PACLE Board Members

Click on the member to read a brief biography
Douglas Evan Ress, Esq. Chair
Doug Ress was a co-founding shareholder of and now is Of Counsel to Kaufman, Coren & Ress, P.C., located in Philadelphia, PA, and is a member of the Pennsylvania and New York Bars. Following his graduation magna cum laude from Queens College in 1976, where he was its first state finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and its Scholar Athlete, and his graduation cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979, Mr. Ress began the practice of law in Philadelphia, PA. For 2022, Mr. Ress has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America as Philadelphia’s Lawyer of the Year for bet-the-company litigation. Mr. Ress has continuously been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America from 2007 to the present, and has been repeatedly recognized as a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" in Philadelphia Magazine. For 2007, Mr. Ress was recognized as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania, and for 2013, Mr. Ress was recognized as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Philadelphia. Mr. Ress served as a Hearing Officer for the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board from 2002 to 2008. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and currently serves as a Trustee of its Endowment Fund. Mr. Ress also currently serves on the Board of Directors of The JDOG Foundation. In addition, Mr. Ress has authored articles in his field, including a co-authored article: Tax-Affecting and Beyond: Dela. Radiology Experts Discuss "Landmark" Case, Business Valuation Update, Vol. 13, No. 5, May 2007. Mr. Ress is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, and a contributing author to its e-journal: Thoughts From a Road Trip: Exploring What it Takes for Someone to be Truly Great in His or Her Profession, 4 Litigation Commentary & Rev. 29 (January/February 2011). In 2012, Mr. Ress was inducted as one of nine inaugural Members of the Queens College Athletics Hall of Fame. By Order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in 2017, Mr. Ress commenced his initial three-year appointment to the Continuing Legal Education Board, was re-appointed and then served as Vice-Chair in 2021, and commenced his current service as Chair effective January 1, 2022.
Candice Komar, Esq. Vice Chair

Candice L. Komar is a founding member of Pollock Begg, a leading Pennsylvania firm devoted exclusively to the practice of family law.

Recognized as a top practitioner, litigator and highly skilled negotiator in matrimonial law, Candice handles divorces involving closely held businesses and high net worth individuals. She has considerable trial experience in Allegheny and surrounding counties, is a certified mediator and is trained and active in the newest area of practice known as Collaborative Law. Prior to joining Pollock Begg, Candice was a shareholder in the family law division of Buchanan Ingersoll (now Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC).

Candice majored in English and business at the University of Pittsburgh and is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law.

Candice is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Candice helped found the Pittsburgh chapter of the Matrimonial Inns of Court, where she served in various capacities. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County bar associations’ Family Law sections and actively participates in the ACBA’s Women in the Law Division.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors for her exceptional work, Candice earned designation as one of the Pittsburgh Business Times Top 25 Women in Business for 2012. Candice has been named to the list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers every year since 2007, the Super Lawyers Top 50 Women Lawyers in Pennsylvania list since 2009, and the Top 50 Attorneys in Pittsburgh list repeatedly. She is honored to have been listed annually in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008 and to receive the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating of AV Preeminent.

Candice is a frequent guest on WPXI’s Pittsburgh Cable News Channel “NightTalk” and “Pittsburgh Now” programs, a lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law and a requested presenter for women’s leadership conferences.

Candice lives in Downtown Pittsburgh with her husband, Ivor Hill. She is a dedicated supporter of the area’s cultural attributes and a volunteer through several nonprofit and community organizations including Neighborhood Legal Services, YWCA Legal Resources for Women and Uptown Legal Clinic at Bethlehem Haven Women’s Shelter. She has served as vice president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association and as a board member of the Dance Alloy and the Junior League of Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh, Class XIV.

