Court and Community News

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023
Ricciuti appointed chief justice of the Superior Court; Trial Court opens Family Treatment Court in Springfield; Superior Court seeks applications for 2024-25 Law Fellowship Program; Northeast Legal Aid seeks Housing Court LFD volunteers


Ricciuti appointed chief justice of the Superior Court

Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke this week announced the appointment of Judge Michael D. Ricciuti as chief justice of the Superior Court for a five-year term in accordance with G.L. c.211B, §5, effective Dec. 22, 2023.  
Ricciuti was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Superior Court in 2017. He has served in five counties and serves six-month rotations in the Business Litigation Session. He is the judge appointed to oversee the Massachusetts Asbestos Litigation docket and its hundreds of cases statewide. His current committee participation includes serving on the Superior Court Judicial Education Committee and the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law. He also serves as a judicial mentor.
Ricciuti began his legal career in 1987 as a law clerk for Hon. A. David Mazzone in the U.S. District Court. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He has served on a wide variety of legal and community committees, currently serving on the Boston Bar Journal Board of Editors. 

Ricciuti and Court Administrator Thomas G. Ambrosino will reappoint Elaina M. Quinn as deputy court administrator for the Superior Court.


Trial Court opens Family Treatment Court in Springfield

The Massachusetts Trial Court last week marked the launch of an innovative Family Treatment Court session at the Hampden County Juvenile Court in Springfield with an opening event at the courthouse. The new court session will address the critical needs of families with cases in the Juvenile Court where parental substance use is a primary or contributing factor in the case.

The Family Treatment Court initiative is a collaboration with the Department of Children and Families; the Committee for Public Counsel Services; the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, and the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition; the Massachusetts Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts; and local treatment, recovery, and family support providers.

Speakers at the event included Juvenile Court Chief Justice Amy Nechtem; Juvenile Court Judge Carol Shaw; Dr. Lili Peacock-Chambers, a pediatrician and the chief of the Division of Health and Behavior in the Department of Healthcare Delivery and Population Sciences at Baystate Health; and a family treatment court graduate.

The Family Treatment Court in Springfield is the first of its kind for the Juvenile Court and is the second in the state. The state’s first Family Treatment Court session started as a pilot program at the Franklin County Probate and Family Court in Greenfield in 2016. The Family Treatment Court session was made possible by a $1.5 million grant awarded to the Juvenile Court from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to develop and implement family treatment courts across the state as part of the Pathways initiative.

Family Treatment Courts are non-adversarial, collaborative special court sessions that work with child protective services, substance use and mental health treatment professionals, and community partners to coordinate services with the goals of ensuring that children have safe, nurturing and permanent homes; parents achieve stable recovery; and each family member receives the services and supports needed. 

Research cited by the Center for Children and Family Futures shows that family treatment courts assist parents in entering treatment more quickly, staying in treatment longer, and completing treatment at higher rates when compared with conventional child welfare and dependency court interventions; increase the likelihood of reunification of children and parents with no effect on the risk of repeat maltreatment or reentry into the child welfare system; and reduce the amount of time that children spend in out-of-home care and the amount of time to get children to permanent homes.


Superior Court seeks applications for 2024-25 Law Fellowship Program

The Superior Court is seeking applications to fill four or more position in its 2024-25 Law Fellowship Program.

The goal of the Fellowship Program is to provide entry-level or junior attorneys opportunities to develop legal research and writing skills and gain valuable knowledge and experience in a broad range of civil and criminal matters by assisting the justices of the Superior Court. The fellowship is also intended to serve as a potential pathway for outstanding fellows to seek permanent positions as research attorneys in the
Superior Court.

The Superior Court invites fellowship applications from graduating law students and recent graduates with less than two years of post-law school experience. The court seeks candidates with excellent legal research, writing, analytical and communication
skills who can work independently, maintain high productivity and produce quality work

The application deadline is Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Click here for more information and to apply.


Northeast Legal Aid seeks Housing Court LFD volunteers

Northeast Legal Aid (NLA) is looking for volunteers for their Housing Court Lawyer for the Day (LFD) Program in one of their Housing Court locations in Lawrence, Lynn or Lowell. All volunteers will have access to resource materials, support and supervision from NLA staff, and the ability to make a difference. Sign up here.

For any LFD volunteering questions, contact NLA Pro Bono Manager Courtney Pitta at