Honorable Kathryn Streeter Lewis

Board Member

In 1988, Gov. Robert P. Casey appointed Kathryn Streeter Lewis to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania First Judicial District Court of Common Pleas, created by the elevation of the Honorable Juanita Kidd Stout to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Lewis has dedicated her career to public service. After law school, she was a law clerk to the Honorable Doris May Harris and later Staff Counsel at the Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement, a nonprofit that developed and managed affordable housing. She also served as Counsel to the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. She eventually joined the City of Philadelphia’s Law Department as an Assistant City Solicitor, rising to the position of First Deputy City Solicitor.

After being appointed to the bench, Lewis was elected to a ten-year term in 1989 and retained in 1999. She served in every division of the Court of Common Pleas, Family Court, Orphans’ Court, and Trial Court Divisions. In 1992, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed her to serve as the Administrative Judge of the Orphans’ Court Division. Lewis was the first African-American and one of the first women to serve as an Administrative Judge in Philadelphia. She retired from the bench in 2008.

In addition to her judicial service, Lewis was as an adjunct professor at Villanova University School of Law for more than 15 years. She taught courses at the National Judicial College, in Reno, Nev., concerning Guardianships and Handling Homicide Cases. She was co- chair of the Juvenile Justice Alliance of Philadelphia for many years. After retirement, Judge Lewis was appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, (2013-2016).

In 2016, Lewis returned to the Court of Common Pleas as a Senior Judge to serve as Homicide Team Leader. Her responsibilities included administering the First Judicial District’s Juvenile Lifers Sentenced Without Parole Program.

Lewis has participated in many legal and community organizations. She has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career including, The Villanova University School of Law Alumni, Award for Public Service; The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, J. Austin Norris Award for Professional Excellence, and the A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., Award for Commitment and Integrity to the Legal Community; and the National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division-Philadelphia Chapter’s Doris May Harris Image Award and the Philadelphia Bar Association, Women in the Profession’s Sandra Day O’Connor Award.

Lewis remains active in many organizations including, the Clifford Scott Green Chapter of The National Bar Association Judicial Council, Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court (Past President), The Foundation of the National Bar Association Women Lawyers, Philadelphia Chapter, and Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Board of Consultors. Lewis is also a deaconess at Pinn Memorial Baptist Church.

Lewis was reared in the Strawberry Mansion Section of Philadelphia. She attended Philadelphia Public Schools, and graduated from Simon Gratz High School, as class valedictorian. Lewis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts degree and earned a law degree from Villanova University School of Law.

Lewis has been married to Michael Lewis for 49 years. They have one son, Michael Streeter Lewis. In December 2019, Lewis published her memoir, “When The Unlikely Are Chosen.”