Rick has demonstrated a deep commitment to public service.
Rick has felt the pull of public service from his earliest days as a lawyer when - as a law student - he volunteered with the ACLU’s Due Process Committee. After returning to Philadelphia, Rick became active with the Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP), a nonprofit organized to provide pro bono legal services. Rick served on VIP’s Board and eventually became its President. Rick has always believed that lawyers must take their obligation to provide pro bono services seriously and has regularly handled such matters throughout his career. In addition, Rick regularly volunteers as a Judge Pro Tem for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Rick has also volunteered in ways not directly connected to his law practice. In 1999, Rick led a group of neighbors and friends to organize a Hannukah celebration in Swarthmore. Because the celebration involved the installation of a menorah in front of Borough Hall, the planning was actually quite complex, and included a conversation with the White House Office for Jewish Affairs. For approximately the next ten years, Rick and his family and friends invited the community to celebrate together in Borough Hall.
In 2010, Rick was elected as Mayor of Swarthmore. On his first day as Mayor, Rick joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and throughout his term as Mayor he often appeared and spoke at rallies for that cause. As Mayor, Rick had oversight responsibility for the police, and the chief of police reported to him. He was also active in fostering improved “Town/Gown” relations between the community and Swarthmore College. In addition, in 2011, after a partisan plan for state voting districts was proposed that would have divided Swarthmore into two different voting districts, Rick jumped into the legal challenge to the plan - including acting as a named plaintiff in the case. The lawsuit went directly to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which took only two weeks to rule in favor of Rick’s position. For his service as Mayor, in 2015 the Swarthmore Lions Club named Rick the “Citizen of the Year.”
In 2013 after serving as Mayor, Rick began volunteering at Graterford Prison, a maximum-security prison about an hour north of Philadelphia. First, Rick created and taught a class, mostly to “lifers,” on the history of the American constitution. Using a scholarly text written by a Yale Law School professor, Rick visited about once a week for about a year and half. Then, after that class wrapped up, Rick became an outside liaison for the lifers in their attempt to have the state legislature pass a law to permit parole eligibility for lifers. (Now, lifers have no chance for parole, even if they were not directly responsible for the victim’s death.) Rick was successful in persuading a prominent state senator to introduce the legislation that the lifers supported. He continues in that effort today; still, more than four years after he started going to Graterford regularly, he continues his visits with the men there.