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50th Anniversary Celebration
March 29, 2022
Approaching the end of March, I am grateful to have shared in the Disciplinary Board’s 50th anniversary celebration with you, my esteemed colleagues of Pennsylvania’s legal profession. It is a true honor to serve as Board Chair during this historic occasion.
Through our previous special anniversary issue, we examined the evolution of discipline on consent and the introduction of Joint Petitions in Support of Discipline on Consent established through Supreme Court
amendment of Rule 215. This week, we break down the annual attorney registration fee and highlight the various legal organizations and court agencies that it helps to support.
In the closing week of our anniversary celebration, we present current and former Board Members’ final comments and reflections on their Board tenure. Over my past six years on the Board, I’ve learned an old adage to be true. You rightly do get out of your service what you put into it. To any future Board Members, I offer this advice: get involved. Embrace your committee assignment; attend as many educational events as you are afforded. The Board is stronger together than it is apart, and truly engaged Members do the greatest service to the legal community.
Continue to follow along with us on
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
With sincere appreciation,

Jack P. Goodrich
Board Chair
Available to View in March...
The Retirement Discussion

There are only a few days left to view "The Retirement Discussion" for FREE! The program was presented in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA). Board Members and staff participated on a panel discussing a successful path to retirement. Highlighted topics included succession planning, license status options, applicable rules, ethical implications, and available resources. 

Please note that CLE credit is NOT earned when viewing the presentation for free at the above link. If you wish to purchase the on-demand video through the Pennsylvania Bar Institute for CLE credit, you may do so here

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.

Did You Know?
  • The annual attorney registration process was handled by the Pennsylvania Bar Association until 1987. 
  • The Disciplinary Board assumed the annual registration process on May 15, 1987. 
  • During the 1972-1973 registration cycle, just over 13,000 attorneys completed annual registration.
  • In the 2021-2022 cycle, over 75,000 attorneys completed annual registration.
  • Prior to 2010, all annual attorney registrations were completed on paper.
  • Online registration became an option in 2010 and became mandatory in 2016.
  • Online attorney registration is housed on the Supreme Court's UJS Portal
Trend of Attorneys Registered Annually from 1973-2021
A Look Back...
Attorney Registration Fee: Where Does It Go?

As most of the readers of this newsletter probably know, one pays an annual fee for the privilege of practicing law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For the 2022-2023 registration year, the annual fee is $275 per active attorney. Members of the bar may wonder, where is this money going?

The annual fee is a combined total of three different charges, each authorized by a rule adopted by the Supreme Court.

The largest component of the fee is imposed by
Rule 219(a) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, which states “Every attorney admitted to practice law in this Commonwealth shall pay an annual fee of $195.00 and electronically file the annual fee form provided for in this rule by July 1.” This fee funds the operations of the Disciplinary Board and its subsidiary offices, including the Attorney Registration Office and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

The administration of discipline is not the only function supported by this funding. The work of the Attorney Registration Office touches the professional life of every attorney admitted to practice in Pennsylvania. The Board’s website,, provides public contact information and current status for Pennsylvania attorneys, and is a significant resource for the bar, court officials, and the public in locating and confirming the status of Pennsylvania attorneys. The new Case Research Collection (CRC) serves as a resource for attorneys researching ethical issues. The new Pro Bono page provides resource links, program overviews, pro bono news items from the Board and contributions from the Pennsylvania IOLTA and CLE Boards. 2021 saw more than 2.8 million visitors to the website, to use these functions and read more than 80 news articles the Board posted to the site.

In addition to these activities, the Board, together with the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security, funds the peer help organization
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania. One lesson learned quickly in the handling of disciplinary cases is that attorney misconduct is often a product of human frailty more than bad intentions. To act with compassion toward attorneys struggling with challenging life situations, and to prevent the occurrence of misconduct, the Board has made a significant commitment to attorney health and wellness. Its support of and partnership with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is a key part of this commitment.

The second component of the fee funds the
Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security under the authority of Pa.R.D.E. 502(b), which provides, “Every attorney who is required to pay an active annual fee under Rule 219…shall pay an additional annual fee of $50.00 for use by the Fund.”

The mission of the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security is to reimburse victims of attorney dishonesty in the practice of law; to preserve the integrity and protect the good name of the legal profession; and to promote public confidence in the legal system and the administration of justice in Pennsylvania. During 2020-2021, the Fund approved 182 claims in the amount of $686,772. Five awards totaling $17,538 were rescinded when the attorney against whom the claims were made paid the client, or the client failed to comply with the conditions of the award. The Fund denied 78 claims, and 14 were withdrawn by the claimants. At the end of the fiscal year, 87 claims remained pending, with a potential exposure of $1,488,353.

The final element of the registration fee funds the
Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Board. This funding is authorized in Rule 1.15(u) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which states, “Every attorney who is required to pay an active annual assessment under Rule 219 of the [Pa.R.D.E.] shall pay an additional annual fee of $30.00 for use by the IOLTA Board.”

The core mission of the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Board is to support the provision of civil legal services to the Commonwealth’s poor and disadvantaged, where a basic human need, such as access to shelter, nutrition, or healthcare, is at stake. The IOLTA Board makes grants annually to non-profit organizations, law school clinical programs, and administration of justice projects that provide civil legal services free of charge to the poor and disadvantaged.

