Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 72-11633, in case of Montgomery County Bar Association v. Samuel J. Hecht.
Neil E. Jokelson, with him Jokelson & Rosen, for appellant.
Jerome B. Nulty, with him Morris Gerber, and Clemens and Nulty, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Justice Nix took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Samuel J. Hecht, the appellant, is an attorney-at-law, duly licensed to practice at the bar of this Court and in the courts of Pennsylvania. A resident of Montgomery County, he has had a law office and been engaged in the practice of law in the borough of Cheltenham in that county since November of 1966.*fn1 On October
, 1972, the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County suspended Mr. Hecht from practicing law before it for a period of one year.*fn2 It is from that order that this appeal is taken.*fn3
At the threshold of this case, we deem it appropriate, because of its basic nature, to consider a problem which neither party has raised, viz., the competence of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County to suspend a lawyer from practice before that court. Our first observation is that a complaint of unethical practice or violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
were it to arise today, would not be within the cognizance of the court below or any other court of common pleas, but of The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania established by the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement adopted by this Court in 1972 under its powers to prescribe general rules for admission to the bar and to practice law. Constitution of Pennsylvania, art. V, § 10(c). The Disciplinary Rules superseded all other court rules and statutes pertaining to disciplinary enforcement previously promulgated. See Preamble to The Disciplinary Rules and also the repealer section of the Rules, Rule 17-24. The present proceedings, however, antedated the effective date of the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and, hence, were properly not transferred to the new Board.*fn4
The second preliminary concern relates to the power of the court below to suspend from practice in its jurisdiction an attorney who is, at the time, a member in good standing of the bar of this Court. Rule 14 of this Court (since amended and renumbered Rule 13) was in effect at the commencement of the present proceeding and provided, inter alia, that admission to the bar of the ...