Who We Are
Judge4Yourself.com is a service of the Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition, whose members are:
- The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- The Norman S. Minor Bar Association
- The Ohio Womens Bar Association
- The Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- The Asian American Bar Association of Ohio
Dozens of lawyers and others from these groups volunteer up to 4 days every year to review candidates’ questionnaires, interview candidates, share information and develop candidate ratings. Click here to see a list of coalition participants.
Some Coalition participants are self-employed or work in small firms. Others work for large firms, local companies or government. Our community representatives have worked with people or businesses that are affected by court decisions.
All of us are independent. Our rules prohibit any participant from supporting a judicial candidate, and from participating in evaluations for a race that include their spouse or a candidate their spouse is supporting.
We are also non-partisan in our ratings. We rate each candidate in every contested election according to the same criteria, regardless of the candidate’s party, and regardless of the endorsements the candidate may have received.
Our goal is to help Cuyahoga County voters elect good judges. Our ratings tell voters, in simple language, whether we think that a candidate will make a good judge. Our rating page links to a biography for every candidate we rate, and information about the state or municipal court where the candidates seek office. Although our perspectives vary, we agree that knowledgeable, fair and respectful judges are essential for our community.
In 2001, the founders of the Coalition started discussing how lawyers and concerned citizens could better inform voters about the importance of voting in judicial elections and lawyers’ opinions of the candidates’ qualifications. After months of preparation, member organizations jointly interviewed judicial candidates for the first time before the 2002 general election, and jointly published the organizations’ separate ratings.
Since then, we have rated judicial candidates in every election for Cuyahoga County courts, the Supreme Court and municipal courts. Most judicial candidates have cooperated in our process. Our work has earned praise from the media and from voters. Many people tell us that they rely on our ratings when they vote.
We strive continuously to improve our process. Most recently, members of the bar associations that make up the Coalition have worked to improve the Coalition’s process and to increase the confidence of candidates and the public in the fairness of our ratings. We seriously considered the criticisms that have been made of the Coalition’s work over the past several years. We collected information about the candidate ratings processes used by other bar associations in Ohio and elsewhere. We surveyed the 5000+ members of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. We educated ourselves on implicit bias, and considered how to bring more rigor and objectivity to our candidate ratings. Dozens of lawyers collectively spent hundreds of volunteer hours assessing every aspect of our work, including governance and By Laws, participant recruitment and training, criteria and ratings, and the processes by which we obtain information from, interview and evaluate the candidates.
As a result of this intensive work, the Coalition adopted new By Laws as of July 1, 2019 and several new policies and process changes. For more details about the changes made, see our JCRC Annual Report.