Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT: Commonwealth Court Appoints New Chief Legal Counsel, Announces Leadership Changes

By Press release submission | Jul 9, 2019


Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the following announcement on July 3.

President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt announced the appointment of Gretchen Hanrahan, Esquire, to serve as Chief Legal Counsel to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Ms. Hanrahan’s appointment will be effective July 22, 2019.

Although the title of Chief Legal Counsel is new, Ms. Hanrahan will assume the duties of Kristen W. Brown, Esquire, who recently retired after 37 years of service with the Court, the last 11½ as the Court Prothonotary. The Chief Legal Counsel manages the operations of the Office of Legal Counsel (formerly the Office of the Prothonotary), including supervision of staff attorneys and administrative support personnel.

“Kristen Brown provided many years of dedicated and outstanding service to the Commonwealth Court, most recently as its Prothonotary,” said President Judge Leavitt. “We thank her and wish her well.”

The President Judge also welcomed Ms. Hanrahan to her new post within the Court. “Gretchen has been with the Court for over 20 years in different capacities, most recently as a senior staff attorney in the Prothonotary’s office. She has earned the respect and confidence of her peers and the Board of Judges. We know she will do an outstanding job as the Court’s Chief Legal Counsel.”

“I am grateful to the President Judge and the Board of Judges for their confidence,” said Hanrahan. “I have been with the Court for most of my professional career. I look forward to working with the judges and our talented court staff in this new role.”

With the appointment of Ms. Hanrahan as Chief Legal Counsel, the Court’s current Chief Clerk, Michael F. Krimmel, Esquire, will take the title of Prothonotary effective July 22, 2019. The Prothonotary manages the Office of the Prothonotary (formerly the Office of the Chief Clerk) and oversees the receipt, docketing, and maintenance of all documents filed with the Court, the scheduling of the Court’s argument sessions, and the maintenance of caseload inventory and statistics.

“This is a change in titles, not a change in functions,” explained President Judge Leavitt. “These new titles will better reflect the functions, duties, and responsibilities of each position and each office within the Court.”

The Commonwealth Court was established in 1968 and is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. The Commonwealth Court has subject matter jurisdiction over state and local government matters. It also acts as a trial court when lawsuits are filed by or against Commonwealth officials and Commonwealth agencies.

Appellate cases are generally heard by panels of three judges in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, although, on occasion, the Court sits in other locations. Cases may also be heard by a single judge or by en banc panels of seven judges.

Original source can be found here.

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