Update: Delaware County Orphans' Court, Register of Wills, Recorder Of Deeds

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Location: VIA ZOOM
Speaker: Robert A. Auclair, Esq. Recorder of Deeds; Rachel Ezzell Berry, Esq. Register of Wills; Cynthia A. McNicholas, Esq., Orphans' Court Judicial Law Clerk and Master

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TIME:       4:30 to 4:50 p.m.  Link in and Break Out Rooms
                  4:50 to  5:00 p.m.  Introductions and Sponsor Presentation
                  5:00 to  6:00 p.m.  Program
SPEAKERS:  Robert  A. Auclair, Esq., Recorder of Deeds
                       Rachel Ezzell Berry, Esq., Register of Wills
                       Cynthia A. McNicholas, Esq., Orphans' Court Judicial Law Clerk and Master
Special thanks to our sponsors:
Our presenters will speak about updates with their office practices and procedures as well as updates in law and practice in the Orphans' Court.
Robert Auclair, Esquire has been affiliated with the County of Delaware for over 18 years.  He currently serves as the Director of the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, a position he was appointed to fill in 2019.  From 2004 through 2019, he worked in various capacities for the Court of Common Pleas.  He also served as Assistant Counsel to the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline (2008-2014) and as Associate General Counsel of Crozer Keystone Health System (1994-95). Among his many professional activities, affiliations and memberships, Mr. Auclair is in his 10th year of service to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as a Senior Hearing Officer. For many years, he has also been a Panelist of the Dispute Resolution Service of the American Health Lawyers Association.  He is a member of the Pennsylvania Recorders of Deeds Association, the Property Records Industry Association, the American Bar Association and the Delaware County Bar Association.  Mr. Auclair’s articles have been published in Pennsylvania Medicine, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) Review and Physicians News Digest. He is the co-author of the book, Antitrust for Physicians. Mr. Auclair is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  He received his B.S. from Boston University and his J.D. from the Widener University School of Law.   

Rachel Ezzell Berry, Esquire was appointed as the Delaware County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court in March of 2020 during the COVID-19 shutdown when Rachel designed systems to probate over 5,000 estates and issue over 3,000 marriage licenses virtually; opened the office’s first e-commerce store; increased transparency by migrating the office’s records online; and became the first Register in Pennsylvania history to have a baby while in office.  In 2021, she was elected to a full term, having received the most votes of any countywide candidate.  Prior to entering public service, Rachel was a litigation associate at Dechert LLP and a clerk for federal judges on both the U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court. She started college as a Pell Grant recipient (indicating exceptional financial need) and worked her way up. She earned her A.S. with highest honors from Delaware County Community College and her B.B.A. summa cum laude from Temple University, where she was the top graduating student in both of her majors. She earned her J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was Book Review Editor of the Michigan Law Review. Her legal scholarship has been published in in LexisNexis’s Pennsylvania Civil Pre-Trial Practice and Trial Practice Guides, and cited in the Yale Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, and Harvard Law Review.  Rachel has a history of community service leadership across Delco, and  serves as the Chair of the Delaware County Economic Development Oversight Board and the Vice President of the Women’s Section of the Delaware County Bar Association. 

Cynthia A. McNicholas, Esquire has been admitted to practice in Pennsylvania since 1982.   She is a sole practitioner concentrating on Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Elder Law.  Since 2016, she has also been a Judicial Law Clerk and Master for the Orphans’ Court of Delaware County.  In that role, she (along with Bill Halligan) reviews all new petitions filed with the Orphans’ Court, and hears non-controverted cases and provides recommendations for the consideration of The Honorable Judge Kathrynann W. Durham, who presides over the Orphans’ Court.  (Previously, the Honorable President Judge Kevin F. Kelly presided over the Orphans’ Court.)  She and Bill also review all Petitions for Adjudication and related Accounts filed for Decedents’ Estates, Trusts, Incapacitated Persons’ Estates, and those filed by Agents Under Power of Attorney, and draft Adjudications for the Judge’s consideration.  They also conduct conferences in matters where objections are made.  Finally, Cynthia and Bill routinely field questions from practitioners on matters of law and practice.For 14 years, Cynthia chaired the Delaware County Orphans’ Court Rules Committee/Orphans’ Court Committee of the Delaware County Bar Association.  Significantly, during that time, the Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rules were completely overhauled, and new Delaware County Orphans’ Court Rules were drafted by the Committee, approved by The Honorable Chad F. Kenney as President Judge, and adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  She served as an Editor of the Delaware County Elder Law Handbook and Resource Guide from 2006 until 2016.  She is also a Past President of the Delaware County Estate Planning Council.  She currently serves as a Member of the Professional Advisors Council for the Foundation for Delaware County.  Cynthia received her B.A. from Dickinson College and her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law. 



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