Allison Marston Danner, 41, Democrat
A Palo Alto resident, she attended Palo Alto schools. She majored in history at Williams College in Massachusetts and graduated from Stanford Law School. She was a visiting professor at Harvard University and Vanderbilt University law schools and the UCLA School of Law, and she was a lecturer at Stanford Law School. She also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Noonan.
Danner worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California Criminal Division beginning in 2007. From 2009 to 2010 she was an attorney-adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel for the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
She has published on international criminal, terrorist and war tribunals and prosecutorial accountability in international courts.
At one time she considered becoming a history professor, but she turned to law "because I wanted a job with some flexibility," she said. There are no lawyers in her family. She applied for judgeship in part after being inspired by Stevens and Noonan.
Mary Greenwood, 55, Democrat
A Menlo Park resident, she has worked in the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office for 30 years, serving as chief public defender since 2005.
She attended Lowell High School and Grinnell College in Iowa before receiving her law degree from Hastings College of the Law. While growing up in San Francisco, she took part in local debate and forensic-speaking events and in state and national meets, she said.
Greenwood was raised in a blue-collar family. Her mother was a medical transcriber, and her father was a firefighter. He respected trial lawyers and was highly supportive of her chosen career, she said.
She decided to be a courtroom lawyer and interned in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. She decided she loved criminal law. Greenwood said she knew she didn't want to be a prosecutor. After completing her internship Greenwood came to Santa Clara County and "banged on the door here" to get a job.
"If I practiced in San Francisco my father would've come to court to watch me every day," she said.
She was an assistant public defender and supervising attorney in the Santa Clara County Alternative Public Defender's Office from 2002 to 2005. She has served in multiple positions in the Public Defender's Office from 1982 to 1986 and 1988 to 2001. She was an attorney at Coblentz Patch Duffy and Bass LLP and was an associate attorney at the Boccardo Law Firm.