Thanks for being an active and informed voter! I am excited to be running for the seat of retiring Judge Frances Hill. I believe the four most important criteria for Judge are these:
- Legal Experience.I’ve been a lawyer for 20 years. I started Stafford Law Office, LLC, in 2004. I’m an Adjunct Professor at the IU Maurer School of Law, a Certified Family Law Specialist (as certified by the Family Law Certification Board), a Registered Domestic Relations Mediator, and a trained Collaborative Attorney. I’ve practiced general civil law and family law. I’ve worked in nonprofits, academics, and private practice. I often serve as a Judge Pro Tempore, a substitute judge.
- Compassion. I became an attorney to help people and I’ve been a consistent pro bono attorney for low income and vulnerable people starting with the Haitian Refugee Project in law school, through my current work as a volunteer attorney with District 10 and CASA. Compassion is important to every client I’ve ever had—and to every adverse party. I’ve been to court as a client. It can be scary. Having a compassionate judge can make all the difference.
- Organization. I want to use my twenty years as a lawyer, my thirty years as a community volunteer, and my thirteen years as a small business owner to help make our courts as fair, as efficient, and as transparent as possible. I hope to pilot a night court for family law and small claims cases, I hope to focus on technology to help with efficiency, and I hope to leverage the huge resource we have of law students hungry for experience.
- Fairness. I believe it is critical for our local judges to treat all who enter our legal system in a fair and transparent way. That means everything from listening carefully with an open mind and removing personal biases, to issuing decisions promptly. My goal is that if you come into my court, that you will know why I make the decision I do—even if you don’t agree with it.
I could use your help with three things:
1) Please request a free t-shirt and wear it often;
2) Volunteer to host a yard sign; and
I appreciate your time and I ask for your vote on May 8!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stafford Files for Monroe County Judicial Seat
Bloomington, Ind.—Catherine Stafford filed as a Democratic candidate for Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Seat 3 (Division VI) on Wednesday, January 10.
An attorney, certified family law specialist as certified by the Family Law Certification Board and registered domestic relations mediator, Stafford has more than 20 years of legal experience. She is the founder of Stafford Law Office, LLC, and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the IU Maurer School of Law where she teaches mediation and modern small firm practice.
“As an attorney, I have spent twenty years serving as an advocate,” said Stafford. “A critical part of helping my clients prepare for negotiation, mediation and court is always to pause, put ourselves in the shoes of the other side and consider why the other side might disagree with our proposals, what the other side might be worried about, what the other side might want. This mindset helps us reach settlement more than almost anything else we do. Likewise, a good judge thinks about the case from all perspectives.”
Stafford recently served as the vice-president of the Monroe County Bar Association and actively participates in the Bloomington Association of Collaborative Professionals to promote better financial and mental health outcomes for adults and children impacted by divorce. She is frequently appointed judge pro tempore in Monroe County courts, hearing and deciding cases on paternity, child support, parenting time, custody and small claims.
Raised in Monroe County, Stafford has devoted significant volunteer hours to community efforts including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), District 10 Pro Bono Project, Monroe County Women’s Commission, Navigators of Monroe County, Inc., United Way of Monroe County and the League of Women Voters.
“I believe that a good judge is one who knows the law, listens to both sides carefully, weighs the evidence and makes a prompt and well-reasoned decision,” said Stafford. “I would bring these qualities to the Monroe County Circuit Court.”
Stafford holds a BA in English from Indiana University and a JD from the University of Minnesota. She resides in Monroe County with her husband and their three children. Learn more about Stafford and her campaign for judge at staffordforjudge.org.