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May 2022

From the Chair
Chief Justice Max Baer recently penned a letter to the Pennsylvania legal community, encouraging all attorneys to honor their professional duty to “render public interest legal service” under Rule 6.1. Pro bono legal work is vital in striving to ensure equal access to justice across the Commonwealth. The time and resources donated to legal aid organizations by PA’s attorneys is a testament to the integrity of the profession; however, much work remains. The Disciplinary Board, too, recognizes this need in our communities and aims to support PA attorneys in their pro bono efforts. Last summer, the Board launched its “Pro Bono” webpage to connect attorneys with available information on providing pro bono legal services.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As an organization, we have increased our efforts toward raising awareness about mental health issues and reducing the stigma that all too often discourages those who are struggling from getting the help they need and deserve.
In keeping with the mission of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Board has partnered with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) to bring Pennsylvania’s legal community an article series exploring mental health and well-being within the profession. The field of law often presents unique conflicts and stressors that challenge its professionals’ overall health and wellness, but education and purposeful maintenance can help to alleviate the pressures of law practice. Preventative measures can often obviate misconduct, precluding the need for attorney discipline. LCL has been an invaluable resource to the legal community and an invaluable partner to the Disciplinary Board. The Board extends its sincere gratitude to LCL for their continued collegiality and, more importantly, their important work in assistance, support, and recovery throughout the Commonwealth.
Last month, the Disciplinary Board joined the Courts and other agencies of the Unified Judicial System in support of Autism Acceptance Month. Pennsylvanians on the autism spectrum are integral members of our families, workplaces, communities, and the legal profession. It is the duty of those in our profession to continue to educate themselves on the autism spectrum and to further increase access to justice for all Pennsylvanians.

Finally, the Board would like to welcome its newest Member, Laura E. Ellsworth, whose term commenced on May 1, 2022. We look forward to her contributions to the Board’s work in protecting the public, maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, and safeguarding the reputation of the courts.
Stay well,
Jerry M. Lehocky
Board Chair

From the Chief Justice
Chief Justice Max Baer has published his second open letter to Pennsylvania attorneys encouraging support of pro bono legal work across the Commonwealth. He joins with Jay N. Silberblatt, whose term as PA Bar Association President commenced on May 13, 2022, in urging all Pennsylvania attorneys to consider furthering their support of legal aid and free legal services.
Chief Justice Baer lauds the efforts of those currently performing such needed legal work and recognizes each PA attorney’s contribution to civil legal aid through the IOLTA portion of the annual attorney registration fee. He also acknowledges how critical the need for services and funds remains. “Pennsylvania is a diverse state,” Chief Justice Baer pens, “and the range of legal aid and pro bono programs highlights that diversity. Recent studies still show that far too many low-income Pennsylvanians receive little or no civil legal aid or pro bono support, despite all our efforts, and that society suffers without full access to justice.”
Read Chief Justice Baer’s full letter here.
Annual Attorney Registration

Online Registration is Open!

Attorney Registration Portal Is Open; Registration Due 7/1
The Attorney Registration Portal is now open for 2022-2023 online registration. Attorneys must register by July 1, 2022. Exemptions from the requirement of online filing for good cause are available, but must be requested in writing.

Registration fees are $275 for active attorneys, allocated as $195 for the Disciplinary Board, $50 for the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security, and $30 for the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts Board. The fee is $100 for inactive lawyers, and there is no fee for retired lawyers.

Registration is due by July 1, after which penalties are assessed. The first penalty of $200 takes effect after July 16; the second of $200 after August 1. These late payment penalties are imposed automatically and are not waivable by the staff or Board. An additional fee of $25 will be attached in the event of any returned payment. Failure to complete registration by August 1 may be deemed a request for transfer to administrative suspension under Pa. R.D.E. 219(f).


Disciplinary Board Announces Attorney Registration Fee Waiver Opportunity
The Disciplinary Board will allow attorneys to apply for a waiver of the annual fee under the condition of extreme financial hardship. The application, instructions, and FAQs have been posted to the Board’s website. Extended only to attorneys filing for active status, a granted waiver will apply to one registration year only.

In order to qualify for the waiver, an applicant’s income be equal to or below the federal poverty guideline. In 2022, the poverty guideline for a Pennsylvania household of four is $27,750.

