Widener Law Commonwealth Honors Supreme Court Prothonotary With Career Service Award
Widener University Commonwealth Law School presented its Excellence in Public Service Award to Irene Bizzoso ’92 for three decades of outstanding public service work. The award was given at the law school's Evening at the Capitol event on Tuesday, November 12.
Bizzoso is the Prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and a member of Widener Law Commonwealth’s inaugural class.
The award recognizes Bizzoso’s accomplished record of public service, including 22 years with the Supreme Court, a leadership role with the national organization for appellate court clerks, membership in the James S. Bowman American Inn of Court, and a longstanding commitment to a number of government, judicial and legal organizations.
“Ms. Bizzoso exemplifies the mission of Widener Law Commonwealth,” said Dean Christian A. Johnson. “For three decades she has distinguished herself in her record of public service at the local, state and national level.”
Bizzoso’s award was presented as part of the ceremony commemorating the law school’s 30th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the school’s noted Law and Government Institute.
At the Capitol, Dean Johnson was joined by alumni and members of the law school faculty for a celebration of its alumni and its longstanding commitment to training attorneys for public service.
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Joe Scarnati, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody co-hosted the event.
Before joining the staff of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1998, Bizzoso worked as a staff attorney with the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review.
Bizzoso served in various positions of increased responsibility with the Supreme Court: first as a legal assistant to the prothonotary and then as the deputy prothonotary, before becoming acting prothonotary and, for the past nine years, the prothonotary.
Widener Law Commonwealth adjunct professor and retired prothonotary of Commonwealth Court Daniel R. Schuckers said he nominated Bizzoso for the award with enthusiasm.
“For the past 27 years, Irene Bizzoso had dedicated her legal and administrative skills to public service,” said Schuckers. “She has made an active commitment to public service in Pennsylvania and in her leadership in a national organization is committed to improving the delivery of legal services more widely at the appellate court level.”
Bizzoso said she was honored to receive the award, particularly as it coincided with the 30th anniversary of her embarking on a legal career as a student at Widener.
“I am taken aback as I feel that I am just doing my job and hopefully assisting the judiciary and other court officers, even if it’s just a bit, with improving and expanding access and service to the public,” said Bizzoso.
Bizzoso’s public service work extends far beyond Pennsylvania. She is the immediate past president of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC) where she served as a board member since 2005. The NCACC has members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and several federal courts.
In 2008 the NCACC’s national conference was held in Pittsburgh primarily due to her efforts. Also, during her 19 years with the NCACC, she also served as chair of the Convention Assistance Committee, the Scholarship Committee, the Site Selection Committee and as a member of the Contract Committee, the Technology Committee, the By-laws Committee, and the Public Relations Committee.
Since 2017 she has been active with the UJS (Unified Judicial System) Public Access Policy Implementation Committee which has endeavored to make the records of the judicial system, including the appellate courts, more accessible for the public.
Bizzoso was a member of the Dauphin County Bar Association from 1992 to 2007, serving as both chair and vice chair of the Government Law Section. She also served on the advisory board for the YWCA of Harrisburg’s Rape Crisis/Domestic Violence program and was a volunteer for the YMCA’s Pennsylvania Youth & Government Program.