HARRISBURG (Nov. 20, 2020) – Lawyer Matthew J. Creme Jr., who practices in the Lancaster office of Nikolaus and Hohenadel LLP, has been awarded the Pennsylvania Bar Medal, the highest honor conferred by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA).
The Pennsylvania Bar Medal is presented to a PBA member whose efforts have resulted in significant improvement in the administration of justice or the legal profession, or who has performed outstanding service to the association, profession or the community.
Creme is only the 12th person to receive the award since its inception in 1978.
“Matt is richly deserving of the PBA’s most prestigious award for his exceptional service benefitting all members this association and for his exemplary service to the local and broader community,” said PBA President David E. Schwager. “We are delighted to honor Matt for the enormous amount of work he has completed with perpetual patience, skillful consensus-building and endless resolve.”
Schwager said Creme, who served as the PBA’s 2011-12 president, has provided pro bono legal support to the association over a number of years. Most recently, he led the team that oversaw the successful legal process authorizing the dissolution of the separate nonprofit status for PBI (Pennsylvania Bar Institute), bringing PBI back into the PBA as its education department. PBI provides continuing legal education (CLE) to lawyers and judges across the commonwealth.
“The long and arduous process included ongoing work with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and preparing for the order from the Dauphin County Orphans Court to authorize the dissolution of PBI’s separate nonprofit status,” Schwager said. “We’re excited that PBI is back within PBA’s organizational and management structure so that PBI remains Pennsylvania’s premier provider of CLE.”
Schwager said there are many examples of Matt’s willingness to, on a pro bono basis, go “above and beyond” to tackle PBA legal matters, despite the time commitment required.
As example of another legal matter, Schwager said Creme guided the PBA’s shift from a defined employee pension plan to a market-competitive 401K plan. As a long-term member and also chair of the PBA Pension Committee, Schwager said Creme saw the unsustainable climb in expenses for the PBA to remain within its former pension plan. The 401K plan with some PBA matching of employee contributions carries less cost and less risk for the PBA and provides employees with greater flexibility in their investment options.
“Matt’s actions helped the PBA lower the costs of offering a retirement plan and, therefore, those savings could be expended elsewhere to benefit members,” Schwager said.
In addition to his legal support to the PBA, Creme is active in nonprofit community organizations. He has served as board chair of the American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley, the Lancaster County Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Lancaster Catholic High School. He also has served as a member of the Northeast Service Area Resource Council of the American Red Cross and, in that position, he was responsible for coordinating and providing governance as well as planning counsel and advice to Red Cross Chapters in the nine states of the Northeast United States and in the Caribbean.
The award was presented on Nov. 20 during a meeting of the PBA House of Delegates, the policymaking body of the association.
Creme is a 1977 graduate of Dickinson College and a 1980 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.
Previous recipients of the PBA Bar Medal include Gilbert Nurick (1978), Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge James S. Bowman (posthumously, 1980), Stanley Siegel (1987), Joseph J. Jones (1991), Thomas L. Cooper (1994), William F. Hoffmeyer (1997), Ralph S. Snyder (1999), H. Reginald Belden Jr. (2004), Pennsylvania Supreme Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy (2007), Professor Louis F. Del Duca (2014) and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille (2014).
Founded in 1895, Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state's largest organized bar association.