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Andrew Hamilton Event Reduces Prices but Continues Mission

September 26, 2009


Since 1979, the Andrew Hamilton Gala has been the major social event for the Philadelphia legal community.  Taking place every November, it’s the big event where everyone dresses up to the nines, featuring tuxes and formal attire.  Between 300 to 400 people typically attend the event, which has been held everywhere from the Marriott Crystal Team Room, the Park Hyatt Bellevue to 30th Street Station.

More importantly, the Gala is the primary event fundraiser for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, which is, of course, the charitable arm of the Bar Association.  The Bar Foundation funds the city’s various organizations providing public interest legal aid.   Each year, the Gala raises about $300,000 to directly support the Bar Foundation’s grants.

Historically, whether intentionally or not, the event has been geared towards the senior bar.  Maybe it’s the formal nature.  Maybe it’s the presence of so many distinguished and experienced lawyers.  Quite likely, it also has a lot to do with the event ticket price, which has ranged around $300 for regular tickets and about $200 for young lawyers.  That price has often discouraged young lawyers who are not covered by their firms from attending.

Of course, these times are a little bit different than prior years.  With unprecedented economic issues, having the Gala follow the trend of prior years wouldn’t make much sense.  So, there have been a few changes, reflecting the new realities.  For one, it’s no longer the Gala; the event is now the Andrew Hamilton Benefit, which truly reflects its purpose.   It’ll be at the new location of the Please Touch Museum (at Memorial Hall), on November 21, 2009, at 8 p.m.  Cocktail attire is the new dress code.  You still have food, drinking and dancing, but it’s now a lot more affordable, with young lawyer (and guest) tickets at only $75.   There’s also a raffle, and Mayor Nutter will be in attendance.

I only have been once to the event last year but had fun.   The food is typically good, the drinks are flowing and there’s usually a good dance scene through the end of the night.  The Please Touch Museum also has some pretty cool stuff, including a terrific exhibit downstairs on when the World’s Fair was in Philadelphia in 1876.

Tickets can be purchased through the website (or ask your firms if there are spare tickets available in their tables).

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 5, 2009 12:19 pm

    The Philadelphia Bar Foundation will present its annual Morris Shuster Fellowships at the event, along with the presentation of the Citizens Bank Pro Bono Award and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award. Not only does it recognize some very hard working volunteers but more importantly it raises money for grants to law-related programs in the Philadelphia area that assist the poor, seniors, and disabled, as well as abused women and children. These grants are more important than ever during these tough economic times.

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