Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

Pennsylvania family court judge recipient of William H. Rehnquist Award

Williamsburg, Va. (September 12, 2017) — Pennsylvania family court Judge Kim Berkeley Clark has been named recipient of the 2017 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, the highest honor bestowed to a state court judge by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Judge Clark has earned a national reputation for transforming the way children and families who enter the court system are treated, by creating a “trauma-informed” courthouse.  

The Rehnquist Award recognizes a state court judge who possesses integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and sound judgment. Judge Clark, of the 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania, will be presented the award in November during a dinner at the U.S. Supreme Court hosted by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr.

“The National Center is honored to present the Rehnquist Award to a state court judge who demonstrates the power of leading by example. Judge Clark is a leader who is committed to helping families,” NCSC President Mary C. McQueen said. “Her work has dramatically improved the lives not only of those who have entered her courtroom but of thousands of other families.”

Judge Clark works in Pittsburgh, but her programs have been replicated in courts across Pennsylvania and across the country.

“Judge Clark is a spirited trailblazer,” said Sharon M. Biasca, assistant administrator of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, who nominated Judge Clark for the award. “Working in Judge Clark’s trauma-informed courthouse has been the highlight of my professional career.”

Judge Clark was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County by Governor Tom Ridge in March 1999.  She was elected to a full 10-year term in November 1999. Prior to becoming the administrative judge of the Family Division, she served as the Supervising Judge of Juvenile Court.

She serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission and as past president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.

In her capacity as a juvenile and family court judge, Judge Clark also serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Procedural Rules and Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committees, the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Racial,  Gender,  and  Ethnic Fairness,   the   Pennsylvania   Commission   on   Crime   and   Delinquency  Juvenile   Justice   and Delinquency  Prevention  Committee, the Pennsylvania State Children’s  Roundtable  (chair of the Dependency  Benchbook  Committee), and  the  Pennsylvania  Legal  Aid Network.   

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.


National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA  23185-4147