Yes, I have a TikTok, @Black_Metal_Lawyer. I think I am pretty funny. You may have a different opinion. I also have an Instagram as @Black_Metal_Lawyer. Note there is another Black Metal Lawyer on instagram but his handle is @BlackMetalLawyer without the underscores. He is an imposter, I will not be linking to him because he is not me and this blog is all about me. (Sorry, Ben).
For the supreme honor of being a Super Lawyers™ Rising Star, I have now unlocked the access to constant spam emails from vendors who want to sell me shit to remind me how Super of a Lawyer I am. I also have access to a catalog of various marketing things that Thomson Reuters wants to sell me.
I am going to share some of the benefits of being a Super Lawyers™ Rising Star. (I am not going to post images because Thomson Reuters is a large corporation and lots of money to throw at lawyers so if I do that they will probably sue me or at least write me a nastygram, and I do not care to deal with that while I am trying to do real legal work for my clients. I will, however copypasta. All capitalization and titles are directly from the site).
• “PREMIUM ONLINE FIRM PROFILE” – $400.00/mo
• “ONE-THIRD STANDARD PROFILE, Philadelphia magazine, Published in June 2021, Readership: 852,000” – $5,500.00, but free shipping!
• “MEN’S GOLF GLOVE” – $29.00 + $10.00 S/H. It has a Super Lawyers™ logo for a ball marker, so all of your buddies at the country club can know how Super of a Lawyer you are even if you are bad at golf. It’s white, available in Small, Medium, Large, and in both left and right hand options. It is a Calloway; is that good? I do not golf so I do not know.
• “EXECUTIVE MONEY CLIP, Sterling Silver (.925) executive style money clip with highly polished protective Rhodium finish and hand-engraved with the Super Lawyers logo.” – $200.00 + $10.00 S/H. I guess you can remind your friends that you are a Super Lawyers™ Rising Star when you show them your sick money clip that is empty, because you spent $200.00 on a sterling silver money clip. Remember, you’re not a Super Accountants™ Rising Star.
• “PENDLETON BLANKET WITH CARRIER, Pure virgin wool throw is softly napped and the perfect size to curl up with on the sofa or toss in the car. Each one is still woven in our America mills and comes with a convenient leather carrier.” – $180.00, Free shipping. Pendleton makes nice blankets. This one is a pleasant orange and navy tartan. It does not appear to have any branding though, so this seems like a poor decision if you want all of your non-lawyer pleb friends to know that you are a Super Lawyers™ Rising Star. But if you want a nice blanket, might be ok? I don’t know because I have not bought a Pendleton blanket, it $180.00 a good price?
I made a joke about Super Lawyers™ in a Facebook post back in 2015. It was funny then. It is still funny. I will share it with you even though my Facebook is as private as I can make it because I do not want my clients to see my Facebook (sorry clients, but enjoy this rare glimpse into my personal life).
I should have been a comedian, right? And then metal as hell St. Laurentius would have been my patron. That would have been tight.
Super Lawyers™ is dumb.
[EDIT: Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention when I was screen-shotting the above images because I missed this gem of a comment from someone whose name you might recognize:
Preface. St. Laurentius (aka St. Lawrence) was metal as hell. He was martyred on a gridiron by the prefect of Rome for distributing alms to the poor. Whilst burning, supposedly said “Let my body be turned; one side is broiled enough”. He is the patron saint of comedians. I *like* this guy. Now, to begin.
I am a Satanist. Not in the goat worshipping, blood-drinking sense, but in the “we actually believe in the separation of church and state and will fight to vindicate the rights of the oppressed and use the laws written by right-wing zealots against them” sense. Watch “Hail Satan?” to get a sense of what I mean. It is a good film.
To the pierogi and kielbasa: there is a church in Fishtown that was built by Polish immigrants called St. Laurentius. It is gorgeous. It is in imminent danger of collapse and I wish it weren’t. Here the story (as I understand it from a combination of personal knowledge, rumor, and neighborhood gossip). It may not be 100% accurate, but after all, truth is subjective.