These three fees of $195, $50, and $30 add up to a combined fee of $275. Pennsylvania’s fee is comparable to the fees of other similar jurisdictions with a voluntary bar membership (some states require membership in the bar association and, as such, membership is built into the licensing fee): Massachusetts is $300, New Jersey is $212, and Illinois is $385, to name a few. Hopefully, most attorneys will find this a reasonable value for the privilege of practicing law, and for the good works it supports.
Office Locations

Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Central Intake Office
Established in 2019, Central Intake is supported by one Counsel-in-Charge and five Intake Counsel, and shares one Paralegal with the District IV location of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Support staff from the four district office locations assist Intake Counsel and Counsel-in-Charge with clerical tasks on a daily basis and Auditors from the four district offices lend support to Intake Counsel as needed. 

Central Intake Counsel-in-Charge, two Intake Counsel, and a Paralegal are located in the District IV (Pittsburgh, PA) location of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Two Intake Counsel are located in the District I (Philadelphia, PA) location and one Intake Counsel is located in the District III (Harrisburg, PA) location.

Central Intake reviews and investigates complaints of attorney misconduct in all counties of the Commonwealth. Complaints are either handled entirely within Central Intake or, in some cases, transferred from Central Intake to Disciplinary Counsel in the appropriate district office location after the initial investigation is completed. 

At present, of all complaint files opened system-wide each month, Central Intake handles an average of 200-250 of those new files each month. Immediately prior to 2019 and the establishment of Central Intake, one attorney in each of the district office locations was designated as Intake Counsel and generally handled all matters assigned to intake within that district.


Long-Serving Board Staff

The Disciplinary Board has had MANY long-serving staff members - we're talking decades of service. Nearly half of our current staff members have been with the Board for more than 10 years. There are ten individuals who have 20+ years of service, nine who have 30+ years of service, and two who have been with the Board for more than 40 years! 

The longevity is a testament to the dedication of our staff to the Board's mission to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the legal profession, and safeguard the reputation of the courts. We thank all current and former staff for striving to achieve that mission!

Survey Says...
Many of our current and former Board members were kind enough to provide responses to a recent survey. We received some truly great responses with nearly all making mention of the comradery and relationships formed during their time on the Board. We thank those members who provided their thoughtful responses!

We asked...

Do you have any additional comments for our readers?

They answered...
"Spend time reviewing our newsletter and website, you'll be amazed at the information/education you'll receive."
-Jerry M. Lehocky (2018-present), Incoming Board Chair, Vice-Chair 2021-present

"I was one of the first two nonlawyers appointed to the Disciplinary Board. Professor Winfield Keck and I vowed to go above and beyond expectations so we could ensure that lay persons would be appointed in the future."
-Nancy M. Neuman (1980-1985)
"I like to think that I have had some small contribution to the advancement of ethics and professional responsibility of Pennsylvania lawyers. During my time on the Board, and as its Chair, we were tasked with the responsibility of melding the then existing Code of Professional Responsibility into the Model Rules and submit the new Rules of Professional Conduct to the Supreme Court for approval and adoption. It was an immense task and required a lot of hard work. The final product endures to this day."
-James C. Schwartzman (1983-1989), Chair 1986-1987, Vice-Chair 1985-1986

"I observed as a non-lawyer just how hard the Board Members (attorneys) worked to preserve their profession. Keep up the good work."
-Judith Heh (1985-1991)
"Be proud of Pennsylvania's disciplinary system. It is an important part of who we are and how we must conduct ourselves as lawyers."
-Penina K. Lieber (1990-1996)

"Your integrity is your most important asset."
-Thomas A. Leonard (1991-1997), Chair 1996-1997, Vice-Chair 1995-1996

"If you are ever offered the opportunity to serve on a Hearing Committee or on the Disciplinary Board, take it! It is such a worthwhile experience."
-Carolyn Wray Rudnitsky (1993-1999), Chair 1998-1999, Vice-Chair 1997-1998
"I derived satisfaction knowing that what we did as a Board helped maintain the integrity of our profession and hopefully encouraged greater trust in our members by the public."
-M. David Halpern (1997-2003), Chair 2000-2001
"Return phone calls, document communications, keep your practice within the boundaries of your knowledge and ability."
-John W. Morris (1998-2003)

"Please volunteer if you have the time."
-Robert E.J. Curran (2002-2008)
"Don't try to avoid potential issues. They won't go away. Address them when you become aware of them."
-Laurence H. Brown (2003-2009) 

"If you are honored with a chance to serve on the Board or a Hearing Committee, realize this is a privilege few are granted. Serve with pride." 
-Francis X. O'Connor (2003-2009), Vice-Chair 2009
"My advice is simple. 1) Take care of yourself; invest in your personal well-being. 2) "The greatest wisdom consists of knowing one's own follies." –Madeleine de Souvre     Learn from that insightful quote by investing time to grow your self-awareness to improve how to manage yourself and your interactions with others."
-Douglas W. Leonard (2008-2010 & 2012-2018), Chair 2018, Vice-Chair 2017-2018
"If you are asked to serve as a Hearing Committee member, say yes! Service to the profession in that capacity is nearly as equal to serving on the Board itself."
-R. Burke McLemore, Jr. (2009-2015), Chair 2014-2015
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Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,
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