Eileen Murphy Gets the Chair!

Posted: December 7th, 2020 by


We’re very proud of Eileen Murphy, who took over as the Philadelphia Bar Association Family Law Section Chair on December 7, following in Joni Berner (1994), Margaret Klaw (2002) and Megan Watson’s (2012) footsteps. As you can see, there is a longstanding tradition of the passing of a literal chair, which the Section managed to arrange despite meeting virtually today!

Eileen’s message for the coming year is:

It is an honor to serve as chair for the 2021 year. I am thankful for all the leaders who went before me and for the lessons that I have learned from them. I am thankful for the mentors that have encouraged me to pursue bar leadership. Finally, I am thankful for my colleagues and my husband who have supported me as I take this step.

The section is designed for practitioners to increase their individual expertise through thoughtful and topical programming, to build strong relationships with fellow attorneys, and to dialogue with members of the bench to elevate the practice of family law for all litigants within the court system. While we address more traditional areas within the domestic relations and dependency practice, we also strive to ensure equal access to justice, LGBTQ+ competency, and diversity and inclusion. Section members come from a wide range of backgrounds and professional settings – large firms, small firms, solo practices, public service organizations, the judiciary and court staff, and local universities, among others. We affirm and support all different kinds of families and we affirm the value of each individual. No matter where you practice, we hope you find a home here.

The strength of our section lies in the relationships that we have with each other. It is personal relationships that allow us to build coalitions, to effectively process criticism, to develop greater understanding, and to seek advice. I hope that this year section members take the opportunity to look forward – to seek to become better advocates and counselors – while also reaching back for our fellow attorneys. If the time of COVID has taught us anything, it has shown us the value of authentically connecting with each other. Very often we may take opposing positions in court, but there is room for civility and professionalism in how we treat each other.

While it presently remains impossible for us to gather in person, I hope that you will gather with us virtually at our monthly meetings. These are generally scheduled on the first Monday of each month. The section includes a number of topical committees which address different areas of the practice, depending on your interests, and which any section member may join. More information is on the website, but I urge you to jump in and get involved! The section also has formal mentoring programs which allow any attorney new to the practice to connect with more senior practitioners for practical questions and candid advice.

Finally, I encourage section members to volunteer their time to serve those in our community. Many section members volunteer their knowledge to represent litigants who could not otherwise afford an attorney through organizations like VIP, or represent children in dependency proceedings through the Support Center for Child Advocates. When the Family Court is open to the public, members of our Section volunteer at the Help Center on the 11th Floor.

As we look forward into 2021, we have an opportunity to work cooperatively together to create a better practice. I thank you for this opportunity to lead and to learn from each of you, and I trust that, together, we can address the challenges ahead.

Eileen G. Murphy

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