December 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
The Honorable Idee C. Fox
December, 2021 Justinian Member of the Month
Judge Fox was assigned and served in the Family Court Division, Domestic Relations Section from 1996 to 2008. From 2001 to 2005 she served as the Supervising Judge.
In January 2008, Judge Fox was reassigned to the Civil Trial Division. She was assigned to the high-volume Civil Motions Program for about four years. She served as a Co-Team Leader of the Mass Tort/Arbitration Appeal/Non-Jury Program. In 2016, she was appointed Supervising Judge of the Civil Trial Division, where served until being elected President Judge by the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in late 2018. She now serves as the President Judge and Chair of the Administrative Governing Board.
Judge Fox grew up in South Philadelphia. She graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. The first member of her family to attend college, she earned her B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She received her law degree from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from law school, Judge Fox returned home to Philadelphia and worked in private practice in various areas of the law until she was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1995. Elected in 1995, Judge Fox was retained in 2005 and again in 2015.
Judge Fox has a strong commitment to judicial education. She served as Co-Chair of the FJD Education Committee and has been a presenter at continuing legal education programs. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. Judge Fox currently serves on the Philadelphia Bar Association's Civil Gideon and Access to Justice Task Force.
Judge Fox was awarded the Herbert R. Weiman, Jr. Award from the Family Law Section. In 2017, she was featured as a Distinguished Leader by the Legal Intelligencer. In 2019, she received the Equal Justice Award from Community Legal Services. Judge Fox received the 2021 Justice Brennan Distinguished Jurist Award.
Una Piccola Conversazione
1. How long have you been a member of the Justinian Society?
Since the early 80's. At the urging of Judge Anthony DeFino, Michael A. DeFino, and Michel G. DeFino. I shared office space with them.
2. Why did you join the Justinian Society, and what do you hope to gain from membership?
I grew up in South Philly. We lived with my maternal grandfather who had emigrated from Italy when he was 9. My dad was Jewish and my mom of Italian descent. I identified culturally with the Italian side. The Justinian Society was an opportunity to meet other lawyers and judges.
3. What do you love or enjoy most about your job?
As President Judge, I enjoy solving problems, working with my colleagues, and our employees.
4. How would you define success?
When I was younger it was much more monetary. Now, success is so different. Meeting and working with people and feeling as though you can have an impact is a much more relevant definition of "success."
5. Who or what inspires you?
I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 9. I was blessed to meet lots of people who inspired me. Too many to name. However now, knowing I can have an impact and help people, inspires me and keeps me coming into the office even on the bad days.
6. If you could choose anyone in history as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
As an avid reader of history, sometimes the "mentor" of the day is much defined by the crisis we are hoping to survive. I've spent a few days thinking about this, but I think I'd say Winston Churchill, as portrayed in "The Splendid and the Vile." With leadership you accept the praise and the blame.
7. Name one valuable lesson you've learned in your life and that you would advise other members to follow?
Be true to yourself. Treat people with the same respect you demand. Also return what you received. We all had a hand that reached out and helped; return that gift.
8. What's something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I make a mean pizzelle.
9. What's the last book you read?
It's a slow read. The most recent is "Lawrence in Arabia" by Scott Anderson, and "Harlem Shuffle" by Colson Whitehead.
10. What's your favorite thing about Philadelphia, i.e., sports team, restaurant, museum, history, music etc.?
I love this city. I went away for college and law school, and all I wanted to do was come back to Philadelphia. It's everything. I love to walk around this city. When I was a kid, we didn't have a car. Our Sunday outing was riding the 23 Trolley from 11th and Ellsworth to Chestnut Hill, with occasional stops along the way to pick up a different route. My dad was from NYC and thought riding public transportation was a great way to know your city.