Who Is? What is? Clerk Of Quarter Sessions In Philadelphia

Apparently it is, or was,  Vivian T. Miller, and she’s quitting, and her daughter, Robin T. Jones, is taking over the job. I didn’t know who these folks were until I read  an article about them in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by Karen Heller. Here’s what Ms. Heller writes in her March 10, 2010 article “Fairwell to the 14th Century.”


Clerk of Quarter Sessions Vivian T. Miller tendered her resignation Monday after being roundly criticized by everyone and his mother for running a bloated, obsolete, and thoroughly incompetent hackatorium that failed to keep records on $1 billion in forfeited bail.Naturally, Miller was praised by city leaders. Ecclesiastes was quoted. Miller intoned, “I go in peace, love, and harmony,” which isn’t easy to do in Philadelphia. …Miller first ran for clerk of quarter sessions promising – and I quote from an Inquirer article of May 1991 – to “upgrade accounting and financial-management practices. She also plans to institute professional training and development programs for workers and to upgrade record-keeping procedures,” pledges she didn’t honor to this day….The office originated in 1682, and became an elected position in 1838. The very premise of quarter sessions dates to 14th-century England, the reign of Edward III, requiring justices of the peace of each county to meet quarterly at Epiphany, Easter, Midsummer, and Michaelmas….Miller will step down at month’s end, replaced by first deputy Robin T. Jones, who is also, as these things tend to happen here, her daughter. Nepotism is discouraged, if not prohibited, in most businesses but apparently mandated in Philadelphia government by the City Charter.


Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts commented on the resignation by saying “it’s time with a capital T to have this office abolished and absorbed into the courts.It’s sort of ironic to have such an old-fashioned name when our society is becoming increasingly modern and computerized.”

Vivian Miller did not modernize the internal systems of the office that she was responsible for, was resistant to technological changes, and could not account for a ton of money that, in these difficult financial times, the City of Philadelphia sorely needs.

If I operated my business the way the Clerk of Quarter Sessions ran her office, I’d be out of business, and my clients’ cases would be down the tubes. I am constantly upgrading my systems, including my computer systems, solely to be more efficient. This makes me a better lawyer, makes my firm a better law firm, and my clients benefit from that.  I have to be accountable to my clients and to the Courts.