July 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
Hon. William J. Manfredi (Ret.)
July, 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
Judge Manfredi, who received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, was a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas from 1983 until his retirement in 2014.
Judge Manfredi spent 10 years on the criminal side of the Court, as Major and Homicide Trial judge, calendar (assignment) judge for both the Major Trial and Homicide Programs, and as Supervising Judge for Philadelphia County Investigating Grand Jury. He served on the civil side from 1993, serving as lead judge in the Arbitration Appeal Program and as Civil Motions judge for 2 years. Judge Manfredi was a charter member of the Sheppard Committee, which studied and recommended changes to the Administration of the Court. He was one of the Judicial Team Leaders who implemented the innovative Case Management System which reduced the Court's backlogged civil inventory over a 3-year period from upwards of 47,000 to 18,000 cases, consequently reducing the time for filing to disposition and trial of cases from 7 years, to approximately 2 years, in accordance with guidelines established by the American Bar Association. He served as a Team Leader and Coordinating Judge of the final Day Backward Program. Judge Manfredi was then selected to lead the reconstituted civil side of the Trial Division. He served there as either Team Leader or Supervising Judge until 2012. As such, he presided over 4 Trial Teams, the Complex Litigation Center, Motions Court, the Arbitration Program, and Commerce Court. During Judge Manfredi's tenure as Supervising Judge, the Trial Division - Civil was acknowledged by The National Center for State Courts, a respected court administration think tank, as arguably the best urban civil trial court in the United States.
He is well-known as an accomplished mediator and has been involved in the non-trial resolutions of numerous Mass Tort and other complex major litigations.
As a candidate for the Pennsylvania Superior Court in May, 2003, Judge Manfredi was highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and received the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Judge Manfredi served two terms as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Civil Procedural Rules Committee, and has been, both as participant and presenter, part of education programs sponsored by the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Defense Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, National Center for State Courts. Judge Manfredi participated in many of the Brookings Institute/American Enterprise Institute Judicial Education Programs, and was part of its Judicial Advisory Board. He was a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission for Justice Initiatives. He was also a past Master of the American Inn of Court, and a member of the American College of Business Court Judges at the Northwestern University Law School, and George Mason University.
Judge Manfredi completed the 40-hour Mediation Training Program at the National Judicial College, as well as Advanced Mediation Training at the American Bar Association Headquarters in Chicago.
Judge Manfredi is currently retired, but actively engaged in Alternate Dispute Resolution.
Una Piccola Conversazione
1. How long have you been a member of the Justinian Society?
I joined the Justinian Society prior to my election to the bench in 1983.
2. Why did you join the Justinian Society, and what do you hope to gain from membership?
I wanted to be part of an organization dedicated to honoring Italian American culture and scholarship.
3. What do you love or enjoy most about your job?
Prior to my retirement as judge, I had the opportunity to participate in the creation of new and efficient protocols. We were successful in eliminating backlog and delay from both the Court's Criminal and Civil programs.
4. How would you define success?
To serve others while accomplishing an aim or purpose.
5. Who or what inspires you?
My father was an inspiration. With little formal education, he created a successful business and provided a good life for his family.
6. If you could choose anyone in history as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
My Uncle John Garaguso. He graduated from Penn Law in 1928, while working as a barber. As a member of the Bar, he went on to become a significant, well-known counselor and litigator.
7. Name one valuable lesson you’ve learned in your life and that you would advise other members to follow?
Rule your own mind. Don't allow negativity and doubt to control you.
8. What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I spent 5 months after Law School, traveling around Europe on my BMW motorcycle.
9. What’s the last book you read?
I love historical fiction. The Wolf Hall Trilogy. The story of Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with Henry VIII. It was a great read.
10. What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia, i.e., sports team, restaurant, museum, history, music etc.?
Having access to Fairmount Park, the largest city enclosed park in the world.