Ellen A. Pansky specializes in the defense of attorneys, bar applicants and other professionals in regulatory and licensure proceedings and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in civil actions. She consults with and advises lawyers in legal ethics and risk management. She frequently serves as an expert witness in legal malpractice proceedings.
Ms. Pansky is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in the area of Legal Malpractice Law.
As a California State Bar certified MCLE provider, Ms. Pansky is a frequent lecturer on legal ethics and professional responsibility. She has presented well over 100 continuing legal education courses. She has been elected as a member of The American Law Institute, and was selected as one of the Inaugural Fellows of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP). She also was an invited participant in Harvard University Law School’s 2001 focus group on law firm ethics advisors. Ms. Pansky has been a contributor to Legal Malpractice Law Review at legalmalpractice.com.
Ms. Pansky is a member and past-president (1995-1996) of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, “APRL.” In August, 2016, APRL presented Ms. Pansky with its prestigious Charles W. Kettlewell Legal Ethics Advisor Award, which acknowledges the lifetime achievement of a lawyer who has demonstrated excellence in and dedication to the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility. She has long been active with the Los Angeles County Bar Association, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees (2005-2009) and Assistant Vice President (2009-2012), and has served on several of its committees including: Committee on the State Bar (1989-1995); Ad Hoc CLE Planning Committee (1990); Committee for Evaluation of Professional Standards and the State Bar (1995-2002); Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee (chair 1996-1997, and member 1992-2017); Ethics 2000 Liaison Committee (2000-2007); Judicial Appointments Committee (1999-2002); Ad Hoc Membership Committee (2006-2008); Shattuck-Price Award Committee (2009, 2010); Projects, Inc. Board of Directors (2010-2012); LACBA-WLALA Joint Task Force on the Retention and Promotion of Women Lawyers (chair 2010-2011, and member 2010-2017). She has also served as a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division Executive Committee (2010-2013), and has been appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee on State Bar Admissions Regulation Reform Proposals (2013-2016) as well as the Ad Hoc President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession (2013-2017).
Ms. Pansky is a longstanding member of the American Bar Association and has been a member of its Practice Management Section and the ABA Women Rainmakers Committee. She served as a member of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct (2004-2007), as a liaison member to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility representing APRL (2006-2008), as a full voting member of the SCEPR (2012-2015), and is a charter member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility. Ms. Pansky is also a member of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.
Additionally, Ms. Pansky previously served as a member of the California State Bar’s Pilot Program Interaction Advisory Committee, addressing the effect of the Lawyer Assistance Program on the State Bar disciplinary system. She served by appointment of the then presiding judge of the State Bar Court as a member of an Advisory Rules Revision Committee of the Executive Committee of the State Bar Court.
Ms. Pansky is a member (2008-2018) and former section chair (2009-2015) of the United States District Court, Central District, Standing Committee on Discipline.
Ms. Pansky is a lifetime member and past president (2002-2003) of the National Association of Women Lawyers, and is also a lifetime member of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles. Ms. Pansky is a member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel. She has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Breakfast Club.
Ms. Pansky is a prior chair of the State Bar of California Committee on Women in the Law (2000-2001), and is a lifetime member and previously served on the Board of Governors of California Women Lawyers (co-chair of Bias in the Law Committee, and chair of Judicial Evaluations Committee).
Ms. Pansky has published extensively in the area of legal ethics, including: as a contributing author (Conflicts of Interest Chapter) of California Civil Procedure Before Trial; CEB, a contributing editor to “Attorney Ethics,” California Practice Handbook, (Matthew Bender 1993); and has authored a number of articles including: “Predicting the Future: Can You Ethically Obtain an Advance Waiver of Actual Conflicts of Interest?” The Professional Lawyer, Volume 24, Number 2; “Overview of the State Bar Court Procedure” California Litigation (The Journal of the Litigation Section, State Bar of California), Volume 29, No. 2, 2016 (with James I. Ham, Esq.); “You’re Outta Here! Avoiding Disqualification When Representing Small Organizational Clients” LACBA Update November/December, 2015; “Can We Talk? What and When to Tell Your Client About Your Potential Legal Malpractice” Best Practices for Addressing Professional Liability Claims, 2015; “Attorney Discipline: Are We on the Wrong Path?” Los Angeles Lawyer, July/August 2012; “Playing the Percentages” Los Angeles County Bar Update, Vol. 30, No. 9, October 2010; “A Flat Fee Future” Los Angeles County Bar Update, January 2010; “Wearing Many Hats” State Bar of California Big Meeting Magazine, 2009 Annual Meeting Issue, Fall 2009; “To Err Is Human – Or Is It Moral Turpitude?” Los Angeles County Bar Update, Vol. 29, No. 3, March 2009; “Application of California’s Modified Substantial Relationship Test to International Law Firm Conflict of Interest: Creative Solution or Can of Worms?” Penn State Law Review, October 2008; “The Connection Between Ethical Advocacy and a Lawyer’s Integrity” Los Angeles County Bar Update, November 2007; “California Ethical Rules Governing Restriction on Law Practice” ABA/CPR Conference, June 2007; “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Terminating the Attorney/Client Relationship” Los Angeles County Bar Update, January 2007, Vol. 27, No.1; “Lien Provisions in Contingent Fee Contracts: Are You Violating the California Rules of Professional Conduct?” Forum, April 2006; “Belated Fee Complaints: What to Do?” Los Angeles County Bar Update, January 2004; “Communication and Diligence” Emory Law Journal, August 2003; “Don’t Fight Your Substitution Out of a Client’s Matter” Los Angeles County Bar Update, January 2002, Vol. 22, No. 1; “Construction Project: Authorizing Ethical Walls in California” Los Angeles County Bar Update, April 2000, Vol. 20, No. 4; “Fair Share?” Los Angeles Daily Journal (California Law Business Supplement) October 2000; “Bonus Points” Los Angeles Lawyer, September 2000; “One Easy Way to Become the Target of a State Bar Complaint: Fail to Regularly Communicate with Clients” Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 1999; “Balance Client Trust Account to Avoid Bar Discipline” Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 1999; “When Representing Multiple Parties, Don’t Waver on Waivers” Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 1999; “Conduct Becoming” Los Angeles Lawyer, September 1997; “Between an Ethical Rock and a Hard Place: Balancing Duties to the Organizational Client and Its Constituents” South Texas Law Review, October 1996; “Gender Bias in the Legal Profession” Women Lawyers Journal, April 1996; “Mitigation of Disciplinary Sanctions: Justice and Fairness Require Analysis of Each Individual Attorney” The Professional Lawyer, American Bar Association 21st Ethics Symposium, June 1995; “Barred for Life? Permanent Sanction for Ethics Abuses Won’t Cure Profession’s Ills” Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 1995; California Women Lawyers’ Glass Ceiling Surveys Reports (1993-94 and 1995); “Client Trust Account Procedures: How to Ensure Proper Compliance” Los Angeles Lawyer, December 1992; and “An Attorney’s Expanding Fiduciary Duties to Opposing Parties and Non-Clients” State Bar General Practice Section Newsletter, Fall 1992.
