Gallagher sees her role as making a positive difference
As the mother of two teenagers, Eileen Gallagher has likely experienced her fair share of settling arguments. As a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, she has probably experienced more than her fair share. Undeterred, Gallagher is looking to move up in the justice system by running for a spot on the Court of Appeals.
Gallagher has always had an interest in law, which was encouraged by her father’s cousin, John T. Patton, who served as her mentor for much of her life. Although she originally obtained a nursing degree, Gallagher switched to law when she had gone as far as she wanted in nursing. She believes the fields are connected by their focus on service.
Service is certainly an important aspect of Gallagher’s life. She said in an interview that the most fulfilling aspect of her job “is that I can affect people’s lives in a positive way. I feel like I am contributing to society and somehow making it better.”
As a judge on the Court of Common Pleas, Gallagher deals with both civil and criminal cases. She has also worked in private practice, been a staff attorney, a magistrate and an assistant prosecutor. She believes this variety of experience has prepared her for a position on the Court of Appeals.
“I feel that having had eight years experience on the Common Pleas bench, that I understand the law and I also understand what it means to have to make the quick decisions that a trial judge needs to make,” she said.
Gallagher is running uncontested in the November election, having defeated opponent Joseph Compoli in the primary last March. With regard to the upcoming election, she said, “I never take anything for granted.” She continues to work to improve herself and perform to the best of her abilities. “I feel that I owe it to the citizens who elected me, as well as the defendants that stand before me,” she said.
As a judge on the Court of Appeals, Gallagher will review trials from lower courts to ensure that proper procedures were followed and will collaborate with two other judges to make decisions, a significant change from the Court of Common Pleas, where she worked alone.
Gallagher’s term on the Court of Appeals will last for six years. Following this term, she already plans to run again. When asked if she aspires to move up to an even higher court in future, she replied, “I’ll be very happy to be successful on the Court of Appeals bench, and we’ll see where life takes me.”
Hailey Meinen is a communication student at John Carroll University.