Pennsylvania May Open Disciplinary Hearings for Lawyers


Pennsylvania may join other states that hold public hearings for lawyers accused of inappropriate conduct.Right now, the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board holds its hearings in private. Only eight other states conduct such hearings in private, but the state Supreme Court is considering changing that policy, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. When a lawyer or judge is disciplined by the board, details of the final ruling are all that are released to the public.

Any decision on the proposed policy by the high court still is months away. The Disciplinary Board, since June, has been accepting public comments on the pros and cons of the idea. Nearly all responses, from more than a dozen individuals and organizations, have come from lawyers so far, said Marvin Rudnitzsky, vice chairman of the Disciplinary Board. “Lawyers who represent lawyers accused of misbehavior, as a group, pretty much would like to keep things status quo, that the discipline be kept confidential,” Rudnitzsky said of the public comments received. Various bar associations, however, overwhelmingly agree that the hearings should be done in the open, he said.


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