Lawrence W. Kaplan (1928-) was born in Uniontown, Pa. After graduating from local schools, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh Law School, where he was a case editor for the law review. He served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of first lieutenant in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. Upon returning to civilian life in 1957, he was a trust officer for the former Western Pennsylvania National Bank before joining the law firm of Kaufman & Harris.
In 1978, Kaplan was appointed to the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, a position he retained until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 80 in 2008. While on the bench, he became an advocate for mediation. He founded the Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania, sat on the board of the Academy of Family Mediators from 1982 to 1987, and sat on the editorial board of The Mediation Quarterly.
Judge Kaplan married Natalie Adler. In 1974, Natalie Kaplan founded Carriage House Children’s Center Inc., a developmental program for young children. In the late 1970s, her concern about children being left in the halls of the courthouse while their parents dealt with legal matters led the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, to create the first of three Children’s Waiting Rooms serving the local court system.