Judicial Election

When Pennsylvanians head to the polls on Nov. 7, 2017, they will vote to fill open spots on the bench by electing new judges in several courts. As a way to inform the public about the qualifications of these candidates, the Judiciary Committee at the Allegheny County Bar Association has researched, interviewed and rated the candidates. Following is a list of judicial candidates, the court to which they are seeking election, and their ACBA ratings

Name Court Rating
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Hon. Dwayne D. Woodruff PA Supreme Court Recommended
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Irene McLaughlin Clark PA Commonwealth Court Not Recommended At this Time
Paul N. Lalley PA Commonwealth Court Highly Recommended
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
Patrick M. Connelly Common Pleas Court Highly Recommended
Mary C. McGinley Common Pleas Court Recommended
Hon. David L. Spurgeon Common Pleas Court Highly Recommended

Explanation of Ratings:

For individuals seeking a seat on the bench in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the ratings are for those candidates who have requested a rating, have been interviewed by the Judiciary Committee and who reside in Allegheny County or have an office in Allegheny County.

According to the bylaws of the bar association, the Judiciary Committee must rate all candidates running for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, whether they have requested an interview and rating or not. This year, all candidates for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas were interviewed by the Judiciary Committee.

Each candidate is evaluated in the areas of temperament, experience in the field of law, academic achievement, honesty and integrity, reputation, general community interest and contributions to the profession.

The Allegheny County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee is a non-partisan committee of 24 attorneys who have been elected at large by the 6,000-member bar association.

An explanation of the ratings follows.

Highly Recommended
The candidate:

  1. Exhibits pre-eminence in the law by way of outstanding legal ability and a wide range of experience, either in a specialized field of law or a more varied practice, and has a reputation in the legal community as standing at the top of his or her profession.
  2. Possesses a reputation for the utmost integrity and temperament to excel as a judge of the court for which he/she is a candidate.
  3. Exhibits outstanding citizenship by way of community and professional Contributions.
  4. Is an exceptional individual who will enhance or has enhanced the competence, dignity and public perception of the bench.

The candidate possesses the highest reputation for integrity and the legal ability, experience and temperament to excel as a judge of the court for which he or she is a candidate.

Not recommended at this time
The candidates legal ability, experience and reputation indicate that, at some future time in his or her legal career, he or she may have the potential to excel as a judge, but the candidate is not yet at that stage.

The candidate does not now possess and is not likely to acquire the ability, reputation, or temperament necessary for a judicial position.

NOTE:  Candidates running for judgeships for statewide courts are required to go before the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association to be interviewed and rated. For the PBA ratings, go to pavotesmart.com