Several years ago, due to waiting attendance, the Philadelphia Archdiocese deconsecrated the church. The church has serious structural issues. They put it under agreement to a developer for $1.00. This developer was going to preserve the Church building and convert it into apartments. It was a really cool idea.
But like any good idea, there are some chuckleheads who don’t like it. Some Fishbillies fought the development all the way to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. Their main complaints seemed to be 1) it needed to stay a holy place (I wonder how many of them attended the Church or tithed, but that’s irrelevant to this discussion); and 2) bUt wHaT aBouT mY pArkIng!!!?!? (to this I say, get bent, we live in a city, this Church is a 10 minute walk to the Market Frankford El, and less than 5 minutes from several bus and trolley lines).
The developer won their zoning hearing on November 25, 2016 (as they should have). Then the Fishbillies, now calling themselves “The Faithful Laurentians” (again, I wonder how many attended the Church weekly and tithed to support the church, and again, irrelevant to this discussion), filed an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas on December 5, 2016.
Their lawyer was either lazy or incompetent (I will give the benefit of the doubt and suggest lazy) and, to put it in strict legal terms, fucked up a lot. Judge Dan Anders, who is brilliant and an amazing human being (and now edits the famed Olbaum on the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence), quashed the appeal. I consider Dan Anders a friend. I appeared in front of him routinely when I was a baby lawyer and he was a baby judge handling matters in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal division. He scared me because he is the type of judge you cannot bullshit or tap dance around to distract them from your shitty legal argument because he is the smartest person in the room and knows the law.
(Sidebar: he does not act like a know-it-all. He is very compassionate on the bench and has an excellent judicial temperament. I do not get special dispensation from him because I know him, and in fact, he is probably harder on me because he knows me outside of the Courtroom).
He made the correct decision in YEETing the appeal, which he ordered on August 29, 2017, almost a year after the Fishbillies filed their appeal.
But as so often happens, instead of issuing a mea culpa, the Fishbillies doubled down on the idiocy, and filed another appeal to the Commonwealth Court on October 2, 2017 (note: the Commonwealth Court is Pennsylvania’s intermediate appellate court that deals with administrative agencies like the Zoning Board of Adjustment). This was stupid.
But it was a pyrrhic victory, as by then, the damage had been done, and the deal to preserve the church via adaptive reuse was dead. Fuck you very much, Fishbillies.
In January 2020, hope was rekindled when a new developer expressed interest (this article may have a paywall; use Incognito mode and you should be able to open it). At this point, though, the Church was literally in danger of collapse. Pieces of stone weighing hundreds of pounds fell from the façade of the spires, leading to the street being closed down and fenced off. There is an elementary school next door. This is dangerous shit.
Blah blah blah the Church is in real bad shape and the City basically says “hey guys, this is REALLY DANGEROUS and we have to take it down now before someone dies via a 500lb rock to the head falling from 60 feet”.
Enter perennial thorn-in-the-side of developers Oscar Beisert (this article makes him seem like a hero. I do not think he is a hero. I think he is annoying). Oscar seems to have more time that sense and moved here from Texas a few years ago, started his own “foundation” and goes around nominating any old building for historic preservation once someone pulls permits for it. I guess he thinks himself a maverick. I have read his Historic Preservation submissions. He makes Melville seem concise. He means well, but his efforts are Sisyphean, at best and dumb at worst (again, I am giving Oscar the benefit of the doubt because I do not know him other than telling him he is annoying on Facebook and sending him mean gifs. I do not think he likes me. I also don’t care). I feel comfortable saying all of these things because I have spent many hours in public service with our local community groups, both at community clean-ups and running my civic’s Zoning Committee (Olde Richmond Civic Association at the time) for several years, until I stepped down because I was getting many local zoning projects and I did not want there to be any appearance of impropriety whereby anyone could impugn the integrity of the volunteer community organizations. I tried to serve on the Fishtown Neighbors Association Zoning Committee as well but this made some board members feel uncomfortable (since I represent developers in Fishtown and its environs), so I resigned. Again, the perceived integrity of the organization is more important than my ego.
