Court and Community News

Thursday, July 11, 2019
SJC seeks assistant legal counsel; Applications open for CSB general counsel/executive director; CPCS offers Civil Commitment Certification Training; WBA announces Lelia J. Robinson Award recipients


SJC seeks assistant legal counsel

The Supreme Judicial Court is accepting applications through Aug. 16 for the position of assistant legal counsel.

The assistant legal counsel assists the legal counsel and deputy legal counsel in serving as a legal advisor to the chief justice and justices of the SJC on complex legal and policy matters, including court rules, ethics, legislation, and management issues that arise in the court's operations, its oversight of the judicial branch, and its interactions with the other branches of Massachusetts government. The assistant legal counsel also performs legal research and writing to assist the justices of the SJC.

Position requirements include a J.D. degree from an American Bar Association-accredited law school, membership in the Massachusetts bar and at least five years of legal experience, preferably in Massachusetts.

Click here for more information and application instructions.


Applications open for CSB general counsel/executive director

The Clients' Security Board (CSB) of the Supreme Judicial Court seeks applications for the position of general counsel and executive director.

The CSB oversees and manages the Clients' Security Fund that reimburses members of the public who have suffered financial losses caused by theft of client funds by Massachusetts lawyers. The general counsel/executive director and CSB staff investigate claims for adjudication by the board; provide information and guidance to claimants; represent the board in interactions with the court, public and press; and assist in managing the CSB budget and overseeing the fund investments.

Applicants must be a current member in good standing of the Massachusetts bar for 10 years, with five years as a trial, appellate or disciplinary lawyer, and demonstrated leadership experience. The CSB offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits program.

Please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample by Sept. 9 to

For a detailed position description, visit


CPCS offers Civil Commitment Certification Training

The Mental Health Litigation Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is now accepting applications to its Fall 2019 Civil Commitment Certification Training.

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles these clients to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected.

This certification training will be held in Worcester on Oct. 16, 17 and 18 (all day), and on Oct. 29 (this last day will be a mock trial; you will be scheduled for either the morning or afternoon session, to be determined).

Please complete the application here. The application deadline is Sept. 6. The training is $125.

For more information or questions about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782 or


WBA announces Lelia J. Robinson Award recipients

The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) has announced Deborah Harris and Carmen Ortiz as the 2019 recipients of its Lelia J. Robinson Award. Named for the first woman admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the award recognizes women who, like Robinson, are pioneers in the legal profession and have made a difference in the community. 

Both women will be honored at the WBA’s Annual Gala on Oct. 10 at the Sheraton Boston. The Gala is the WBA’s largest event of the year and is attended by several hundred attorneys, judges, legislators and business professionals. 

Deborah Harris

Harris is a staff attorney for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), where she specializes in public benefits and child support issues. MLRI is a statewide legal advocacy and support center that represents low-income people, defends against policies that harm and marginalize people living in poverty, and advocates for systemic reforms to achieve social and economic justice.

Harris has worked extensively in welfare practice and policy for more than 40 years. She was lead counsel in MLRI’s lawsuit that stopped Massachusetts from using stale and erroneous wage records to terminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and obtained order against the commonwealth to pay $9.4 million in SNAP benefits to 17,000 households whose benefits were illegally terminated.

Harris is also a published author whose works include the "TAFDC Advocacy Guide: An Advocate's Guide to Massachusetts Welfare Rules for Families," which was first published by MCLE in 1994 and has been republished every year since.

Camen Ortiz

Ortiz is currently counsel at Anderson & Kreiger in Boston, where she focuses her practice on internal investigations, white-collar criminal defense, corporate complianceand civil litigation. From 2009 to 2016, she served as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, and was the first woman and first Hispanic to serve in that position.  During her tenure, she directed the prosecutions of several notable cases, among them James Whitey Bulger and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

As U.S. attorney, protecting the civil rights of the residents of Massachusetts was a top priority for Ortiz, and she implemented the district’s first Civil Rights Unit aimed at reinvigorating enforcement of federal civil rights laws. She also broadened the office’s outreach and engagement efforts, meeting regularly with community groups on a variety of issues to promote public safety, community policing and civil rights.