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President & Officers
Sud R. Patel, Esq., President of PAJ (2019 - 2020)

It is with great pride that I take over the role of PAJ President, succeeding my good friend Josh Geist. After a 13 month presidency, Josh now gets to assume one of the most coveted titles our Association can bestow, Immediate Past President. Josh has successfully led our Association through a whirlwind of a year. In the face of a contentious Governor’s election, legislative attacks, special elections, staff additions and changes, all he did was win, win, win. Josh and I came onto the PAJ Board together over fifteen years ago, and I could not be more proud of his many accomplishments.

As we head into the upcoming year, I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by our Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist, David Tyler, and our entire PAJ staff. I am confident that our PAJ Team will continue their 2018-2019 successes on every front. In addition to our incredible staff, PAJ has also benefitted greatly from the close relationships we have formed with our colleagues in Philadelphia (PTLA) as well as our regional TLAs in the Northeast and Western Pennsylvania.

One area I would like to focus on for the upcoming year is communications. PAJ needs to take a stronger role in communicating both within our PAJ membership ranks and, in the public, at large. We have so many members who are so giving of their time and efforts outside the courtroom, and I want to emphasize all of the good we do in the communities we live and practice in. We also need to aggressively dispel the myths which our opponents constantly spread through various forms of media (doctors fleeing Pennsylvania; nursing home crisis; adequate auto insurance limits).

We currently have an opportunity to hopefully eliminate the special venue rules which were carved out for doctors, hospitals and medical providers in the early 2000s as the Supreme Court Procedural Rules Committee revisits the venue rules. Under the fictitious guise of a medical malpractice crisis manufactured in the early 2000s, venue was one of several tort reform measures that were passed to the great detriment of our medically injured clients. While the number of medical malpractice case filings fell precipitously in the last decade, the number of medical error-related injuries and deaths skyrocketed. So much for tort reform resulting in better and safer medicine!

Our legislative and lobbying team is keenly focused on trying to finally get the mandatory minimum automobile insurance coverages raised. Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of having the second lowest mandatory auto coverage amounts in the entire country. I am optimistic that we will finally see a long overdue increase in mandatory auto coverages soon.

Next, Pennsylvania has a critical Superior Court election this Fall in which two Superior Court vacancies will be filled. Given the high number of civil cases which come before the Superior Court, together with the fact that the Court typically hears and decides cases with panels of three Judges, the importance of electing fair and pro-civil justice minded Judges to the Superior Court cannot be overstated. As soon as the appellate court race ballots are counted this Fall, we will have to gear up for the 2020 elections, which will have both state-wide and national implications. As many of our leaders recognize, elections have consequences. PAJ has been very instrumental and successful in the last few election cycles, and we need to continue that momentum this Fall and into 2020.

Through the great work of PAJ’s Immediate Past Presidents, our Association is on very strong footing. We are poised to have another great year which will hopefully see another increase in membership numbers, a continuation of the best and most well-attended CLE programs of any State organization, and most importantly, no draconian tort reform legislation passed under my watch! I look forward to seeing many of you as I take on the role of PAJ President.


Past Presidents

Joshua P. Geist
(2018 - 2019)

Lisa M. Benzie
(2017- 2018)

Thomas R. Anapol
(2016 - 2017)

Jason Matzus
(2015 - 2016)

Malcolm MacGregor
(2014 - 2015)

Jerry M. Lehocky
(2013 - 2014)

Scott B. Cooper
(2012 - 2013)

Kenneth M. Rothweiler
(2011 - 2012)

Timothy Conboy
(2010 - 2011)

Kevin R. Marciano
(2009 - 2010)

Michael J. Foley
(2008 - 2009)

Tim Riley
(2007- 2008)

Ruben Honik
(2006 - 2007)

Nancy H. Fullam
(2005 - 2006)

John M. Gallagher
(2004 - 2005)

Richard J. Schubert
(2003 - 2004)

David L. Lutz
(2002 - 2003)

Clifford A. Rieders
(2001 - 2002)

Timothy A. Shollenberger
(2000 - 2001)

Frank J. Wesner, Jr.
(1999 - 2000)

Stewart J. Eisenberg
(1998 - 1999)

Carol Nelson Shepherd
(1997 - 1998)

William F. Goodrich
(1996 -1997)

Joanna Hamill Flum*
(1995 - 1996)

Theodore A. Schwartz
(1994 -1995)

Howard F. Messer
(1993 - 1994)


Carmen P. Belefonte
(1992 -1993)

James R. Ronca

Irving M. Portnoy
(1990 -1991)

Leonard A. Sloane
(1989 -1990)

Robert Webster Munley*
(1988 -1989)

Charles E. Evans
(1987- 1988)

Edward B. McDaid
(1986 -1987)

William R. Caroselli*
(1985 -1986)

M. Mark Mendel*
(1984 -1985)

James F. Mundy
(1983 -1984)

Richard C. Angino
(1982 -1983)

Bruce D. Desfor

Joseph A. Quinn, Jr.
(1980 -1981)

Louis M. Tarasi, Jr.
(1979 -1980)

Thomas J. Foley, Jr.
(1978 -1979)

Lee C. Swartz
(1977 - 1978)

Marvin I. Barish
(1976 -1977)

Milton D. Rosenberg*
(1975 - 1976)

Lindley M. Cowperthwait, Jr.*
(1974 - 1975)

William C. Archbold, Jr.*
(1973 - 1974)

Frank Edward Roda*
(1972 - 1973)

David S. Shrager*
(1971 - 1972)

Irwin Benjamin*
(1970 - 1971)

James E. Beasley, Sr.*
(1969 -1970)

Murray S. Love*
(1968 -1969)






PAJ Officers 

Sudhir R. Patel, Esq., President
Fanelli Evans & Patel, PC – Pottsville


Paul A. Lagnese, Esq., President-elect 
Berger & Lagnese, LLC – Pittsburgh


Kila B. Baldwin, Esq., Vice President 
Kline & Specter, P.C. - Philadelphia


Elizabeth A. Chiappetta, Esq., Treasurer 
Robert Peirce & Associates, PC - Pittsburgh


Lawrence M. Kelly Esq., Secretary 
Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George - New Castle


Carin A. O'Donnell, Esq., Parliamentarian
Stark & Stark - Philadelphia and New Jersey


Joshua A. Rosen Esq., Comptroller
Simon & Simon, PC - Philadelphia


Joshua P. Geist, Esq., Immediate Past President
Goodrich & Geist, P.C. - Pittsburgh



PAJ Section Chairs


Scott B. Cooper, Esq., Chair - Auto Law Section
SchmidtKramer, PC - Harrisburg


Daniel Purtell, Esq., Chair - Future Leaders Section
McEldrew Young - Philadelphia

James Haggerty, Esq., Chair - Insurance Bad Faith Section 
Haggerty Goldberg Schleifer Kulpersmith, PC - Philadelphia

Veronica Richards, Esq., Chair - Medical Malpractice Section
Richards & Richards, LLP. - Warrendale

Lawrence M. Kelly, Esq., Chair - Membership 
Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George - New Castle

Melanie J. Garner, Esq., Co-chair - Women Trial Lawyers Section
Langfitt Garner PLLC - Philadelphia

Carin A. O'Donnell, Esq., Co-chair - Women Trial Lawyers Section
Stark & Stark - Philadelphia and New Jersey

Jeffrey S. Gross Esq., Chair - Workers’ Compensation Section
Gross & Kenny LLPC - Philadelphia


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