The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) last week presented Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan with its 2022 Government Lawyer of the Year Award.
Khan received the award Thursday during an event in Harrisburg in recognition of his work advocating on behalf of the county and its residents as head of the Bucks County Law Department.
In just the past year, Khan and his team have not only scored critical wins in lawsuits brought against the county, but have also taken aim at those who have done harm to the county or its residents.
“On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, I want to congratulate Joe for receiving this well-deserved honor from the PA Bar Association,” said Bucks County Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie. “From providing expert counsel to engaging in affirmative litigation, Joe is a tireless advocate for the people of Bucks County.”
Khan’s department started the year strong, presenting the Board of Commissioners in January with an ordinance that established countywide regulations for massage establishments in order to curb human trafficking. In June, Khan and the Department of Consumer Protection and Weights and Measures, which Khan administratively oversees, authored Pennsylvania’s first county-level Lemon Law to protect used car buyers from dishonest dealers.
After hearing strong community support for both proposals, the Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt both ordinances on a bipartisan, unanimous basis.
Also this spring, Khan and the Commissioners joined with Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub to file a federal lawsuit against major corporations who for decades produced and sold products containing the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS that to this day pollute water and soil in the county. In addition, Khan and his team worked with the Commissioners, Weintraub and other stakeholders to secure millions of dollars through the county’s prosecution of claims against opioid companies.
“I’m honored to receive this award, thanks to the leadership of the Bucks County Commissioners,” said Khan. “With their trust and support, we’ve built a team of dedicated public servants who have improved the quality of legal services while saving the taxpayers millions of dollars over the last three years.”
Khan was appointed County Solicitor in January 2020, and began immediately working to revamp his office. He hired more attorneys to save on outside counsel fees – most recently on behalf of the Children & Youth Social Services Agency – found more efficient resolutions for longstanding litigation, and helped secure fellowships and scholarships for Law Department attorneys.
Before coming to the county, Khan practiced public interest law and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania prosecuting violent crime and corruption in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Khan has served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School since 2015 and has led several nonprofit boards, including Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, where he now chairs the Governance Committee. He previously served on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for Asian Pacific American Affairs.
In 2021, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) honored Khan with its Outstanding Solicitor Award for “redefining the role of county solicitor” and guiding the county to “realize its vision for transparency, ethics and excellence.”
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