Tiffany Palmer is a candidate for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Tiffany is a nationally acclaimed family law lawyer with twenty years of trial and appellate experience. She is also a Mount Airy resident, small business owner, public school parent, and proud member of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community. Tiffany has extensive experience working on cases that involve families in crisis or the loss of loved ones. She understands that the law has a real effect on the lives of all Philadelphians, and she believes that all who enter the courthouse doors deserve not only equal justice, but compassion. All citizens should be afforded a chance for equal justice in our court system. Tiffany has been advocating for equal civil rights for twenty years. She has the knowledge and experience our court system desperately needs.
Background & Education
Tiffany grew up in a middle-class home with parents who were both public school teachers. Her father taught at a vocational school, and her mother became an elementary school principal. Tiffany was taught the values of hard work, personal responsibility, and respect for learning. Most importantly, she was taught that each person, no matter their background or identity, is entitled to equal dignity and the opportunity to learn, grow, and prosper.
Tiffany attended Northern Arizona University, where she majored in Journalism. There she served as the editor of the campus newspaper. She worked her way through school, as a pizza delivery driver, receptionist, dining hall employee, and parking lot attendant. She worked during one summer in Alaska on an assembly line gutting salmon. After graduation in 1994, she moved to the Philadelphia area to attend law school. Tiffany fell in love with Philadelphia and has lived in the city ever since. Tiffany graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1998 with a joint Juris Doctor and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
A Leader in the Profession & Award-Winning Attorney
Tiffany began her legal career in 1998 as a public interest lawyer, when she was awarded a prestigious national fellowship to work at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. There, she provided desperately needed legal assistance to low-income LGBTQ people whose families were not always recognized under the law at the time. Eventually, Tiffany became the Center’s legal director, and worked on a variety of groundbreaking cases on behalf of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ families.
In the 2003, Tiffany co-founded the law firm Jerner & Palmer, P.C., with offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm focuses on civil litigation, estate planning, family law, adoption and assisted reproductive technology law. Since entering private practice, Tiffany has continued to be a recognized leader in her field. In 2009, Tiffany was named as a Fellow to the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. In 2011, Tiffany was named one of the nation’s “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association. She has been counsel in high profile trial and appellate cases shaping Pennsylvania’s laws, including In re Baby S., a surrogacy case where Tiffany successfully argued for the enforceability of surrogacy contracts.
Tiffany currently serves as the Director of the Family Law Institute of the National LGBT Bar Association. She has also been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law. In 2014, Tiffany received the Rutgers University School of Law Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award for her groundbreaking legal work on behalf of advancing family law in Pennsylvania. In 2018, Tiffany received the Justice in Action award from the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia for her leadership and advocacy for families.
Tiffany lives in Mount Airy with her wife, Lee Carpenter, who is a professor at Temple University School of Law. Tiffany and Lee have been together for almost twenty years. They were married in Vermont in 2010, but their relationship was only legally recognized in Pennsylvania as of 2014. Tiffany’s own experience with having her long-term partner treated as a legal stranger has shaped her commitment to fairness, inclusion, and equal treatment under the law. Tiffany and Lee have a daughter who is in the sixth grade at a neighborhood Philadelphia public school. They also have a cattle dog rescue puppy, Penny, who enjoys digging holes and eating shoes.
A Community Volunteer
Tiffany has a long history of public service. Tiffany is a founding member and serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of J.S. Jenks, a 501(c)(3) that supports Jenks Academy for Arts & Sciences, the public school that her daughter attends. She is also a co-leader of a Girl Scout troop, and served as a Democratic Party Committeewoman in the 9th Ward, 3rd Division for eight years. She has previously served as a Board member of Philadelphia Family Pride and the Liberty City Democratic Club.