Attorney Disciplinary Defense

Attorney & Law Firm Representation

Ethics & Professional Responsibility Counseling

Attorney Ellen Brotman

Ellen Brotman, Esq.

Tough Advocacy For Tough Problems 

Attorney Ellen Brotman is the founder of BrotmanLaw with offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.  Her practice includes attorney and law firm representation, attorney discipline defense, reinstatement, professional responsibility and ethics counseling.  Ellen has represented lawyers before the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania for over 20 years.

Prior to starting BrotmanLaw, Ellen Brotman was a partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP where she defended criminal cases in federal courts, oversaw investigations, and represented professionals in state disciplinary proceedings. From 1995 to 1998, as an assistant federal defender with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Ellen provided criminal defense for indigent clients in federal court at trial and appellate levels. Before coming to Philadelphia, she served as a law clerk to The Honorable Lee P. Gagliardi, United States District Court Judge, Southern District of New York.

Ellen is a frequent writer and speaker about attorney discipline, ethics and professional responsibility related matters. She has a quarterly “Professional Conduct” Column in the Legal Intelligencer and authors an “Ethics Corner” for the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ online Journal “For the Defense.” Ellen is a past board member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and currently sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, where she serves on the Publications Committee and the Lawyers’ Assistance Task Force. Ellen also serves on the Professional Guidance Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Professional Responsibility Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Ellen Brotman has been recognized by Best Lawyers® / The Best Lawyers in America© and SuperLawyers® since 2007 in the area of criminal defense and in 2014, she was one of the Legal Intelligencer’s Women of the Year. Ellen Brotman is Chair of the Board of the People’s Emergency Center Foundation in Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless families.

 

Ellen is admitted in Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and New York State.

 

Read Ellen Brotman’s blog here: PA Legal Ethics.

See Ellen Brotman’s LinkedIn Profile here.

See Ellen Brotman’s Publications here.

See Ellen Brotman’s Presentations here.

2023 US News Report - Best Law Firms - Standard Badge
2024 Best Lawyers - Ellen Brotman - Standard Badge
SuperLawyers Top 50 Women
SuperLawyers 15 Year Milestone
BrotmanLaw is certified as a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation's largest third party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the US
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Practices

Attorney Disciplinary Defense

Attorney Ellen Brotman represents lawyers and firms who have received allegations of professional misconduct from clients, opposing counsel or the Disciplinary Board. We have decades of experience handling the following:

  • Investigations by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel into potential violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Responding to Complaints and Petitions for Discipline
  • Conducting Hearings before the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Negotiating Discipline on Consent
  • Reinstatement of suspended and disbarred lawyers from disciplinary or administrative suspension
  • IOLTA audits and Pennsylvania Lawyers’ Client Security Fund issues
  • CLE and Registration issues

Attorney and Law Firm Representation

Attorney Ellen Brotman provides counseling to lawyers and law firms dealing with professional life cycle events:

  • Law firm formation
  • Law firm dissolution and merger
  • Conflicts and client management in lateral transitions and departures
  • Representation of bar admission candidates before Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners

Ethics and Professional Responsibility Counseling

Attorney Ellen Brotman offers ethics advice to attorneys in the private and public sphere, in-house counsel, and law firms of any size. We provide ethics opinions on all aspects of the Rules of Professional Conduct, for use as internal guidance or expert testimony. 

Who We Are

Attorney Ellen Brotman is admitted in Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and New York State.

Based in Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, BrotmanLaw was founded by owner, attorney Ellen Brotman in March 2017. Our firm practices include Professional Responsibility & Ethics, Criminal Defense and Appellate Advocacy. We are licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and New York and have over thirty years of experience, including handling representations before the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania, providing ethics advice and representing individuals in a wide-variety of high-profile white-collar cases.

BrotmanLaw is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of the businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S. We recognize the commitment to supplier diversity that is embraced by corporations and government agencies today and we can add diversity to your supply chain.

Recognition, Awards & Certifications

  • Named a “Best Law Firm” for four consecutive years (2019-2023) by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. The firm was recognized in the Regional Rankings for Metro PhiladelphiaTier 2 in Criminal Defense: General Practice and Tier 3 in Criminal Defense: White-Collar.
  • The Charles P. Gelso President’s Award (Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers), 2019
  • Best Lawyers®, The Best Lawyers in America©, 2007-2024 (Criminal Defense: General Practice)
  • Super Lawyers®, 2008-2023 (Selected by survey of Pennsylvania lawyers as a “Top Rated” lawyer); A “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in Pennsylvania
  • Certified by Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of the businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S. We recognize the commitment to supplier diversity that is embraced by corporations and government agencies today and we can add diversity to your supply chain)
  • Women Owned Small Business Certified (WOSB)
  • The Legal Intelligencer’s Women of the Year, 2014 (Included in the annual listing honor Pennsylvania’s top women lawyers)

