican legislators are proposing to increase the sales tax and, for the first time, apply it to legal services.  Providing legal representation is not a commodity.  It is not a luxury.  For many Pennsylvanians, hiring an attorney is a necessity.  Do not be misled to think that this is a tax on lawyers. It is instead a tax on clients.

Access to justice is a basic constitutional right that should not be taxed and treated as a commodity.  Increasing the cost of effective legal representation by imposing a sales tax impacts people of limited means.  The public should not tolerate this added cost to protect its rights under the law. It will hurt people who are already hurting and in need of legal assistance.

Please reach out to your state legislators to ask them to vote AGAINST this proposed tax.  While we appreciate the need to change the way we fund our schools and lessen the burden of property taxes on individuals, taxing legal services is not the way to go.  You may use the links below to find the email address for your legislators and to contact the governor.  Even a short message expressing opposition is important and effective!

Click here to find your legislator.

Click here to then contact your state senator.

Click here to then contact your state representative.

Click here to then e-mail Governor Wolf. 

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.


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[JURIST] Dylann Roof, the man charged with killing nine black church members attending Emanuel AME Church [official website] in Charleston last month, entered [Reuters report] a 'temporary' not guilty plea Friday. Roof has been indicted on 33 charges including federal hate crimes and firearms charges for killing and attempting to kill African-Americans based on race and in an effort to interfere with the victims right to exercise their religious beliefs. Roof's attorney said that Roof wanted to plead guilty to the charges. Roof could face penalties of up to life imprisonment or the death penalty for the charges set forth... Full Story››

Mexican judge suspends US extradition order for 'El Chapo' Guzman

[JURIST] A Mexican judge temporarily suspended a US extradition order on Friday for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman [US State Department backgrounder], even though the federal attorney general's office had approved the order earlier that day. No reason was given for the suspension [Reuters report]. Guzman, a notorious drug lord and trafficker, escaped from a maximum security prison [JURIST report] in Mexico in early July through a tunnel built directly under his cell. US authorities had requested Guzman's extradition on June 25 but the request was denied because Mexican authorities said he must serve time in his home country... Full Story››

UN officials denounce West Bank arson attack that killed Palestinian child

[JURIST] United Nations (UN) [official website] Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] and recently appointed UN special envoy in the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov [press release] condemned [UN statement] the arson attacks in the West Bank on Friday that killed a Palestinian child and severely wounded the child's parents and sibling. "Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life," reads the statement from Mr. Ban issued by a spokesperson in New York. "The absence of a political process and Israel's illegal settlement policy, as... Full Story››

Egypt, Saudi Arabia sign joint security agreement

[JURIST] Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on Thursday that will improve stability and safety in the region. The agreement [Al Arabiya report], entitled the "Cairo Declaration" and signed in Cairo by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile] of Egypt and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [official profile], aims to boost military and social ties in the region, as well as improve economic stability. The relationship between the two countries has been improving since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile] in 2013. Saudi Arabia has in turn offered billions of dollars to aid Egypt in... Full Story››

Federal judge rejects challenge from Guantanamo Bay detainee

[JURIST] A federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday rejected [opinion, PDF] a legal challenge from a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee who claimed that his detention at the naval base was illegal. Muktar Yahya Najee al-Warafi from Yemen was captured in Afghanistan and has been held at Guantanamo since 2002. In his challenge, he claimed that his imprisonment was unlawful due to recent statement by President Barack Obama that conclude hostilities between the US and the Taliban have ended. Warafi brought the action under the Authorization for Use of Military... Full Story››