Pennsylvania Judges and Ethics: There’s A Board for That!

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court https://www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court has created a Judicial Ethics Advisory Board. https://www.pacourts.us/news-and-statistics/news/news-detail/1101/supreme-court-of-pennsylvania-announces-membership-of-new-judicial-ethics-advisory-board The Board is populated with a diverse group of judges from across the state and across the levels of the judiciary. Similar to the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Board will provide advisory ethics opinions to Judges (privately) and opine about ethical issues touching the judiciary in general (publicly). https://www.pacourts.us/Storage/media/pdfs/20220114/160005-adoptionofthepennsylvaniarulesofthejudicialethicsadvisoryboard-certifiedorder1-14-22.pdfThe Board fills a vacuum for judges who are uneasy expressing their uncertainty about issues and before this, had nowhere to turn for guidance. The creation of this Board sends two important messages: it’s okay to be confused and it’s good to ask for help! This is a big step forward for the Pennsylvania Judiciary. It should prove especially helpful to the Magisterial District Judges who are not statutorily required to be lawyers and have a huge impact on the everyday lives of Pennsylvanians.

With over 25+ years experience, Ellen Brotman began her career as a law clerk in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. She has served as an Assistant Federal Defender in Philadelphia, PA and practiced in small, medium and large firms with a focus on criminal defense, appellate advocacy, professional responsibility and ethics. She has defended a wide variety of high-profile criminal cases, including political and public corruption, securities fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, currency structuring and other white-collar crimes involving complex trial, sentencing and appellate issues. Ms. Brotman also has extensive experience representing lawyers before the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania. She has been recognized as a Best Lawyer and SuperLawyer since 2007 in the area of criminal defense and has served on the boards of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is the founder and owner of BrotmanLaw, Philadelphia, PA.

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