NORRISTOWN — From his humble beginnings growing up in Chester County, working on a farm and learning the importance of education, a seed was planted and Patrick J. Kurtas’ love for the law grew and flourished.

The respect Kurtas garnered as a young Pottstown lawyer culminated in his installation as president of the Montgomery Bar Association.

Kurtas, 42, of Pottstown, is the bar association’s first president to hail from the Pottstown area since its inception in 1885. Kurtas also is one of the youngest lawyers in recent history to ascend to the post. The association serves more than 2,100 members.

“I think it’s fantastic!” Kurtas said about being the first Pottstown lawyer to be installed as president, adding, however, he’s a bit baffled by that fact. “I know very well that some of the best and finest attorneys in the county and commonwealth are there. It makes me proud to be the one that has been chosen from that area.

“I’m very proud of the fact that I’m able to represent Pottstown. To me, Pottstown is on the rise. There’s great things going on there and the legal community there is strong and incredibly talented,” Kurtas added.

Kurtas was installed as president, and the gavel passed, during the bar association’s annual luncheon at the Blue Bell Country Club on Friday, Jan. 10. Kurtas succeeds lawyer Gregory R. Gifford as president.

Kurtas, whose father was the youngest of 15 children born to first-generation immigrants who became Chester County farmers, said his father instilled in him a strong work ethic.

Kurtas chuckled with fondness for his father as he recalled growing up in East Coventry and he and his siblings “having to bring home our brown paper lunch bag to reuse the next day and the day after that because there’s no sense in throwing out a perfectly good lunch bag.”

Kurtas’ interest in law was sparked when as a 14-year-old boy he went to work on the Chester County farm of lawyer John Frazier Hunt.

“Although I did a bunch of farm work, he’s the one who planted the seed and challenged me intellectually. I think it opened my eyes to getting as much education as possible,” said Kurtas, joking that he learned much more than that the “left-handed and right-handed pitchforks both work equally well when emptying the manure out of the horse stalls or a broken manure spreader.”

“Fortunately, my mind was also challenged, shall we say, a bit more intellectual ways, and I credit John with planting the seed that grew into my career as an attorney,” Kurtas said during an address to members of the bar association.

A graduate of Owen J. Roberts High School, Kurtas went on to graduate from Ursinus College in 1999 with a degree in political science and from the Villanova University School of Law in 2002. Kurtas also is a 2003 graduate of Villanova College of Commerce and Finance.

“When I was growing up, among my peer group, no family had a lawyer and there was no one of such a level of trust and knowledge and expertise that you could go to and I think I wanted to be that person for my friends and their families,” Kurtas said about his interest in becoming a lawyer.

Initially, Kurtas opened his own law practice, Kurtas Law, in Sanatoga in 2003. He later joined the oldest law firm in the Pottstown area, Prince and Prince, in 2006, to create Prince and Kurtas. Kurtas said he’s grateful for the guidance from his law partner, Paul Prince.

During the intervening years, Kurtas has practiced business, civil, criminal and family law and trust and estates. In addition to appearing in county courts, Kurtas has appeared in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Kurtas previously served stints as secretary, treasurer, vice-president and president-elect of the bar association and on numerous association committees, including the Young Lawyers Section.

As president, Kurtas said he wants to make sure “we continue to get the best and brightest people to be judges in this county.”

“And I think the judiciary committee of the bar association plays an incredibly important role in that because there’s no better body to evaluate credentials and ability than the legal community itself,” said Kurtas, adding candidates should be vetted under a process that is “just and fair for everyone regardless of political affiliation.”

“The winners of having the best judges is the community itself and we should all be behind that goal,” Kurtas added.

Diversity and leadership are two other areas Kurtas would like to focus on as president.

“It’s about everyone, from all backgrounds, cultures and orientations, coming together and finding ways to celebrate and embrace both our similarities and our differences,” Kurtas said about diversity.

Kurtas intends to continue representing clients at his Pottstown practice while fulfilling his duties as president of the bar association.

“It will be challenging but I think there are enough hours in the day to get it done. I’m ready to go,” Kurtas said excitedly.

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