Fishtown Chili Cook-Off Smashing Success, Despite Lack Of Guatemalan Insanity Pepper

March 26, 2013

Fishtown Chili Cook-Off Smashing Success, Despite Lack Of Guatemalan Insanity Pepper

The Fishtown Neighbor’s Association 3rd Annual Chili Cookoff was a rousing success. And while our spicy three-bean & seitan vegan Occupy Chili didn’t win this year, we had a great time. Kudos to FNA for another job well done.

Plus Jordan had an excuse to wear his cheesesteak hat.

Read more at Phoodie.

Occupy Chili

March 20, 2013

Occupy Chili

The 3rd Annual Fishtown Neighbors Association Chili Cookoff is this Sunday, March 24 at 2424 Studios in Fishtown.

Be there, or eat less chili and drink less beer than your friends will that day.

Buy your tickets here.

Kevin Schreiber ( is an idiot.

December 20, 2012
Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 16.43.33 PM

Thanks, Siri. Now, find me some scummy SEO marketer in New York…

After yesterday’s post, you’d think that sleezy SEO marketers would understand that we don’t want what they’re selling.

Nope. Read the rest of this entry »

Want to be Pulled Over? Sign up for Philadelphia’s S.A.V.E Program.

December 4, 2012
You have rights. These books say so.

You have rights. These books say so.
They are precious. Don’t sign them away.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

These wise words attributed to founder Benjamin Franklin are too often lost on many today who figure “Well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so why shouldn’t I just agree to let police do whatever they want?”

And I thought on Franklin’s words today, after I learned about this little program here in Philadelphia called S.A.V.E. — a too-cute acronym for Stolen Auto Verification Effort. Let me explain this program to you. No, better yet, I’ll let the police explain it to you:

All Districts in the city still do the S.A.V.E. (Stolen Auto Verification Effort) program….

The SAVE program is a decal you put on your automobile that basically states that you don’t normally drive your vehicle late at night (between 12am and 6am). By putting this decal on your vehicle you are stating that you would like that vehicle to be pulled over if it is seen operating during those hours to ensure that the vehicle isn’t stolen.

Yes, you’re reading that right. It is literally a sign to the police that says “Please pull me over”. Read the rest of this entry »

Will You Be My Friend? — Young Lawyer Edition.

November 20, 2012


People hate lawyers. That’s the trope at least.

The fact of the matter is, though, that at some point in your legal career, someone will hate you. And their hate will run so deep that they have to tell others just how much you’re a terrible shark/shyster/scumbag/bottomfeeder.

Now, back in the days before the series of tubes, it took a while for these whisper-down-the-lane rumors to be spread about town. But now, in the age of the internet, no one knows you’re a dog. And even internet dogs can type mean things.

There recently appeared in this blog’s comments a scathing rebuke of our firm by a person whose real name, IP address, email address, and Facebook account, I will mercifully redact. Note: I have never represented this person, nor have I ever met them, as far as I know.


While looking up a local bar’s phone number, I noticed an identical negative review on the Google Places page for my firm. There was a different (::cough:: fictitious ::cough) name used, but the similarities are striking:


In all fairness, his dog wanted custody over his bitch’s puppies, and I don’t do family law.

Webber Calvan? Really? That’s not even a good fake name. “Maxx Hornball,” now, that would have been funny.

But thanks to the wonders of the internet and my powerful investigative skills, I’ve determined that attempted-blog-commenter a.k.a non-client reviewer “Webber Calvan” is the friend of an opposing party in a case where I’m counsel. Swell.

Note: This is the second time I’ve had non-parties to litigation personally attack me or my firm’s online reputation. I presume that it will continue to happen from time to time.

When I first read the comment on my blog — which was never actually posted to it because we moderate all comments — I simply laughed it off. Then I saw it was posted on my former Google Places page, and I thought a bit more about whether to respond. What better platform than Twitter to take a quick poll?


Popehat offered sage advice: “The negative review is self-evidently stupid. Hellfire likely to generate Streisand Effect. Prudence, not grace.”

So here’s my prudent response: That old saying “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs” — the legal equivalent of that is “you can’t do a good job as a lawyer without pissing some people off.”

Young lawyers, you will find that you make enemies as you continue in your legal careers. One day it might be a judge. Another day, it might be the prosecutor. Some days, you might irritate some person who thinks it’s a bright idea to try to write negative reviews about you on the internet.

You know what? Lawyers make friends on the weekends.

So, Mr/Ms “Weber Calvan,” to use the words of a wise French statesman:

I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

Thanks to Working Class Creative for Our Awesome New Sign.

July 20, 2012

Thanks to Working Class Creative for Our Awesome New Sign.

We have a new hand-lettered sign thanks to Working Class Creative. Click on the photo to see more of their stuff, or get in touch with them at

Congrats to Jordan Rushie for making Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2012!

May 17, 2012
Congrats to Jordan for making Superlawyers Rising Stars 2012!

Jordan – the Fishtown Super-Lawyer.

Buy this man a beer. Just don’t put him near kryptonite.

Why I do what I do.

May 1, 2012

Why I do what I do.

You’re probably not friends with me on Facebook. (In fact, I hope you can’t see much about me, because I’ve tried to lock that down as much as the privacy standards allow).

The other night, around 23.30 (that’s 11.30pm for you normal people who don’t use military time), I was up reading through hundred of pages of correspondence, agreements, and laws. And I was exhausted because I had been up since 7.30 that morning doing the same thing. Even though my wife was asleep, and I wanted to be in bed too. But I felt good being awake. So I typed this silly post on Facebook. And really, this sums up exactly how I feel about being a lawyer.