The application process includes a waiver request form along with supporting financial documents. Applicants must provide a description of the nature of the financial hardship, proof of monthly income (e.g., wages, pension, Social Security, Workers Compensation, public assistance, dividends, etc.), the most recent year’s personal tax return, and proof of all year-to-date personal income. If applicable, the attorney must also present the most recent year’s business tax return and proof of year-to-date business income. Included in the application packet, a paper registration form also must be submitted.

Waiver requests will be reviewed by the Executive Director of the Disciplinary Board. If the request is granted, the Attorney Registration Office will process the annual registration form. If the request is denied, the applicant has ten days from the date of notice of denial to appeal for reconsideration by the Board Chair. The Chair will make the final decision within twenty days of receipt of a request for reconsideration. It is important to note that while any application or reconsideration is in process, no late fees will accrue. The attorney will have fourteen days from a final denial or until July 16  ̶  whichever the later date  ̶  to pay the annual fee in full without penalty. Failure to pay timely may subject the attorney to late payment penalties and transfer to administrative suspension under Pa.R.D.E. 219(f).

Requests for a waiver of the attorney registration fee must be filed by July 1st, the deadline for annual registration. Requests submitted after this date will not be eligible for review.
Discipline Imposed

April 2022
From Inactive Status
Michelle J. Ambrozaitis
Jeanine Maradei Franciscus
Juliet Faulkner Perry
Tracey A. Shreve

From Retired
Tara A. Mosier
Jamie McWhirter Zug

From Administrative Suspension
Adam Eli Levy
Gail F. Riblett

From Suspension
Patrick O'Hare Regan

Reinstatement Denied
Jon Ari Lefkowitz
Note: The above-listed granted reinstatement matters reflect only those granted by Supreme Court Order. An attorney listed as reinstatement granted, but whose current license status does not reflect reinstatement, has yet to submit the fees necessary to finalize reinstatement.
Upcoming Public Proceedings
We encourage you to observe our public disciplinary and reinstatement hearings, oral arguments, and public reprimands on the Board’s YouTube channel. You can also view “Upcoming Public Proceedings” at the bottom of the Board’s home page,

Scheduled proceedings begin at 9:30 am unless otherwise noted.

Disciplinary Board News

Pittsburgh Attorney Laura E. Ellsworth Appointed Member of Pa. Disciplinary Board

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has appointed Laura E. Ellsworth to serve as a member of the Disciplinary Board, effective May 1, 2022.

Ellsworth is a partner at Jones Day where she serves as the law firm’s first Partner-in-Charge of Global Community Service Initiatives. In her litigation practice, she has handled landmark public nuisance cases, multijurisdictional product liability matters, the largest health care bankruptcy of its time, and nationwide qui tam cases.

Ellsworth has been active in civic and community affairs, serving in leadership roles on the United Way Women's Leadership Council, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, and many other prestigious organizations.

Through her pro bono work and nonprofit involvement, she has proven a passion and commitment to improving access to justice in disadvantaged communities, having taught law classes in inner-city schools and conducted recurring Lawyers Without Borders programs in Nairobi, Kenya. Read more...

Disciplinary Board and Hearing Committee Members Among Recipients of Professional Excellence Awards
Earlier this month, The Legal Intelligencer announced the winners of their 2022 Professional Excellence Awards. These awards honor a variety of professional achievements throughout the Pennsylvania legal community. Among the award recipients are Disciplinary Board and Hearing Committee Members.
Pittsburgh attorney Laura E. Ellsworth, whose term as a Board Member commenced May 1, 2022, is named one of the “Unsung Heroes” of the profession. Attorney Ellsworth is an active civic and community leader, and her prolific pro bono and nonprofit work includes teaching law classes in inner-city schools and conducting Lawyers Without Borders programs overseas. Her work with the Eradicate Hate Global Summit demonstrates her commitment to global citizenship. In 2016, Ellsworth received The Legal Intelligencer’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Three Hearing Committee Members are also 2022 award honorees. Pittsburgh attorney Lindsay Sherwood Fouse is named one of the “Lawyers on the Fast Track” while Philadelphia attorneys Gary Robert Gremminger and Mark William Tanner are named among the “Best Law Firm Mentors” and “Power Players”, respectively. Former Hearing Committee Member Joseph Juco Centeno is also among the “Best Law Firm Mentors”.
Honorees will be recognized at an awards dinner next month in Philadelphia.
The Board extends is congratulations to all award recipients.

Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee Member Jay N. Silberblatt to Serve as 2022-2023 PBA President
Pittsburgh attorney Jay N. Silberblatt will serve as the 2022-2023 president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Having been active in PBA leadership for several years, Silberblatt assumed the presidency on May 13, 2022, following the completion of immediate past president Kathleen D. Wilkinson’s term.
Silberblatt currently serves as a Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee Member and a member of the Continuing Legal Education Board. He was recently featured in the May/June 2022 edition of The Pennsylvania Lawyer.

Amendments to Pa.R.D.E. 219 Adopted

By Order dated May 9, 2022, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted amendments to Rule 219, Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement (Pa.R.D.E.), relating to annual registration of attorneys. The amendment to Pa.R.D.E. 219(a) creates an application for waiver of the annual fee on the basis of financial hardship. The note to the rule is also amended to clarify that the waiver applies to the additional annual fees for the IOLTA Board and the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security. The amendments are effective immediately.
Articles of Interest
 Come Back to Pro Bono, Child Advocate Leader Pleads

One of the many side effects of the COVID crisis, according to a prominent child advocate, has been a falloff in the number of attorneys volunteering for pro bono work for children.

Frank Cervone, executive director of the Support Center for Child Advocates, published a plea in the Legal Intelligencer and at documenting the problems his agency has experienced recruiting volunteer lawyers to assist children who have suffered abuse and neglect. Prior to the pandemic, the Support Center had more than 330 volunteer lawyers serving each year in the representation of 1,100-plus children, but still needed another 50 lawyers to meet the need. Recently, the deficit has grown to 70 lawyers, despite the program’s heavy commitment to training and staff support. Mr. Cervone asks, “if our recruitment is hurting, with its engaging mission, high level of staff support for volunteers, and 45-year tradition of excellence, what are other pro bono programs experiencing?”

The need comes at a time when the commitment of the profession to pro bono work is growing. The “Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge” initiated 30 years ago sought law firms willing to commit 3-5% of their billable time to pro bono work. According to a survey by the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, 123 firms reported performing 5,410,723 hours of pro bono work in 2020, a substantial increase from 2019. Pro bono hours represented 4.17% of total client billable hours in 2020. The combined participation rate of partners and associates in large firms was 77.7% in 2020. Midsize firms reported 61 hours average pro bono hours annually per attorney.

Still, much of the bar remains uncommitted to pro bono work. Some estimates suggest that 50% to 75% of all attorneys do not do any pro bono legal service. The 2017 Philadelphia Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force Report observed that “the concept that an attorney’s pro bono activities are done ‘on his/her own time’ and is not part of the attorney’s required time commitment to his/her private practice and other firm responsibilities appears to remain prevalent at some firms, either explicitly or implicitly.”

Cervone notes that Philadelphia’s 2002 Pro Bono Task encouraged an aspirational and measurable 50-hour annual standard of pro bono participation. He recommends that all lawyers should be required to report their pro bono service as part of licensure. Law firms should give attorneys credit for pro bono work on the same basis as for paying clients. Senior partners and firm leaders should also make a commitment to the performance of pro bono work, not merely delegate it to less experienced associates. The personal commitment of leaders to pro bono work will give affirmation and example to younger lawyers learning the craft.

Cervone argues that many young lawyers want to do work for justice, and often choose firms because of their commitment to pro bono work. He concludes, “The lawyer’s relationship to the firm, and to the profession itself, is part of the community culture that we should care for and care about. Public service through pro bono practice has always been a way there. Whether you are coming back to pro bono, or coming for the first time, pro bono matters are fantastic pathways for skill-building, happiness, and community.”


Make Lawyer Practice National, Ethics Lawyers Argue

A group of professional responsibility lawyers has urged the American Bar Association to amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to allow lawyers admitted in any state to practice anywhere in the country, with some limitations.

The proposal is set forth in a letter dated April 18, 2022, to ABA President Reginald M. Turner from Brian S. Faughman, president of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL). The letter proposes revision to Model Rule 5.5, Multijurisdictional Practice of Law, to read, “A lawyer admitted and authorized to practice law in any United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction, subject to the other provisions of this rule.” 

The proposed rule would require lawyers practicing in a jurisdiction where they have not been admitted to disclose where they are licensed; to comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct of local jurisdictions; to be subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction and the choice of law requirements of the local jurisdiction; and to not aid anyone in the unlicensed practice of law.

Only a lawyer who is admitted to practice in the jurisdiction would be allowed to hold out a claim of admission to the public.

A lawyer who is suspended or disbarred in any jurisdiction would not be permitted to practice in another jurisdiction under the rule.

The proposed rule would also allow lawyers admitted in a foreign country to practice under some circumstances, including services for the lawyer’s employer or those that do not require pro hac vice admission.

