Joint Bar Committee

The Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments is one of the last layers of review in the judicial nominating process and works to ensure that candidates for the tenure positions are both qualified and competent.

The independent and nonpartisan entity is comprised of two dozen attorneys from across the state, including three members each of the Massachusetts and Boston bar associations.

The committee reviews, evaluates, votes and reports on the qualifications of individuals under consideration for all judicial appointments — including clerk-magistrates — to all commonwealth courts. Its votes, which range from "well qualified" to "insufficient information to evaluate," remain confidential. For an explanation of the judicial process, click here.

The committee considers several aspects of an individual before it takes a vote and submits a report to the governor and/or the Governor's Council, which must approve and appoint the candidate. Among the qualities considered are integrity, reputation, knowledge and ability in the field of law, professional experience, judicial temperament and commitment to public service.

The committee began its formal role in 1961, and in years prior, served as an informal reviewer of judicial nominees.