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November 01, 2016

Philadelphia Bar Association Members Polled on Judicial Retirement Age 

The Philadelphia Bar Association recently commissioned a survey of its membership on a variety of topics and received a total of 628 responses.  Among the questions, the Association asked, "Do you think the mandatory judicial retirement age in Pennsylvania should be increased from 70 to 75 years of age?"  The Association chose to frame the question in this manner so that unlike the language of the referendum that will appear on the Pennsylvania election ballot, the question acknowledged that there already is a mandatory retirement age of 70 and that the ballot referendum is seeking to raise the retirement age to 75.  All 628 survey participants responded to this question - 234 responded "yes," 278 responded "no," and 116 responded "not sure." 

Given the lack of a clear mandate in these results, and in particular the substantial number of undecided respondents, the Philadelphia Bar Association has decided not to take a position on the judicial retirement age referendum.  On March 24, 2016, the Association hosted a special Chancellor’s Forum on the matter. The panelists included: Rep. Kate Harper, 61st Legislative District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Joseph J. Mittleman, Director of Judicial Programs for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; Dr. Barry W. Rovner, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at Jefferson University Hospital; and Sen. Anthony H. Williams, 8th District, Pennsylvania State Senate. The Forum was well-attended, open to the entire community, and moderated by Vincent R. McGuinness, Jr., managing partner at Cozen O'Connor.  To learn more about the Forum, visit

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