PBA Honors Retired Pa. Public Utility Commission Chief Counsel Bohdan Pankiw

HARRISBURG (May 24, 2021) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Public Utility Law Section will present its Christianson Award to retired Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chief Counsel Bohdan “Buck” R. Pankiw of Harrisburg on May 25 at the Public Utility Law Conference.

The Christianson Award is named in honor of Robert A. Christianson, a former chief administrative law judge for the PUC, and recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development, improvement and advancement of the profession of public utility law.

Pankiw retired from the Public Utility Commission in 2019, after serving there for more than 40 years. He held the role of chief counsel from 1999 until his retirement, supervising all of the commission’s appellate and court litigation in state and federal courts. He also managed the provision of legal advice to the commission and individual bureaus regarding electric, natural gas, telephone, water, rail crossing and motor carrier issues.

One nominator noted that Pankiw “was not only a great source of knowledge and experience to attorneys and staff, but he was also personable, genuinely interested in the well-being of the attorneys in his office and supportive of their professional goals and aspirations.” Pankiw encouraged newer attorneys to gain experience in various roles at the commission, including cross-training in rate cases and service as commissioner assistants and administrative law judges, even if it resulted in a loss to his office. He elevated the professional development of the individual and service to the commission over the immediate needs of the bureau, which contributed to the positive development and well-being of his employees. 

Pankiw began his career with the commission in 1977 working in the Rates Division of the Law Bureau and subsequently in the Office of Trial Staff. He returned to the Law Bureau in 1987 as deputy chief counsel and was promoted to chief counsel in 1999.

Pankiw was a frequent lecturer at PBI programs and has published a number of law review articles.

Pankiw graduated from Drexel University in 1973 and from Villanova University Law School in 1976.

For more information on the Public Utility Law Conference, visit www.pbi.org/Meetings/Meeting.aspx?ID=39710.

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 of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.