Memberships & Community Involvement

  • Philadelphia Bar Association (Professional Guidance Committee)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association (Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers(Board of Directors, 2012-2015; Member, White Collar Crime Committee, 2012-Current; Editorial Advisory Board, The Champion, 2012-Current)
  • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers(Board of Directors; Publications Committee; Lawyers Assistance Committee)
  • American Bar Association (Criminal Justice Section; Center for Professional Responsibility)
  • People’s Emergency Center (Board of Directors, 2005-2017)
  • People’s Emergency Center Foundation (Chair, 2017-Current)

Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Austin, CFE

Daniel Austin is a Certified Fraud Examiner and Associate Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology and Management Information Systems. He retired from General Electric after 25 years in executive management with roles in Information Technology (Chief Information Officer with GE Plastics and GE Capital), Compliance (Audit/Sarbanes-Oxley Leader at GE Corporate), Quality (Certified Quality Leader and Master Blackbelt with GE Corporate), Operations and Sales (Vice President, National Sales and Operations with GE Capital). Mr. Austin now brings his extensive executive management experience to his role as Chief Operations Officer at BrotmanLaw.

    • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners – Certified Fraud Examiner
    • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners – Associate Member
    • Certified Six Sigma Quality Leader
    • Certified Six Sigma Master Blackbelt
    • Certified Six Sigma Greenbelt

 

See Daniel Austin’s LinkedIn Profile here

Daniel Austin, CFE
Daniel Austin, CFE

Let's Connect

Contact me by phone, email or request a consultation by filling out this form. This request does not establish a client/attorney relationship.

Ellen Brotman, Esq.
Phone:
+1 (484) 614-8522
Fax:
+1 (484) 930-0595

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Our Locations

Phildadelphia, PA

Address:
BrotmanLaw
One South Broad Street, Suite 1500
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone:
+1 (484) 614-8522
Fax:
+1 (484) 930-0595

Washington, DC

Address:
BrotmanLaw
300 New Jersey Ave NW #900
Washington, DC 20001
Phone:
+1 (484) 614-8522
Fax:
+1 (484) 930-0595

Presentations

Contact Ellen Brotman for a free consultation or to schedule presentations and/or panel participation.

 

