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JANE A.M. LAFFEY v. COURT COMMON PLEAS CUMBERLAND COUNTY (12/16/83)

decided: December 16, 1983.

JANE A.M. LAFFEY, ESQUIRE, PETITIONER,
v.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY, HAROLD E. SHEELY, PRESIDENT JUDGE, PETITION FOR A WRIT OF PROHIBITION, ETC.



No. 18 M.D. Misc. Dkt., 1983, Writ of Prohibition in the Matter of the Membership of Petitioner in the Bar of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, before that Court to No. 368 February Term 1972.

COUNSEL

William H. Nast, Jr., Harrisburg, for petitioner.

Harold Sheely, President Judge Cumberland County, pro se, for respondent.

Harold S. Irwin, Jr., Carlisle, for respondent amicus curiae.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Zappala, JJ. McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Roberts, C.j., files a concurring opinion. Nix, J., joins and files a concurring statement.

Author: Flaherty

[ 503 Pa. Page 104]

OPINION OF THE COURT

In this case the petitioner, Jane A.M. Laffey, who is a member of the bar of this Commonwealth, seeks a Writ of Prohibition against enforcement of Cumberland County Court Rule 458. Rule 458 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

A member of the Bar of Cumberland County who shall . . . cease to devote the majority of his time to the active practice of law in Cumberland County . . . shall be deemed to have abandoned his privilege of membership in the Bar of Cumberland County; and the Board of Admissions, after five (5) days notice to such member, shall recommend to the court that his name be stricken from the roll of members of the Bar of Cumberland County.

Petitioner, a member of the bar of this Court, is a resident of Cumberland County. She is employed on a full-time basis on the staff of Mr. Justice Hutchinson of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Because petitioner's full-time employment precludes her from the active practice of law in Cumberland County, that County's Board of Admissions recommended, pursuant to Rule 458, that petitioner's name be stricken from the roll of members of the Cumberland County bar. Petitioner contends that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has exclusive authority over admissions to the bar, and, hence, that the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County lacks power to adopt rules governing admissions to its bar. We agree.

[ 503 Pa. Page 105]

The exclusive power of the Supreme Court to regulate admission to the bar and the practice of law is set forth in Section 10(c) of Article V of the Pennsylvania Constitution and in the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 1722(a)(1). As an exercise of that power, this Court promulgated the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules, and Pa.B.A.R. 103 provides:

The Supreme Court declares that it has inherent and exclusive power to regulate the admission to the bar and the practice of law and in furtherance thereof promulgates these rules which shall supersede all other court rules (except the Enforcement Rules) and ...


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