Ad Hoc Committee Report

Ad Hoc Committee Report

Unanimously Adopted by the Board of Trustees

In 2016, in light of recently identified information about Andrew Hamilton’s ownership of slaves, the Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to evaluate the continued use of the name and historical figure of Andrew Hamilton in connection with the branding of the Foundation’s Annual Benefit. This assessment took place in the context of the Foundation’s overall updating of its communications and fundraising strategies. The Ad Hoc Committee was composed of sixteen members, representing a cross-section of the Bar, including Foundation Trustees, Former Chancellors, and other prominent practitioners and academics in the region. Over the course of several months, the Committee held in-person discussions, performed thorough research and analysis, and produced a comprehensive final report endorsed by all Committee members and Foundation Trustees.

Andrew Hamilton – not related to Alexander Hamilton – was a pre-Revolutionary War attorney in Philadelphia and a Pennsylvania public official, best known for his successful defense of John Peter Zenger against the criminal charge of seditious libel. The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the Foundation should consider another name for the Annual Benefit that would bear a more direct relationship to the organization’s mission, the community of public interest stakeholders it represents, and the rich diversity of the Philadelphia legal community. The Committee and the Foundation’s Board encouraged the entire legal community to offer strong support for the Foundation, its crucial work on behalf of equal justice for all, and its philanthropic events generating resources for non-profit legal aid organizations.

The Committee’s final report is downloadable below. 



The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is dedicated to promoting access to justice for all people in the community, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse, and discrimination. The Bar Foundation is the embodiment of the Philadelphia legal community’s commitment to this fundamental principle. We accomplish this mission by providing grants and technical assistance in support of quality legal services, addressing unmet legal needs and providing education on matters in the public interest.


The Bar Foundation’s annual signature fundraising event will be:

The Access to Justice Benefit

Uniting Our Community for Legal Aid

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Independence Seaport Museum