Stephanie Klein chose the law because she saw its possibilities to change people’s lives for the better. Having served for 18 years as a judge, Stephanie knows that each case, no matter how small, is of the utmost importance to each litigant. Her guiding principle is that cases are about people, not just the law. Her judicial philosophy has been shaped by her former legal services clients facing often times desperate difficulties and by the litigants who came before her bench. She listened carefully to both sides and thoughtfully deliberated before making a decision.
Stephanie graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a major in History and French language. She earned her law degree at the Washington College of Law, American University, in Washington DC. She has been a Democrat since she first registered to vote.
During law school and after graduation, Stephanie worked for veterans’ legal services. Later, she represented workers and the disabled denied federal and state benefits, like Social Security Disability, SSI and unemployment compensation, at administrative hearings, and in federal and state courts – all poor clients who had nowhere else to turn for help. Both the Mayor of Baltimore City and the Governor of Maryland awarded her citizen citations for her efforts on behalf of veterans.
Magisterial Judge 1996-2013
In 1995, Stephanie became the first Democrat and the first woman to be elected Magisterial District Judge for Media, Nether Providence, and Swarthmore. She won re-election twice and served for 18 years. Her candidacy was motivated by her clients and their stories: disabled citizens denied benefits; domestic violence victims seeking protective orders; tenants facing eviction and homelessness; seniors ripped off by the unscrupulous, to name a few. As a judge, she was intent on listening to every litigant’s story, to ensure each had the opportunity to be heard and to offer every single litigant a fair day in court. Stephanie was widely recognized as one of the finest District Judges in Delaware County. The NAACP Media Branch recognized her efforts.
Working on Behalf of Women in the Legal Profession
Several years ago, Stephanie co-founded the Delco Bar Association’s Women in the Law Committee to support women in the practice of law, create continuing legal education programs of interest for women lawyers and the bar as a whole, and provide networking opportunities to support women’s legal practices. The Committee has supplied educational programs, created networking opportunities, and even raised money for non-profits like Domestic Abuse Project and Legal Aid of Southeast Pennsylvania. She has chaired the Women’s Committee annual Women’s History Month lecture and brought in speakers about Human Trafficking and Alice Paul, who helped engineer the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which afforded women’s the right to vote. Stephanie currently co-chairs that committee. In 2018, she and her co-chair were awarded a special Delco Bar President’s award for her work.
A Leader of the Delco Bar
Stephanie was elected three different times to serve on the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Bar Association. When she was a judge, she Co-Chaired the District Judge Committee of the Bar. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Committee and the Women in the Law Committee. Stephanie is also a member of the Board of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. She served as Secretary and two terms as Vice President of the Delaware County District Judge Association. And she served on the Board of Directors of the Domestic Abuse Project.
Mediator and Arbitrator
Since leaving the bench, Stephanie serves as a mediator and arbitrator for ADR Options in Philadelphia, a regional alternative dispute firm. She volunteers as a Judge Pro Tem at the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, both in the Major Trials Division and in Commerce Court. She belongs to the panel of Delaware County Bar Association’s Volunteer Settlement Program, in which she helps to settle civil cases currently before Delaware County Courts. She also volunteers to mediate discrimination cases for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and for Delaware County’s Center for Resolutions, a community mediation program. Stephanie is also a member of the Hearing Committee of the Disciplinary Board of the PA Supreme Court, where she hears and makes recommendations in ethics complaints brought against attorneys. She also serves on the Board of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators, a statewide organization which promotes mediation.
Stephanie lives in Wallingford with her husband. They have two adult daughters.