March 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
The Honorable Matthew D. Carrafiello
March 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
Judge, Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District from 11/95 to present
Current Assignment, Orphans' Court as of 1/1/10
Appointed Administrative Judge, Orphans' Court Division, until 11-1-20
Member, Administrative Governing Board, First Judicial District of PA, until 11/1/20
Married Linda Alice Barrata
Children Alessandra Carrafiello, Esq. – Matthew Carrafiello, Jr.
- Practice of Law, including Trial Practice since 1971 until 1995
- Undersheriff, City of Philadelphia from 1975 until 1995
Merit Selection Appointee; Administrator of Office; Adjudicator of Legal Decisions/Determinations; Chief Sworn Officer
South Philadelphia High School Graduate, 1964 - National Honor Society
Temple University 1964 to 1968 - Graduated Bachelor of Arts Degree
Temple University School of Law 1968 to 1971 Graduated Juris Doctor Degree
Philadelphia Bar Association - Member
The Justinian Society - Member, Board of Directors
Volunteer Judge Quality of Life Court (Night Court)
CATCH Mental Health, Board of Directors
Custodes Pacis Lodge, Sons of Italy in America - Member
Roxborough Lodge, Sons of Italy in America - Member
Methodist Hospital Foundation - Board Member, Vice Chair for Community Relations Jenkins Law Library - Board of Directors
Various other activities and memberships
Una Piccola Conversazione
1. How long have you been a member of the Justinian Society?
My first act as an attorney (after being sworn into the bar by the Hon. G. Fred DiBona) was to join The Justinian Society, sometime in November of 1971. I was sponsored by my soon to be law partner of a lifetime, James J DiMarco, Esq., and Jules Fioravanti, Esq... Jim was to be my partner until the day I was sworn in as a judge, and Jules was to be my dear friend until the day he passed.
2. Why did you join the Justinian Society, and what do you hope to gain from membership?
I joined The Justinian Society because, I was told "it had the best Christmas parties" and the finest group of trial lawyers, anywhere!
3. What do you love or enjoy most about your job?
What I love about all the jobs that I have done at the law, is the opportunity to see that everyone has access to justice and that the rule of law prevails. When this occurs, I am thrilled and when it doesn't, even in the midst of disappointment, I feel gratified as long as I have been part of the good fight.
4. How would you define success?
Defining success, especially in my position, is making a difference. Every matter before me is, up until that time, the most important matter that I have ever heard. If I felt otherwise, I would've quit a long time ago. To me, success is having been true to yourself and to those ideals that you value the highest.
5. Who or what inspires you?
The inspiration that I receive comes from several sources. First, I love being inspired by counsel. For counsel to be inspiring they themselves must be inspired. The actual matters that come before the court also give me great inspiration, simply because they are matters deserving of a fair hearing and a decision rooted in the law. Finally, the system as a whole is inspiring because unlike so many other societies, we share (judges, attorneys, litigants and jurors) in making the law, and we have done a pretty good job of it. As you may understand, I am so honored to be part of this process.
6. If you could choose anyone in history as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
I would have to choose Judge Nicholas Cipriani. His utter kindness, lack of ego, and ability to bring people together in collaborative efforts to benefit those who have so little control over their fate. Also, his ability to give fatherly and nonjudgmental advice has benefited not only myself but the members of our society, the bar, the bench and innumerable others. He was always able to lead fearlessly without the use of coercion or threat. I owe him a never-ending debt of gratitude for always being there with his friendship, mentorship and the perfect advice.
7. Name one valuable lesson you’ve learned in your life and that you would advise other members to follow?
Perhaps the most valuable lesson that I've learned is that I should always do what's right, even if I must re-examine a decision and admit my mistake. In doing so, I acknowledge that everyone else involved in my decisions deserve the best.
8. What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
As a boy and young man, I played the trumpet and would've gladly became a professional, if I had any real talent. However, playing the trumpet gave me a transferable skill by being able to perform in public. Also performing teaches that you just don't give the audience anything, unless you want to succumb to being booed or perhaps being hit with flying garbage!
9. What’s the last book you read?
"The Unexpected President": the life and times of Chester A Arthur. It is a great story about a president who was a political opportunist who assumed office upon the assassination of his predecessor, and surprised everyone by reforming the federal civil service.
10. What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia, i.e., sports team, restaurant, museum, history, music etc.?
My favorite thing about Philadelphia is its neighborhoods and the differences found within them. The diversity we enjoy is tantamount to living in a truly international environment. To make it even better, each neighborhood as a plus order of restaurants, cafés, taverns with their own local flavors. I love to visit and enjoy these establishments with my family, friends and colleagues. It's wonderful to be able to share our neighbors’ culture especially through their food!