Back to Oscar: I tried to find his nomination petition for St. Laurentius but after spending 10 minutes looking I stopped. I am sure it is out there but I have run out of patience looking for it. Read a summary here.
(Note: I also know the attorney who was contesting the Historic Nomination. I have written him funny emails about some of his client’s projects, most recently nicknaming one of his client’s projects “Club 69” [nice]. I fought him at the Zoning Board when he was representing Starbucks and they wanted to put one on Frankford Avenue. I pulled a few stunts that one can only learn from criminal trial work. He did not get angry with me. He is a good guy and far more patient with my shenanigans than I deserve. Fun fact: did you know that I worked at Starbucks during law school? I would get up at 4am, work from 5am-9am, then head to class. I quit because I kept falling asleep during class. I was very tired. Don’t work during law school, kids, if you can help it).
In any case, there’s now an ongoing battle about whether the spires will be torn down because they’re imminently dangerous. Some experts say they are. Others say they are not. This is how the law works.
Edit: Dec 28, 2020 after I made a lot of white people on Facebook MAD.
[I plan to split all proceeds from the sale of any poster 50/50. Exactly where they go is uncertain as of this moment but am trying to figure this out. Yes this is half-baked but I hope it will be fully-baked soon. Explanation below.
I am in talks with Fishtown Neighbors Association now. I have an intense dislike for the Catholic Church as an institution and do not wish to give a dime to the archdiocese, so funds may go to benefit the kids at the school somehow. This is evolving.
In addition, to those who bring up the history and weight of the words I chose: heard. I have reached out to my colleague at Avenging the Ancestors Coalition to see if they have any recommendation how any funds might best be handled. This is also evolving, and I care to hear more from black/brown voices about it. I would especially welcome input from local black-owned businesses (Harriet’s, Amalgam, Franny Lou’s). Paging @FishtownFamiliesAgainstRacism. I understand talking about race can be exhausting, and I want to do my own work and research. (For Yt folks who are commenting, you are also heard, and I believe you mean well. That said, I wish to hear from brown/black voices about these infamous words from the MOVE bombing combined with this image.
I feel that well-meaning yt people too often talk over, when they should be listening to, our black and brown neighbors who have their own voices. I saw and heard of this happening during the anti-racism demonstrations at the 26th and through the neighborhood. I feel this a time for yt people to stop talking and listen to our black/brown neighbors.My door is open to continuing discussion. I am listening to the voices of neighbors here in Fishtown, and in the wider black community. My goal here is to make a statement, sure, and to raise money for good causes.
I am not making a cent from the sale of any of these posters. I will be donating every penny. I understand that to some, the combination of the image and words is upsetting. It is undoubtedly a gross juxtaposition.
The comments I am reading below mean that I stuck a nerve. That was my intent, and I wanted to make people think not just about the history of the building, but also the oft-ignored MOVE incident. Those who are coming at me with “edgelord” comments: You are heard. This is a shocking image/word combination.]
Here’s my Facebook post with background on the issue. This is a full-on copypasta.
WARNING — THIS IS LONG. EVERYONE WHO CARES ABOUT FISHTOWN HISTORY: I am selling a print to get money to whatever organization is raising funds to save St. Laurentius.
Background: if you don’t know anything about Norwegian black metal, they’re famous for burning churches (watch “Lords of Chaos” for a pretty accurate account how things went down in late 80s/early 90s Norway, minus the girlfriend side story).I love black metal. It probably sounds like noise to most people but I have been into it for 20 years.
Black metal cover art aesthetic is generally some dumb gothic font and silly low-res black and white photos or maybe some idiots in makeup and spikes carrying battle axes (see, e.g., http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/…/top-10-most…/).
