Wendi Barish for

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

 

Career Path 

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. 

Early Life

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Giving Back

 

When Wendi was a child her parents divorced, and she and her mother and siblings moved into the home of her grandparents.   Her family received public assistance, and she will never forget the support the City of Philadelphia provided to her.  This is why she makes it a priority to help others in need. She has done so through her volunteer work with The Wardrobe, the Settlement School of Music, Help Hope Live, the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, and Doggie Style Pets.

The Wardrobe serves people who have received public assistance by helping them transition back to the workforce.  They provide career development skills training and the right attire for interviews. Wendi chose The Wardrobe because the organization provides help to women experiencing the same difficulties as her mother did many years ago.  Wendi served two 3-year terms on The Wardrobe board and continues to support this amazing organization.  

The Settlement School of Music is important to Wendi because the scholarships they provide enable children from lower income households to experience the joy of studying music. Wendi’s late grandfather, Jerry Snyder, was a piano player.  His music filled the house as she grew up and she knows that music can empower and inspire children.  In 2020, Wendi completed her second 3-year term on the board.

Help Hope Live is an organization that supports community-based fundraising for people with unmet medical expenses and costs related to cell and organ transplants or catastrophic injuries and illnesses.  As a two-time cancer survivor, Wendi understands the exorbitant costs associated with medical care and how devastating these costs can be for many families. Wendi served a three-year term on the Help Hope Live board.

The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society (FHBS) is the oldest Jewish charitable organization in continuous existence in the United States.   FHBS’ 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 has been serving on the board of FHBS since 2016.

Last, but not least, Wendi can frequently be found at the Doggie Style Pet store in Old City where she serves as a volunteer dog walker and therapy human.  The walks and snuggles are just as beneficial for Wendi as they are for the dogs.