Wendi Barish

Member since: Thursday, 11 February 2021
Last Visit: Never
First Name
Last Name
Campaign Cycle
Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
Email Address
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ballot Position
Button #
Bar Association Rating
Democratic City Committee, 1st Ward, 5th Ward, 8th Ward, 9th Ward, 27th Ward, 30th Ward
Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Philadelphia Metal Trades Council, Philadelphia Building Trades, IBEW Local 98, Painters District Council 21, Firefighters & Paramedics Local 22, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, Laborers District Council, AFSCME District Council 47, AF
Progressive Groups
PA Working Families Party, Millennials in Action, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, Reclaim Philadelphia, Liberty City LGBT Democrats, Free the Ballot
Public Officials
Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Sharif Street, Rep. Joanna McClinton, Rep. Mary Isaacson, Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, Councilmember Mark Squilla, Councilmember Kathy Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas
News Papers
What has been the general nature of your practice?
Upon graduation from law school in 1996, I specialized in the area of Employment Law. After three years representing employees, I began working for a defense firm, Margolis Edelstein. While there, I expanded into the area of Civil Rights and also handled some general liability matters. I stayed with my practice group through its transition to another defense firm, Weber Gallagher. I became a partner at Weber Gallagher and the Vice-Chair of the Employment Group and Co-Chair of the Civil Rights Group. In December 2015, I accepted an in-house position with the Philadelphia Housing Authority as the Deputy General Counsel of Labor and Employment. From September 2016 to September 2017, I was appointed Acting Executive Vice President of Human Resources and assumed the majority of the former Deputy General Counsel of Litigation duties. In March 2018, I was promoted to Senior Deputy General Counsel and in March 2020, I became the Acting Vice President of Human Resources.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
I am an experienced litigator and leader with nearly 25 years of experience as a lawyer. I have practiced before the state and federal courts and administrative agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on both the trial and appellate levels. I believe my adversaries and colleagues would describe me as intelligent, fair, objective, and reasonable. I have had the perspective of representing both plaintiffs and defendants. I have vast experience in handling complex legal issues and an outstanding track record of resolving cases.

I possess effective communication skills, both oral and written, which would make me an asset to the bench. Moreover, I am invested in my community and believe every person deserves to be treated with dignity in the courtroom.

Most significantly, in my personal life I have experienced what it is like for a child not to be raised by their parents and how sentencing a person can impact a family for generations to come. I also know doors have been opened for me throughout my life as a result of my white privilege and that implicit bias has no place in the courtroom.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
The need for improvement and ability to effectuate change. Currently, the criminal justice system is plagued by the impact of systemic and institutional racism. I find having the ability to repair something broken to be inspiring.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
I think our criminal justice system is broken because there would be fewer people in the system if it worked. The criminal justice system should not just be a punitive system; it should be a restorative system. By way of example, if I served in the criminal court, I would take the following three steps to change the system: (1) I would utilize the various alternatives to incarceration when individuals have mental health and/or substance abuse issues; (2) I would consider mitigating circumstances such as abuse and trauma when rendering sentences and applying any sentencing guidelines. I would also seek input from professionals who are well acquainted with the effects of trauma and available treatment. I would welcome these professionals into my courtroom to provide suggestions on treatment options for the accused; and (3) when available, I would refer those re-entering from incarceration to programs that allow them to return to public housing and help them obtain gainful employment.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
Put simply, the sentence should fit the crime and the circumstances. Judges need to understand the collateral consequences of a conviction before deciding whether it is appropriate to convict. By way of example, a drug possession conviction carries a civil penalty of a one-year driver’s license suspension, which can prevent an individual from working. While a judge is bound to apply governing law, based on the relevant facts and circumstances, the judge can take the time to make sure the individual has the services needed to be able to be gainfully employed, such as job training and education. Second, judges can make trauma-informed decisions when issuing sentences, recognizing the effects that trauma (such as foster care, neglect, poverty, homelessness, abuse, systemic racism, etc.) may have on the individual’s life. Judges have the ability to issue sentences that can assist individuals in transforming their lives by providing them access to treatment.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night thinking about a case and wishing you had handled something differently? If so, please describe one situation.
No. Thus far in my career, I have not been in a situation where I felt my ethics and beliefs were compromised. I have turned down the handling of cases which comprised my principles.
Who are your role models and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my role model. She led by example and triumphed in a male dominated field. She possessed conviction and humbleness. She fought for equality. She also had the same rare type of cancer I have and lived a long and full life.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
Seinfeld was my favorite tv show of all time because it showed the humor in everyday life!
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
The entire Purple Rain album because Prince!
What is you favorite number?
Today it is 3.
NewsNo Result