I also love the St Laurentius church building, and it’s an important part of our neighborhood’s history. I’ve been here about 15 years, but my grandfather worked in the Holtz building back when it was still H.W. Butterworth & Sons back in the 30s-40s. I have his apprenticeship certificate framed in my office, which is in the same building where he worked almost 100 years ago.
Regarding the text (in addition to the whole black metal church burning thing) my great-uncle (Terrance Mulvihill) was one of the cops who beat Delbert Africa in the MOVE saga. He was prosecuted and (unjustly, IMO) acquitted.
I went to Uncle Terry’s house a lot as a kid before he shot himself in the head with his police-issued Glock. My family doesn’t like me to talk about it, but I think it’s important I do (watch “Let the Fire Burn” and you’ll see him featured prominently).
If you recall, the police commissioner, after authorizing a bombing of its own citizens which turned into a raging conflagration that burned and asphyxiated innocent people, said: “LET THE FIRE BURN”.
In any case, while walking home from True Hand Society the other night, I snapped a photo of St. L with the moon peeking from behind its eastern spire, and felt inspired.
I want this church to stay.
Please help me raise money to help it stay.
And to the “Faithful Laurentians”, you are solely responsible for what’s happening to the church now, and each of you should buy 6 of them and say 666 hail marys for the damage you’ve caused to this amazing building. St. Leon calls that penance for your sin of pride. FYI: I’m confirmed (Malachy is my confirmation name) so don’t try play the Catholic guilt card on me. My mom’s been trying that for 36 years and I am inoculated.Please comment if you’re interested [edit: or just order one from the site].
I have already ordered 50 12×18″ prints from Fireball Printing, and I will continue to order as many as necessary to meet demand and raise money to help save the building.
TL;DR—I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T LIKE ME OR MY POLITICS OR MY ART (BUY ONE AND SET IT ON FIRE IF YOU WANT) OR MY ATHEISM THE BUILDING DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS AND WE NEED TO RALLY TO SAVE IT. Buy a print and help try to save the building.
Hell, buy 10. Let’s save the dammed spires before it’s too late.
One final note: the night that I took this photo, I was getting a tattoo of this very church, in flames, in tr00 kvlt Norwegian black metal style. My artist was shading and grabbed their bottle of soap to clean up my arm. I suddenly felt an intense burning and pain (being tattoOed isn’t comfortable to begin with, but this was another level, such that I gritted my teeth and groaned ::ffffffuucuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu::. Something was not right.
“OH NO, I ACCIDENTALLY GRABBED MY RUBBING ALCOHOL INSTEAD OF MY SOAP! I AM SOOOOO SORRY!” – my tattoo artist, who is very upset at this point and feels awful.
I am normally a trooper. After a short break I tried to start again, but my body was done. I had to call it quits.
I found it hilarious that I had an image of a burning church with interactive burning action. Maybe St Laurentius was mad at me? Who knows.
In any case, I had to walk by the St. Laurentius church building on the way home.
That’s when I got the idea for this image and snapped this photo.
CHEAP AS ALMOST FREE STICKER ALERT a/k/a REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT LEGAL NEWS FOR ANYONE WHO DRIVES IN PENNSYLVANIA BECAUSE YES THIS WILL EFFECT YOU EVEN IF YOU’RE A “LAW-ABIDING” CITIZEN OR A CRAZY PERSON WHO LOVES COPS
For those of you who don’t know, Jordan Rushie died of natural causes at his home in August
He was only 38.
He and I didn’t talk at all the last few years (and frankly probably didn’t really like each other any longer). But that is not the point of this post.
He was my first (read: last) law partner and strongly influenced my early legal career. He definitely marched to the beat of his own drum. I do too. That’s probably why we got along initially. It just turned out our two marches weren’t in sync with one another, and we were each better served marching separately.
