Clifford looks to bring reform to MontCo

Dan Clifford is running for a seat as judge in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Clifford recently received the endorsement of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee, and said he is believed to be the first openly LGBT candidate outside of Philadelphia to be endorsed for a countywide office.

Clifford’s election as a Democrat would also count towards the growing number of Democratic judges in a mostly Republican judiciary. Clifford said that in 2009, all 21 county judges were Republican and, since then, five Democrats have been elected. His win would bring the total to six, and the two other open seats could bring the number up to eight.

“I hope that as an LGBT candidate and Democrat, I can help maintain diversity in a largely conservative area,” said Clifford. “In a visible county office like a judge’s seat, I can help set an example too.”

Clifford, 56, currently practices at the firm Weber Gallagher, where he has worked for 22 years, and specializes in family law. He has also served on the Springfield Township zoning hearing board for the past 12 years.

The longtime Springfield Township resident attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad, then went on to the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated in 1984. Clifford worked at a mid-sized firm in York for two years before relocating to the Philly area and practicing family law at WolfBlock, LLP. That firm was later acquired by Weber Gallagher.

Among his accomplishments, Clifford said he is most proud of a judicial video project he recently created in which he interviewed experienced judges from across the state to compile a resource for new judges on how to interview children in custody cases. Clifford found many new judges came to the bench with little to no experience in dealing with children. The video became a resource for lawyers and parents as well, he said.

Despite his almost-30 years of experience, Clifford said there is only so much he can do as an attorney to implement some of his ideas. 

“I want to improve the system, but there is only so much I can do if I am not on the bench,” Clifford said.

If elected, Clifford said he would work to make the county court system more user-friendly and implement procedures to alleviate the heavily burdened system.

“My approach would be a judge-managed system, where the judges are responsible for moving the cases through the system, not unlike the way New Jersey operates,” said Clifford. “We currently have what I call a ‘no-one-managed’ system, which relies on the attorneys. That’s proven to be a pretty slow process.”

Clifford married his partner of 22 years, Jonathan Weinhold, last October. They live in Wyndmoor and have a 15-year-old son.

For more information on Clifford, visit

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