Two Gay Attorneys Make Bid for Judgeship
Out attorney launches first Common Pleas campaign
Abbe Fletman is a newcomer to campaigning for a judgeship on the Court of Common Pleas, but she intends to use her extensive legal experience to win.
Fletman is an out commercial litigator for Flaster/Greenberg, a commercial-business firm. Fletman received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
She said she pursued a career in law to help her community — which she said also influenced her decision to run for one of the 10 spots for Common Pleas Judge.
“I was motivated by a desire to help people and to actively participate in bettering my community,” she said. “This is a chance to be of service, and I am fortunate to be in a place in my personal life and career where I am able to do so.”
Fletman has represented a range of companies in business disputes, specifically focusing on intellectual-property issues. She has also served as a representative for women’s sports teams, seeking equality in college sports in Title IX litigation, and has legal experience in political campaigns.
“I often represent political campaigns and candidates in election-related matters, including serving on the statewide lawyer’s steering committee for President Obama’s reelection campaign,” she said.
Fletman also worked as pro-bono counsel in cases involving confidentiality of records of HIV testing and securing the rights of same-sex life partners in such matters as gravestone inscriptions.
She has also been in a variety of leadership roles in local and national LGBT grous.
“In the mid-1980s, while I was still in law school, I served as the first female cochair of the organization that became Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia,” she said. “ I also served as the first female cochair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men Committee. Nationally, I helped establish the LGBT Litigator Committee of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section.”
Fletman said electing out candidates promotes the notion that the judicial system is fair and impartial.
“Litigants will tend to have more faith in a judicial system that reflects the diversity of our great city,” she said.
Although campaigning won’t officially start until later this month, Fletman said she is prepared.
“I have been laying the groundwork for my campaign organization and have been meeting with leaders in many communities, including the LGBT community, for advice and support.”
Fletman said her Philadelphia roots and experience as a trial lawyer are among the attributes she could contribute to the bench.
“I would bring my intellect, experience and devotion to fairness to the bench as well as a willingness to listen and make prompt decisions,” she said.
Out attorney makes second bid for judgeship
An openly gay attorney has announced that he will run this spring for one of the 10 open judgeships on the Court of Common Pleas — and this time, he intends to be victorious.
Chris Mallios, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, ran for the bench for the first time in 2011, but came in 15th out of a pool of more than 30 candidates, just outside the needed top-10 mark.
Mallios is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and works as an attorney advisor at a Washington, D.C.-based anti-violence organization called AEquitas — something he said has kept him busy since the last election.
“I spend half my time on the road and half my time working in Philadelphia,” he said.
Mallios has traveled all over the country training law enforcement on how to handle domestic violence and rape cases. He described AEquitas as victim-centered and inclusive.
“We give victims of domestic violence and rape the same access to justice that other crime victims get,” he said.
Also in the last two years, he’s had time to strategize for his next bid for Common Pleas, utilizing the lessons he learned from his first campaign.
“I learned to start early. So much depends on the support of wards when running for judge. I learned in my last campaign that ward leaders are people who genuinely care about city government and want to get to know the candidates and that really takes time,” he said.
Mallios said he waited too long in his last campaign to make those connections but, this time, plans to get his name and message out early.
In the next few months, he said, he will reach out to stakeholders through modern means of communication as well as face-to-face interactions.
“We are going to have more concentration on social media, specifically Facebook,” he said. “I also will have small meet-and-greets and coffee get-togethers at potential voters’ houses.”
He said his decision to run for a second time stemmed from his appreciation for the human element of the law.
“Judges have a tremendous impact on the lives of people involved in cases,” he said. “I have spent my whole career in public service, and this is the highest level of public service. I would be honored to do it.”
If elected, Mallios said he would work behind the scenes to educate the court on LGBT issues.
“Decisions on people’s lives are decided in courtrooms, especially with the LGBT community. It is important that we have that representation on the bench and to be a force in the courtroom,” he said.
For more information on Mallios’ campaign, visit www.Mallios2013.com.
From our media partners PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.