Ana Gomez Esq.
Ana Paulina Gomez, Esq. Ms. Gomez works for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department where she represents the Department in litigation before administrative tribunals and appellate courts. She also provides the Department with legal advice regarding complex insurance issues, legislation and regulations. Ms. Gomez is also an Adjunct Professor at Penn State Dickinson Law where she teaches Insurance Law. Prior to joining the Insurance Department, she worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Education where she litigated educator misconduct cases and Right-to-Know Law matters at the administrative and appellate level. Prior to joining the OGC, Ms. Gomez was an Assistant District Attorney at the York County District Attorney's Office from 2012 until 2015. Prior to her work as an ADA, Ms. Gomez clerked for the Hon. Thomas Kelley in York County immediately after graduating from law school. Ms. Gomez attended the Penn State Dickinson School of Law where she interned for the Hon. Yvette Kane, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and served as a Senior Editor for the Penn State Environmental Law Review and a Miller Center for Public Interest Fellow. Ms. Gomez is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is also a trained mediator.
Dusty Kirk, Esq.
Dusty Elias Kirk concentrates her practice on all aspects of real estate development, acquisitions and economic incentives, with an emphasis on real estate litigation, including real estate tax-assessment appeals, land-use and zoning appeals, and eminent domain proceedings. Dusty counsels her clients on an array of sustainability issues that impact development projects and facilities, including advice on sustainable development matters such as the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and regulatory compliance matters such as greenhouse gas emission regulations, obtaining other regulatory approvals, negotiating complex contractual arrangements, resolving disputes, and managing risk avoidance.

Dusty's work in real estate development includes handling the acquisition, financing and tax increment financing for commercial, retail, office, industrial and institutional properties, and obtaining economic incentives for development projects. She regularly handles issues involving public-private partnerships, and transportation issues including highway occupancy permits.

She represents real estate developers, property owners and nonprofit institutions in real estate assessment appeals of industrial, commercial, office, retail and exempt properties in issues regarding valuation of real estate, tax-exempt status, taxation of mineral rights, and tax abatements for newly constructed and reconstructed properties. Dusty litigates matters throughout Pennsylvania before administrative hearing boards, as well as in trial and appellate proceedings.

Dusty's general real estate practice involves negotiating with local tax jurisdictions on tax-increment financing, transportation and highway occupancy permits, and business and neighborhood improvement districts. She also represents property owners in realty transfer tax and sales-and-use tax matters, prepares loan and loan-workout documents for both lenders and developers, and negotiates sales agreements.

Honors and Awards

• Recipient of the 2014 Honorable Sylvia A. Rambo Award, given by the Women’s Law Caucus of the Penn State (Dickinson) School of Law to a woman in the legal profession “who has had a distinguished career and who, by example, has made the professional success if other women more likely.”

• Named one of BTI’s "Client Service All-Stars" for 2013

• Selected by the Pittsburgh Business Times as a winner of the 2013 Business Women First Award

• Selected through peer review for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Real Estate Law, 2006-2022

• Selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for Real Estate, 2011-2020

• Named to Real Estate Forum's 2012 "Women of Influence" list, which recognizes women who are helping to shape the commercial real estate industry throughout the U.S.

• Nominated as a 2012 "Leading Lady" by Oakland Catholic High School, which honors leaders in philanthropy, business, education and the arts

• Named a "2011 Women of Achievement Honoree" by Celebrate & Share for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community

• Recipient of Celebrate & Share's "2010 Women of Distinction Award"

• Athena Award finalist in 2009. The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award recognizes women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community and help other women to succeed through mentorship. Honors and Awards

• Recipient of the 2014 Honorable Sylvia A. Rambo Award, given by the Women’s Law Caucus of the Penn State (Dickinson) School of Law to a woman in the legal profession “who has had a distinguished career and who, by example, has made the professional success if other women more likely.”

