On December 31, 2018, Paul J. Burgoyne retired after 37 years with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, 25 of those years as Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel, the second-ranking Disciplinary Counsel in the State.
Mr. Burgoyne graduated from La Salle University and the Rutgers School of Law at Camden. He clerked for a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia and worked in private practice and with the Legal Aid Society of Chester County before joining District I (Philadelphia) of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel as an Assistant Disciplinary Counsel in 1981.
He was named the Counsel-in-Charge of the District I office in May 1987. In April 1993, he became the Deputy to Chief Counsel John L. Doherty. He continued in that role when Paul J. Killion became Chief Disciplinary Counsel in 2002. As Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Mr. Burgoyne played an active role in a wide range of roles in the administration of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
He took a particularly active role in the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), through which he helped keep Pennsylvania’s disciplinary system moving forward and up to date with trends and issues experienced by peers in other states and countries. Mr. Burgoyne served two terms on the Board of Directors of NOBC, and as its President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer. In 2008, he received the NOBC President’s award for “lifetime achievement in the field of lawyer regulation and service to the National Organization of Bar Counsel.” He is pleased that Pennsylvania has evolved during this time from an isolated system to one which is considered a leader in lawyer regulation.
In 2016, he received the “John J. Finley Award” from the La Salle Alumni Association for service to the university and its alumni association.
Looking back on his 37 years in the disciplinary system, Mr. Burgoyne recalls many changes for the better. He is particularly pleased with the increased level of openness and transparency in the system, once so veiled in secrecy that even decisions for public discipline were published anonymously in the District and County Reporter. Other improvements he recalls include the institution of a system for investigative subpoenas; the promulgation of a rule specifying records lawyers are required to keep; revision of the hearing committee structure to streamline the hearing process; dramatic updates in technology and progress toward a paperless office structure; and a great expansion of public access to information about the disciplinary system through its website.
Asked whether he had any parting advice to the state’s legal community, he urges lawyers to always remember to put the interests of the client first. He recognized that sometimes the business of the practice of law makes this difficult, but he reminds lawyers of the primacy of fiduciary responsibility and maintaining faithfulness to the client.