Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti, U.S. District Court for the Western of Pennsylvania, to Receive Award from PBA Business Law Section

HARRISBURG (Oct. 26, 2016) – The Pennsylvania Bar Association Business Law Section will present its fifth annual W. Edward Sell Business Lawyer Award to Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, for her extraordinary contribution to the practice of business law in Pennsylvania.

The late W. Edward Sell was a driving force behind the enactment of business corporation law in Pennsylvania. Sell served as chair of the Title 15 Task Force of the PBA Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section. From 1966 to 1977, Sell was dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He was then appointed Distinguished Service Professor of Law, a position he held until assuming emeritus status in 1994.

The recipient of the Sell Business Lawyer Award must have contributed to the practice of business law at the highest level, either through the practice of law or through teaching; must have contributed to the statutory development of business law in Pennsylvania; and must have contributed to the PBA by working in leadership roles in the Business Law Section.

In 1974, Judge Conti was the first woman lawyer hired by Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchinson, now known as K & L Gates LLP. In 1976, she joined the faculty of Duquesne University School of Law and taught courses about civil procedure, corporations, corporate finance, corporate reorganizations and bankruptcy. In 1982, she returned to Kirkpatrick& Lockhart. In 1996, she joined Buchanan Ingersoll Professional Corporation and concentrated her practice on bankruptcy, creditors’ and debtors’ rights, healthcare, general corporate and nonprofit corporation law. In 2002, she was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Conti serves on the council of the PBA Business Law Section. Judge Conti was a governor-at-large of the PBA and was chair of the PBA Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section. She was a co-chair of the PBA Task Force on Legal Services for the Poor, Part II.

In 1995, she received the PBA Anne X. Alpern Award, which recognizes a female lawyer or judge who demonstrates excellence in the legal profession and makes a significant professional impact on women in the law in Pennsylvania.

She is a fellow of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA.

She is a member of the W. Edward Sell American Inn of Court in Pittsburgh.

Judge Conti has written about bankruptcy and corporate law and has been a frequent lecturer at seminars on those matters.

Judge Conti is a graduate of Duquesne University and Duquesne University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Duquesne Law Review.

The Sell Business Lawyer Award will be presented to Judge Conti during the two-day Business Lawyers Institute, Nov. 15 and 16, at The PBI CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, Philadelphia. More information about the institute is available at

The PBA Business Law Section consists of approximately 1,100 licensed Pennsylvania lawyers supporting the advancement of business practice through practical legal education, legislative drafting, and communication and networking within the bar. 

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.