Between 1978 and 1983, Ms. Pansky served as a prosecutor in the Office of Trial Counsel for the State Bar of California. In that capacity, she handled approximately 100 formal disciplinary proceedings and thousands of investigations of California attorneys. A number of the prosecutions conducted by Ms. Pansky resulted in California Supreme Court opinions, including Rimel v. State Bar (1983) 34 Cal. 3d 128 and Ballard v. State Bar (1983) 35 Cal.3d 274. In 1983, Ms. Pansky became an Assistant General Counsel for the State Bar of California, involved primarily in briefing and arguing disciplinary cases before the California Supreme Court, and other courts. A partial list of those cases include: Greene v. Zank (1984) 158 Cal.App.3d 497; Palomo v. State Bar (1984) 36 Cal.3d 785; Tarver v. State Bar (1984) 37 Cal. 3d 122; Leoni v. State Bar (1985) 39 Cal.3d 609; Ritter v. State Bar (1985) 40 Cal.3d 595; and Trousil v. State Bar (1985) 38 Cal.3d 337.
Between 1985 and 1988, Ms. Pansky was associated with a downtown Los Angeles litigation firm, practicing primarily in the areas of insurance defense litigation and physician peer review proceedings. In 2006, Ms. Pansky was “of counsel” to the law offices of Robie & Matthai.
In 1989, Ms. Pansky and her late husband, R. Gerald Markle, opened the law offices of Pansky & Markle, emphasizing professional liability defense and, to a limited extent, prosecution of legal malpractice actions; State Bar disciplinary defense and admissions; ethics consultations; and expert testimony. Since that time, Ms. Pansky has defended attorneys in numerous cases before both the California Supreme Court and the State Bar Court, as reflected in reported decisions, including Lister v. State Bar (1990) 51 Cal.3d 1117; Sternlieb v. State Bar (1990) 52 Cal.3d 317; Lybbert v. State Bar (Review Dept. 1993) 2 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 297; In Re Paguirigan (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1, and In Re Lesansky (2001) 25 Cal.4th 11. Additionally, she has briefed and argued many legal malpractice cases before the California courts of appeal with favorable results.
Ms. Pansky was admitted to the California Bar in 1977, and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California, as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a native Southern Californian, having graduated from Hawthorne High School in 1971 with honors. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1974. She is a lifetime member of the UCLA Alumni Association. She received her J.D. degree from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles in 1977. Ms. Pansky has twice been awarded the Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Services Award. In 2006, Ms. Pansky served as a moot court judge in the National Civil Trial Competition sponsored by Loyola Law School. Martindale Hubbell has awarded Ms. Pansky an AV Preeminent rating since 1990, has listed the law firm in its Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers for many years, and has awarded Ms. Pansky its 2015 Judicial Recognition. Additionally, Ms. Pansky has for years been recognized by her peers and ranked as a top litigator in several lawyer surveys, including the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Best Lawyers in America (in the practice area of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law), Best Lawyers Women in the Law, Los Angeles Magazine, Pasadena Magazine’s Top Attorneys, and Super Lawyers. Ms. Pansky was recently selected for membership in Lawyers of Distinction, and has repeatedly been selected as one of the top 50 Women Lawyers in Southern California and one of the top 100 Southern California Lawyers, and has been included in Super Lawyers each year between 2006 through 2018.
In January, 2009, Pansky Markle Ham LLP was formed with James I. Ham and Ellen A. Pansky as partners. The firm continues to consult with, advise and represent clients in litigation, with a strong emphasis on legal ethics, professional responsibility, legal malpractice and State Bar regulatory matters, as well as in other administration proceedings and litigation proceedings in state and federal court.
Pansky Markle Ham LLP supports various community and charitable entities, including South Pasadena Educational Foundation, South Pasadena Little League, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Habitat for Humanity, UCLA, Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles Opera, South Pasadena Concerts in the Park, Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library, and many others.