The letter includes a 29-page report from APRL’s Future of Lawyering Subcomittee, that surveys laws of several states, examines a number of issues relating to interstate practice, and concludes, “Geographic limitations on a lawyer’s provision of services long accepted by the legal profession in the name of client protection often deprive clients of ever having an opportunity to exercise a truly full and free choice of counsel.” The report argues, “APRL’s proposed Model Rule 5.5 allows clients to consciously choose the lawyer they want to represent them as long as the lawyer has disclosed to the client the facts as to where they are licensed.”

Proposed rule changes are generally reviewed by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility while gathering input through a public hearing and written comments. Any change to the Model Rules would have to be approved by the ABA House of Delegates.

The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers is comprised of more than 400 members holding an interest in lawyers’ professional responsibility, legal ethics, legal malpractice, and the evolving law of lawyering, primarily through the application of the rules of lawyer ethics to the practice of law. APRL was formed as a nonprofit organization in 1990.


ABA Ethics Opinion: Lawyers Have Obligation to Prevent Employees from Engaging in In-Person Solicitation

The Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association has issued Formal Opinion 501, in which it addresses issues related to in-person solicitation of prospective clients under ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3, including responsibilities of a lawyer or law firm to oversee activities of employees that may fall outside the boundaries of the rule.

The ABA amended Model Rule 7.3 in 2018 to clarify that it applies only to live person-to-person contact and to create new exceptions to the general prohibition against live, person-to-person solicitation. [Note: these amendments have not been incorporated into Rule 7.3 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, which differs from the ABA Model Rule in some respects].

The opinion focuses on activities of others which may have the effect of soliciting clients. It notes that Rule 8.4(a) prohibits a lawyer to “violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.” Others might include current employees of the lawyer, marketing firms hired by the lawyer, existing clients, former clients, friends and family of the lawyer, or professional colleagues such as bankers, real estate agents, and accountants.

The opinion also observes that Rule 5.3 makes a lawyer responsible for the actions of employees when:

(1) the lawyer orders or, with the knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(2) the lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the person is employed, or has direct supervisory authority over the person, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.

This creates an obligation of lawyers with supervisory responsibility to supervise and train all persons employed, retained, or associated with the lawyer to ensure compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rule 7.3(b)’s prohibition. Partners and lawyers possessing comparable managerial authority in a law firm must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has training that teaches employees to refrain from impermissible solicitation of potential clients on a lawyer’s behalf.

The Committee notes that the Rules are intended to be rules of reason. Word of mouth recommendations or referrals by third parties who are not employees of a lawyer and who are not directed by the lawyer to make specific statements to particular potential clients are not considered solicitations under Rule 7.3.

The opinion sets forth several hypothetical situations in which the conduct of another could raise solicitation issues for the lawyer whose services are recommended.

Satisfied clients or third parties not employed by the lawyer may share with the public, friends and family, or others their opinions and recommendations about the lawyer. The lawyer may even request such appropriate communications by clients and others.


Transgender Lawyer Wins Suit for Declaration that Trans Discrimination Violates Attorney Ethics Rules

A transgender lawyer has won a declaratory judgment that ethics rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex applies to harassment or discrimination based on transgender status.

Attorney Sheryl Ring sued the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She cited the opinion of the United States Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, in which the Court held that Title XII prohibitions on sex discrimination in employment applies to ban discrimination against gay and transgender individuals.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission entered into a stipulation agreeing that the Illinois rule applies to bar discrimination against transgender lawyers.

Ring reports that issues she encountered as a transgender lawyer included losing a job, having an arbitration panel rule her mentally incompetent to represent a client, being ordered by a judge to submit to a genital examination, and “deadnaming” (insistence on referring to a lawyer who has changed their name by their birth name).

Ring stated, “I am absolutely overjoyed at this result, because for the first time trans litigants and attorneys in Illinois can walk into court knowing that misgendering, deadnaming and genital inspections are prohibited and they have recourse for violations.”

Attorney Well-Being

Mental Health and Well-Being Article Series 

The Disciplinary Board has partnered with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers to publish an article series on mental health and well-being in the legal community. Jennifer C. Zampogna, M.D., Director of Operations at Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, expounds several topics on wellness as it relates to both attorney’s personal and professional lives and misconduct prevention. Weekly articles explore challenges to mental health, stress and burnout, preventative strategies, employer support, and seeking support through LCL. All articles will be published on the Disciplinary Board’s website and shared on its social media channels.




Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) is a confidential and safe resource for Pennsylvania attorneys and their family members who may be struggling with their mental health or substance use. An astounding one in three legal professionals will face these issues at some point in their career. Since 1988, LCL has confidentially assisted and supported thousands of individuals who have faced a myriad of challenges (including grief, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, gambling problems, problematic alcohol or prescription drug use, etc.), helping them navigate through dark and difficult times. Members of our profession are dying because they are afraid or unable to ask for help. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call us. You may save a life. There is help and there is hope.

Resource Guide for the Legal Profession During COVID-19

Confidential 24/7 Helpline: 1-888-999-1941

Lawyers-only support meetings
Peer and staff support & resource coordination
LCL resources are free, voluntary, & confidential
Free CLE, resources, and information at 
Assessment by a healthcare professional to determine a customized treatment plan, if indicated

Around the Court

A Tricentennial Celebration: Three Hundred Years of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania 

On May 22, 2022, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will celebrate its 300th anniversary. The oldest appellate court in the United States, it has played an important part in the history of both our Commonwealth and the nation’s judicial system. Highlighting the Court’s extraordinary position and influence, upcoming events have been organized in commemoration of its tricentennial. The anniversary committee includes Disciplinary Board Members Robert J. Mongeluzzi (who serves as committee co-chair) and David S. Senoff as well as Hearing Committee Member Sharon R. López.
A special in-person oral argument session will be held at Old City Hall in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 18th. With limited seating available in the courtroom and developing COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, the Court anticipates a start time to be designated for each scheduled matter. A final schedule and mitigation protocols will be available on the Court’s website.
Also in Philadelphia, the Court will host a two-day symposium at the National Constitution Center. A panel including PA Supreme Court Justices, justices from other state supreme courts, and members of the bar and academia will illustrate key features of the Court's jurisprudence and the position of today's Court as the head of the Commonwealth's Unified Judicial System. Led by special guest Anthony Kennedy, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the panel also will explore broader issues related to the nation’s judicial system. Attorneys and judges can receive CLE credit for the event through the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.
Emphasizing the crucial role of civics education, the Court held commemorative contests open to PA K-12 students. Students ages five to eleven designed and colored their own judge figures while students in grades three through twelve penned essays opining the role of the Court and its Justices. The deadline for submissions to both contests was Friday, May 6th. Judged by Supreme Court Justices and members of the 300th anniversary celebration committee, winning entries are soon to be announced.
The Unified Judicial System also recently published a new informational video showcasing the murals that adorn the Supreme Court chambers within the State Capitol. Unveiled in 1927, the forty-three murals took twenty-five years to complete by Philadelphia artist Violet Oakley who was the first American woman commissioned to create a public mural.
Continue to follow along with the tricentennial celebration on social media via #Supreme300.
From the Pennsylvania Bar Association 

Well-Being Resources & Events

May 2nd kicked off Well-Being Week in Law which falls on the first week of Mental Health Awareness Month. During her tenure, PBA President Kathleen D. Wilkinson has made wellness and work-life balance a primary message to her professional colleague. In November of 2021, the PBA adopted as policy the “Wellness Pledge”, a seven-point framework developed by the ABA.
Wilkinson views wellness as a team effort. The organized bar can do its part by offering educational programs and networking opportunities that focus on protecting mental health and reducing substance abuse disorders - as well as by encouraging employers to put in place a wellness framework for their employees. There is no better time than now for employers to have open discussions with employees about support they need to be able to maintain healthy well-being.
The PBA offers many wellness resources to its members. Among them are:

  • “Bar Leaders that Act, Do Make a Difference” - This video expounds barriers that exist for minority attorneys in accessing needed mental health resources and steps every bar leader can take to ensure greater access. The accompanying resources list in available through the PBA website.
  • In January, the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession launched a wellness luncheon series. Every other month, a different topic is presented on the unique issues faced by women lawyers. There is no cost to attend the upcoming programs in July, September, and November.

PBA offers a network of legal practitioners from across the state. Join today.

Please note that the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) are separate organizations. For more information about PBA, visit their website
We Want To Hear From You...
We are always on the lookout for stories of interest relating to legal ethics, new issues in the practice of law, lawyer wellness, and funny or just plain weird stories about the legal profession. If you come across something you think might be enlightening, educational, or entertaining to our readers or social media followers, pass it along. If you are our original source, there may be a hat tip in it for you.

Copyright (C) 2022 The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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