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Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers' Compensation Section Announces Names of Lawyers Newly Certified in Area of Workers' Compensation Law

HARRISBURG (April 27, 2015) - Twenty lawyers are newly certified by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Workers' Compensation Law Section as specialists in the practice of workers' compensation law. They comprise the third group of lawyers to have successfully completed the workers' compensation certification process. They join the 181 lawyers who successfully completed the process in 2013 and 2014.

In 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved a recommendation of the PBA Review and Certifying Board to grant accreditation to the PBA Workers' Compensation Law Section as a certifying organization in the area of workers' compensation law. With the Supreme Court's order, the PBA Workers' Compensation Law Section became the first bar association entity in Pennsylvania to receive approval as a certifying organization.

Certified applicants are permitted to use the following language when communicating their certifications to the public: "Certified as a specialist in the practice of workers' compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Section on Workers' Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court." A lawyer successfully completing the exam is certified for five years.

Below are the names of the lawyers who have successfully completed the 2015 certification process (names are sorted by county based on the location of the lawyers' professional offices):

Allegheny County
Thomas D. Hall, Woomer & Hall LLP, Pittsburgh
Michael A. Murphy, Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky PC, Pittsburgh

Dauphin County
Steven R. Ryan, Frommer D'Amico Anderson, Harrisburg

Delaware County
Michael J. McCadden, Carpenter, McCadden & Lane LLP, Media

Lackawanna County
Janet Huff Blaum, Moosic

Lancaster County
Michael A. Vanasse, Vanasse Law LLC, Lancaster

Lehigh County
Abigail A. Gross, Gross Law Office LLC, Allentown

Luzerne County
Michael A. O'Donnell, O'Donnell Law Offices, Kingston

Philadelphia County
Melissa R. Chandy, Pond Lehocky Stern & Giordano
Francis N. Ciprero, Pond Lehocky Stern & Giordano
Timothy F. Coffey, The Moritz Law Group LLC
Christopher M. Fox, Pond Lehocky Stern & Giordano
Doreen Prescott Grant, Schaff & Young PC
Michael W. McGurrin, Galfand Berger LLP
Benedict R. Heinz, Moritz Law Group LLC
Alexis C. Ouseley, Pond Lehocky Stern & Giordano
David A. Porter, Schaff & Young PC
Joel C. Roinestad, Sand and Saidel PC
Matthew L. Wilson, Martin Law

Schuylkill County
Saad H. Aslam, Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo, Pottsville

"The distinction of earning certification in the area of workers' compensation is beneficial for experienced lawyers in the field and their clients," said Frank X. O'Connor, PBA president. "Certification offers legal practitioners the ability to highlight their knowledge and expertise and gives those in need of legal services in the workers' compensation field valuable guidance when seeking counsel."

The certification exam focuses on familiar portions of workers' compensation law and rules, as well as leading case law. The exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions (each worth one point) and two essays (each worth 10 points), which were required to be completed within four hours. Passage of the exam requires a score of at least 80 points. The examination questions are revised annually to incorporate new developments and eliminate repetitive questions.

"The exam application process makes it clear that the certification is for those lawyers who have expertise in the worker's compensation field," said John Bagnato of Johnstown, chair of the 12-member Certification Committee that oversees the certification process. "To qualify for the exam, an applicant must establish by documentation that he or she is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, is actively engaged in the practice of law for a minimum of five years and is devoting a minimum of 50 percent of his or her practice to the specialty field of workers' compensation."

Certification Committee Vice Chair Stanley Siegel of Lewistown said the applicants also are required to submit a variety of documents showing active practice in the workers' compensation law field and participation in Mandatory Continuing Legal Education in workers' compensation law and related fields. Presently an application fee of $325 is required upon submission of an application to take the exam, and an exam fee of $150 is required after the application is processed and verified. There is also an annual administrative fee in an amount to be determined annually in years two, three, four and five of the certification period. Six months prior to the expiration of the five-year certification, the lawyer can complete another certification application, pay the application fee, and must otherwise comply with all requirements for certification, but the lawyer is not required to take the exam.

The Certification Committee has the authority to revoke certification under certain circumstances, and the committee has an appeal process for such cases.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for 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.