Press Release: Chief Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the US District Court, Eastern District of PA, Annouces Retirement

Contact:  Kate Barkman

Telephone:  215-597-9221 



PHILADELPHIA, PA – Chief Judge Lawrence F. Stengel has announced his retirement from the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania effective August 31, 2018. Chief Judge Stengel has served as a federal judge for over fourteen years. He will enter private practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in September, 2018.

Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals stated, I am looking for a ‘bright side’ to Chief Judge Larry Stengel’s decision to retire from the federal bench.  The only bright side that comes to mind is that the federal judiciary, and especially those of us in the courts of the Third Circuit, have benefited for so many years from the excellence of his judging and from his outstanding leadership skills.  He is a great friend and a valued colleague — and I’m very sorry to see him go.  Chief Judge Stengel has been a leader, not only on his court, but nationally.  His stewardship to the Third Branch has included his steady hand as chair of the Committee on Judicial Resources of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and his service as a member of the Third Circuit Judicial Council.  He has accomplished much, and he leaves with the deep gratitude and the sincere best wishes of the entire Third Circuit family.

James Duff, Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts added, Chief Judge Larry Stengel has been an exemplary leader in the Judicial Branch and will be greatly missed.  He possesses so many of the attributes we value and look for in our judges – fair, even-tempered, level-headed, insightful, careful, considerate, and wise – and he has utilized these traits not only on the bench locally but also on a national scale in the administration of the entire branch.  It has been a joy to work with him in his role as Chair of the Judicial Conference of the United States’ Committee on Judicial Resources and I am grateful for his friendship.

Judge Stengel graduated from St. Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Stengel began his practice at Dickie, McCamey and Chilcote in Pittsburgh and then opened a litigation practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his hometown. Judge Stengel served for fourteen years as a judge on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas before his appointment to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2004. In 2015, Chief Justice Roberts appointed Judge Stengel to be Chair of the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.  The Judicial Resources Committee is a national committee that guides human resources policy for the federal judiciary. Chief Judge Stengel has served on the committee for 9 years. On June 21, 2018, Chief Judge Stengel represented the Judicial Conference as a witness before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property in a hearing on the need for more federal judges.

Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, a federal judge sitting in the Eastern District of New York, will succeed Chief Judge Stengel as Chair of the Judicial Resources Committee. She stated,

Chief Judge Stengel has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership in guiding the Judicial Resources Committee to take principled positions on the complex issues underlying the fair and equitable distribution of resources to our courts nationwide.  He approaches each issue with genuine care and a willingness to understand all aspects of a problem, and with an unfailing commitment to integrity in both the path taken and the results achieved.  In doing so, Chief Judge Stengel has done much to ensure that our courts have the resources they need to serve our communities, while earning the respect and admiration of all who have had the privilege of working with him.

While a Lancaster County judge, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges and appointed to serve on the Education Committee of the Conference in 2001. In that capacity, he was the planner for courses on racial disparity in sentencing, evidence law and criminal law procedure. In 2002 he received the President’s Award from the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. Judge Stengel has served as president of the Lancaster Bar Association and has been Adjunct Professor in the Government Department at Franklin and Marshall College since 1997.

Judge Stengel has been Chief Judge of the Eastern District since August 1, 2017. Since that time, the Court has undergone an extensive evolution of and implemented changes in its Information Technology, Human Resources and Pro Se Law Clerk functions. The Court has secured new space for its staff, chambers and courtrooms in the Reading, PA divisional office.

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania is headquartered at the James A. Byrne Courthouse in Philadelphia and has three divisional courthouses in Allentown, Reading and Easton with a courthouse staff of over two-hundred employees. The Chief Judge oversees the administration of the district which includes the offices of the Clerk of Court, Probation, Pre-Trial Services and Bankruptcy. The district has twenty-two active judgeships, twelve senior judges, as well as six bankruptcy, ten magistrate judges and three inactive senior judges, and is the third largest federal district court in the nation.  One of thirteen original federal judicial districts created by the federal judiciary act of 1789, the Eastern District encompasses Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties.

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