by Pete Mazzaccaro
Shoshana Bricklin, of Chestnut Hill, is running for Municipal Court.
The former Democratic Committeewoman and longtime City Council employee is running against 10 other candidates for a seat on the city’s Municipal Court.
Bricklin has lived in Chestnut Hill for 17 years. When she first moved here, Bricklin also served on the board of the Chestnut Hill Community Association as an institutional director representing Mishkan Shalom Synagogue, which used to meet at the former Chestnut Hill Methodist Church
A lawyer by training – she received her law degree from Temple University – Bricklin spent the last five years as a legislative aid to City Councilman Curtis Jones. Prior to working for Jones, Bricklin was hired by then City Council President John Street to work on Council’s technical staff, where she reviewed and wrote legislation for City Council.
Bricklin was the author of the legislation that formed the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District.
Before she went into politics, Bricklin was an attorney for Women Against Abuse and practiced in Family Court.
But Bricklin always felt politics was a-calling.
“I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer,” Bricklin said. “I wanted to be in politics when I was a kid. I thought I’d be President and thought that’s what you did.”
Her work at Jones’ office kept her busy, she said.
“I ran his internship program – I’ve had 150 students come through in the last five years,” she said. “Some people have told me that because of my experience [with Jones] that I must have a great judicial temperament because I have the patience to deal with people from all walks of life.”
So with more than 15 years experience in crafting policy, why would she want to become a judge?
“I was asked by another judge, ‘why aren’t you running?’” she said. “I thought I was exactly where I wanted to be. Working on policy and making good change in the world. I had to think about it.”
On her qualifications, Bricklin said she would bring a few different perspectives that those running against her don’t necessarily have.
“There are not many lawyers who have worked only in the public sector,” she said. “And I have. I think that’s an important perspective to bring to the bench. There are a lot of people who are not represented by lawyers. And you need to understand the issues behind why people are appearing in Municipal Court.”
Being a female candidate, she said, is also important.
“The other thing I discovered is that our court has 25 judges and only eight are women,” she said. “That’s not a fair representation in a city where more than 50 percent of the population is female. People need to have confidence in our courts and see that ours is a fair system in which everyone is represented.”
What does she hope to accomplish?
“Municipal Court has been doing a lot of good things to keep people out of jail,” she said. “That’s the kind of work I’ve been doing at Councilman Jones’ office. To figure out ways to keep people out of jail. It’s not only good for the person – its fiscally advantageous.”
Bricklin said that she looks forward to the opportunity to work on a smaller scale. Rather than the broad strokes of policy legislation, a seat on the Municipal Court would mean making decisions that directly effect individuals.
“Some people say you need to apply the law, but it’s more than applying the law. If that’s all it took, a computer could do it,” she said. “There’s more to a case than that. It takes wisdom and making judicial decisions. It’s not all black and white.”