Philadelphia Bar Foundation Welcomes Five New Trustees


PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Bar Foundation welcomes Jennifer S. Coatsworth, Esq., Matthew A. Hamermesh, Esq., P. Michael Jones, Esq., Rasheen Davis Merritt, Esq., and Harsinie Panditaratne, Esq. to their Board of Trustees. These individuals will lend their respective talents and expertise to help the Bar Foundation advance its mission to ensure equal and equitable access to justice through programs, grants, and partnerships, including its work on Equal Justice Center initiatives in Philadelphia.

Jennifer is a Partner at Margolis Edelstein, where she litigates motor vehicle, dealer fraud and lemon law cases almost exclusively from the defense perspective. She also focuses her practice on the defense of professionals, including real estate agents and home inspectors, usually related to allegations of breach of contract and fraud or nondisclosure issues. She is Vice Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and is active with the Pennsylvania Bar Association and is a member of the Executive Council of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel and the Brandeis Law Society. Jennifer is also a member of Community Legal Service's Leadership Council.

Matt is a leader in Hangley's Appellate and Bankruptcy Practices, with clients in a wide range of business in both practices. He has appealed a great variety of civil and bankruptcy cases, including appeals of multimillion-dollar jury verdicts, and has extensive experience in bankruptcy, insolvency, and debtor-creditor litigation. Matthew has also dedicated much of his career to pro bono work representing indigent clients, including prisoners’ civil rights, bankruptcy, uninsured personal injury defense, and death penalty defense, and was one of the recipients of the Juvenile Law Center's First Annual Pro Bono Award.

Mike is a Homeownership Senior Staff Attorney at Philadelphia VIP, one of our nonprofit partners. Through dedicated volunteers, Philadelphia VIP provides free, high-quality legal services to our region. Mike focuses his work on helping clients obtain titles to their homes, and supports the community of volunteers at Philly VIP. He previously served on the Board as part of the Foundation's Board Observer Program in 2020, and is back as the Young Lawyers Division Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2022. 

Harsinie is the founder of HP Law, a Workers' Compensation firm in Philadelphia. Her Workers' Compensation practice focuses on representing self-insured and captive Employers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the construction, manufacturing, distribution, and temporary staffing industries. She is also a highly sought-after lecturer and has delivered presentations and seminars across the country on Workers' Compensation laws, and is an adjunct professor at Drexel University Law School where she teaches a course on Pennsylvania and New Jersey Workers’ Compensation.

Rasheen is Director and Assistant General Counsel at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where her practice focuses primarily on healthcare, general litigation, labor and employment matters, patient safety, and other healthcare-related legal matters. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel at CHOP, Rasheen was a Shareholder with Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman and Goggin. Prior to becoming an attorney Rasheen had over 7 years of experience as an underwriter and was a member of the Society of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.