  • Smith Act Prosecutions During the Red Scare, Co-Panelist, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers White Collar Seminar, Philadelphia, PA, November 2023
  • Attorney Discipline in Pennsylvania Updates and Hot Takes, Co-Panelist, Monthly PBI Live Webinar, April 2023
  • Ethical Considerations of Multi-party Representations, Co-panelist, American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Conference, March 2023
  • Post-Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: Counseling and Lawyer Liability, Co-panelist, February 2023, APRL Mid-Year Meeting
  • There’s a Rule for That: Ethical Issues in Criminal Defense, Presenter, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Winning Strategies for the Defense – Advanced Criminal Law Seminar, Aspen, CO, Jan 2023
  • Professional Liability Program, Co-Panelist, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Women in the Profession Commission, November 2022
  • Attorney Discipline in Pennsylvania Updates and Hot Takes, Co-Panelist, Monthly PBI Live Webinar, June – Dec 2022
  • Ethics of Internal Investigation, Stetson Law School Business Law White Collar Crime Symposium, Course Planner and Moderator, February 2022
  • Legal Ethics in the National Spotlight ABA, Center for Professional Responsibility”, Presenter, October 2021
  • Attorney Discipline: Mitigation and Aggravation, Hearing Committee Training, Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania, Co-Panelist, October 2016 – 2022
  • Lawyering in the DC Spotlight”, American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility, Presenter, June 2021
  • Discipline, Sanctions and Public Perception: Attorney Regulation of High-Profile Cases, PBI March 2021, Moderator and Course Planner, March 2021
  • From Rudy Giuliani to Josh Hawley: What is the Role of Lawyer Discipline?; Presenter, Hofstra Law School, January 2021
  • Ethical Internal Investigations: Protecting the Company, the Individual and Yourself; Moderator, Lawline CLE Event, December 2020
  • Fee Agreements, Bank Accounts, Record-Keeping, and Succession Planning: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You, Presenter, PACDL Webinar, June 2020
  • 2020 Virtual Institute on White Collar Crime: Fundamentals of Trial Practice; Moderator, ABA Webinar, June 2020
  • There’s A Rule For That: Ethical Issues In Criminal Defense, Presenter, PACDL Webinar, June 2020
  • PBA Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee Update 2020; Presenter, PBI Webinar, April 2020
  • From Rudy Giuliani to Josh Hawley: What is the Role of Lawyer Discipline?, Co-panelist, Hofstra Law’s Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics, Jan 2020
  • The Knowledge Group Presents Legal Ethics: A Comprehensive Guide for Lawyers LIVE Webcast Event; Presenter, January 2020
  • PBI, Criminal Law Update: Ethics Round-up; Panelist, December 2019
  • PBI, Business Law Institute, “Ethical Challenges in Commercial Practices: Fifty Shades of Gray”; Moderator, November 2019
  • Let’s Be Careful Out There: Changing Ethics for Criminal Defense Lawyers; Panelist, NACDL Annual White Collar Crime Conference in Washington, D.C., October 25, 2019
  • You’re in Business: When Business People are Lawyers and Lawyers are Business People; Course Presenter and Planner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 2019
  • Stay in Your Lane: Ethics Hypos for the Criminal Defense Lawyer; Co-Presenter, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, February, 2019
  • Criminal Defense and Ethics – There’s A Rule for That; Co-Presenter, Pennsylvania Bar Institute – Philadelphia, PA, December 2018
  • Lies, Damned Lies and Alternative Facts; Co-Panelist, American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility, May 2018
  • Criminal Law Update: Ethics Update; Co-Panelist, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, December 14, 2017
  • What to Do When the Disciplinary Board Comes Calling, Co-panelist, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Annual Bankruptcy Institute, October, 2017
  • The Life of an Internal Investigation, Co-Planner, Moderator, Co-panelist, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 12, 2017
  • Ethics Issues in Federal Court; Co-Panelist, Third Circuit Bench & Bar Conference, April 2017
  • The Ethics of Internal Investigations: Interviewing the Witness, Instructor, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ First Annual White Collar Criminal Defense College, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, FL, March 2017
  • Maximizing Professional Relationships: Effective Mentoring Relationships, Supervising Relationships, and Diversity Development; Panelist, Philadelphia Bar Association – 2016 Public Interest Law Day, December 2016
  • The Top 10 Reasons the Disciplinary Board Comes Knocking; Presenter, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, November 2016
  • White Collar Appellate Update; Panelist, PACDL’s White Collar Practice Seminar, November 2016
  • The Top 10 Reasons the Disciplinary Board Comes Knocking; Presenter, Delaware County Bar Association, October 2016
  • There’s a Rule For That: The RPC and the Duty to Preserve Issues on Appeal; Co-Presenter, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Harrisburg, April 2016
  • Embezzlement 101; Presenter, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, PA – April 2016
  • Ethical Limits of Trial Advocacy; Presenter, Lancaster County Paralegal Association’s 7th Annual Criminal Law & Forensics Conference, Lancaster, PA – April 2016
  • “New and Evolving Strategies in Obtaining, Managing, and Challenging the Use of Electronic Data”; Co-Presenter, American Bar Association’s 30th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime – San Diego, March 2016
  • Subpoenas To Lawyers: An Ethical Duty To Resist?; Co-Presenter, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers’ Mid-Year Meeting – San Diego, February 2016
  • The Jail Cell That Comes With Illegal Recordings: PA Wiretap Act; Presenter, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, December 2015
  • Ethical Limits to Trial Advocacy; Presenter, Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Criminal Law Update, Philadelphia, December 2015
  • Is Climate Change Real? The Current Atmosphere and Future Forecast for White Collar Sentencing Guidelines; Moderator, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ 2015 White Collar Practice, Philadelphia, November 2015
  • Breaking (from) Bad: Voluntary Corporate Disclosure of Individual Employee Misconduct; Co-Presenter, National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms 2015 Annual Meeting & Law Firm Expo, Los Angeles, September 2015
  • The Ethical Limits of Trial Advocacy: How High Can You Go?; Presenter, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Annual Meeting – Denver, CO, July 2015
  • Retention of Counsel, the Search, and Investigating the Case; Instructor, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ First Annual White Collar Criminal Defense College, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, FL, March 2015
  • Ethics in the Digital Age; Presenter, American Bar Association’s 29th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, New Orleans, March 2015

Publications

Contact Attorney Ellen Brotman for a free consultation.

FAQs

Responding to a Disciplinary Complaint

I received a letter from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. What do I do?

  • First, don’t panic! A disciplinary complaint will come to you as a “Request for Respondent’s Position” and that is exactly what it is: a chance for you to respond to a complaint. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”) has heard one side of the story, usually from a client, but sometimes from a Judge or opposing counsel. Now they are requesting your side of the story. Many disciplinary inquiries are resolved at the “complaint” stage once the facts are fully explained.
  • Check your malpractice coverage. You should have at least some coverage for disciplinary defense. Many insurance companies have panels of attorneys they recommend for this defense at a reduced rate. However, you are not obligated to use the “insurance panel” attorneys. Depending on your coverage, you can select your own attorney and negotiate a rate to be paid by the insurer.
  • The Response to the complaint is due within 30 days of the date of the letter, but there is flexibility here if you need it. Contact the ODC attorney who has sent you the letter and ask for additional time, up to an additional 30 days. Do not discuss the merits of the matter before you have counsel, but be polite and considerate of the ODC attorney’s time.
  • The letter from ODC may close with a request for documents. Be sure that any new due date includes the date for producing those documents.
  • Seek legal counsel. Disciplinary practice is a highly specialized area with three sets of Rules that apply: the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Pennyslvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, and the Disciplinary Board Rules. Understanding these Rules and the cases that interpret them is essential to providing a good response.
  • Failure to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is an aggravating factor in determining a sanction for any misconduct. Prepare a thorough, accurate, and well-organized response to the ODC’s letter, providing clear documentation of the facts. Accept responsibility for your errors and do what you can to proactively remedy them.