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Pennsylvania Bar Association Names Lawyers for 2016-17 Class of Institute That Develops Future Leaders

HARRISBURG (June 22, 2016) - Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sara A. Austin has named 12 Pennsylvania lawyers to the 2016-17 class of the association's Bar Leadership Institute (BLI).

"We recognize the importance of investing in young attorneys, helping them connect and form relationships with more seasoned members, promoting opportunities to share expertise throughout the state and learn more about the varied paths to leadership within the PBA," said Austin.

These are the members of the 2016-17 BLI class:

Beaver County
Edward A. "Ted" Knafelc, Strassburger McKenn Gutnick & Gefsky, Beaver

Bucks County
Andrew J. Throckmorton, Brown Law PLLC, Newtown

Butler County
Nicole Thurner-Kievit, Heck Silbaugh Attorneys at Law, Valencia

Centre County
Dr. Jennifer K. Wagner, State College

Crawford County
Sarah L. Quinn, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Meadville

Dauphin County
Rachel R. Hadrick, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, Harrisburg

Peter W. Klein, Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau, Harrisburg

Erie County
Denise C. Pekelnicky, Law Office of Denise Pekelnicky, North East

Lehigh County
Isaac A. Hof, Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid LLC, Bethlehem

Luzerne County
Diana M. Collins, Pittston

Schuylkill County
Ashley M. Securda, Williamson Friedberg & Jones LLC, Pottsville

Westmoreland County
Zachary J. Kansler, Tremba, Kinney, Greiner & Kerr LLC, Greensburg

This year's BLI co-chairs are Melinda C. Ghilardi, Office of the Federal Public Defender - Middle District of Pennsylvania, Scranton, and Lisa M. Benzie of Navitsky, Olson & Wisneski LLP, Harrisburg. Both Ghilardi and Benzie have served in a number of PBA leadership roles, including terms on the PBA Board of Governors.

The BLI class size was limited to 12 lawyers. To apply, candidates had to demonstrate leadership ability, commit to attendance and participation in the required events, be currently licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, be a PBA member, and be age 38 years or younger or have practiced five years or less.

The BLI was originally developed by Arthur L. Piccone of Kingston in 1995-96 during his year as PBA president to strengthen the PBA's ongoing efforts to recruit and develop leaders of the association. The first chair of the institute, Gretchen A. Mundorff of Connellsville, re-launched the BLI when she became the 2010-11 president of the PBA.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association exists to promote justice, professional excellence and respect of the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.