• Named one of BTI’s "Client Service All-Stars" for 2013

• Selected by the Pittsburgh Business Times as a winner of the 2013 Business Women First Award

• Selected through peer review for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Real Estate Law, 2006-2022

• Selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for Real Estate, 2011-2020

• Named to Real Estate Forum's 2012 "Women of Influence" list, which recognizes women who are helping to shape the commercial real estate industry throughout the U.S.

• Nominated as a 2012 "Leading Lady" by Oakland Catholic High School, which honors leaders in philanthropy, business, education and the arts

• Named a "2011 Women of Achievement Honoree" by Celebrate & Share for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community

• Recipient of Celebrate & Share's "2010 Women of Distinction Award"

• Athena Award finalist in 2009. The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award recognizes women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community and help other women to succeed through mentorship.

Professional and Community Affiliations
• Allegheny County Bar Association – Member, Board of Governors; Chair, Council for the Real Property Section
• Allegheny County Transportation Action Partnership – Legal Counsel
• Allegheny Regional Asset District – Member, Board of Directors
• Chatham University's Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics – Member, Advisory Board
• Dress for Success Worldwide – Member, Board of Directors; chair of the Audit Committee
• Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Western Pennsylvania – Former President, Board of Directors
• Pennsylvania Bar Association – Member, Women in the Profession Committee
• Pennsylvania Supreme Court – Appointed, Disciplinary Board Hearing Officer
• Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania – Past Board Chair
• Riverlife – Member, Board of Directors
• Southwestern Pennsylvania Community Development Network (a part of Sustainable Pittsburgh) – Member, Steering Committee
• Winchester Thurston – Board Secretary, Board of Directors, Chair of Strategic Planning Committee
Jason Matzus, Esq.
Matzus Law LLC. Firm founder, Attorney Jason Matzus has over 20 years of experience handling complex personal injury cases, including medical malpractice, industrial and construction site injury cases, auto and trucking cases and fires and explosions. Attorney Matzus is proud to be a trial lawyer and has dedicated his entire career to advocating on behalf of injury victims and their families that are seriously injured or killed through no fault of their own. Throughout the course of his career, Attorney Matzus has recovered tens of millions of dollars for his clients. But, what matters most to him and his clients is that cases pursued by Attorney Matzus have resulted in safety improvements in medical care at local hospitals, worker safety at job sites, roadway safety for motorists as well as other public safety improvements in other industries.

Attorney Jason Matzus is widely recognized by his peers and colleagues for his professionalism, skill, integrity, and knowledge. He is the past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which is the largest organization for trial lawyers in Pennsylvania and one of the most prominent trial lawyer organizations in the country. He has also served as the president of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Attorney Matzus considers election by his peers to these leadership positions to be one of the highest professional compliments that a lawyer can achieve.

Mr. Matzus has consistently been selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers®, named a Top 50 Lawyer in Pittsburgh and a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the American Trial Lawyers Association. He is also an invited member of the prestigious Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. These organizations and designations are reserved only for elite attorneys who are at the top of their respective fields and who demonstrate superior qualifications in leadership, reputation, and trial skill. Mr. Matzus also serves as an adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Mr. Jason Matzus has a track record of distinguished success and more than two decades of substantial experience representing all types of personal injury claims. He has achieved significant recoveries for clients in cases ranging from medical malpractice to automobile accidents and tractor-trailer accidents, to construction site injuries or industrial site explosions and fires to dangerous and defective products.

He is a highly sought-after speaker who regularly lectures on topics in personal injury law, insurance law, trial presentation techniques, and trial strategies. Mr. Matzus has taught thousands of attorneys at continuing legal education seminars and has authored numerous articles in a variety of legal publications. He is also frequently asked by educational companies to contribute materials for continuing legal education seminars.

Mr. Matzus served as the founding chairperson of an annual charity that benefits the Pittsburgh Steelwheelers, a group of local wheelchair athletes who compete in sporting events. He has helped the group raise more than $300,000 and is passionate about giving back to the community.

