PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION OPPOSING CERTAIN AMENDMENTS TO THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT REGARDING RESIGNATION FROM THE BAR

WHEREAS, on May 23, 2020, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ("Disciplinary Board") published Proposed Amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement ("proposed Enforcement Rules") in the Pennsylvania Bulletin (50 Pa.B. 2631); and

WHEREAS, the proposed Enforcement Rules address new procedures and requirements regarding an attorney's voluntary resignation from the bar; and

WHEREAS, the current rules permit an attorney to voluntarily resign from the bar without paying a fee pursuant to Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rule 201(b); and

WHEREAS, the Disciplinary Board, not the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, actually handles attorneys' voluntary resignations from the bar; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Enforcement Rules place the processing of attorney resignations from the bar under the authority of the Disciplinary Board, and

WHEREAS, the proposed Enforcement Rules add a new Rule 404 to govern what will, if adopted, be called "permanent" resignations from the bar by adopting and revising the current Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rule 201(b) regarding resignations of attorneys who are not subject to investigations of alleged misconduct; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Enforcement Rule 404 would require payment of a $250 administrative fee and would call the resignation "permanent," rather than "voluntary;" and

WHEREAS, under the proposed Enforcement Rules, should an attorney decide to resume the practice of law in Pennsylvania, the attorney would have to apply to be admitted through the Bar Admission Rules; and

WHEREAS, during the current and future circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, attorneys who voluntarily resign from the practice of law may need to resume the practice of law for financial reasons or may want to become active again in order to provide pro bono legal services through one of Philadelphia's legal services or public interest programs; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Enforcement Rule 404 would impose a money burden and disciplinary board enforcement procedures stigma on attorneys who have no disciplinary proceedings pending and merely desire to cease the practice of law; and

WHEREAS, further evaluation of the demographics of attorneys in Pennsylvania approaching retirement would be useful in establishing a voluntary resignation procedure that meets the needs of the legal profession and the residents of Pennsylvania in need of legal services,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) to communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's opposition to certain provisions of the proposed Enforcement Rule 404 regarding the change of the resignation designation from "voluntary" to "permanent", the imposition of an administrative fee, and the requirement that an attorney desiring to resume practicing law must apply for admittance under the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association participate in appropriate studies regarding the demographics of attorneys approaching retirement with the goal of proposing a dignified alternative to the proposed Enforcement Rules; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) shall communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's position to Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court, the Courts, the legal profession, the media, and the public and take whatever additional action is necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Adopted: June 24, 2020