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Allegheny County Bar Association Releases Ratings for Judicial Candidates Running in May 16 Primary Election

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Bar Association has announced its ratings for those individuals running for judicial office in the May 16 primary election. The ratings cover those judicial candidates who have requested a rating, have been interviewed by the ACBA’s Judiciary Committee and who live in and/or have an office in Allegheny County.

The candidates are seeking a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania or the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The ACBA has issued the following ratings:



Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Hon. Dwayne D. Woodruff    (pictured)                                   Recommended

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

W. Timothy Barry                                                     Highly Recommended

Irene McLaughlin Clark                                            Not Recommended at this Time

Paul N. Lalley                                                            Highly Recommended

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Pauline M. Calabrese                                               Not Recommended at this Time

Patrick M. Connelly                                                  Highly Recommended

Rosemary C. Crawford                                            Highly Recommended

Jessica L. Lynch                                                       Not Recommended at this Time

Mary C. McGinley                                                     Recommended

Hon. David L. Spurgeon                                          Highly Recommended


“One of the most important responsibilities we have as a bar association is to help the citizens of Allegheny County make informed choices when voting for candidates for judicial office, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” said ACBA President Melaine Shannon Rothey. “Our Judiciary Committee invested a substantial amount of time interviewing judicial candidates and evaluating them in several key areas, including temperament, legal experience, academic achievement, integrity and community involvement. We encourage Allegheny County citizens to use this information to vote with confidence on May 16.”

According to ACBA bylaws, 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. 

Candidates for statewide courts can choose to also be rated by the Allegheny County Bar Association. The candidates included in the above listing for statewide court have requested to be interviewed and rated.

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. The committee evaluates each candidate 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.

In the 2017 Pennsylvania Primary Elections, voters will be selecting candidates for the following judicial positions:  one justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, four judges on the Pennsylvania Superior Court; two judges for the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court; and two judges on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

More information on judicial elections for voters in Allegheny County is available at www.JudicialVote17.org.


Explanation of Ratings:

Highly Recommended

The candidate:

  • 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.
  • Possesses a reputation for the utmost integrity and temperament to excel as a judge of the court for which he/she is a candidate.
  • Exhibits outstanding citizenship by way of community and professional contributions.
  • Is an exceptional individual who will enhance or has enhanced the competence, dignity and public perception of the bench.



The candidate possesses a reputation for the utmost 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 candidate’s 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.


About the ACBA
Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with 6,000 member attorneys, judges, district justices, legal administrators, and paralegals.

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