U.S. District Chief Judge Lawrence Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Lawrence Stengel

Former U.S. District Chief Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will spend his retirement from the bench working at a law firm in his native Lancaster County.

Stengel, 66, has been hired to lead the firm’s internal investigations practice and will work with clients in commercial, employment, intellectual property litigation and appeals. Stengel will also work in alternative dispute resolution services through a firm subsidiary.

“We are honored to welcome Judge Stengel to Saxton & Stump,” said James W. Saxton, the firm’s CEO, in a press release announcing the move. “Serving as a judge at the federal and state levels for nearly 30 years is an admirable accomplishment. This is great not only for our firm and our clients, but for the community at large as well. His distinguished service certainly enhances our arbitration and mediation practice, as well as our employment, commercial and appellate practice areas.”

Stengel spent 14 years on the federal bench. He began his judicial career in 1990 when he was elected to the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas. In 2004, after being nominated by President George W. Bush, he was appointed to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In an interview with The Legal, Stengel said he is enthused about his new, full-time role at the firm, which will place a heavy emphasis on mediation.

“As a former judge I’m well positioned to review both sides of an issue, evaluate credibility, and conduct an investigation with integrity and credibility,” he said.

Additionally, Stengel said he’s excited about working in the firm’s IP practice.

“At this firm we have a growing IP team and I’m going to be working with them on developing that practice. That was one of my favorite aspects of working on the federal court,” Stengel said.

A graduate of Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Stengel began his practice at Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote in Pittsburgh and then opened a litigation practice in Lancaster before becoming a judge.

Stengel’s colleague, U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez, has been slated to succeed him as chief judge. Sanchez will be the first Hispanic judge to lead the court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.