Board Prothonotary Reflects on Service
As the Board celebrates its 50th anniversary, I took the opportunity to reflect on the some of the many changes that have occurred during my tenure with the Board, its Executive Office and its procedures. In 2006, there were 16 Board members who met six times each year. In those days, we had to create the paper record in each case for adjudication before the Board in one- or two-inch binders, and then send a binder to each Board member. Creating those binders, packaging them up in huge boxes, and mailing them out took hours. In 2005, the Supreme Court amended the rules to allow for consent discipline, but it took some time before the filing of Joint Petitions in Support of Discipline on Consent had any effect on the number of adjudications. It eventually did, and through the years, the Supreme Court reduced the number of Board members to 12. The Board currently meets four times annually, and consists of 10 lawyer members and 2 non-lawyer members.
In 2009, we moved our office to the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg and brought along 37 years of disciplinary records.
In 2011, with the assistance of the AOPC, an internal file sharing website was developed, enabling Board Members to access the case files through a web portal. This eliminated the paper copies of adjudication binders the Board Members received containing all the pleadings filed in matters coming before them. I am confident this has saved thousands of trees, loads of ink and many man hours. The file sharing functionality is constantly being modified to enhance the workflow.
In 2012, we started electronically filing our cases in the Supreme Court using the Court’s PACFile system. Another significant change that year was that the rules were amended to make “Public Reprimand” a new form of discipline.
In 2015, our office implemented a new customized case management system, which also aided in saving trees because the new system allowed Reviewing Member assignments to be done electronically. This system was integrated with the document management software that existed at that time and is modified as needed to enhance workflow.
2017 brought a new Disciplinary Board website that permitted the online filing of complaints against attorneys. Many other upgrades were implemented, including significant structure and staffing changes, enhanced Hearing Committee training, and a new social media strategy.
In 2018, the Board realigned the Executive Office in order to streamline policies and procedures, reporting structures, and lines of communication. Also, technology enhancements were implemented to the Board’s various technology systems.
2020 brought COVID-19 which forced overwhelming changes; however, procedures were quickly implemented allowing all staff to work remotely and protocols were instituted to permit all proceedings to be held virtually. As the world was figuring out how to deal with a global pandemic, the Disciplinary Board didn’t miss a beat. We continued business as usual, albeit in unusual ways.
Over the last 16 years, it seemed that every time I got the hang of something and got in a groove, something else came along, and I would have to learn something new again. However, I have embraced the challenges because of the support that I have received over the years. All of these changes were implemented to support the Board’s mission to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the profession, and safeguard the reputation of the courts. The leadership and staff members at the Disciplinary Board are truly dedicated to the success of this organization and I am proud to be a part of it.
I look forward to continuing rolling with the changes.
Marcee D. Sloan
Disciplinary Board Prothonotary