Kim Berkeley Clark
Kim Berkeley Clark currently serves as President Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania and she is the first African American to serve as President Judge in Allegheny County.
Clark earned her J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1983. Following law school, she served as an assistant district attorney, and later deputy district attorney in Allegheny County for 16 years. In 1999, Governor Tom Ridge appointed Clark to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, and she was elected to a 10 year term later that year. She was reelected in 2009 and 2019. Clark serves in the family division, where she primarily hears cases in Juvenile Court.
Understanding that many people who enter the family division are traumatized, Clark has worked to develop a "trauma-informed" courthouse, which has served as a model for other courts in Pennsylvania - and nationwide. Family division Administrative Judge Kim Eaton has said that Allegheny County's juvenile court has become the "gold standard" under Clark's leadership, stating that "She went above and beyond any administrative judge I've ever known in any division. Juvenile used to be purgatory."
In 2017, Clark was awarded the William H. Renquist Award for Judicial Excellence by the National Center for State Courts, which is one of the highest honors for state Court judges in the United States. Clark was presented the award by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at a dinner in Washington D.C. At the dinner, Clark stated that "My courtroom has been transformed from an adversarial, trauma-filled courtroom to a safe, quiet and peaceful place...It is a place where everyone has the right to be heard and to have their positions considered. It is a place of inclusivity, not exclusivity. And, when everyone is included, they feel like they are part of the solution - they own it, and it works better."
Clark was appointed President Judge in 2018 and now oversees all divisions of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, including family, orphans', criminal, and civil.
She also currently serves as Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges' Commission and is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Procedural Rules and Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committees; the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Racial, Gender, and Ethnic Fairness; the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency - Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee; the State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision; the Pennsylvania State Children's Roundtable; and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.
In 2019, Clark was outspoken about the need for more advanced court technology - a need that has become even more critical in the past year. In July 2020, Clark participated in a panel discussion on changes to court procedures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic during PMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law's One-Day Law School for Journalists™. Click here to watch the panel discussion.