Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.)


Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.), former Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is a shareholder at Saxton & Stump and focuses his practice on internal investigations, arbitrations and mediations, monitorships and receiverships.

Current Practice

As Chair of the firm’s Internal Investigations practice, Judge Stengel leads a team of attorneys who conduct fair and thorough internal investigations for corporations, educational institutions, governmental agencies, municipalities and other organizations across the country. The team is also uniquely qualified to handle Title IX investigations and sexual misconduct grievances for individuals and higher education institutions, serving as counsel or hearing officers.

Judge Stengel’s reputation for fairness and insight makes him a sought-after arbitrator and mediator. He leads a team of neutrals at Optimal Dispute Resolutions, a rapidly growing regional and national alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider.

In addition, Judge Stengel works with Saxton & Stump’s Labor and Employment and Intellectual Property groups, having significant experience in various kinds of employment cases as well as in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation. He is also a member of the firm’s Attorney and Judicial Ethics and Discipline practice, led by Hon. Robert A. Graci (Ret) and frequently consults for the firm’s Commercial Litigation practice by examining and strengthening arguments for trial.

Recent Notable Matters

  • Special Investigator in the National Football League’s (NFL) Concussion Settlement program
  • Chair of the Independent Oversight Committee for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP)
  • Special Master in complex civil cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for the District of Delaware

Judicial Experience

Judge Stengel served as a judge for nearly three decades and has presided over a breadth of criminal and civil trials, both jury and non-jury. He has extensive experience in deciding matters involving corporate governance, civil rights violations, discrimination and compliance with federal and state regulations. He has worked with law enforcement professionals, attorneys and others and understands the need for legal expertise and interpersonal skills in conducting sensitive and confidential investigations.

His judicial career began in 1990, when he was appointed by Governor Robert Casey to fill a vacancy on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas. In 1991, Judge Stengel was elected to a full-term on the court and was retained in 2001. During his 14 years of service, he presided over hundreds of trials, jury and nonjury; wrote hundreds of opinions; and conducted settlement conferences in numerous cases. He handled 20 homicide cases, two of which were capital cases that went to trial. His state court work included many complex negligence, product liability, professional malpractice, land use and commercial cases involving trials, hearings, motions and settlements.

In 2000, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges and received the President’s award in 2002 for his work in planning an educational program for the state judiciary on racial disparity in sentencing.

Former President George W. Bush nominated Judge Stengel to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2003. After Senate confirmation, he was sworn in on June 29, 2004 and served as a federal judge in Philadelphia and Reading. On August 1, 2017, he was named Chief Judge of the EDPA, the third largest federal court in the nation. At the federal level, Judge Stengel authored more than 1,400 opinions and has presided over dozens of civil and criminal trials, including two multidistrict litigation cases.

In 2009, he was appointed to the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, the committee responsible for human resources policy for the entire federal judiciary. He was subsequently named Chairman of the Committee on Judicial Resources by Chief Justice Roberts in 2015.

Judge Stengel announced his retirement from the bench in 2018 and joined Saxton & Stump shortly thereafter.


Judge Stengel received a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Joseph’s University in 1974 and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1980 where he served on the Law Review. Early in his career, from 1980 to 1984, he was in private practice in Pittsburgh with Dickie, McCamey, and Chilcote, P.C. He then began his own practice in Lancaster with his father, Lawrence E. Stengel, from 1985 until 1990.

He was a teacher at Lancaster Catholic High School from 1974 until 1977 and has served as an adjunct professor at Millersville University, Franklin and Marshall College and the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Recent Appointments and Professional Activities

Special Investigator, National Football League’s (NFL) Concussion Settlement Program, December 2018

Chair of the Independent Oversight Committee, Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP), December 2018

  • Committee is tasked with overseeing the claims process and regularly reviewing and examining Archdiocesan programs that relate to child protection and abuse survivor assistance
  • Invited to give testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s IRRP during a hearing on statues of limitations with respect to claims of sexual abuse, September 2019

Special Master, United States District Court for the District of Delaware, appointed to serve in a complex civil matter

Special Master, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, appointed to oversee the divestiture of assets in a private Clayton Act case

