Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.)
Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.) is the Chief Executive Officer of Optimal Dispute Resolutions. He works with parties or counsel to mediate or arbitrate disputes in all areas of the law, with a focus on the fair resolution of each case in a professional, ethical, and practical manner. His 28-year judicial career has prepared him to take an objective, realistic, and credible approach to the mediation/arbitration process and provide effective resolutions in all cases, including complex, multi-party matters.
Judge Stengel brings a wealth of experience to Optimal, having tried patent and trade secret cases, complex product liability cases, MDLs, premises liability, employment discrimination, complex civil and criminal fraud, complicated custody cases, family business disputes, and hundreds of criminal cases.
Prior to leading Optimal Dispute Resolutions, Judge Stengel served as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Stengel has proudly served the community for nearly three decades, serving for 14 years as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA) and 14 years on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.
From 1990 until 2004, Stengel served as a judge on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas where 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 2003, he was nominated to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 16, 2004.
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.
At the federal level, Judge Stengel has written hundreds of opinions and has presided over dozens of civil and criminal trials, including two Multi-District 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 by Chief Justice Roberts in 2015.
Judge Stengel received a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Joseph’s University in 1974 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1980. While in law school, he served on the Law Review and published a Comment. He was a teacher at Lancaster Catholic High School from 1974 until 1977; an adjunct professor at Millersville University from 2000 to 2004; an adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College for 21 years, from 1997 to 2018; and an adjunct professor at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University from 2013 to 2018.
- Chief Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2017-2018
- Member, Third Circuit Judicial Council, 2017-2018
- Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2004-2018
- Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1990-2004
- Executive Committee and Education Committee, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, 2000-2004
- Adjunct professor, Franklin & Marshall College, 1997-2018
- Adjunct professor, Millersville University, 2000-2004
- Adjunct Professor, Beasley School of Law at Temple University, 2013-2018
- President, Lancaster Bar Association, 2002
- Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, 2009-2018
- Chair, Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, 2015-2018
- St. Joseph’s College (now St. Joseph’s University), B.A., 1974
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1980
- Presidents Award, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, 2002, for preparing and presenting a panel discussion on Racial Disparity in Sentencing at a statewide judges’ conference
- Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award, Pennsylvania Dutch Council of the Boy Scouts of America
- Alumni Citation for Outstanding Professional Achievement from Lancaster Catholic High School, 2005