Supreme Court Adopts Revocation as New Form of Discipline

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has amended the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules and the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement to provide for a new form of discipline, revocation of a law license. Revocation would be a penalty imposed upon those who deliberately make false statements or withhold material information in the process of application for admission to the bar.

Rule 201 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules has been amended to state that an attorney generally admitted or admitted under a limited license "may have such admission to the bar or limited license to practice law revoked or another appropriate sanction imposed . . . when the attorney made a material misrepresentation of fact or deliberately failed to disclose a material fact in connection with an application submitted under these rules that is not discovered prior to the attorney being admitted to the bar or issued a limited license to practice law." Rule 203 has been amended to add the such statements or omissions to the list of grounds for discipline, and Rule 204(a) has been amended to add revocation to the list of types of discipline.

The official note to the revised Pa.B.A.R. 201 describes the consequences of revocation:

If a person's admission to practice law or limited license to practice law as an in-house corporate counsel or foreign legal consultant is revoked for a material misrepresentation or omission, the person will be required to reapply de novo. . . . At the time of reapplication, the Board will make a determination as to the applicant's character and fitness to practice law, taking into account all of the existing character issues, including the prior misrepresentation or omission.

The amendment to Pa.B.A.R. is published at 36 Pa.B. 1642 (April 8, 2006). The amendments to Pa.R.D.E. 203 and 204(a) are published at 36 Pa.B. 1642 (April 8, 2006).