Due mainly to his hijinks (I think that is the best word to describe what Jordan did, and I hope that those who knew him agree with me), I now know some stellar lawyers (some of those lawyer are even decent human beings) whom I consider friends and mentors, including the following non-exhaustive list:
1) Scott Greenfield; 2) Brian Tannebaum; 3) Marc Randazza; 4) Elie Mystal; 5) Huma Rashid; 6) Larry Krasner; 7) Paul Hetznecker; 8) Marji Jo Snyder; 9) Jonathan Feinberg.
I am surely forgetting many people who deserve to be listed here; please do not let my forgetfulness be mistaken for a slight.
I was reminded recently by an interaction with one of the lawyers I listed above that it’s important to reach out to your friends and colleagues from time to time. Life is brutally short. Tell someone important to you today that you love them.
Yesterday, opposing counsel in a case pulled what is known in legal jargon as a “dick move”. I was very angry, and almost sent him an angry email in reply. I let myself chill for 24 hours, until I was no longer angry, before replying substantively.
Note: this is long, but I hope you will be provided with a few minutes of entertainment, and think it is worth it. identities redacted. One of the lawyers CCd is Mr Fancypants’ mother, as far as I can tell.
Dear [Mr Fancypants, Esq, cc: paralegal and the several other attorneys listed on their site]:
Yesterday, I composed a scathing email to you regarding your professionalism in ambushing me with your CCP complaint—especially when I agreed to your request for a continuance last Friday of the 12/23 hearing without batting an eye. After I was done, I let it sit a minute, and then deleted it, recognizing that I shouldn’t send emails when I am angry. I am not angry anymore. Instead, I now find myself compelled to thank you for doing what you did. Because you have shown me the type of lawyer you are.
Now, really, this is my fault in giving you the benefit of the doubt. I should have recognized you for what you were when you refused to ask your client to even make a phone call [facts redacted] in an attempt to resolve this matter without proceeding to court, especially where [facts redacted]. I won’t make that mistake again.
From this point you get no further professional courtesy from me in these or any future interactions I may have the displeasure of experiencing with you. Here is a non-exclusive demonstrative list: No extensions; No friendly reminders; No pleasantries.
Furthermore, I will only respond to you (and anyone affiliated do with your firm) in writing. By calling me, you are explicitly warned, and accept, that I will record your phone call (see 18 Pa.C.S. §5701 et seq) because I now know I cannot expect even a baseline level of respect ([paralegal], [lawyer], [lawyer], [lawyer], I am sorry that this includes you now too, but [Mr Fancypants, Esq] has left me with no choice. It’s not personal, it’s business).
When I was a baby lawyer, my lawyer pal Mac Randazza taught me about his philosophy when it comes to litigation. It’s based on a saying attributed to Caesar, I think: murium aries attigit. Look it up if you’re not a history or latin buff. Marco’s [sic] Italian, so Roman history is his jam. Me, though, I’m a big fan of the Norse mythos.
Some of the oldest oral stories of the Norse culture are compiled in the Elder Edda, also known as the Poetic Edda. There’s a part of it called Hávamál, or “Sayings of the High One”. In case you’re not a huge Norse history nerd like I am, the High One is Oðin, the chief god of the Aesir in Asgard. He also goes by Wotan, which is where the term “Wednesday” came from (“Wotanstag”). Oðin has a magical spear, named Gungnir (“The Swaying One”, approximately in English). This spear always hits its mark.
According to the Norse stories, in order to gain the secrets of the runes, Oðin speared himself in his own side with Gungnir, and hanged himself for nine days on the world tree, Yggdrasil. At the end of those nine days, he found himself knowing those secrets. I consider this a parable about the sacrifices one makes to obtain knowledge.That’s all a roundabout way to getting to one of my favorite passages in the Elder Edda:
Hvars þú böl kannt, kveð þú þér bölvi at ok gef-at þínum fjándum frið.
Probably like you, I am bored. Real bored. And even a bit scared. The courts are closed. The gyms are closed. The restaurants are closed. Crime is way up. Business is way down.