Mediator, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, appointed to serve as a mediator in a complex civil case

Recent Speaking Engagements

In Pursuit of Civil Discourse,” Donegal High School Democracy Day, November 1, 2019

A Judge’s Perspective on Litigation and Practice,” Lancaster Area Paralegal Association 5th Annual Civil Conference, September 13, 2019

“Judicial Function, Exceptional Lawyers and Juror’s Impressions,” U-Haul National Trial Lawyers’ Conference, May 30, 2019

Hostile Work Environments and Sexual Harassment,” panel member, Pennsylvania Bar Association 26th Annual Conference – PBA Commission on Women in the Profession, May 15, 2019

Civil Practice in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” panel member, Philadelphia Bar Institute, April 11, 2019

Navigating the Top Issues Facing HR Professionals,” Associated Builders and Contractors Keystone Chapter, December 2018

“Inside Rule 56: What the Judges think about summary judgment in employment cases,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 23rd Annual Employment Law Institute, April 20, 2017

“Emerging Issues in Mass Tort MDL’s,” Duke Law School Multi District Litigation Conference – Center for Judicial Studies, October 28, 2016

“Practicing in Federal and State Courts,” Lancaster Bar Association, February 19, 2016

“Professionalism in the Courtroom,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 22nd Annual Employment Law Institute, April 2016

Recent Media Mentions and Op-Ed Articles

DOJ’s Roger Stone Debacle Puts New Focus on Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Jacqueline Thomsen. The National Law Journal. (February 12, 2020)

Retired federal judge offers verdict on the way we choose judges. Lawrence F. Stengel. Lancaster Newspaper. (September 15, 2019)

Retired federal judge considers checks, balances and the Mueller report. Lawrence F. Stengel. Lancaster Newspaper. (April 29, 2019)

Former federal judge Lawrence Stengel chosen to look for fraud in NFL concussion litigation. Nicholas Malfitano. Pennsylvania Record. (December 17, 2018)

Leaders of fund detail monetary aid for victims of ‘unspeakable crimes’. Matthew Gambino. National Catholic Reporter. (November 15, 2018)

Retired US Chief Judge Stengel Joins Lancaster Law Firm. P.J. D’Annunzio. The Legal Intelligencer. (September 5, 2018)

Judge Lawrence Stengel to retire after career that gave ‘everyone a fair shake’. Jeff Hawkes. Lancaster Newspaper. (July 22, 2018)

Lawrence Stengel, former county judge, named Chief Judge of US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Tom Knapp. Lancaster Newspaper. (July 31, 2017)



United States Supreme Court

United States Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania


University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1980

St. Joseph’s College (now St. Joseph’s University), B.A., 1974


2020 Achievement Award, Lancaster Bar Association, in recognition of his long and distinguished career as a LBA member

President’s Award, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, 2002, for work in planning an educational program for the state judiciary on racial disparity in sentencing

Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award, Pennsylvania Dutch Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 2006

Alumni Citation for Outstanding Professional Achievement from Lancaster Catholic High School, 2005


Pennsylvanians For Modern Courts, Board Member

Executive Committee and Education Committee, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, 2000-2004

President, Lancaster Bar Association, 2002

Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, 2009-2018

Chair, Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, 2015-2018

Member, Third Circuit Judicial Council, 2017-2018


Adjunct Professor, Beasley School of Law at Temple University, 2013 – 2018

Adjunct Professor, Franklin & Marshall College, 1997 – 2018

Adjunct Professor, Millersville University, 1999 – 2003

Teacher, Lancaster Catholic High School, 1974 – 1977

Community Involvement

Board Member, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, 2018 – present

Council Member, Advisory Council, Lancaster Catholic High School, 2013 – present

Coach, Lancaster Area CYO Basketball, 1987 – 1994, 1986 – 1991, 2003 – 2004, and 2012 – 2018

President, Parish Council, Sacred Heart Parish, 1994 – 2004

Coach, Lancaster YMCA Soccer Program, 1986 – 1992

Board of Directors, and Chair, Selection Committee, Leadership Lancaster, 1990 – 1996

Board Member, Board of Directors, Lancaster Catholic High School, 1986 – 1990

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