About the Cumberland County Bar Association

The Cumberland County Bar Association was formed by adoption of its constitution and bylaws in 1901. The Association was incorporated December 29, 1994. The Association’s purpose is to promote education, fellowship, and ethics among local lawyers and to foster public awareness of the legal system and the individual’s rights and responsibilities under our system.
                As early as 1935 the Association was concerned about and involved in legal aid and actively supported the formation of Legal Services. It still supports, through financial assistance, Mid Penn Legal Services in providing legal aid to persons with limited resources. The Association was instrumental in having indices in the Recorder of Deeds Office and in having that office collect realty transfer taxes.
                Originally, the Association often met in the courtroom and adjourned to either the Country Club or Allenberry for dinner where officers were installed.    The county bar was, from the beginning, a social, collegial organization, and remains so today. The Association now has more than 400 members.      Since its formation, the Association has taken on the many programs listed in this brochure, hired an executive director, one full time and one part-time employees, and acquired a building to provide a home for all its activities and some of its events.

Officers and Directors

CCBA Organizational Awards

CCBA Members' Awards


   This commemorative book is the history of Cumberland County’s lawyers; the men and women who for 250 years have prosecuted, defended, repaired deeds, probated wills, and conducted the legal affairs for generations of county residents.   The first comprehensive story of legal practice in Cumberland County.
·        Over 250 pages of text and images
·        Over 200 photographs and illustrations
·        Hard cover case binding
·        Full color printed cover jacket wrap 


250 years of law and justice in Cumberland County
   This book, published by the Cumberland County Bar Foundation, is a culmination of efforts by many members of the bar and court personnel. Over thirty authors have contributed their time and talents to make this book into the comprehensive history of over 250 years of law and justice in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.   This hard-bound publication consists of two parts:   “The Early Years,” written by Mark Podvia, and “A Century of Change: written by various individuals.   Most important, it is the history of Cumberland County’s lawyers; the men and women who have conducted the legal affairs of county residents for generations.
Part 1: The Early Years
   This first part is a traditional history that tells the story of the bench and bar from the founding of the county in 1750 until the formation of the Bar Association in 1901.
   Many competent and dedicated lawyers have practiced law in the county since its formation,   some of them achieving national fame; George Ross, James Smith, and James Wilson signed the Declaration of Independence. John Bannister Gibson served as chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and his legal opinions were landmark decisions.
   Also discussed are many cases and historical events, such as the construction of the courthouse in 1765 and its destruction by arson in 1845, and the establishment of the first law school in Pennsylvania.
   Author Mark W. Podvia, Esquire, is associate law librarian and archivist at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. He has written more than a dozen articles on the law school and local history.
Part 2: A Century of Change
   As stated in this book’s foreword by the Honorable Robert Lee Jacobs, “The changes in Cumberland County’s bench and bar in the past fifty years have been dramatic.”
   The Justice System: Detailed are how the practice of law and the court system have evolved, and how both operate in Cumberland County today.
   Activities of the CCBA: The association, through formation and support of many notable programs, attempts to promote knowledge of the law through various activities; providing services to its members and the public.
   Historical Cases and Events: By virtue of the subject matter or identity of the parties involved, these cases and events caused significant publicity and are still of interest today.
   Reminiscences of Long-Standing Members and “Away From the County Seat”:
Were we not to record these recollections of members from Carlisle and areas away from the county seat, they would be forever lost to the memory of man, and future lawyers and observers of the legal scene would know that much less about how it all came to be.
   Summaries of Minutes of the Meetings of CCBA: The minutes, from 1933 until 1991, reflect the changes in the practice of law as the county developed and grew.
   Appendices:   Included are the association’s original constitution and bylaws, articles of incorporation, current bylaws and listings of past officers, deceased members, lawyers
who have served in the armed forces, and association members.
Now available at the office of CCBA:
32 South Bedford Street, Carlisle
For additional locations call: (717) 249-3166
Price:   $32.00 plus tax
Click here >   Order Form 
Published by the Cumberland County Bar Foundation in cooperation with the Editorial Committee of the Cumberland County Bar Association.   Proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit public service projects of the Association and the Foundation.
By Robert Lee Jacobs
Retired President Judge of
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania
   I am honored to have been asked to write this foreword to the history of the Bench and Bar in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, during the last 250 years. What I say in this space comes from 65 years’ association with the Bench and Bar.
   The changes in Cumberland County’s Bench and Bar in the last 50 years have been dramatic. For 200 years Cumberland County had one law judge. Now it has 5 law judges, all of whom are busy.   50 years ago there were 50 lawyers practicing in the County. Today there are more than 300.
  The practice of law has become more a business and less a profession.   A lawyer admitted to the highest court of Pennsylvania may practice in any court of the Commonwealth. He may now advertise his skills. Those skills are being applied to more and varied tasks. New laws, new regulations, new methods of equipping law offices and the increasing number of lawyers require a good business approach.
   While I know the practice of law will never revert to the old professional days, this history will give us all a chance to look back, remember and maybe emulate some of the virtues of the old Bench and Bar.
   Between lawyers, a lawyer’s word was his bond. If he violated it he lost all respect with the Bar.   Older lawyers would share their knowledge with younger lawyers without thought of compensation. A mutual respect and cooperation existed between the judge and the lawyers.   It was truly collegial in those days.
   Credit for putting this history together must be given to the Cumberland County Bar Association. Its committees have worked long and hard to bring it about.