Bar Admissions
Pennsylvania, 1995
U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania, 1995
U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1995

Education University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
J.D. cum laude – 1995
Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B.A. magna cum laude – 1990
Honors: 12th Overall in his Class
Honors: Economic & Psychology Honor Societies
Major: Economics
Major: Psychology

Manning J. O'Connor II, Esq.
Manning J. "Jim" O'Connor II is a Member at Metz Lewis Brodman Must O'Keefe LLC. Jim has more than 30 years of trial experience in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and several other states. He represents businesses in a wide range of disputes involving all aspects of employment litigation. These include breaches of contract, harassment, and discrimination claims; non-compete/non-solicitation agreements; and trade secrets, among others. He also handles complex commercial litigation matters.
In addition, Mr. O'Connor has many years of experience in health care litigation, and he has represented hospitals and physicians in, and advised on, regulatory and patient care issues, contract disputes, licensing and credentialing matters, insurance disputes, and corporate compliance.
Mr. O'Connor has negotiated contracts for media personalities and other celebrities. He has also served as special counsel to numerous municipalities on a variety of legal issues.
An educator and frequent speaker, Mr. O'Connor serves on the adjunct faculty at Duquesne University School of Law, and he regularly speaks at seminars and conferences on the topics of trial evidence, employment litigation, and commercial litigation. He was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve on the Pennsylvania CLE Board, which oversees the rules and regulations for continuing legal education in the Commonwealth.
EDUCATION
  • 1983 J.D., Duquesne University
  • 1980 B.A., cum laude, Duquesne University
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • United States Tax Court
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS AND HONORS
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania CLE Board
  • AV Preeminen 5.0 out of 5 peer rated in Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion on the 2010-2013 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers lists in the field of business litigation.
  • Selected for inclusion on the 2012 Top Rated Lawyers list by Corporate Counsel's Guide to Health Care Law.
  • Selected for the Allegheny County Bar Foundation Class of 2015 Fellows
Jay Silberblatt, Esq.
Mr. Silberblatt is a partner with the Pittsburgh law firm of Silberblatt Mermelstein, P.C. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Allegheny College in 1977 and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1980 where he served on the Law Review. He is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Advocate and as a Civil Pretrial Practice Advocate. Mr. Silberblatt concentrates his practice in civil litigation with a particular emphasis on lawyers' professional liability matters. He is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, and he is a Fellow of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. Previously, Mr. Silberblatt served as Chair of both the Civil Litigation Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association and the Civil Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and he served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. He also served as a Director of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. Presently, he is the Zone 12 Governor of the PBA, a member of the PBA House of Delegates, and Chair of the PBA Lawyers Professional Liability Committee. He received a PBA Special Achievement Award in 2000 for his work in planning the PBA Civil Litigation Section's Retreat, the PBA President's Award in 2002 for his efforts with Senate Bill 406 and Rule 1023.1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, and a PBA Special Achievement Award in 2004 for his work in planning and presenting malpractice avoidance programs for the Professional Liability Committee.
A third generation Pennsylvania lawyer, he is the author of numerous legal articles that have appeared in The Barrister, The Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, The Pennsylvania Law Weekly, The Pennsylvania Lawyer, The Pittsburgh Legal Journal, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, The Advocate, and Trial. Mr. Silberblatt has planned CLE courses and lectured for the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, and Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company.
In the community, Mr. Silberblatt is a Past President of Temple Sinai, and has served on the Boards of the Jewish Association on Aging and the Rauh Jewish Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center. Currently, he is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Squonk Opera.
Mark Powell, Esq.
Mark Powell is the District Attorney of Lackawanna County and is a member of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) Executive Committee. In 2018, he was named to the association’s Education and Training Committee and elected to the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute, the educational and training arm of the PDAA, in 2020. In addition, Powell serves as a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in Washington, D.C., and was awarded its Teaching Excellence Award in 2016. Before being elected DA, he co-chaired the Lackawanna County Bench Bar Conference for several years and remains active on the Lackawanna Bar Association’s Educational Committee.
Prior to public service, Powell was a partner in the Powell Law firm in Scranton for 27 years. He earned many professional accolades, including the distinction of being a Board-Certified Trial Specialist in both criminal law and civil law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. While in private practice, Powell served on the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice and the Board of Directors of the Northeastern PA Trial Lawyers Association. For 12 years, he served as a Hearing Committee member for the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board and is a past president of Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association where he received its highest award for his Exemplary Character and Compassion for Victims.
Powell earned his undergraduate degree from Villanova University, his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and his Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from the Temple University Beasley School of Law where he graduated with honors.
Tuan Samahon, Esq.
Professor Tuan Samahon is a full-time legal educator and tenured faculty member at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law where he teaches civil procedure, constitutional law, and federal courts. His published scholarship has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the University of Chicago Legal Forum, and Intelligence and National Security, among others. In 2017, Tuan served as a Fulbright Scholar in Croatia with the University of Zagreb’s law faculty.

