W. Bourne Ruthrauff


Direct: 215.567.2883
Fax:     215.561.6661
Office: Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania, B.A.

University of Pennsylvania Law School, LLB

Bar Admissions


United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit

United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania

United States District Court Western District of Pennsylvania

United States District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania

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Bourne Ruthrauff is a member of Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg LLC. He focuses his practice in the areas of professional responsibility, ethics and civil litigation.

Bourne graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He served as Editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian and was elected one of the four honor-men of the senior class. He also was a staff reporter on the City Desk of the Newark Evening News, Newark, New Jersey in 1963-64. Bourne then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating in 1967. In his senior year, he was a winner of the Keedy Moot Court Competition.

After passing the Pennsylvania Bar exam, Bourne reported to military basic training, as a recruit into the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He then served as Motor Sergeant for Troop A, 1st Squadron, 223d Cavalry in Philadelphia. He completed his military service in 1973.

In the fall of 1967, when Bourne returned from basic training, Spencer Ervin and Mercer Tate had just started their law partnership; Bourne was hired. The three men practiced together for 25 years. Spencer Ervin was Bourne’s long-time mentor, especially in matters of legal ethics. Others joined the partnership and it continued under the name Gratz, Tate, Spiegel, Ervin & Ruthrauff. Robert J. Spiegel became Bourne’s teacher in the preparation and trial of complicated disputes. The firm was dedicated to the proposition that a firm of relatively few highly capable lawyers could provide clients with superb representation in a cost-effective manner.

Bourne joined Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg as a member in February 2002. This firm continues the dedication to clients that Bourne learned beginning in 1967.

Bourne has continued to practice in Philadelphia, successfully trying bench and jury trials in Philadelphia and throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Many of the cases he has tried involved the defense of product liability claims. He has defended industrial, commercial and consumer products, including trucks, automobiles, cosmetics, hair care products, forklifts and electrical equipment. He has also litigated a wide range of commercial disputes, antitrust claims, personal injury claims and criminal matters.

He serves as a Judge Pro Tem in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in both the Civil Division and the Commerce Court and for 10 years he was an arbitrator for the New York Stock Exchange.

Bourne served as Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Committee on Professional Guidance, which provides confidential ethics advice to lawyers. He has served continuously on that committee for 40 years. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Ethics Committee, which provides confidential ethics advice for attorneys throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as co-chair of the Professional Responsibility Committee for the Philadelphia Bar Association.

In his private ethics practice, he advises individual attorneys, law firms and corporate entities. He serves as ethics counsel for Bennett, Bricklin & Saltzburg LLC. He has litigated ethics disputes in the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Commerce Courts. He has served as an expert witness on ethics issues. He is a member of the American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

Bourne speaks on ethics issues, at CLE programs of The Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, Pennsylvania Association of Defense Counsel, Pennsylvania Bar Institute as well as the firm.

Public Service:

In 1970, the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association appointed Bourne to a five-member commission, to investigate charges of racial bias in the Pennsylvania Bar admission procedures. The commission, known as the Liacouras Commission, issued its unanimous report in December 1970. The report was instrumental in bringing about a number of significant changes in the Bar Admission process.

In March 2012, Bourne, and the other four members of the 1970 Liacouras Commission, received the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, for contributions to increasing diversity in the legal profession in Pennsylvania. In January 2013, The Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia recognized the members of the Liacouras Committee for their work “to promote equal justice” in Philadelphia.

In the early 1970’s, Bourne served as a volunteer lawyer for Community Legal Services. The CLS South Street Office was open in the evening only and was staffed entirely by volunteers. A number of young lawyers, including Bourne, ran the office in the evening on a rotating basis and then represented the clients who had sought advice on that evening.

Bourne also spent a month (on paid leave from Tate & Erin) with the Philadelphia Public Defenders Office, representing indigents charged with criminal activity.

Bourne served as Chair of the Committee of 70, a Philadelphia civic group founded in 1904, and dedicated to protecting the election process and preventing election fraud. He also served as President of the Philadelphia City Institute, founded in 1852 to teach reading to apprentices and today encourages reading by maintaining a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia and by conducting reading programs for young students. He served on the board of the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School, located in southwest Philadelphia, with 168 students in grades K-6, from 2007-2015. He is a board member of the Broad Street Review, an internet-based publication on the arts in Philadelphia.

He lives with his wife Carolyn Wyeth in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; he has two children and four grandchildren. He is a member of St. John Neumann Roman Catholic Church in Bryn Mawr.

Peer Review Rating:

AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.0

Peer Review Rating Explanation

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