I live in Mt. Lebanon where my wife Julie, an accomplished novelist, and I raised three children: Simon, a chemical engineer; Justin, a college junior studying video game design, and Zoe who is a senior at Mt Lebanon High School. We're also joined by a recent addition to our family, a rescue German Shepherd named Elsa.
My family settled in Pittsburgh more than 100 years ago. My great-grandfather, Hyman Shear, started a trucking business with nothing more than a pull-cart and a blind horse. He built that business into a thriving company and eventually turned it over to my grandfather. Not satisfied with retirement, he joined the Teamsters Union and went back out on the trucks with the other drivers.
From my parents and grandparents I learned the values of fairness and hard work. My father ran a sporting goods store and my mother was a home economics teacher. After raising the kids, my mother went back to school and became a lawyer. Her drive and determination sparked my interest in law school.
I attended the University of Pennsylvania, then went on to law school, and later private practice in counties throughout the Commonwealth. Early in my career as an attorney, I served as a clerk for a President Judge Emeritus of the Superior Court where I saw the great variety of cases that come before the Court.
Throughout my 30-year career in the law, I carried the lessons of my parents and grandparents with me and infused my work with fairness, equity, and the drive to make sure all my clients were well represented, and got the fair shot they deserved.
I served for nearly 15 years in a leadership role on the Allegheny County Bar Association's Board of Governors and as its president where I championed issues affecting women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members of the legal profession. During my tenure on the board, we promoted changes to the rules of professional conduct to prohibit bias, and I chaired the committee responsible for drafting the ACBA's Code of Professionalism for the Bar Association, which is still in use today.
That work led to The Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointing me as a member, and later as chair, of its charitable arm, the IOLTA Board, which oversees funding of legal service agencies across the Commonwealth that provide legal services to those who cannot afford them.
Being a Judge on the Superior Court requires quickly diagnosing the issue at hand and dealing with a very large caseload. My long career in the law has prepared me well for these tasks, and the values of hard work and fairness guide me to this day, help keep me grounded, and serve as a constant reminder of what's important.