There is some good news. My house is now spotless. I have time to blog again, and put time into projects I had been putting off. I’ve even been playing some video games.
I finally had the time to setup a home office. It’s not pretty, but it is functional.
Anyway, this isn’t a post about my pet projects or political commentary regarding the economic shutdown. It’s about keeping the weight off while you’re cooped up in the home with no access to a gym, social distancing, and nothing to do except binge ice cream and watch TV.
On October 7 and 8, 2019, a debtor named Steven Rosenblum testified at a trialwhere his father Allan Rosenblum and Michelle Zarro, the sister of his children’s mother, wasaccused of claiming fraudulent ownership of 2 gyms owned by Steven in violation of section5105(a) of the Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. The Fraudulent Transfer actionwas filed by a creditor of Steven Rosenblum’s after Steven declared bankruptcy and sought tohave a $76,800.00 judgment owed to the creditor discharged in the bankruptcy. The basis of theFraudulent Transfer action was that Allan Rosenblum and Michelle Zarro claimed fraudulentownership over the gyms in question to prevent Steven’s creditors from seizing and selling themto collect on the debts they were owed. The bankruptcy in question, was filed on December 11,2014, just days prior to a contempt hearing that was scheduled to determine whether or not
Steven would be held in contempt for refusing to turn over financial discovery requested by hiscreditor in the underlying judgment. However, the automatic stay instituted by the bankruptcypetition allowed Steven to avoid having to appear at that hearing. The Fraudulent Transfer trial took place in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleasbefore Chester County Judge Robert Shenkin. Shenkin was brought in from Chester County topreside over the matter on account of the creditor/plaintiff in this matter filing a Motion forChange of Venue and a Motion for Recusal that accused Bucks County Judge Robert Mellon ofmisconduct. The Motion for Change of Venue brought up the fact that Andrew Weintraub, thebrother of Matthew Weintraub, shared a flyer for a boxing event on his Facebook page statingthat it was being promoted by his friend Steven Rosenblum and encouraging people to comeout and check out the event. It is notable, that this boxing promotion was also not listed as anasset in Steven Rosenblum’s bankruptcy paperwork.
Perhaps I should rename Philly Law Blog Philly Food Blog… but hey, it’s my law blog and I’ll write about what’s on my mind.
What people have been asking me for a lot lately are low carb recipes, and what I eat on a daily basis.
I don’t actually have a lot of “recipes.” Rather, what I use are flavor combinations and some basic ingredients.
This is what I tend to cook with:
Sauce and Flavor Combinations
Asian: Coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce), Tamari sauce (Soy sauce but gluten free), coconut oil, fish sauce (smells disgusting but makes everything taste delicious), duck fat (you can use coconut oil), Thai pepper, chili oil. Sriracha sauce has a little sugar in it but it’s not terrible. Avoid any sauces with sugar in them like hoisin sauce.
French: Garlic, olive oil, butter (I prefer Kerrygold), lemon, white wine vinegar, mustard (makes a fantastic dipping sauce), Worcester sauce, duck fat, salt, and pepper. High end cheese and red wine is acceptable in moderation. Key word: moderation. The beauty of French cooking is its utter simplicity.
For most of my life I was in decent shape, or at the very least had a “dad bod.” Little bit of chub, but not enough that it affected my daily life. Never had six pack abs or any of that. However, my genetics suck in that I gain weight easily. Plus, I’m short, so I don’t wear extra weight very well.
In college I could basically eat whatever I wanted, exercise, and the weight could come off pretty effortlessly.
This blog is not endorsed by or affiliated with any organization, including those above. The links go to stuff we like or think are good resources. However, they might not feel the same way about us. By linking to something or putting a graphic on the side, it does not mean that organization agrees with our content, vouches for the accuracy of our content, or is affiliated with this blog or its contributors in any way. Sadly, sometimes love goes unrequited.