In addition to his academic work, Tuan remains active as a litigator. He has briefed cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. District Courts, where he has handled separation-of-powers and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases. He has handled matters against the CIA, DOJ, FBI, and IRS, among others, on behalf of fellow academics, book authors, and journalists who sought the release of federal records. These documents have ranged from a draft undisclosed CIA history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation to FBI investigatory records about the theft and laundering by U.S. servicemen of the royal family of Hesse’s jewels.

Beyond his scholarship and litigated matters, Tuan is engaged in public service by interpreting and implementing federal law. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, and assisted individual members of Congress on questions of federal law. In 2020, the Archivist of the United States appointed Tuan to the FOIA Advisory Committee, where he advises the National Archives and Records Administration on FOIA reform. Locally, he assisted the federal court in Philadelphia with the selection of a new federal magistrate judge. Finally, Tuan is actively involved with the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania.

He is now pleased to join the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board. Over the years, he has taught numerous CLEs on constitutional and transparency law topics.

Tuan earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude, where he was jointly awarded the Olin Prize in Law and Economics and published his student scholarship in the Georgetown Law Journal, Law & Policy in International Business, and the Federal Communications Law Journal. Following graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and later the Honorable Jay S. Bybee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Tuan practiced law in the Washington, D.C. office of Covington & Burling.
Honorable Clyde Waite
Howard Univ. (B.A.) 1968; Yale Law (J.D.) 1971; Bucks County Legal Aid Society Volunteer Atty. and Asst. Public Defender. 1971-72; Law Clerk Judge Edmund V. Ludwig, 1972; Law Clerk Judge Harriet M. Mims, 1977; Waite Real Estate Brokerage, 1979-2003; Solicitor Bristol Twp 1981; Solicitor Bucks County Ind. Dev. Auth. 1984; Partner, Stief, Waite, Gross, Sagoskin & Gilman, 1972-2003; Bucks County Bar Assoc. Bd Dir.; NAACP – Exec. Com.; Enterprise Zone of Bucks County – Pres.; Aldie Foundation Bd. Dir.; Bristol Twp. Ind. Dev. Corp. Founder; B. C. Bd. Realtors; Lower Bucks Cham. Com.; Bucks County Housing Group Pres. of Bd; Bucks County Playhouse Bd. of Dir.; Yardley Country Club Bd. Of Governors; B.C. Legal Aid Soc. Bd. of Dir.; PA State Planning Board/Futures Council; Kingswood Betterment Soc., Founder; Local Merit Judicial Selection Com.; Lower Bucks County Family YMCA Bd. of Dir.; St. Mary Hospital Authority – Bd. of Dir.; United Way of Bucks County. Elected Judge Court of Common Pleas Nov. 2003. Member of the Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Committee; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedures Committee; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Superior Court’s Pro Se (Unrepresented Litigant) Committee; Founder, Bucks County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
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