Upcoming Seminar Planned for Lawyers Looking to Become Judges
A pair of upcoming outreach seminars will inform local lawyers on the SouthCoast and Cape Cod exactly what they must do if they wish to become Massachusetts judges sometime in the future.
Joseph Ferreira of the Governor's Council tells WBSM's Chris McCarthy that the seminars are being planned to make it more "transparent" how a lawyer becomes a judge, so that more local attorneys can consider seeking judgeships to better serve the area.
"I'm a firm believer that local lawyers should be local judges, who know and understand our community, and know what we need and know what's best for our localized regions," Ferreira said.
The seminars will feature Governor Baker's Chief Legal Counsel Lon Povich, as well as Sharon Casey, Executive Director of the Judicial Nominating Commission and Deputy Counsel. There will be other members of the JNC in attendance, as well as judges who have made the step up from being lawyers within this region.
The programs are both planned for October 12. The first will be at noon at the UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, with the second planned for 2:45 p.m. at the Yarmouth House in Yarmouth.
Ferreira, the former Chief of Police in Somerset and an attorney with Lynch & Lynch, said he recently voted on his 80th judge in two and a half years of being on the Governor's Council. He said he represents 47 communities across the SouthCoast and the Cape and Islands, and he's never seen an outreach program like this in the area.
"Not that I know of, anyway," he said. "The MCLE (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education) does a course for lawyers in Boston (to become judges), but there's never been an outreach in our region that I know of."
Ferreira said lawyers who wish to be judges apply to the JNC, and they look at the application without knowing who the person is, calling it a "blind process." From there, there is a series of reviews and interviews that ultimately puts the decision in the hands of the Governor's Council.
"We get the ultimate say, yes or no, if a person becomes a judge," he said.
Ferreira pointed to the recent confirmation of former Bristol County prosecutor Elspeth Cypher to the state's Supreme Judicial Court, Fall River attorney James Harrington's appointment to the Bristol County Juvenile Court, and the current interview process for Bristol County District Attorney's Office prosecutor Katie Rayburn to sit on the district court circuit as proof that the JNC is finally paying attention to strong candidates in this area.
"I don't want people from Boston or Lowell or Worcester or Springfield to come down and run our local courts," he said.