Pa. Department of Education’s Helling to Be Honored by Pennsylvania Bar Association for Leadership in Administrative Law


HARRISBURG (March 15, 2017) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association Administrative Law Section will present its James S. Bowman Award to Ernest N. Helling, assistant chief counsel, Governor’s Office of General Counsel assigned to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on March 23 at the Committee Section Day luncheon at The Red Lion Hotel, Harrisburg.

The James S. Bowman Award honors a lawyer who is making a significant impact on the practice of administrative law and who is demonstrating leadership in mentoring administrative law practitioners.

Helling, who began his tenure with the Department of Education in 1977 as assistant attorney general, has dedicated nearly his entire career to helping the commonwealth provide a public education system to millions of state residents. Throughout his time there, he has served as acting chief counsel at various points, including 1988-1990, 1999-2000 and 2002. Helling has handled a wide range of legal matters affecting the agency, including litigation, transactions, procurement, statutory/regulatory work and client counseling ranging from childhood development and early learning to higher education. Prior to being assigned to the Department of Education, he worked as a legal services consultant for the Pennsylvania Office on Aging.

Helling has served as counsel to various boards and commissions within the Department of Education, including the State Charter School Appeal Board, that have shaped education law in the state. Throughout his 20 years of working with the board, he helped it navigate through many novel legal issues impacting the Pennsylvania Law for Charter Schools that provides a basic framework for charter schools to follow.

In addition to shaping policy, Helling has also been instrumental in making a difference in numerous attorneys’ careers at the department, always finding the time to mentor attorneys at various stages in their careers.

Outside of the Department of Education, Helling is a long-standing volunteer for the Office of General Counsel’s Moot Court program.

Helling received degrees from Fordham University and Dickinson School of Law.