After 30 years of practicing law in Easton, Antonia Grifo wants to change careers.
Grifo announced Monday she'll run for district judge, hoping to fill the vacancy left last month by the death of Judge Gay Elwell.
"I cannot say that before a few weeks ago I had considered this position," she said told reporters at her downtown Easton office. "I assumed the late Gay Elwell was going to be serving us for a long time."
She made her announcement joined by friends and members of her family, whom Grifo said had convinced her she had "the right experience, right from the start" to serve as judge for what is considered one of Northampton County's busiest courts.
That experience includes a stint as an assistant district attorney prosecuting cases in Easton, as well as more than 25 years in private practice, both with her husband Ronald Shipman and on her own.
"This is not a step on the way to another career for me, but a logical continuation of both my legal career and my community service," Grifo said.
Although she spent the early part of her career as a prosecutor, Grifo, 56, acknowledged that it has been some time since her work took her before a district court.
Most of her recent practice deals with estate law. But she said she's ready to "hit the ground running," and plans to take the state district judge certification course, something she's not required to do. (Licensed attorneys are automatically qualified to be district judges.)
Joining Grifo at Monday's announcement was fellow attorney Theresa Hogan. She said that although she'd heard her name mentioned as a possible candidate, she has no interest in the seat, and lent her support to Grifo.
"She's ready for this," Hogan said. "I have a busy, busy practice. But she's ready."
Grifo, a registered Democrat who plans to cross-file, will face at least two other opponents. Sharbel Koorie, a city code inspector, announced his candidacy late last year, while Lance Wheeler, a constable and former county court officer, is expected to make his announcement next week.