Seidman Opponent Has Plenty Of Life Experience

 jahra mclawrenceJahra McLawrence


Jahra McLawrence has nothing against Broward County Judge Lee Seidman.

Still,  McLawrence  opened a campaign to run against Seidman this week.


“People throw around the word that its Seidman’s seat, McLawrence said. 

“It’s the public’s seat.  This is not a race against Seidman.  I’m running to be a Broward judge who will uphold the judiciary and treat people in court with understanding and courtesy.

That comment sounded to me like McLawrence, who worked in the Broward Public Defenders Office a few years ago, had a run-in with Seidman. 

“I don’t know Judge Seidman, he said.

He went on to say he was familiar with him from working in the courthouse, but didn’t know him personally.

“Did you ever appear before him? I asked.

McLawrence said he remembered times when he appeared before Seidman.

“What kind of experience was it?  Did you have a good or bad experience? I asked.

A long pause.

“It was an experience, McLawrence said.

McLawrence was too polite to go into details. You can decide what his comment meant.

The candidate then was asked what judges he thought were doing a good job, reflecting the type of judicial demeanor that is proper for the bench. He named Circuit Judges Martin Bidwill, Marc Gold, John Murphy and County Judge Gary Cowart.

It was the always-topical JAAblog that broke the story yesterday about McLawrence challenging Seidman.

McLawrence is no novice, despite having graduated the University of Florida law school just six years ago.

The 37-year-old has life experience.

Emigrating from the Caribbean island of Dominica at age seven, McLawrence ended up in public housing in Queens, New York.

“We were dirt poor, he recalled.

McLawrence apparently was a good student, because he ended up at Brooklyn Tech.  For those who aren’t familiar with the NYC school system, Brooklyn Technical High School is one of nine special public schools that require students pass a test before admission.     

Passing that test and being able to go to Brooklyn Tech was McLawrence’s ticket to success.

“Despite being beat up every day on the G Train, it was very much worth it.  People talk about what college or law school they went to, but I always mention high school, he said. “It was the start.”

From high school he went into the U. S. Navy, where he served tours in Bosnia and Iraq. 

After five years as a sailor, he went to Florida A&M University, where he graduated magna cum laude.  Then to the University of Florida law school.

Although McLawrence went to school in two major-league party towns, his life wasn’t all co-eds and beer kegs.

He worked hard to pay the bills. There was one stint as a drug store stock boy and another as a computer lab tech.

After graduation, two years with a civil law firm in Fort Lauderdale in addition to some time at the PD’s office.  Now he handles criminal cases in private practice.

Life experience.

I’m not taking sides in this race between Seidman and McLawrence.

McLawrence shouldn’t be dismissed.  He has the varied life experience that should be a requirement of the bench, especially in county court.

13 Responses to “Seidman Opponent Has Plenty Of Life Experience”

  1. Interesting says:

    This young man is very impressive. At first, I thought that he was another opportunist looking for a job. His story is compelling. Especially his military service.

  2. Capn Bill says:

    Excellent Introduction to a person who seems to be a true “Quality Candidate”.We need more like him!

  3. The Long Black Robe (ret.) says:

    Mr. McLawrence, who I don’t know, seems to be a legitimate candidate. Buddy is right about needing experience other than legal experience. Too many candidates were law students, put in five years and then think they have the knowledge and experience to be judges. A 29-year-old kid judging is wrong. There should be a 35 years old age requirement.

  4. Resident says:

    Note: Being a lawyer, even for a long time, does not mean you will be a good judge. While related, they require different talents.

    Lawyers argue for their clients, Judges resolve disputes among people.

    Not quite the same thing. How you handle a charged situation is critical.

    Some very good lawyers make terrible judges. They have absolutely no patience and/or are bored. While only good lawyers could make great judges, cause they are reflective and think matters out cautiously.

    We need to find those that have the mindset to be good judges. Not lawyers who are tired of being lawyers and want something different to do.

  5. liar liar says:

    Judge Seidman lied to the JNC and was caught. Sure people lie, no one is perfect on the other hand shouldnt we expect more from a Judge? Its not about the topic of which he lied about but the lie itself.

  6. Can He Win says:

    Jahra will have trouble winning for one unfortunate fact. His name sounds Arab and that won’t go over with many voters, especially Jews in the condos.

  7. Tony says:

    Seidman will have hundreds of thousands. McLawrence will have hundreds. End of story.

  8. What? says:

    How does McLawrence sound Arab? Irish maybe? You are a moron and the typical uneducated voter that causes the wrong people to get elected because people like you vote based upon the sound of someones name and not their credentials.

  9. Very big "duh" says:

    Hey Einstein:
    Its not the “McLawrence” that sounds Arab (or at least very ethnic) its “Jahra” thats appears to present a potential problem. Duh.
    I am impressed with Mr. McLawrence, however in a community where many vote for judges and against judges based on perceived ethnicity the name “Jahra” may not fly.
    I don’t think that its fair or right, but I do think that its reality.


    My uncle Jahra woud make a great judge and has alot of patience when dealing with clients.Even though I can’t vote I can still show support so VOTE JAHRA MCLAWRENCEE FOR JUDGE!

  11. good going says:

    this is extremely impressive.this young obviously has a passion and a heart for people. We need people like him with intergrity and guts. Go Mclawrence. Nothing stopped you before, nothing can stop you now.

  12. Deeply concerned says:

    I am deeply concerned re: Mr. Mclawrence’s running in the race, especially if that person is Gay!! what is Mr. Mclawrence’s stance on same sex, would a person whom is gay get the same treatment as one that is not gay?? You need to be impartial and I do hope that Mr. Mclawrence views towards the gay community have changed that’s all am say’n.

  13. Studetn says:

    After hearing Mr. McLawrence speak at a law school meeting, I can say that he seems to be very on point about increasing diversity within the legal system and spoke very candidly about increasing the opportunities for women and gays and lesbians. Many people would not openly say that, and I had a lot of respect for him as he emphasized it several times.