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Reinstatement to the Pennsylvania Bar

Rule 218 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement governs reinstatement procedures for attorneys who have been suspended for a period exceeding one year; retired, on inactive status or on administrative suspension if the formerly admitted attorney has not been on active status at any time within the past three years; transferred to inactive status as a result of the sale of his or her practice; or disbarred.  Pa.R.D.E. 218(a).  Generally, a formerly admitted attorney who has been disbarred may not apply for reinstatement to the bar until the expiration of five (5) years from the effective date of the disbarment.  Pa.R.D.E. 218(b).

“When reinstatement is sought by the disbarred attorney, the threshold question must be whether the magnitude of the breach of trust would permit the resumption of practice without a detrimental effect upon the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice nor subversive of the public interest.”  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Keller, 509 Pa. 573, 579, 506 A.2d 872, 875 (1986).  Under this standard, the Supreme Court conducts a two-part test.  The Court’s first consideration is whether the misconduct is so extreme as to bar readmission in itself; if the petitioner’s conduct is not so egregious as to preclude consideration of the petition for reinstatement, then, the Court must consider whether the petitioner can meet his burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence that his current resumption of the practice of law would not have a detrimental impact on the integrity and standing of the bar, the administration of justice, or the public interest.  Matter of Costigan, 541 Pa. 459, 664 A.2d 518 (1995).  If the petitioner has met this burden, the Court may grant the petition for reinstatement.  Id.

In making a determination of reinstatement, the Court relies heavily on the amount of time that has passed since the petitioner’s disbarment, as well as the petitioner’s efforts at rehabilitation.  In re Perrone, 565 Pa. 563, 568, 777 A.2d 413, 416 (2001).  Essentially, the Court considers whether enough time has passed to dissipate the detrimental impact of the misconduct warranting disbarment.

If you are a formerly admitted attorney who is seeking reinstatement to the Pennsylvania Bar, please contact the experienced lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green in Philadelphia, who are licensed to practice law in all courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.