The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is barring state appellate court staff members from performing private legal work for compensation.
The court's Wednesday order comes amid reports by The Philadelphia Inquirer of a federal investigation into legal fees paid to the wife of Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.
The order extends to many staff members of the appellate courts, if not all. The order didn't mention McCaffery or his wife and chief administrative judicial assistant, Lise Rapaport. Their lawyer has told the Inquirer that the legal fees she received to refer cases to law firms didn't constitute the practice of law or a conflict of interest for McCaffrey.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille has told the Inquirer that the fees raise the potential for conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety.
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