This is why I do what I do.

Fishtown in the Wall Street Journal – Whoda Thunk?

January 21, 2012

Fishtown Market, a la Google Maps.

For what it’s worth, our neighborhood was compared to Boston’s Belmont in a recent WSJ article titled: “The New American Divide.

Bizarre seeing us compared to upperclass neighborhoods in both Boston and right on the Main Line too.

Not the mention that there’s a great shot of Fishtown Market in the article.

Snow: A Philly Primer (p.s. shovel your sidewalk).

January 21, 2012
The view out my window this morning.

Time to get the shovel.

[Ed. note Jan. 4, 2014 - If you're coming here from Fishtown Neighbors Association's Facebook post, welcome! Leo originally wrote this back on January 22, 2012, but we're pretty sure the same rules still apply.] 

Well, we finally got our first snow of the winter here in Philadelphia. And while it’s no blizzard, we nevertheless need to address the thorny issue of snow removal.

The Philadelphia City Code 10-720 – Snow Removal from Sidewalks.
As much of a PITA as it might be to get up out of your warm bed early in the morning, you should get that walk shoveled ASAP.

Under the city code, you have six hours from the time snow has stopped falling to get out there and clear a path three feet wide on your sidewalk.

If your sidewalk is less than three feet then you’re allowed to clear a path only a foot wide. If you’re a tenant in a single home, you probably have to clear the sidewalk yourself.

If you live in a multi-family building, it’s the landlord or management company’s responsibility to take care of show shoveling (though it’s likely your lease says that you’re supposed to shovel).

But  remember that you can’t just shovel it right into the street, either – that’s a no-no under the rules.

And if you neglect to shovel, you could face city fines between $50 and $300! What a way to ruin a snow day.

Finally, if you see an area that’s seriously impeding people getting around the city, you could always call the Streets Department Customer Affairs Unit at (215) 686-5560 to report a non-shoveler – though you might as well just be a good neighbor and shovel it yourself. Call it your good deed for the day.

Shoveling Out Your Spot – A Lesson in Etiquette.
Few things get a Philadelphian as hot under the collar as spending the time to shovel out a car, only to have someone else swoop in and steal the fruits of his labor. According to urban legend (and reputable news sources as well), the spot thief may suffer from any number of maladies, from bricks through the windshield, to slashed tires, to acute lead poisoning.

Though Philly parking spot etiquitte has been written about manymany times, lets distill it to three simple rules:

  1. If you take the time to shovel it, it’s rightfully “yours”, and you may place a parking chair there for a reasonable period of time while snow is still on the ground.
  2. Don’t steal the spot another person shoveled.
  3. If you leave a cone, lawn chair, or trash can in the street even after the snow has gone, people can and will remove the marker and park there. Serves you right for leaving your dammed parking chair in the street for so long.

Sure, the age-old tradition of saving spaces is actually illegal, as are vandalism or physical assault in retaliation.

But think about it from a Fred Rogers’ perspective: does a good neighbor take a spot that another took the time to shovel out?

Do I have to Worry About Slip & Fall Lawsuits?
As we’ve all learned through experience, ice and gravity aren’t a good combination. But do you have to worry about a lawsuit if someone falls on ice or snow in front of your property?

Pennsylvania law requires that where there’s a general accumulation of snow and ice, a court should apply the “hills and ridges” rule. This means that a plaintiff who slips and falls because of generally icy and snowy conditions must prove two things:

  1. There was some sort of defect in the walkway that the landowner previously knew or should have known about, and
  2. The defect, rather than the snowy and icy conditions alone, caused her fall.

This doctrine applies only in snowstorms or in generally icy conditions. As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court put it in Williams v. Schutz, 240 A.2d 812, 813-814 (Pa. 1968):

proof of hills and ridges is necessary only when it appears that the accident occurred at a time when general slippery conditions prevailed in the community as a result of recent precipitation… the law, wisely, does not require that such abutting owner keep the sidewalk free from snow and ice at all times: to hold otherwise would require the impossible in view of climatic conditions …

[T]hese formations are natural phenomena incidental to our climate … Since it is virtually impossible for a property owner to keep his sidewalk completely free of ice or snow when general slippery conditions exist, and since under these conditions a pedestrian is better prepared to exercise a greater degree of caution when traversing the ice or snow, courts have been reluctant to permit recovery without a showing of hills and ridges.

In plain English – Pedestrians: pay attention and walk carefully. Landowners: shovel and salt your walks.

Where a landowner can run into problems, though, is where he initially shovels and salts, only to have lower temperatures cause ice to re-freeze into a slippery mess:

[W]here a specific, localized, isolated patch of ice exists, it is comparatively easy for a property owner to take the necessary steps to alleviate the condition, while at the same time considerably more difficult for the pedestrian to avoid it even exercising the utmost care. Id.

Translated from legalese: if you see ice in front of your house that is somehow localized and not the pure result of natural forces, get rid of it pronto. Otherwise you might be on the hook if someone takes a spill in front of your house and hurts herself.

That’s it for a quick primer on rules of the snow here in the City of Brotherly Love. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to stop writing about it, get out of my pajamas, and go shovel my own walk.

***Note: I do not, in any way, endorse retaliation against anyone for spot stealing. While it might be considered rude, it’s no reason to escalate the situation to vandalism or violence. Really, just take the extra 20 minutes to shovel a new spot.


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