But he said every time a position opened, he would receive phone calls from fellow attorneys asking when he would put in his name.
After mulling over the decision since December, McLawrence filed last week to run for the Broward County Court seat held by Judge Lee Jay Seidman.
"I’m not running against Seidman but running for Seidman’s particular seat," McLawrence said in an interview. When pressed, he said Bar poll results and news reports played a role in which seat he would run for.
"If these people have so much faith in me and this is what they want me to do and there’s a need for someone with my skills on the bench, I decided I would do it," McLawrence said.
Seidman was appointed to the county bench in 2001.
In a 2008 Broward County Bar Association poll, 61 percent of respondents said Seidman had a bad temperament, and 35 percent said he was not knowledgeable about the law. A number of attorneys and judges dismiss Bar poll results because of the small number of respondents.
In 2006, the Miami Herald reported Seidman asked traffic court defendants if they were in the country legally, but he denied doing that.
Seidman did not return a call for comment by deadline.
This is McLawrence’s first election bid. He said he decided to run after a number of colleagues suggested he put his name in over the years.
The 37-year-old attorney worked at the Rakusin Law Firm for more than a year before joining the Broward County public defender’s office from 2003 to 2006. He now is a solo practitioner doing primarily criminal defense work.
McLawrence spent more than four years in the Navy before going to Florida A&M University for a bachelor’s degree and the University of Florida for his law degree. He was born in the Caribbean island of Dominica and grew up in New York City.