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Past Berks Bar President Jill Koestel Returning to Berks County Bench

by Berks County Bar Association

Jul 12, 2022

Jill Koestel, a past president of the Berks County Bar Association, is heading back to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas for the second time in six years.

The Pennsylvania Senate on Friday confirmed Koestel’s nomination to fill a vacancy created when Berks County Judge Timothy G. Rowley retired in December. Koestel will serve through December 2023.

Koestel, a Cumru Township attorney, served as Berks County Bar Association President in 2016. She was appointed to the Berks bench in July 2016, serving through December 2017 after Judge Scott D. Keller retired.

“I am thrilled and honored to be appointed for a second time by Governor Wolf to serve my community as Judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas,” Koestel said. “I will do so humbly and to the very best of my ability.”

Berks County Bar Association President James M. Smith congratulated Koestel on her confirmation.

“The Berks County Bar Association welcomes Judge Koestel back to the Bench, and applauds Sen. Judy Schwank and the Berks delegation to the Pennsylvania Senate for acting swiftly to fill this vacancy on the Court of Common Pleas,” Smith said. “Judge Koestel’s previous judicial experience will allow her to hear cases immediately and to ensure litigants receive their day in court in a timely manner.  As a past president of the Bar Association, Judge Koestel understands the pressures practicing attorneys face each day, and the importance of communicating with our members about courtroom protocols, scheduling, and rules. Our Bar, the Court, and the residents of Berks County will benefit from Judge Koestel’s service on the Court of Common Pleas over the next 18 months.”

State Sen. Judy Schwank supported Koestel’s nomination and introduced her during a confirmation hearing on June 21 before the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Jill has the temperament, maturity and professionalism needed to be successful on the bench,” Schwank said. “She’s a long-time friend and has proven herself as a dedicated public servant. I’m proud to see her appointment move forward and I know she will do a great job!”

Since leaving the bench at the end of 2017, Koestel has been a court-appointed divorce master, settling disputes when parties cannot agree on the distribution of marital assets. She practiced law in Berks County for more than 20 years before her first stint as a judge and was a partner at Rabenold Koestel Goodman & Denaro in Wyomissing.

Koestel does not plan to run for a full, 10-year term as judge. Berks voters will elect a judge to fill the seat in 2023. The winning candidate will be seated on the bench in January 2024.

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