Robert S. Hawkins' — a shareholder in the Labor and Employment Section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Philadelphia office — involvement in the case of Schimelfenig v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners was reported on in an article published on the front page of the October 21, 2009, edition of The Legal Intelligencer. The article also ran in the October 26 edition of Pennsylvania Law Weekly. As noted in the article, titled "Saint Joseph's GC Says Bar Admission Wrongly Denied," Hawkins argued on behalf of client Marianne Eugenia Schimelfenig before the state Supreme Court Tuesday, October 20, that "current economic realities have made the legal profession incredibly mobile in recent years and state bar rules should not be too restrictive in allowing out-of-state lawyers to be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar."

"I never dreamed the practice of law would change the way it has, but it has," Hawkins told the justices while arguing a Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners rule governing out-of-state attorney admissions into the bar was too strict.

As explained in the article, "Hawkins argued that Rule 204, governing admission of domestic attorneys to the state bar, creates a burdensome double requirement that an out-of-state attorney have practiced in a reciprocal state for at least five of the last seven years. Hawkins argued that just one of the two components could comply, such as having practiced for seven straight years or having been admitted to a reciprocal state. He said two-income households are more common than ever and this economy has often meant a spouse needs to move to follow a job prospect for her husband or vice-versa."

The article went on to explain that Hawkins is asking the court to take the "highly unusual facts of the case" into consideration in admitting his Schimelfenig to the state bar. In 2008, Schimelfenig relocated her family to Pennsylvania to take a position as general counsel of Saint Joseph's University.

According to the article, "Schimelfenig has practiced law for 27 years and spent the last 18 years as in-house counsel for various nonprofit academic institutions. … Schimelfenig is admitted to practice in four jurisdictions, two of which are reciprocal with Pennsylvania — New York and the District of Columbia. The other two jurisdictions are Oregon and California. … Rule 204 also allows admission to the bar if the petitioner was admitted to a reciprocal bar through a bar exam. Schimelfenig took bar exams in Oregon and California and was admitted to the bars of Washington, D.C., and New York by motion."

Once Schimelfenig accepted the position as general counsel with Saint Joseph's, she applied for general admission to the Pennsylvania bar but was denied, explained the article. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Hawkins argued that Schimelfenig "substantially complied with the requirements of Rule 204 and should exercise its plenary authority over the admission to the bar and grant a general admission to practice. … He said this isn't a case in which an attorney sought admission to reciprocal jurisdictions in order to avoid taking the Pennsylvania bar exam. She was admitted in Washington, D.C., 18 years ago and in New York 11 years ago. … Hawkins also pointed out that Schimelfenig has a substantial connection to the state, as she is a native of Pennsylvania."

The article concluded, saying that the Supreme Court granted allocatur on two main points: "whether it should be found Schimelfenig substantially complied with Rule 204 and whether the rule should be reconsidered."