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Lebanon attorney Megan Ryland Tanner is the latest candidate for the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas vacancy created by the retirement last year of Judge Samuel A. Kline.

The 48-year-old North Cornwall resident, an attorney since 2001, has practiced since 2021 at Lebanon law firm Reilly Wolfson. She worked earlier in her career at Brandt & Gerber in Palmyra.

Alongside her private practice, she spent 15 years as a Lebanon County assistant district attorney, concentrating on prosecuting cases involving child victims.

She will join Donna Long Brightbill and Elizabeth Judd as a candidate in the May 16 primary election, and said she will “probably” cross-file on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. A winner of both primary races would run unopposed in the Nov. 7 general election, virtually assuring a 10-year term on the local bench.

According to her media release, Ryland Tanner has served as a court-appointed child advocate – known as a guardian ad litem – in dependency court proceedings, and for 19 1/2 years as a child custody conciliator and mediator.

As an assistant DA, Ryland Tanner said she worked with various members of the community and the Children’s Resource Center to establish a satellite children’s advocacy center in Lebanon County, and received the Women Working for Justice Award from the Lebanon County Commission for Women for those efforts.

“It would be an honor to serve the people of Lebanon County once again, this time as their Judge on the Court of Common Pleas,” said Ryland Tanner. “My extensive experience and knowledge in and of the county’s judicial system and community make me well suited for this challenging role.”

Ryland Tanner graduated from the Widener School of Law in 2001. She received an undergraduate degree in public policy from Penn State Harrisburg in 1997.

In addition to being admitted to practice in all Pennsylvania state courts, she is admitted in various federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania county courts are known as the Court of Common Pleas. Judges are elected for 10-year terms. Once elected, they can be retained for additional 10-year terms or removed in a simple “yes or no” election, and can serve until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 years.

Common Pleas Court judges received a $197,119 salary in 2022. In 2023, they will benefit from a 7.8% pay raise, pushing their annual salaries to over $212,000.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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