On November 4, 2015 voters in Montgomery County elected Risa Vetri Ferman (“Ferman”), Daniel J. Clifford (“Clifford”) and Todd Eisenberg (“Eisenberg”) to fill three vacant positions on the Bench of Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. Ferman, Clifford and Eisenberg will take the Bench in January 2016. The three vacancies are result of mandatory retirements of the Honorable Emanual Bertin (December 2014) and Joseph A. Smyth (December 2015) and Bernard A. Moore (December 2015). It is anticipated that two of the three will be assigned to Family Court with the third being assigned to the Criminal Division.
The following, as reported in the Montgomery Bar Association Side Bar Magazine, is a summary of the background of each of the new Judges:
Risa Vetri Ferman
Risa Vetri Ferman is the first woman elected District Attorney of Montgomery County, earning her seat in November 2007 after working 15 years in the trenches as a prosecutor. In 2011, she was re-elected for a second term.
As a prosecutor, Ferman specialized in prosecuting homicide, child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. As District Attorney, she dedicated her office to protecting our most vulnerable citizens. She was the co-founder of both Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center and Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP). In 2011, she wrote a children’s book The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone to teach Internet safety to children.
Across Pennsylvania, DA Ferman is a law enforcement leader. She is the President of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and was Chair of the first Best Practices Committee. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania appointed her Chair of Criminal Procedural Rules Committee.
Award recognizing DA Ferman include: 2015 Montgomery County Black Law Enforcement Officers Association Lifetime Achievement Award; 2014 Girls Scouts “Take The Lead” Award; 2013 Aspen Institute’s Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership; 2012 L’Oreal Paris USA National Honoree/Women of Worth; 2012 Alan Lerner Child Advocacy Award-Field Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Daniel J. Clifford
Managing partner of the Norristown Office of Weber Gallagher, Clifford was Chair of the 1,300- member Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 2014 and spearheaded the award-winning “Judicial Interview of the Child” video project. Clifford has advocated for improvements to family court and diversity in law practice. He was honored by the Legal Intelligencer as a “2011 Diverse Lawyer of the Year” and the 2014 recipient of the Pro Bono Award from the PBA.
A graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law, Clifford currently serves the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as both a Hearing Committee Member of the Disciplinary Board and as one of only 6 attorney members of the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee.
In the Montgomery Bar, Clifford has served on the Board of Directors, the Judiciary, Nominating, Long-Range Planning, and Executive Committees and as Chair of the Family Law Section, Diversity, and Membership Committees. He is a Zone 9 member of the PBA House of Delegates.
In his community, Clifford has served as Chair of the Springfield Township Zoning Hearing Board since 1997 and on the boards of Adoptions From the Heart and the Equality Forum.
Eisenberg is lead claims counsel for PECO Energy Company, handling a significant portion of the company’s civil litigation. He was solicitor for several townships and boroughs, handling all aspects of municipal law concerns. Eisenberg also operated his own law practice, where he handled criminal, personal injury and family law matters. He was a staff attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
A graduate of Boston University, Eisenberg earned his law degree from Widener University School of Law and holds a Masters of Legal Letters in Trial Advocacy degree from Temple University. He is an instructor of trial advocacy for Temple University and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
Eisenberg volunteers for the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, which provides free legal representation to children who are the victims of abuse and neglect. He has represented many children in PFA hearings, dependency mattes, and as witness in criminal cases providing child victims with a voice.