Wendi Barish for Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Wendi is known to her family as “the glue” that keeps them all together. Born in Northeast Philadelphia, Wendi grew up knowing she wanted to be a lawyer. At the age of 8, when her parents divorced, she negotiated the plan that allowed her dog to come with her when she and her mom, sister and brother moved into her grandparents’ house. In elementary school, children would comment how different Wendi’s sister was, due to her having a disability. Wendi would fiercely protect her. Growing up in a single-parent home was not easy, but thanks to the help of social workers and teachers Wendi gained the confidence to know that she would accomplish her goals. She considers herself raised by the City of Philadelphia.
Wendi started working as a babysitter at age 13, and worked throughout high school to help support her family. Graduating at the top of her class from George Washington High School, she received both financial and merit based college scholarships. Wanting a new experience, she traveled to Massachusetts to attend Brandeis University. Wendi then earned her Juris Doctor Degree at Hofstra University School of Law. Working tirelessly during college and law school to support herself, her determination to become independent and self-sufficient never waned.
Wendi always planned to return to the City that molded her, and wanted to work in the field of employment law representing employees alleging discrimination. She interned at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia during law school, and after graduating, applied to every member of the National Employment Lawyers Association to become a one herself.
With fierce determination, she obtained a job even before she passed the bar exam. For three years Wendi worked on behalf of employees at the Law Offices of Thomas More Holland. Wanting to work in a large firm environment that would expand her knowledge, she joined Margolis Edelstein, and from there, transitioned with her supervising partners to Weber Gallagher.
Soon she became a Partner, Co-Chair of the Civil Rights Department, and Vice-Chair of the Employment Law Department. She also spent a great deal of time recruiting and mentoring younger associates, understanding all too well the importance of investing in the future of others. Making the switch to defend employers and municipalities, Wendi focused on ensuring all people with claims of discrimination and civil rights violations were treated fairly and equitably under the laws protecting their rights. She also counseled and educated clients on workplace conduct, implementing practices to ensure those rights she held dear were being protected.
Wendi has tried cases in both State and Federal Courts, and amicably settled hundreds of cases throughout her career. She has also served as an Arbitrator and Mediator for both the Federal and State Courts.
In 2015 Wendi made the decision to give back to her community and accepted a position at the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA). She was drawn to PHA’s mission to help the citizens of Philadelphia who could not afford housing. Hired as Deputy General Counsel of Labor and Employment, she was soon promoted to Senior Deputy General Counsel. She also served as an interim Acting Executive Vice President of Human Resources. In these capacities, she has strived to change and improve the lives of those working for, and being served by, PHA.
An Objective Approach
Wendi takes a well-rounded, objective approach in dealing with legal matters. She strives to protect the rights of all people, and believes everyone should be treated equally and with respect. She believes in giving people second chances, and that the punishment should fit the crime. Wendi knows that people cannot be defined by one mistake. She also knows all people are capable of great things, and should be held accountable for their actions.
As a child, Wendi often felt judged because she was a recipient of public assistance. She will never forget the assistance the City of Philadelphia provided to her and makes it a priority to give back to her community. She does so through her work with Career Wardrobe, the Settlement School of Music, and the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society.
Career Wardrobe provides women who have received public assistance help in transitioning back to the workforce through career development skills training and providing the right attire for an interviews. She chose Career Wardrobe because the organization provides help to women going through the same experience her mother went through.
The Settlement School of Music is important to Wendi because the scholarships they provide enable children from lower income households to study music. Wendi’s late grandfather, Jerry Snyder, was a piano player. She grew up with music in her life, and knows music can empower and inspire children.
The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society (FHBS) is the oldest Jewish charitable organization in continuous existence in the United States whose core mission is to help Jewish women in financial crisis. This organization is meaningful to Wendi as she received assistance from the Jewish community as a child.
Wendi believes in giving back to her community and the City of Philadelphia. She wants to ensure the protection of those inalienable rights to equal treatment and fairness under the law. For her, there is no better reason to run for Judge.