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Disciplinary Board Publishes 2022 Annual Report

The Disciplinary Board has published its 2022 Annual Report.

In 2022, the Supreme Court issued orders in twenty adjudicated matters, adopting the Board’s recommendation in seventeen of those matters.

These sections of the Pa. Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, among others, were amended:

  • Pa.R.D.E. 402, to allow disclosure of confidential information under some circumstances, including notifying complainants of the disposition of their complaints, upon a finding of the Board that disclosure serves the interests of justice, and allowing Disciplinary Counsel to refer matters to Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania when substance abuse issues are of concern.
  • Pa.R.D.E. 219(a) now provides for a financial hardship waiver of the active annual fee.
  • Pa. R.D.E. 205, to provide for electronic hearings in pre- and post-hearing proceedings, and public livestream of hearings, oral arguments, and public censures and reprimands.

In 2022, the following were filed:

  • Sixty-two Petitions for Discipline, of which thirty-three were joint petitions.
  • Thirteen petitions for reinstatement from discipline, with eleven petitions granted and four denied. (Note that these numbers do not add up because some dispositions were of matters filed in previous years and some matters were not adjudicated by the end of the year.)
  • Eighty petitions for reinstatement from inactive, retired, or administrative suspension for more than three years filed, with fifty-nine granted.

The following disciplinary actions were recorded:

  • Twenty-five disbarments;
  • Twenty-eight suspensions;
  • Fourteen temporary suspensions;
  • Twenty-one public reprimands;
  • Twelve private reprimands; and
  • Thirty-nine informal admonitions.

Annual attorney registration opens on or before May 15, with a July 1 deadline. In 2022, annual attorney registration opened on April 25 to over 75,400 eligible attorneys.

Pa.R.D.E. 219(a) now provides for a financial hardship waiver of the active annual fee.

On August 10, 2022, 1,039 attorneys who failed to complete registration were certified to the Supreme Court for administrative suspension. Ultimately, 272 attorneys were administratively suspended for continued failure to comply, which was a record low.

In 2022, 1,689 new attorneys were admitted to the Pennsylvania bar.

Since 2018, emeritus status has been an option for retired attorneys who desire to perform pro bono work with legal aid organizations. At the start of 2022, there were twenty-six attorneys on emeritus status. By year-end, that number grew by more than thirty percent to thirty-four emeritus attorneys.

Using Webex videoconferencing and the YouTube platform for livestreaming, the Board conducted and streamed to the public twenty-five hearings, five oral arguments, and twenty-one public reprimands. In total, five-one proceedings were live-streamed in 2022, accounting for over 185 hours of live-streaming.

By Supreme Court Order dated March 14, 2022, the annual fee for active attorneys for the 2022-2023 registration year is set at $275. Of this amount, $195 is allocated to the Disciplinary Board, $50 to the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security, and $30 to the IOLTA Board.

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